Noonans in the Annals and Histories of Ireland

901. A change of kings in Caisel i.e. Cormac son of Cuilennán succeeded Cenn Gécáin. Chronicon Scotorum

In Munster, the role of churchman and statesman was blurred; abbot-kings ruled the kingdom in the 9th and 10th centuries. The strong Eoghanacht dynasty fell apart in 901 and did not recover for more than fifty years. A learned abbot descended from Conall Corc named Cormac O’Cuilennan was elected king of Cashel in spite of the handicap that his last royal ancestor had lived eleven generations previously; no more eligible candidates for kingship must have survived within the ingen (nine degrees of kinship) of the Eoghanacht dynasties.

908. The battle of Belach Mugna was won by the Laigin and Leth Cuinn against the men of Mumu, and Cormac son of Cuilennán, king of Caisel, fell… Chronicon Scotorum

In his seven year reign Cormac O’Cuilennan united Munster, drove out the Vikings and gave Munster great prosperity. He was also a poet and a scholar. In 908, Flaithbheartach mac Ionmhainéin (Flathbhertach Mac Jonmuinein; his first name translates as ‘Wealthy Noble’ but may also have been a play on ‘Noble of Berechtuine’) abbot of Inis Cathaigh (Scattery Island in the Shannon estuary) with the support of the principal nobles needled the abbot-king Cormac O’Cuilennan into openly confronting the Uí Neill high-kingship by asserting claim to Leinster, and marching on Leinster to exact head tribute (borahmu) in the name of Leath Mogha. The Ard Rí and his army of Connaught were joined by the Deagades and marched to Leinster’s defense.

Now when Cormac son of Cuileannan, had been ten years on the throne of Munster in peace and prosperity, as we have said, he was egged on by some of the nobles of Munster, and in particular by Flaithbheartach, son of Ionmhainen, abbot of Inis Cathach, who was of the royal blood, to exact head tribute from the province of Leinster since it belonged to Leath Mogha. Accordingly he assembled and brought together the Munster forces, and when their nobles had come together they resolved to go and demand head tribute from the Leinstermen by right of the partition which was made between Mogh Nuadhat and Conn. But Cormac was reluctant to go on this expedition as he had a foreboding that he was to fall in the adventure. Still he consented to go.

Foras Feasa ar Éirinn Geoffrey Keating

The Munster Eoganacht McCarthys were joined by their Dál gCais allies. In the Munster camp on the eve of battle, Flaithbheartach’s horse slipped in mud. Taken as a bad omen, a large part of the Munster force decamped.  Cormac offered to make a settlement with Leinster, but Flaithbheartach satirized him:

“From thy feeble courage it is very easy to judge how miserable thy mind and spirit.”

Cormac relented, and retired to write his will (which still exists). They faced a Leinster force at Bealach Mughna that outnumbered them four times over. The Munster forces were slaughtered and the omen fulfilled when Cormac was killed; his horse slipped in blood and fell on him.  6,000 died at the battle of Bealach Mughna.

After this Cearbhall son of Muireigen, king of Leinster, proceeded on his way to Cill Dara bringing with him in charge a large body of Munstermen and with them Flaithbheartach, son of Ionmhainen. Then Flaithbheartach was brought into Cill Dara, and the Leinster clergy fell to reproaching him greatly, for they knew well that it was through his fault the battle was fought.

But on the death of Cearbhall, king of Leinster, Flaithbheartach was set free; and a year after Muireann banchomhorba of Brighid accompanied him out of the town and sent a large party of Leinster clergy to escort him till he reached Magh nAirbh, and when he had thus arrived in Munster he went into his own monastery to Inis Cathaigh, and there he passed some time in virtue and devotion, and came out of Inis Cathaigh again to assume the sovereignty of Munster after the death of Dubh Lachtna, son of Maolguala, who was king of Munster seven years after Cormac; and he was for some years after that king of Munster, as is stated in the old book of the Annals of Cluain Eidhneach Fionntain in Laoighis which gives an account of the Battle of Bealach Mughna

