‘Slí & Mapa Mapa Cuimhne Bhaile Locha Riach sa mheánaois: do Leanaí le Leanaí

Loughrea Medieval Memory Map & Trail: For Kids by Kids

Introduction

Hello and welcome to our history project about Medieval Loughrea. We are the 4th and 5th class students in Gaelscoil Riabhach and this year, we research the Norman heritage of our town Loughrea. We hope you will enjoy listening and learning about Loughrea in the Middle Ages.

Réamhrá

Dia dhaoibh agus fáilte chuig an tionscadal staire a rinneamar faoi Bhaile Locha Riach i rith ré na meánaoise. Is muide daltaí rang a ceathair agus rang a cúig i nGaelscoil Riabhach agus i mbliana, rinneamar taighde faoi oidhreacht na Normannach i mBaile Locha Riach. Tá súil againn go mbainfidh sibh sásamh as a gcloiseann sibh agus a bhfoghlaimíonn sibh faoi Bhaile Locha Riach i rith ré na Meánaoiseanna.

An Baile Normannach

Bunaíodh an baile Normannach sa 13ú céad ach bhí, ar ndóigh, na Gaeil ina gcónaí sa cheantar i bhfad roimhe sin. Ainmníodh an baile as an loch a bhfuil sé suite ar a bhruach, Loch Riach nó Riabhach, a chiallaíonn dath liathghlas nó go leor spotaí. Tháinig athrú ar chuid mhór den saol nuair a tháinig na Normannaigh go hÉirinn. Thóg siad túrthithe ionas go mbeadh smacht acu ar na ceantair inar shocraigh said cónaí. Rinne Richard de Burgo, ar bronnadh an teideal “Tiarna Chonnacht” air, caisleán i mBaile Locha Riach sa bhliain 1236. D’fhás an baile mór thart ar an gcaisleán. Bhí Baile Locha Riach ar an bpríomhbhaile nó an príomhdhún daingean ag muintir De Burgo.

The Norman Town

The Norman town was founded in the 13th century, but of course the area had been settled by the native Irish long before that. The town was named from the lake on which it is set, Loch Roach or Riabhach meaning grey or speckled. When the Normans came to Ireland, many things changed, they built tower houses to control areas where they settled. Richard de Burgo, who was given the title “Lord of Connacht”, built a castle in Loughrea in the year 1236. The town grew around the castle. Loughrea became the capital or main stronghold of the De Burgos.

An Caisleán

Rinne Richard de Burgo an caisleán sa bhliain 1236 agus d’fhás an baile mór timpeall ar an gcaisleán. D’fhéadfadh go ndearna sé caisleán móta agus bábhúin sealadach as adhmad ar dtús. Ba mhinic leis na Normannaigh caisleán den chineál sin a dhéanamh go luath éasca agus caisleán cloiche ba dhaingne ná an chéad cheann sin a chur ina ionad nuair a bhí bun maith fúthu sa cheantar. Níltear cinnte cá mbíodh an caisleán seo; chaithfeadh sé go mbíodh sé cóngarach don áit a bhfuil Sráid an Chaisleáin, ó ba é an príomhchaisleán é ag Iarla Chonnacht, duine de na Tiarnaí Normannacha ba thréine sa tír. Chaithfeadh sé go raibh caisleán ard daingean ann, léiriú ar an stádas ard a bhí ag fear an chaisleáin.

The Castle

Richard de Burgo built his castle in 1236 and the town grew around the castle. It is possible that he built a temporary wooden motte & bailey castle at first. The Normans usually built these types of castles quickly and then replaced them with stronger stone castles when they became settled in an area. We are not certain where the castle was; it must have been in the vicinity of Castle Street, as it was the main castle of the Earl of Connacht; one of the most powerful Norman Lords in Ireland. It must have been a strong impressive building to display the high status of its owner.

Na Ballaí agus na Túir

Ba mhinic ballaí a thógáil thart ar bhailte móra ré na meánaoiseanna d’fhonn iad a chosaint ar a n-ionsaí. Chuirtí Túir agus Geataí ó áit go chéile leis na ballaí sin ionas go bhféadfadh daoine dul isteach is amach. Ceaptar gur baile múrtha a bhíodh i mBaile Locha Riach ach ní fios ar ballaí cloiche a bhíodh thart ar an mbaile nó cré carntha agus balla adhmaid in uachtar. Ní mhaireann lorg ar bith den bhalla. Aon túr amháin atá fágtha, ceann a tógadh i dtús an 15ú céad agus tuigtear ó scríbhinní na linne sin go mbíodh trí cinn de thúir uilig ann. Is furasta daoine a shamhlú ag teacht isteach is amach tríd an ngeata cúng ag díol is ag ceannach earraí ar an mbaile mór. B’fhéidir go mbíodh cíos le híoc acu ar a theacht isteach dóibh; roinnt den airgead sin á thabhairt don Iarla. Is furasta freisin fir an Iarla a fheiceáil ag dúnadh an gheata in aghaidh aon dream a d’fheicidís ag teacht a mbeadh doicheall rompu.

