Imramh Ua Corra

A series of tales have come down to us from ancient times which are known as Imramh meaning expeditions by sea and one of these stories Imramh Ua Corra, may be deemed of some relevance to these notes.

Conal Dearg Ua Corra, a Connaught man, had been married for some years to the draught of the Airchinnech of Clothar. Notwithstanding endless prayers to the Almighty they were childless and their discontent grew until eventually they decided to sell their souls to the devil in the hope that he would provide them with an heir. Their prayers were answered threefold as shortly afterwards there were born to them three sons at the same time.

The three children grew up sturdy and strong but instead of assisting their parents in farming the lands, they gathered around them a gang of ruffians and set out to murder every holy man and to destroy every church in the province. They commenced by destroying the Church at Tuam nor did they stop until they had wrecked half of the Churches in Connaught.

Eventually they arrived in Clothar where they planned to pillage the Church and to kill their grandfather the Airchinnech. They were both received kindly by the old man who offered them food and lodgings which they accepted in order to lull his suspicions. They arranged, however, to rise up during the night and to murder him and his household. But Lochan the eldest brother had a vision during the night wherein he was shown the joys of heaven contrasted with the torments of hell and summoning his brothers he told him of his experience. Apparently he convinced them that they should all repent of their evil ways for soon afterwards we find them seeking admission to St. Finnen's Monastery at Clonard.

St. Finnen placed them under spiritual guidance of one of his monks for a year and then ordered them to go and repair every Church they had destroyed. They complied with this instruction beginning with Tuam and ending with Kinvara at the head of Galway Bay. They then presented themselves before St. Colman and on his advice they decided to set out on a pilgrimage into the Atlantic. They had built for themselves a large curragh covered with hides and capable of holding nine persons and as they were about to set out, they were approached by a Bishop, a priest, a deacon, a musician and the man who had made the curragh, and all requested permission to accompany them on their adventure. The request was granted and they set out on a voyage which was full of the most fabulous and fantastic adventures imaginable.

Further details of Imramh Ua Corra would be out of place in these notes but the reader is referred to The Book of Fermoy and to O'Curry's Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History, p. 288

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