Foras Feasa ar Éirinn Geoffrey Keating

914. Flaithbertach son of Inmainén took the kingship of Caisel. Annals of Inisfallen

Flaithbheartach became King of Munster on the death of Dubh Lachtna seven years after the battle of Bealach Mughna. The defeat there weakened and divided Munster so badly that it allowed the second Viking invasion (previously confined to the east coast) to take Waterford in 914 and Limerick in 920 and exact tribute from the Munster chieftains. Flaithbheartach had precipitated an upset of the balance of Ui Neill-Munster power that had existed for over 500 years. It broke the power of Desmond and even the whole of Munster until Brian Boru of Thomond and his Connaught alliance overcame the Ui Neill, the Leinstermen and the Vikings and ruled all of Ireland until his death at Clontarf in 1014.

Flaithbheartach mac Ionmhainéin (Flaherty O’Noonan “who was of the noble blood”) became king of Munster at a time when the Munster dynastic succession seems to have been catastrophically disturbed. The previous king (901-) was eleven generations removed from his most recent royal ancestor. A following king (957-) was sixteen generations removed. Presumably Flaithbheartach’s claim lay somewhere between the two. The standard four-generations-per-century places Flaherty’s royal ancestor between 557 and 626 A.D. Flaithbheartach mac Ionmhainéin’s most recent royal ancestor must have been Aodh Caoimh about thirteen generations earlier.

944. A battle-rout was inflicted by the Eoganacht Cellachán of Caisel on the Dál gCais

Cendétigh son of Lorcán in Mag Dúine, in which many fell.

Flaithbertach son of Inmainén, king of Caisel, rested.

Chronicon Scotorum

Flaithbertach, son of Inmainen, 37 years, and he died a natural death.

Caithrem Cellachain Caisil

The Book of Lismore contains a poem by Flaithbertach Ua Hinmhoinen.

959. Dub dá Bairenn mac Domhnaill is killed by his own people. He was elected king of Munster at Cashel even though he was sixteen generations removed from the last king in his ancestry.

970. Inis Cahie was taken by Bryan McKennedy upon the Danes of Limerick, that is to say Imer and his two sons, Awley and Dowgeann. Awley mcIllulfe king of Scotland was killed by Kynay mcColme. Noyman of Inis Cahie (Scattery Island) died.  Annals of Clonmacnoise

1007. Newman O’Seanchin…anchorite died. Annals of Clonmacnoise

1059. Just previous to the synod of Boly, the death of Dúnadhach Ua hInmainéin, the Erenagh of Tulach Léis, was recorded in the Annals of Inisfallen.

The position of airchinnech had become so secularized by the 11th century that the erenagh was often a hereditary lay abbot. Subsequently, the family title was comharba (coarb or successor), and the O Noonans were regarded as hereditary wardens or protectors of the church.

c.1100. An outstanding craftsman, Cúdulig U Inmainen, with the help of his sons fashioned the exquisite shrine of St. Patrick’s bell, now displayed as one of the great treasures of the National Museum.

Gilla in Choimded Úa Cormaic was a historian and poet of the monastery of Tulach Léis (trén ó Thulaig). His epitome of universal history is preserved in the Book of Leinster poem A Rí ríchid déidig dam. His poem `Aimirgein Glúngel tuir tend‘ is dated c.1050-1150 on historical and Middle-Irish linguistic grounds, while O’Corrain places him circa 1100-1160. Gilla in Choimded wrote:

Failet se muid sain mebair cummaiscit craeb n[séimhiú]genelaig:
totinsma daerchland ic dul i lloc saerchland re slonnud;

torrchi mogad—mod mebla—                      & dibad tigerna;
serg na saerchland—etig uath—    la forbairt na n-athechthuath;

míscribend do gne eolais   do lucht uilc in aneolais;
nó lucht an eolais ní ferr    gníit ar muín miscribend.

