+353 (0) 63 91300 reception@ballyhoura.org

BRUREE “Palace of Kings”

Some of Irelands most famous ancient and modern leaders are strongly associated with the peaceful village of Bruree, on the banks of the Maigue River. As its name suggests, during the late Iron Age and in Early Medieval times, Bruree­ was a place of royal importance.

EAMON DE VALERA (1888-1975)

˜Up De Valera, the leader of the fight,

Well follow him to battle for the orange, green and white;

And when we meet the English, well show them how to fight,

And well crown De Valera King of Ireland.

The words of this 1917 ballad sum up the feelings many people felt about Eamon de Valera during the early years of the 20th century. His father was Vivion de Valera, a Spanish emigrant who met Elizabeth Coll, a native of Bruree, in New York, where Eamon was born. As a very young child, he was sent back to Bruree to be reared by his grandparents.

As President of Dáil Eireann (1919-1921), he was an outstanding founding father of Irish independence. However, his opposition to the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which gave Ireland its independence, became a key element in the outbreak of civil war in 1922.

De Valera founded the Fianna Fáil party in 1926, and became President of the Executive Council (Prime Minister) from 1932 to 1937. He served as Taoiseach from 1937-48; 1951-54; 1957-59. He was President of the Republic of Ireland from 1959 to 1973.

Eamon de Valera had happy memories of growing up in Bruree and often acknowledged the influence that the locality and its people had upon him. In 1972, he officially opened the De Valera Museum, in the former national school which he attended as a boy. The museum displays a unique collection of de Valera memorabilia, much of it donated by the man himself.

The de Valera family home is also open to the public. Built in the 19th century as a labourers cottage, this was where the future President of Ireland first heard stories of his native land. It was here too that his political awareness was first aroused.

The De Valera Museum

The de Valera family home is also open to the public. Built in the 19th century as a labourers cottage, this was where the future President of Ireland first heard stories of his native land. It was here too that his political awareness was first aroused.

The De Valera Cottage, Bruree 2

 

The museum focuses on the political history of Ireland and the local history of a small Irish village, the museum and heritage centre houses a unique collection of personal belongings of the former President of Ireland, Eamon de Valera (1882-1975), as well as a wide range of articles which record life in Bruree in the early 20th Century.

Address:
De Valera Museum, c/o community centre, Bruree, Co. Limerick

Phone:
+353 (0)86 394 9230 or +353 (0)63 91300

Some of Irelands most famous ancient and modern leaders are strongly associated with the peaceful village of Bruree, on the banks of the Maigue River.

As its name suggests, during the late Iron Age and in Early Medieval times, Bruree­ was a place of royal importance.

The attractive old mill on the Maigue River was one of two corn mills in Bruree owned by the Ryan family. Its scenic location above the waterfall makes it one of Brurees most photographed landmarks.

The Old Mill, Bruree

Beneath the rocky ledge on which it stands, and just beyond the waterfall, is a deep dark pool known as Powlnassa “the Pool of the Waterfall”

Its recent history is also of significance as it was the village where Eamon de Valera, a former president of Ireland grew up.

Eamon de Valera had happy memories of growing up in Bruree and often acknowledged the influence that the locality and its people had upon him. In 1972, he officially opened the De Valera Museum, in the former national school which he attended as a boy. The museum displays a unique collection of de Valera memorabilia, much of it donated by the man himself.

Cottages in Bruree

Rockhill is situated on the N20 that runs from Limerick to Cork while the village of Bruree is on the R518. Rockhill became the parish name because in the 1840s Fr James Ryan built a new church and parochial house in Rockhill.

ROYAL RESIDENCE – Tigh naithe Ra­oga

Bruree was one of the most important sites in ancient Ireland when it was the residence of the King of Munster. In later times, it was the seat of the kings of­ Fidhgeinte, who were sometimes known as the kings of Bruree. One of the Fidhgeinte was said to have been responsible for the killing of Mahon, a brother of Brian Boru, King of Ireland, in 976AD.