Wall and Towers

Walls were often built around medieval towns to protect them from attack. Towers and Gates were build in the walls so that to let people in and out. It is believed that walls were built around Loughrea, but we are not sure if they were stone walls or earthen banks topped with a timber wall, as there is no trace of the wall left. There is one tower left, however; which was built in the early 15th century and writings from the time say that there were 3 towers at that time. It is easy to imagine people coming and going through the narrow gate to buy and sell goods in the town. Maybe, they would have to pay a toll to enter; some of the money would go to the Earl. It is also easy to picture the Earl’s men to shut the gate if they saw unwelcome visitors on the way.

 

Earls Park

Richard de Burgo’s grandson also Richard was known as the Red Earl. He began to work on Earl’s Park around 1260. Some Norman Lords in England and Europe had built private parks for themselves but Earls Park was the largest and most impressive in Ireland. The park was a huge status symbol to show off the wealth and power of the Earl. It had an area of 369 hectares or 913 acres and it had a stone wall all around it, which was 2.6 metres high and stretched for 7.4 kilometres. The park was stocked with deer and other animals and the Earl and his guests would go horse riding and hunting there. The huge size and expanse of the park must have really impressed the Earl’s friends and guests as well as the local people. There must also have been a wonderful view from the castle across the lake in to Earl’s private playground.

Páirc an Iarla

An tIarla Rua a thugtaí ar gharmhac Richard de Burgo a bhí ar aon chéadainm lena sheanathair. Chuir seisean tús leis an obair ar Pháirc an Iarla thart ar an mbliain 1260. Bhí Tiarnaí éagsúla de chuid na Normannach i Sasana agus san Eoraip a rinne páirceanna príobháideacha dóibh féin agus bhí Páirc an Iarla ar an gceann ab fhairsinge agus ba shuntasaí in Éirinn. Léiriú mór stádais agus saibhris a bhí sa pháirc ag an Iarla. Bhí achar 369 heicteár nó 913 acra faoi agus claí cloiche timpeall an bealach uilig air, 2.6 méadar ar airde agus 7.4 ciliméadar ar fhaid. Bhí stoc fianna agus eile sa pháirc agus théadh an tIarla agus a chuid cuairteoirí ag marcaíocht capall agus ag fiach ann. Ní fhéadfadh nach ndeachaigh méid agus fairsinge na páirce i gcion ar chairde agus ar chuairteoirí an Iarla chomh maith le muintir na háite. Chaithfeadh freisin go raibh amharc breá as an gcaisleán trasna an locha agus isteach i bpáirc súgartha phríobháideach an Iarla.

An Móta

Tá de cháil ar Bhaile Locha Riach nach bhfuil aon bhaile Normannach eile in Éirinn a bhfuil an móta slán ann ach é. Bhíodh an loch mar áis chosanta ag na Normannaigh an taobh ó dheas den bhaile mór agus bhí sruthán nádúrtha ag rith as an loch leis an gceann thoir. Rinne siad cainéal ansin sa talamh ar an taobh thiar agus ar an taobh ó thuaidh, á thabhairt le chéile leis an sruthán ionas go raibh móta timpeall an bealach uilig. D’fhág sin réimse dronuileogach talún agus air sin a rinneadh árais an bhaile. Tá an móta le feiceáil sa lá atá inniu ann ag déanamh ón loch ar an gcoirnéal thiar thuaidh den bhaile, áit a dtugtar an Droichead Thiar air i gcónaí. Casann an móta soir as sin agus tá bealach siúlóide leis go dtagann duine chomh fada leis an sruthán a ritheann ó thuaidh as an loch. Bheadh an móta ina chosaint mhaith ag an mbaile mór, go háirithe le balla taobh istigh de agus cosaint mhaith ar an mbeagán droichead a d’fhág bealach trasna agus isteach ar an mbaile.