`There are six ways of note that confound the branch of genealogy: (1) intrusion of base families taking the place and name of noble families; (2) the expansion of serfs, a shameful thing; (3) and the extinction of lords; (4) the withering away of the noble families, a dreadful horror, with the expansion of vassal folk; (5) mis-writing in the guise of learning by the ignorant of evil intent; (6) or the learned themselves, no whit better, who write what is false for gain’.

1111. Tullylease is included in the diocese of Limerick when the diocesan boundaries are drawn up at the Synod of Rath Breasail. The boundaries of Limerick diocese, as given by Céitinn, were as follows: Ardpatrick to the south, and Ballyhoura and Tullylease, the Feale westward…

Tullylease is thought to have remained in the diocese of Limerick until about the year 1206, when the Normans defined the limits of their Kingdom of Limerick (it became the County of Limerick when the twelve Irish counties were established in 1210).

The Noonans/Nunans remained as hereditary coarbs of Tullylease into the 16th century, and were considered the custodians of the site of Kilcoora Church into modern times.  Kilcoora (Ceill Curtha, the Sweet-smelling Church) was on the northern bank of the Darrery River, about 1/2-mile above its meeting with the Camuisce, midway between the Gortnatubrid and Killeedy churches, 3 miles west of Springfield Castle.

1230. The death of Donnsléibe Ua hIonmainéin (Donnsleibhe O hlonmhainein), a member of the family Donnrteibe is recorded in the annals.  He was a holy monk (i.e. celibate) and chief master of the masons of the Romanesque Cistercian (the strict Benedictine order founded in France in 1098) Abbey at Boyle (Boly), Co Roscommon, Connacht, on the upper Shannon. The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland states that Ua hIonmainéin directed the building of Boyle Abbey; an inscription under its entry portal claims the same.  It is noteworthy that construction of Boly was far more ornate than other Cistercian abbeys, and that Tullylease was purportedly long noted for the skill of its stoneworkers.

1235. The city of Limerick is shired. The Norman invasion of 1169 was the first significant foreign intrusion into Gaelic Ireland.  The invading Norman knights ruled the territories they conquered as Liberties.  Most liberties, however, quickly came under the English king’s administration and system of shires (bishoprics, sheriffs, coroners). Desmond (Munster south of the Shannon), though, remained a Liberty free from royal administration.

1265. Anlane O None was appointed Bailiff of Limerick City in 1265, 1279, 1280 and 1295; (a namesake was a resident of Limerick in 1233).

1301. Maurice Ohynnevan and his son Maurice were both among the clergy in Cloyne diocese.

1305. The Annals of Inisfallen inform us that Tairdelbach O Brien violated the sanctuary of Berchert (and died as a result) and that O hInmainéin, a noble and pious coarb, was seized by his northern neighbors the Uí Chuiléin and Uí Chlainne Inneirgi and put to death. Later in the same year (1305) Mílis Ó Donnocáin and his kinsmen set out to avenge on the Uí Chonaill the death of their coarb but wer slain en route by by Sir Henry de la Chapelle, a Norman knight.

The background of the killing appears to have been that Tuath Saxan owed fealty to the Dalcassian Uí Fidgeinte rather than their southern neighbors the Erimónian Múscraighe Uí Dhonnocáin. Uí Chuiléin were the ruling family of the western section of Uí Fidgeinte known as Uí Chonaill Gabhra (Hy Conail), the territory north and northwest of the Noonans.

1306.  The church of Tulach Léis was burned by lightning.

1311. Adam O hynevan was hanged for being in rebellion with the Condons.

1345. Justiciar Ralph Ufford led a troop of Normans, Butlers, de Burghs, and MacMurrough, O’More, MacNamara and O’Brien out of Limerick up through Hy Conail and east to Killmallock before besieging the Earl of Desmond’s castles at Askeaton and then Castle Island. By 1351 the Earl was restored, and by 1355 Desmond was made justiciar of Ireland.

