The Composition of Connacht, or Composition of Connaught and Thomond, was a 1585 agreement between, on the one hand, the Gaelic and Gaelicised chiefs of Connacht and Thomond and, on the other hand, the English Dublin Castle administration of the Kingdom of Ireland, which replaced the multiple existing levies with a single tax on land holdings. The Composition was a form of surrender and regrant, a part of the Tudor reconquest of Ireland. The English leaders were Sir John Perrot, as Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Sir Richard Bingham, as Governor of the Presidency of Connacht.
Connacht was made a Presidency in 1569 and divided into counties afterwards, but the county administration did not function efficiently until the Composition. In 1577, Lord Deputy Henry Sidney instigated a first Composition, which collapsed when President Nicholas Malby died. Under the 1585 Composition, the "countries" (cantreds or trícha céts) of the chiefs became baronies of the counties. The counties affected by the composition included Clare, which, under the name Thomond, was part of the Presidency of Connaught from 1569 until about 1600.
For much of its history the town of Athenry was safe behind its walls, erected in the aftermath of the Second Battle of Athenry in 1316 during the height of the Bruce Wars. However, the beginning of the end occurred during the Mac an Iarla Wars in 1572, when, according to the Annals of the Four Masters:
"They destroyed the walls of the town of Athenry, and also its stone houses and its castle; and they so damaged the town that it was not easy to repair it for a long time after them."This was the first of a number of attacks committed by the Mac an Iarlas, and later, by Red Hugh O'Donnell. By the end of the 16th century Athenry, once the premier town in Connacht, was reduced to a shell, and did not begin to truly recover till the late 1990s.
This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.