The Moat

Loughrea is famous for being the only Norman town in Ireland that still has a completely intact moat. The Norman’s used the lake as a defence for the town on the south side and made use of the natural stream which runs from the lake on the east side of the town. They dug a channel to the west and north of the town joining the stream to complete the moat. This left a rectangular shape of land in which the town was built. You can see the moat today coming from the lake to the north west corner of town, which is still called the West Bridge. The moat then turns east and runs along the walk until it meets the stream, which runs north from the lake. The moat would have been a very good defence for the town especially with a wall inside it and only a few well-defended bridges across it.

An Séipéal

Tá an leabharlann ar Shráid na hEaglaise suite sa seanséipéal Protastúnach a tógadh i rith na 1820idí. Ar an láthair chéanna a bhíodh séipéal an bhaile mhóir i ré na meánaoiseanna roimhe sin. Bhíodh an-tábhacht mar fhoirgneamh leis an séipéal agus meastar go bhfuil roinnt de na leaca atá le huaigheanna sa reilig ann ó aimsir na Meánaoiseanna anall. Tá seans maith gur le taobh an tséipéil a bhíodh an margadh ar siúl an tráth sin ós mar sin a bhíodh leagtha amach go hiondúil i mbailte na Normannach. Ba é an margadh croí an bhaile mhóir, áit ghlórach ina mbíodh fir cheirde agus tráchtála i mbun a gcuid oibre agus a gcuid trádála. Bhíodh oibrithe de dhíth i mbailte de leithéid Bhaile Locha Riach ag déanamh na nithe a bhíodh de dhíth ar dhaoine, bia, éadach, uirlisí, airm agus mar sin de. Ar an margadh a d’fheictí na daoine sin uilig ag obair agus ag díol a gcuid earraí. Bhíodh feirmeoirí agus lucht tráchtála ón taobh amuigh den bhaile mór i láthair freisin ag díol agus ag ceannach earraí agus ainmhithe.

The Church

The library in Church Street is situated in the former Protestant Church, which was built in the 1820’s. This was also the site of the original medieval town church. The church was a very important building and it is believed that some of the headstones in the graveyard date from the Middle Ages. There is also a good chance that the medieval market was situated beside the church as this was what normally happened in Norman towns. The market was the heart of the town, a busy noisy place where trades people and merchants worked and traded. Towns like Loughrea needed workers who could make all the things people needed, like food, clothes, tools, weapons and so on. The marketplace was where you would see these people working and selling their goods. Local farmers and merchants from outside the town would also could here to buy and sell goods and animals.

Sráideanna agus Ceapacha Burgáiste

Bhíodh sráideanna agus foirgníocht Bhaile Locha Riach leagtha amach ar ghnáthstíl na Normannach. Ba é an gnáthnós acusan freisin ceapacha a ligean le siopadóirí agus le fir cheirde. Nuair a tháinig Richard de Burgo go Baile Locha Riach, chaithfeadh sé gur thug sé na hoibrithe oilte agus an dream tráchtála in éineacht leis. An talamh a dtugtaí Ceapach Burgáiste air, bhí straidhp caol fada talún ann le spás ar an bPríomhshráid mar a dtógtaí an teach nó siopa. Péirse an tomhas a bhíodh in úsáid ag na Normannaigh, ceann amháin cothrom le 5.03 méadar. Tá cuid mhór de na foirgnimh i mBaile Locha Riach ar an gcuma sin. D’oibrigh na Ceapacha Burgáiste go maith, bhíodh spás ag na siopadóirí agus ag na fir cheirde ar fad ar an bpríomhshráid agus bhíodh spás amach taobh thiar acu don cheardlann nó do gharraí. Is féidir cuid mhór de na garraithe fada caola a fheiceáil ag síneadh siar ón bPríomhshráid go dtí na bealaí siúlóide.

Streets and Burgages Plots

Loughrea’s streets and building were laid out in the typical Norman style. It was the usual Norman practice to rent plots of land to shopkeepers and tradesmen. When Richard de Burgo came to Loughrea; he must have bought these skilled workers and merchants with him. These plots of land called Burgage Plot were long narrow strips with space on the Main Street where they could build a house or shop. The unit of measurement the Norman’s used was called the perch, which is about 5.03 metres. Many of the buildings in Loughrea are that way. These Burgage plots worked well, because they gave space to all the shopkeepers and tradesmen on one street; but they still had space behind their building for workshops and gardens. Many of the long narrow gardens can be seen stretching from the Main Street back to the walks.

