TERMONMAGRATH (AN TEARMANN MAC CRAITH)
A Termon (in Irish
Tearmann), meaning place of sanctuary, are lands often associated with
the Church. In the case of Termonmagrath or the sanctuary of McGrath,
the lands covered a huge area of the modern counties of south east
Donegal, west Tyrone and north west Fermanagh, incorporating
Termonamongan to the north the area that would be the location of the later town of Pettigo and include much of the Barony
Chieftains and Guardians
The lands were held by the Clan McGrath since at least the early 13th Century, when they Annals first mention the death of the Corab of Lough Derg, the Mac Craith of the Termon in 1290. The Termon created a buffer between the lands of the Gaelic Lords O'Donnell of Donegal (Tyrconnell), to the west, O'Neill of Tyrone to the east and Maguire of Fermanagh to the south. The Termon was protected under Irish Brehon law because of the pilgrimage island of Lough Derg which fell under the physical protection of the Clan McGrath, as did the monastery located on Saint's Island within the Lough.
Elizabeth I and the Earls 16th Century
As Elizabeth I waged war in ireland in a vain attempt to pacify the Gaelic clans, Ulster became the hotbed of open rebellion under the united leadership of O'Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell and O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. The ensuing war lasted a devastating nine years.
Following their defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601, the rule of the Gaelic aristocracy was at an end. O'Neill and O'Donnell returned to their lands but new oppressive laws made their position impossible and they eventually took flight from Ireland in what is now known as the Flight of the Earls. The Earls made an attempt to raise an army in Europe to come to the aid of the Irish, however this too ultimately ended in failure. Following Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603 she was succeeded by King James VI of Scotland, I of England.
A New King 17th Century
King James wished to settle things in Ireland and like Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, offered the Gaelic clans an opportunity to retain their hereditary rights and titles by surrendering their lands to the Crown and having them re-granted with full title. However James also pursued a vigorous policy of plantation. For those that refused to accept the new order or who refused to accept surrender and re-grant, confiscation followed and the lands where divided amongst the new settlers from Scotland and England. The McGraths of Termonmagrath had taken the option of surrender and re-grant under Elizabeth I and had originally offered their lands up in 1596. In 1610 they went through the process again with King James I and uniquely we still have the text of the Grant of Title, a document that details the extent of the McGrath lands. Below is a link to a reproduction of the grant from King James I to James McGrath, (son of Archbishop Miler McGrath), Chief and Lord of Termonmagrath.
RETURNING HOME TO TERMONMAGRATH IN 2020
The Clan McGrath will return to Termonmagrath for the McGrath Clan Gathering 2020. The Gathering is being organised my the Clan McGrath Society. To keep updated follow this link:
Click LIKE and please share with your McGrath friends and family. Looking forward to welcoming you to your ancient home.