1361. An Irish surgeon, William O Neonan (Ouhynaunen) operated on King Henry’s son Prince Lionel of Antwerp, the Duke of Clarence and Earl of Ulster, Viceroy of Ireland. Clarence had arrived in Ireland that year on a military expedition to regain the Crown’s control of Ulster and Leinster.  At the time, Irish were sought out as surgeons throughout Europe, but were outlawed in their own country. McLysaght notes that Ouhynaunen’s position was unusual.

1364. According to the Pipe Roll of Cloyne Donald O Henwonhan acknowledged that he held of the lord the seven carucates of Tullylease by the service of two marks yearly. (He also admitted that he was obliged to do in all things as Maurice Chapel should do, and his tenants as the tenants of the said Maurice – who was, no doubt, of the same family as the above-mentioned Sir Henry). Tullylease itself was held in the 14th century by the bishop of Cloyne’s feudal manor of Kilmaclenine.

c.1400.                  Tuath Shaxan an oirir fhinn           as d’Ua Ionmhoinéin áirmhim.

Tuath Shaxan of the fair territory I reckon as belonging to Ó hIonmhainéin.

Topographical Poem Giolla na naomh O’Huidhrín

1402. Odo Ohenwonham was a monk in the Cistercian monastery of Fermoy.

John Barry of Leanlara is said to have married a daughter of O Nunane of Castleishane in the early 15th century.

A mid-15th century eulogy on David Roche extols the Lord of Fermoy for an attack on the sept of Ionmhainén (Fine Unmhaineáin) whose king he took as hostage.

1459. The perpetual vicarage of Tulachleys ‘long void by the death of Philip Ohyminayn’ was assigned to Thomas Ohyminayn, clerk, of the diocese of Cloyne.

1540. At the time of theb dissolution of the monasteries the rectory at Tullylease was said to be ‘unlawfully detained by the Coorbe of Tollylyche.

Greenane Castle, 6 miles south-east of Limerick city, was held by Noonans until the Norman Shane Burke gained possession of it in 1540, six years after the rebellion led by Silken Thomas Fitzgerald, Lord of Offally, during Henry VIII’s reign.

1569. The Desmond Revolt opposing plantation of English tenants began (it continued until 1583).  In 1567, Desmond fell out of favor as Queen Elizabeth’s favorite courtier and was arrested, and in 1569-71 colonization of Desmond was attempted. The battle ended with a 1572 truce and Desmond’s release.

1575. Sir James Fitz Maurice FitzGerald departed for the continent seeking military support.

1579. Sir James Fitz Maurice FitzGerald landed in Smerwick harbor, Co Kerry (at the tip of the Dingle peninsula) with the papal nuncio the English Jesuit Dr. Nicholas Sanders and an expeditionary force of 80 Spaniards. James Fitz Maurice Fitzgerald was ambushed and killed by Burkes. 700 more Spaniards and Italians landed before the end of the year.

Sanders survived to join the Geraldine rout of a superior English force at the battle of Gortnatubrid (late September 1579), fought at Pairc na Staille (The Field of the Stallion), just outside the gates of Springfield Castle.  300 English were slain in the rout.  The expeditionary force fought defensive battles, including Monasteranenagh, against the 8,000-man English army under Arthur Lord Grey de Wilton, until they were all put to the sword. The army continued to subdue the province, killing Desmond himself in 1582-3.  “Never before had such destruction of property or such systematic slaughter been witnessed in Ireland.”   Sanders, the papal nuncio, died of dysentery in the wooded hills south of Broadford in 1581.  “Tradition relates that he was ‘borne by four Irish Knights to Gort na Tiobrad.

c.1581. Dominus Corcalius Y Newnane was deprived of the vicarage of Kilshannig.

c. 1582. Donough Nunan was slain in the Desmond rebellion (1579-1582), and his lands and Gardenfield West Castle, or Muskery Nownan, were granted to Robert Stroud.

