Beara Breifne Way

Based on the March of the O'Sullivan Beare

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Historic March of 1603 (cont.)

O'Sullivan Bere Walk Through the Slieve Felim Area

After their heavy losses O'Sullivan and his men reached Slieve Felim, where the Twelve Peaks are seen. They camped at Solohead (sulchoik, the Sallow Wood) - a famous place, made famous by Brian Boru, Dan Breen and Sean Treacy. Here they recovered themselves and set off for Donohill (Dun Eochaille, fort of the Yew Wood) there was a considerable store of food. Their hunger gave them the courage to storm the place and gain access to the food-supplies. Onwards towards Cappawhite. So numerous were their attackers that the fugitives feared complete destruction. Ormond left them no choice but to defend themselves by attacking. This they did with some success, but also with some losses. Out of O'Sullivans one thousand followers only two thirds now lived. On the way they marched the road which climbs the side of Knockafine, and on to the peak of Slieve Kimalta (Sliabh Coimealta, Keeper Hill) which is nearly the highest summit seen in all the march. That night they camped at Latteragh. Then onto Knockshegowna, Lackeen and towards the river Shannon where it enters Lough Derg.


Shannon Crossing
When O'Sullivan reached the Shannon Crossing, there was no boat to be found. O'Sullivan decided to kill his horses, which he ate and used the skins of the horses to make currachs. 2 currachs were made. One by the Beara men, which was long and thin. The second by the Connaght men which was a little tubby craft. The Connaght boat sank on its first crossing. O'Sullivan got most of his followers across but was attached by MacEgan (Redwood Castle) on the Tipperary side and lost some of his followers who were drowned in the river.

East Galway
O'Sullivan fought his way up to Aughrim, raiding villages along the way for food. O'Sullivan was attached north of Aughrim and was outnumbered three to one but his soldiers were well trained and fought a daring battle and won the day.

O'Sullivan Bere's March Through The Suck Valley

The River Suck Valley-Galway/Roscommon Border
At nightfall on January 11th 1603 O'Sullivan and his followers arrived on the Southern slopes of Sliabh Mhuire (Mt. Mary) between Ballygar and Creggs, tired and battle weary after their encounters at Aughrim they decided to set up camp for the night. When they awoke the following morning the whole area was covered in a thick blanket of snow. Many of his followers were to stay behind on the mountain while others died of exposure and exhaustion. The following day as O'Sullivan Bere and his followers moved Northwest to Glens castle they had hoped to get help from the locals but found that the landlord McDavid Burke had organised his people against him. They approached Glinsk Castle only to be turned away but later returned with flags and drums captured at Aughrim, but the Burkes were not to be fooled and O'Sullivan and his men were chased to Sliabh O'Flynn near Ballinlough.




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