Evidence of their ˜palaces“ large earthen palisaded ringforts has survived. West of the bridge over the Maigue River. It was described in 1826, as a “very strong and lofty rath surrounded with a deep fosse, outside of which are three others of smaller dimensions”. Two of these smaller forts, known as The Raheens, are located beside the roadway as it dips down to the river.

Another impressive monument at Lisoleem, two kilometres downriver from the village, also has large fosses and ramparts. Its name is thought to have derived from Oilioll Ollum, a second century king of Munster. In 1900, the Irish place names historian from Glenosheen, PW Joyce, described Lisoleem:

It is a circular fort with three ramparts, having the reputation like most other raths of being haunted by fairies: and, as it is very lonely and much overgrown with bushes, it is as fit a home for fairies as could be imagined”

BALLYNOE CHURCHYARD – Reilig Baile Nua

Ballynoe churchyard serenely watches over Bruree. It has ruins of a de Lacy castle, and a former Church of Ireland parish church, built in 1812. Samuel Lewis, described this church in 1837, as a neat edifice in the early English style, with a square tower and octagonal spire of hewn stone.

DE LACY CASTLES – Caislein De Lacy

Bruree continued as an important political centre until the Norman Conquest of the twelfth century. The de Lacys, who then came to the area, built several castles in the area, which they lost during the Cromwellian confiscations of the 1650s. One of these, now heavily covered in ivy, on a high ridge over the river Maigue, can be seen in Ballynoe graveyard. Lotteragh Castle, which was the de Lacys main residence, has only a tower and portions of its ramparts surviving.

MILL ON THE MAIGUE – Muilean Cois Mhaigh

The attractive old mill on the Maigue River was one of two corn mills in Bruree owned by the Ryan family. Its scenic location above the waterfall makes it one of Brurees most photographed landmarks. Beneath the rocky ledge on which it stands, and just beyond the waterfall, is a deep dark pool known as Powlnassa “the Pool of the Waterfall”.

“Slain is cead an taobh seo uaim”

Cois Maighe na gcaor, na gcraobh, na gcruach

“Na stait, na saod, na saor, na slua”

“Na dain, na draiocht, na dtrean gan ghruaim”

The new graveyard in Bruree is in the townland of Garrouse and was opened in 1981.

The remains of a castle are to be found in the graveyard at Ballynoe. Lewis claims that the Knights Templars built this castle in the 12th century but there is no other record to support his claim.

A pathway divides the graveyard in Ballynoe. Catholics are buried on the right of the path and Protestants on the left of the path. The one of oldest headstones is to James Shea who died on March 14th 1786 at the age of 22. But from the book “Bruree” by Mannix Joyce in 1972, a detailed list of all the headstones in the graveyard is given. According to this list the oldest headstone in the graveyard is to the memory of Mary Shanahan, who died on February 9th, 1771.

There is also remains of a headstone that has a skull and crossbones on it. As the headstone was broken, it is not know to whom the headstone is. There is a tomb to the Lyons family in the graveyard . The graveyard is kept in good condition.

In Howardstown, there are a small number of graves. One headstone of interest is to Robert O’Donnell. O’Donnell was a native of the parish and was a member of the RAF in World War II. It is believed that while flying a mission over Germany, he was shot down. His body was never recovered but his wife erected a headstone to his memory in his home parish.

Unbaptised children were buried at both Kilbreedy and Killacolla in the past. According to the local historian, Jerry Hynes, the site of Kilbreedy graveyard is located near the north-west corner of a large pasture field about one mile west of the main Cork-Limerick road, and 2 ½ miles west of Bruree. The field, locally known as ‘Church Field’, is in the townland of Kilbreedy. It is probable that there was once a church dedicated to St Brigid in this townland. The site was later used as a Children’s graveyard. This site is shown as a circle of dots in the 1840 edition of the Ordinance Survey Map. All that remains now is a mound 2 feet high and measuring approximately 36 feet north-south and 18 feet east-west. There is a slight depression on the outside all around.