1582. Glenquin castle west of Broadford was granted to Sir Walter Raleigh.

1583. Sir William Noynyn, priest, was one of the witnesses of the will of Cormac Mac Carthy of Blarney, Lord of Muskerry. He was probably his chaplain.

Gortnatubrid Castle and Muskerry Nownan were confiscated from the Fitzgeralds and Noonans (although it appears that the Noonans got their land back as tenants) and 4,000 Protestant English were “planted” in Desmond by Undertakers (English gentlemen who “undertook” the opportunity to subdue the country). The 1586 Elizabethan plantations in Limerick extended south just to the present-day Cork border.  Some confiscated lands were re-granted to the Fitzgeralds and other resident families.

Also in 1583 a Fiant was issued granting a pardon to David mac Edmund Yonnonan of Castleton. Two years later similar pardons were granted to Donell mac Conoghor OHynownayn and to William bachach mac Dermody O Hinownan, both of Co. Cork. These pardons must have had a connection with the Desmond rebellion. The chief of the name, Donagh O Hynowan alias O Hynowan (i.e., the O’Noonan) of Castleishen, went unpardoned.

1584…1586. Survey of confiscated lands, Richard O Nownan held Killrye, one and a half quarters; Knockakreywgg or Knockecreaghe (Knockacraig), one half quarter [one Irish quarter then equalled 377 acres, 26 perches, English statute measure] with woods; Droomecollaghan (Dromcolliher), one half quarter, with woods, waste; Cowleboye (Coolaboy), one quarter, with woods, waste; Gortnegarry, one half quarter; Aharraghe, one half quarter; Ahadaghe (Ahadagh), one half quarter. These quarters, which were all lying waste, were held by o Nownan from John Fitzgerald of Cloyne, who held them from the Earl of Desmond, and were known by the several names of Muskerry Nownan (Múscraí Uí Núnáin), Dromcolliher or Coolaboy. O Nownan held Castlelysine (Castleleishen) and the lands belonging to the said castle, which were also in Muskerry Nownan, directly from the Earl.

1593. In a fiant of early 1593 there is a record of a grant having been made to Robert Stroude of the lands of  Muskereye Nownan (Múscraí Uí Núnáin), in the parish of Ballicastilane (Castletown, Limerick), containing 4-1/2 quarters of land (540 acres), “late the lands of Donogho O Nownan, attained”. [F.E., 5781]

1597. Donnchadh O Nunane’s attainder when a grant of his estate was made to George Isham of Brianstown, Co. Wexford. As well as the castle and lands of Castleishen itself, the estate also included Cloonsillagh, Cloonee, Cooles, Curra, Dromsharule, Gleatan and Belliga – but not perhaps the whole of these lands. When the estate was re-granted in 1605 to Theobald Bourke, baron of Castleconnel only five or ten acres were reckoned in each ploughland, making a total of ½ carucate. It had, no doubt, been pointed out in the meantime that the chief of the name was not the full legal owner of the sept lands.

1600. the Sugan Earl of Desmond was taken prisoner, through treachery, by Dermot O’Connor, and lodged in the fortress of Castle Lishen, but Pierce Lacy with 4,000 men besieged Castle Lishen and set the prisoner free.

1601. Pardons granted to Mullmorie fitz Morish I Nowname, yeoman; Richard and Donell mac Shane O Hununane; David mac Morish O Hononain, Edmund and Shyvery (Séafraidh or Geoffrey) O Hononane, Dermod mac Gilly O Hononane, Dermod en Downey, Morrish fitz William; Conoghor mac Donogh I Hononane of Kilbolane; David mac Dermod, Morish mac Donogh and Dermod mac Teig O Honane, all of Bowles; Donnell O Hononane of Castell ni Lyshine (Castleishen), Riccard, Teig mac Connor and Donogh mac Dermod O Hononane, of same.

