the Four Masters) state that Cathal actually died in the abbey, ‘i naibid manaigh leth,’ in the habit of a grey monk. This must be taken to mean an assumption of a monastic habit on a death-bed, as an indication of the abandonment of worldly things. Standish Hayes O'Grady has translated a curious poem in which Cathal is described as conversing with a fellow monk on the tonsure and other features of a religious life (printed with text in a note to the ‘Book of the Dean of Lismore’).
Besides Knockmoy, Cathal founded the Franciscan abbey at Athlone and the abbey of Ballintober, co. Mayo, in which, according to the O'Conor Don, mass has been celebrated without interruption since the foundation. His wife was Mór, daughter of Domhnall O'Brien. She died in 1217; and they had one daughter, Sadhb, who died in 1266, and three sons: Conchobhar, drowned in 1190; Aedh, who succeeded him as king of Connaught, and was murdered in the house of Geoffrey de Marisco [q. v.] by an Englishman whose wife he had ceremoniously kissed, and who was hanged for the crime; Feidhlimidh, who was made king of Connaught by MacWilliam Burke in 1230, and died in 1265 in the Dominican monastery of Roscommon, where his monument is still to be seen. Feidlimidh's silver seal, inscribed ‘S. Fedelmid regis conactie,’ was dug up in Connaught and given to Charles I by Sir Beverly Newcomen in 1634 (Ware, Antiquities, ed. Harris, ii. 68). A letter from Feidlimidh to Henry III, written in 1261, is printed in Rymer's ‘Fœdera’ (i. 240), and in facsimile in the ‘National MSS. of Ireland’ (pt. ii.); in it he promises fidelity to Henry III and to Edward, his son. Feidlimidh was succeeded by his son Aedh, who defeated the English under the Earl of Ulster in a great battle near Carrick-on-Shannon, co. Leitrim, and burnt five English castles; he died on 3 May 1274, and was buried in the abbey of Boyle. The chiefship of the Sil Muireadhaigh passed to the descendants of Aedh, elder brother of Feidlimidh, son of Cathal Crobhdhearg, through his grandson Eoghan, who died in 1274; but after the death of Turlough O'Connor in 1466 the clan lost most of its power, owing to its complete division into the two septs, of which the chiefs were called in Irish Ua Conchobhair donn and Ua Conchobhair ruadh, or brown O'Connor and ruddy O'Connor. The love of titles has led the descendants of O'Connor donn, since Irish literature has become obsolete, to speak of donn as equivalent to Dominus, and as a mark of supremacy. There are no grounds in Irish etymology or history for this view, and the method of distinguishing septs of the same clan by epithets describing the complexion or other physical characteristic of an eminent chief is common in all parts of Ireland.
[Annala Rioghacta Eireann, ed. O'Donovan, vols. ii. iii. iv. Dublin, 1851; O'Donovan's Tribes and Customs of Hy Many, Dublin, 1843; the Topographical Poems of O'Dubhagain, ed. O'Donovan, Dublin, 1862; Ware's Antiquities of Ireland, ed. Harris; Facsimiles of National MSS. of Ireland, ed. Gilbert, pt. ii., London, 1878; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i. ed. 1816; O'Conor Don's O'Conors of Connaught, pp. 151–2, Dublin, 1891. In 1851 O'Donovan proposed to write a treatise on Cathal's birth and claims.]