Turbulence in the Twelfth Century

The twelfth century appears to have been a stormy period in the history of Tuam. In addition to the destruction done by the Dalcassians in 1134 it was again pillaged in 1137 during a war between the men of Meath and the men of Breifne. The Annals of the Four Masters state that in 1155Tuam, Cill-dara and Kilmain were burned and a further burning of the town in 1164 is referred to by Langan.

Tuam was again destroyed in 1177 when Murtagh the son of Roderick O'Connor having fallen out with his father, went to FitzAdelin in Dublin having invited him to invade Connaught. A force of knight's archers and cavalry was despatched under the leadership of Milo de Cogan and having reached Tuam without opposition they burned the place. The Connaught men then adopted a scorched earth policy with the result that the invaders had to withdraw to avoid death by starvation. They were pursued by King Roderick who eventually attacked them near the Shannon, and few of them survived the encounter. Murtagh O'Connor was captured and his father caused him to be blinded in both eyes as a penalty for his mutiny. This burning of the town is mentioned in the Irish Annals (TR. Th. p. 634). O'Flaherty refers to another burning of the town in 1179 but there is no record as to whether this was malicious or accidental. (See Knox History of the Diocese of Tuam). The Cathedral survived these vicissitudes however until 1184 in which year the Annals of Lough Ce record that "The great church of Tuam-da-Ghualann fell in one day, both roof and stone".

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