1641. Six gentlemen of the Nunans held between them the 8,292 acres of the Civil parish of Tullylease (26 modern townlands). The O Noonan landowners, all in Tullylease parish, were as follows: Teig O Hunan, Dermot mac David Hunan, Morris mac Richard Hunan, Dermot oge O Hunan, Donogh mac Dermot O Hunan and Teige mac Patrick O Hunan, all described as Irish papists. The lands they forfeited comprised: Pollere (Poulavare), named as part of Tullylease, Dromanig, Cloonagown, Raheen and Cahernagh, a total of 2,218 acres. The spoils were parcelled out among Lord Kingston, Sir George Hamilton, Col. John Hamilton and Lewis Craig.

Col. Francis Courtenay of Newcastle Muskereenownaine English Interest held 605 acres, arable 325, pasture 280, which was not confiscated.

In 1641 Muskerry Nownan was surrounded by plantations on all sides that were bound by the contracts to be settled with English tenants.

William Boulster, of Castle Ishen, near Charleville, was tenant to Morris FitzGerald of Castle Ishen in 1641, whom he deposed to have seen in command of an Irish company at the battle of Liscarroll.

1644. Sir Edmond Fitzgerald, Knight of Clonglish, was created a baronet of Ireland on Feb. 8th, 1644. During the revolutionary war of the Commonwealth Sir Edmond burnt his castle of Clonlish to prevent it falling into the hands of the rebels. After the Restoration…In consequence of the destruction of Clonglish, the baronet established himself at Castleishen.

1647. Cromwell’s armies attack Ireland. The 11/13/1647 battle of Knockanuss was fought twelve miles southeast of Tullylease; 4,000 Irishmen were slaughtered there.

1649. After winning the English Civil War, Cromwell himself leads a 20,000-man army into  Ireland to avenge the Protestant deaths of 1641. The roundheads devastate rebellious Munster again, dispossessing all the Irish. They consign those who had not rebelled to the wastelands in Connaught.  Gaelic and Norman lands were granted to English republican officers, soldiers and adventurers who were commissioned to pacify the land.

1654. Civil survey – MUSKREENOWNAINE three ploughlands and a halfe having the ruins of a mill and a church on it meeting on ye East with ye lands of Mullaghharde (Highmount) on ye south with ye Countie of Corke, on ye West with Ballyneleackaine on ye North with Aghveheene. Approx 1200 acres.

During the Cromwellian confiscations of the 1650s, 21% of the confiscations in the barony of Duhallow, Co Cork, were from Nunans. Duhallow barony covered 100,000 acres from the Mullighareiks to the Ballyhouras and south to the Blackwater.  A Nunan (O Honane) family in Limerick were transplanted (Cromwell confiscated the lands of Gaelic landowners who had NOT revolted in 1641 and “transplanted” them to barren lands in Connacht; rebels were simply outlawed and dispossessed).

c.1657. The “Book of Dist. And Sur.” records that the owner of Castle Lishen before the rebellion was Morris FitzGerald, Ir. Papist. It contained 1,196a. 3r. 8p.

1659. Census lists 12 persons of Connello (barony in Limerick) with the name Nunane, (there are no 1659 census returns for Duhallow barony in Cork), and a further six in the barony of Coshmore and Coshbride, Co. Waterford. In the census the name is spelt O Nonane and Nunane, showing that by the mid-17th century the shortened version of the surname had been fully accepted – no doubt as a parallel to the development of the word ionmhain > ionúin.

1688. The principle names in the Conologh Barony (Upper Connello in Limerick) were Nunane and O’Nunane.

1699. Edmond Nownane of Ballylagh (Ballagh) succeeded in his claim for restoration after the Williamite wars.

1721. Denis Noonane at Ballynoe.

1758. Irish Dictionary, Dr. O’Brien, Catholic Bishop of Cloyne: “The O Nunns, an ancient stock, were hereditary Wardens or Protectors of St. Brendan’s Church at Tullaleis in Co. Cork, and the proprieters of all the lands of Tullaleis and Castle Lissen, under obligations of repairs and all other expenses attending the divine service of that church, to which these lands had originally been given as an allodial endowment by its founder.”

