Bruree/RockhillCommunity Council


18th Century Bruree

In 1700, Rev. Lewis Prytherc arrived in Bruree. He would live in Ballynoe Castle, standing in the churchyard, beside the ruins of the old church of St. Munchin. His objective in coming to Bruree was to instil the protestant faith in the area. Penal Ireland is one that is noted as a bitter time in our nation’s history. The confirmation of Penal times in the parish can be witnessed at the mass rock in Rockhill. The mass rock stands only metres away from St. Munchins Church.

Very little is known about Bruree in the 18th century. The High Sheriff of county Limerick in 1737 named Colhurst Langton was from Bruree. He is buried in Ballynoe churchyard. We also know a James Langton held this position in 1786. The initial part of 18th century Ireland was a great time for the Courts of Poetry. The Maigue poets gathered half yearly on “Lisoleem” the royal fort of Ollum. It was here that the poets would discuss & recite their wondrous poetry. They would be joined by like-minded people from far and near. Sean Clarach Mac Domhnaill being one of the more prominent ones. He wrote a poem “Mo Ghile Mear”, which was made famous by Cor Cul Aodha, when it’s lyrics were given a melody. It was at Lisoleem that the Gaelic language, through rhythm and rhyme would be kept alive for generations to come.

The Maigue Poets were the last known people to use any of our local ring forts. The forts stood vacant, until Druids worked and cast magical spells upon them, as they had done throughout the rest of the country, in times gone by. The ring forts would now become more commonly known as Fairy Forts. Sheeogue (shideog) is the Gaelic word for fairy; it is a modified version of “Shee” in Banshee. A banshee is a female spirit, who’s wailing warns us of death in a house. It is known that she follows the families with a surname which includes O or Mc.

Examples being the surname O’ Donnell or McDonnell.  The fairy forts are seen as entrances into the fairy world. Fairies have long been believed to be fallen angels, not good enough to be saved, and not bad enough to be lost. It has been noted that unbaptised children were buried in fairy forts, as they were unable to be buried in consecrated ground. People believed that the fairies would take their babies to the other side. Fairies hold a strong position in our mythical past nationally, along with places like Bruree. Their homes will remain untouched for many years to come. 

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Bruree/Rockhill Community Council

Co. Limerick,