XVII. Religious Objects and their Legends.
Clare was once rich in religious objects, and some important ones have survived until our times, such as the Bell Shrine of St. Senan, the croziers of St. Blathmac of Rath and St. Tola of Dysert O'Dea, and the bells of Rath, Burren, and Kilshanny, — all, except the last, in the collection of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, besides the reputed bell of Iniscatha.^^ St. Colman MacDuach and St. Lachtin were also closely connected with the county, and the crozier of the first and shrine of the arm of the second are preserved in the Irish collection. We read in early records how the Norse, in their destruction of the monastery of Iniscaltra in 922, " drowned its relics and shrines " in Lough Derg. The early Life of St. Senan tells how his bell descended ringing from heaven, and the place where this is reputed to have happened is still shown at Cross, between Kildimo and Farighy. The richly- enshrined crozier of St. Flannan of Killaloe (c. 680), and the bell brought from Rome by St. MacCreehy (c. 620), were extant when their Lives were written in the middle of the twelfth century. Early in the seventh century " the relics of Columb, son of Crim- thann, were brought in a wain" to Caimin of Iniscaltra.^^ There were a number of relics and a bell " gold-enshrined " at TuUa in 1318.^^ Recent legend tells of the bells of the round towers of Dromchff and Kilnaboy being hidden in the pool of Poulaclug and the marsh below the latter monastery, and of a silver bell of Kilmoon or Killeany, in the Burren, hidden in the stream named from it Owennaclugga. A brass bell found in the round tower of Dysert was sold in Limerick about 1837. The Black Bell of the MacNamaras was probably one of the relics at TuUa, and may be the one attributed to St. Mochulla in 1141. The " Black Book " of that saint was probably a register, and existed down to 1627, when it was used (and disappeared) in a lawsuit
"It was exhibited in Dublin in 1853 by a Mr. John Cooke, and sold to the British Museum. There is no local tradition attached to it.
^■"^ Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, "Calendar of Oengus," (early ninth century, ed. Whitley Stokes), under Dec. 13, p. 182; also published by Henry Bradshaw Society.
^^ Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh: — " TuUach nan espoc sanctified by bell and precious mass, by relic, gold-enshrined, by rare piety and notable miracles."'