Near the churchyard in former times stood a building known as Comharbach, i.e., belonging to the Coarb.

1783. Maurice Nunan of Curra, Kilbolane sold lands at Curra and at East Knockaneglass (par. Tullylease) to Denis Nunan of Keeltane, Tullylease.

18th century Noonan headstones may be seen in the graveyards of Kilcully and Carrigaline, north and south of Cork city.

The ruins of an old Nunan castle stood in Gardenfield up to the 19th century.

1822. On the 25th of March sentence of death was passed on twelve men at Limerick Assizes, for various Rockite activities. They were to be hanged in different parts of the county – Adare, Cappagh, Newcastle, Shanagolden. Four were to be hanged in Ballyagran on 13 April. Seven men had originally been indicted for the offence for which the four were condemned to die. They were William Nunan…[and others]… and they were severally charged that they did feloniously seize arms on the King’s highway from Sgt. John Delaney and four soldiers of the 40th regiment on 28 February. Returning from Dromcolliher, within a mile of Ballyagran he and his men were attacked by a group of men. As the attack began he and his party were assailed with stones by the attackers, who also had arms. Sergeant Delaney’s men each had a gun and bayonet, and he himself a sword and halbert. Two shots were fired at his party, who were then rushed and beaten by their assailants and disarmed…After some more rough handling and threats, the attackers withdrew and allowed the military party to depart.

The attackers in this case did not belong to the landless poor that one generally associates with the Whiteboys. They were said to be “all comfortable farmers”.  This probably explains how they were able to employ Daniel O’Connell to defend them at their trial…

Thomas Carmody, Francis Marley and Daniel Buttimer were acquitted, but William Dunworth, William Nunan, James Cullinan and Patrick Nugent were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged in Ballyagran, on Saturday, 13 April, 1822. The arms taken in the attack were surrendered while the men were in prison under the sentence of death. The newspapers carry no report of their executions. It is conjectured that they were not executed, in which case they may have been released to exile from Limerick in exchange for surrender of the arms.

1824. Birthdate of 2-15-1824 given on US Naturalizaton Form on 3-22-1854 for Timothy Noonan son of William Noonan and his wife Mary; the birthdate on his gravestone is given as 2-4-1824, while on his death certificate his date of birth is 2-4-1836. Timothy emigrated to America with his brother Jeremiah some time before 1854.

1843. Huge ‘Repeal of the Union’ rallies were held by “The Liberator” Daniel O’Connell near Tullylease at Rathkeale and Rath Luirc (Charleville) with over 100,000 attending.

In the middle of the 19th century the Noonans retained their right of burial in the chancel of the ruined church of Tullylease. One of them still prided himself on inheriting the guardianship of the edifice.

1916. From photocopy of pages 14 and 25 of Ireland 1916-1966: London 1916 Commemoration Brochure, published by the 1916 Commemoration Committee of London:

The Irish Volunteers formed units in London shortly after the birth of the organisation in Dublin in 1913. With the coming of 1916 and the preparations for the Rising, the majority of the company made their way by devious routes to Dublin to join the Volunteers and to take their place with their Dublin comrades. Those who made the Supreme Sacrifice were Roger Casement (Patron of the London Company), Dan Sheehan drowned at Ballykissane, Sean Hurley, Patrick Shortes, Mick Mulvihill and Jimmy Kingston.

For the historic records, the following took part in the Rising: Joe Furlong, Matt Furlong, Seamus Nunan, Seán Nunan, Ernie Nunan…[20 more names]. Following on the Rising of 1916, the London Irish still played their part in subsequent events…the Nunan Brothers fought and won the Conscription Fight against the British Government. Seán Nunan later became Irish Minister to Washington, and Secretary, Department of External Affairs.

1919. Nora Nunan of Broadford reported that: “My uncle Seán Noonan was very prominent in the Irish war of Independence. He was born in Dromanig (on the farm, above the trenched fort on the hillside). He was a creamery manager by profession but joined the I.R.A. with his brother Maurice (Nora’s father). Seán was Brigadier General of the 4th Cork Brigade, and spent some months in jail in Belfast – his wife was also jailed. His name and Maurice’s name are both on the I.R.A. Memorial stone in Tullylease Village. In the graveyard in Knanhill there is a memorial erected to the memory of Seán Nunan – it was unveiled by the then Minister for Defense Frank Aiken. (Seán died in 1937, aged 47, of a burst appendix.)” 6/28/01

1922. In the civil war, there were two Free State posts in Broadford.  Connie Neenan of Cork relates how on the way to Limerick after hearing of the attack on the Republicans at the Four Courts, his squad was caught between them, and one of them was killed before they escaped to Rathkeale.  Springfield Castle was burned during the Civil War as well.

1929.                 AN PHOBLACHT, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23rd, 1929:


“O Fortune, they has room to grumble             Had’st thou ta’en off some drowsy bummel

Wha can do nought but fyke and fumble,        But he was gleg as any wumble,          That’s owre the sea.” –BURNS

On the night of Friday, November 8th, two events of importance occurred in Dublin. One was an explosion in a Hall in the suburbs. The rumble was heard a great distance away, and much activity on the part of the police-force resulted. The other –  less generally heard of – was a farewell party to one of our old guard, who for eleven years had lived the trying life of an activist Republican in Ireland.

Michael Nunan has left us. His work for freedom is but slightly known. Eleven years ago he came to us from London to add his weight to our big push for freedom. He came from an exiled Irish family which was already fully represented in the Irish ranks. He was the youngest son, but he would not be denied his part.

Collins and Griffith side-tracked the march to freedom in ’21. Among those who held on was young Michael Nunan. Our second fight began. In it Michael played an honourable part. Our second fight failed. He stayed on, waiting and working for the cause that is not lost even in defeat. He needn’t have stayed. His help would always have been remembered, and, in our own small way, acknowledged. But, he stayed on.

He held on to his position in civil life as long as he could hold on. When continuous police persecution drove him from it, he sought another. But the persecution was so intensive that, finally, it was impossible for him to earn his livelihood. Still, he stayed on.

Raid, arrest, release, raid, arrest, release followed in monotonous succession. For Michael Nunan was suspected of being an I.R.A. officer, and those who, for a weekly pittance, do England’s dirty work, were determined to bring him into the dock on the old, old charge of “Treason”. For years they have dogged his footsteps and beset his home.

Week after week they have arrested him and lodged him in a prison cell. But, he was efficient, and even through the lost four years of pitiless persecution they signally failed.

But, in one major objective, they have succeeded. They have made it impossible for Michael Nunan, as they have made it impossible for thousands of others, to live in Ireland. And, while they can continue to make life in Ireland impossible for such of our men, our cause is still in defeat.

It was a sad farewell party, that of November 8th. For hard as it is to suffer Michael Nunan’s going away, it is as hard to endure passively the system under which he is forced from our midst. And that system made itself evident on the day of the farewell party. He in whose honour it was given was absent from it, until it was almost over. For, his last day in Ireland – like so many previous days – had been passed in a prison-cell. He was arrested in the morning and detained for some hours. On his way to the party he was arrested again and detained until 11 p.m. It was the last act of petty persecution they could inflict upon him. It expressed the low level to which, in their degradation, they have sunk.

We were at many gatherings in Michael Nunan’s company, and he was ever the merriest among us. That night as we bade him farewell, we were surely the sorriest gathering ever seen. We made our presentation, and said our say, striving to be cheery. ‘Twas no use. For all of us felt the going, not of a soldier merely, but of a friend who had endeared himself – to all.

Michael Nunan is gone. No imperial watch-dogs need now beset his home. One “dangerous suspect” can be struck off the list – at least for a while.

For, the chapter of Michael Nunan is not yet completed. The task he undertook ten years ago is unfinished. Not in hope, but in full faith we say: Michael Nunan will come back.