An Mhainistir

Le taobh na mbealaí siúlóide ar an taobh ó thuaidh den bhaile atá Mainistir Naomh Muire, láthair eaglasta ó thart ar 1300 anall. Síltear gurb é Richard de Burgo, an tIarla Rua, a thug cuireadh do Mhanaigh na gCairmilíteach a theacht ar an mbaile agus mainistir a chur ar bun ann. Ba mhinic gur mar sin a tharlaíodh le bailte na Normannach ach, cé gur dócha gurbh Normannaigh na manaigh freisin, tógadh an mhainistir taobh amuigh de bhallaí an bhaile. D’fhéadfadh go raibh na manaigh ag iarraidh a léiriú go raibh siad ag freastal ar na Gaeil chomh maith leis na Normannaigh. Bhí go leor spáis de dhíth le haghaidh na mainistreach chomh maith, rud nach mbeadh le fáil taobh istigh de na ballaí. Ba mhinic freisin mainistreacha in úsáid mar ospidéil agus bhí ciall ansin lena cur taobh amuigh de na ballaí. Tá fuinneoga caola ar an déanamh Gotach i bhfoirgneamh na Mainistreach go fóill, faoi mar a bhí ó aimsir na Normannach anuas. Meastar gur thart ar an mbliain 1437 a tógadh an túr agus píosaí eile a cuireadh leis an Mainistir.

The Abbey

Beside The Walks to the North of the town is St. Mary’s Abbey; a historical religious site dating back to the year around 1300. It is believed that Richard de Burgo; the Red Earl invited the Carmelite Monks to the town to found a monastery. This often happened with Norman settlements, but although the original monks themselves were probably Normans too. The monastery was built outside the town walls; perhaps the monks wanted to show, they were there to serve the native Irish as well as the Normans. Also, the Monastery needed lots of space, which it couldn’t have inside the town walls; as well as that Monasteries were often used as hospitals so having it outside the walls made sense. There are narrow Gothic style windows still in the original Monastery building which survived from Norman times. It is believed that the tower and other additions to the Monastery were built around 1437.

Garraí Bhríde

Ar an mbóthar soir as Baile Locha Riach, tá áit ar a dtugtar Garraí Bhríde. Tá seanreilig, seanbhallaí séipéil agus tobar beannaithe san áit. D’fhéadfadh gur láthair eaglasta de chuid na nGael a bhíodh ansin sular tháinig na Normannaigh riamh agus bhí an séipéal in úsáid anuas go dtí ré na meánaoiseanna. D’fhéadfadh gur roghnaigh Richard de Burgo an caisleán a dhéanamh in aice le Garraí Bhríde mar gheall go raibh trácht na ndaoine ar an áit cheana féin. Bhíodh seantaise thábhachtach ar coimeád anseo, bróg Naomh Bríd, atá anois in Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann i mBaile Átha Cliath. Bheadh leas á bhaint as an taise sin ag daoine agus iad ag tabhairt mionnaí, faoi mar a dhéanann daoine sa chúirt sa lá atá inniu ann. Chreid na daoine go raibh leigheas sa tobar agus thagaidís go Garraí Bhríde ar oilithreacht.

Garrybreeda

On the road east from Loughrea is an area called Garrybreeda meaning Bridget’s garden or field. There is an old graveyard, a ruined church and a hold well there. This would have already being a Gaelic religious site from before the time of the Normans and the church was used throughout the medieval period. It maybe that Richard de Burgo chose to build his castle near Garrybreeda because it was already an important site. An important relic St. Bridget’s shoe was kept here; which is now in The National Museum in Dublin. People would have used this relic when making solemn oaths, like they do nowadays when speaking in court. People also believed that the well had healing powers and would come to Garrybreeda on pilgrimages.

Páirceanna San Labhrás

Siar ón mbaile mór, tá láthair eile ó ré na meánaoiseanna in áit ar a dtugtar Cill na bPáistí. An páiste a fuair bás sular baistíodh é, is ansin a chuirtí é i rith ré na meánaoiseanna agus ó shin i leith. Mheastaí ag an am nach bhféadfaí leanbh nár baistíodh a chur i reilig choisricthe. Bhí daoine eile a mbeadh doicheall rompu freisin i mbaile mór Bhaile Locha Riach aimsir na meánaoiseanna. Galar coitianta go maith a bhí sa lobhra an tráth sin agus tá staraithe den tuairim go mbíodh áit do na lobhair in aice le Baile Locha Riach. Taobh amuigh de bhallaí an bhaile a bheadh a leithéid ionas nach scaipfeadh an galar ar fud an bhaile mhóir. Ba é Naomh Labhrás pátrún na lobhar agus meastar go bhféadfadh go mbíodh ospidéal san áit ar a dtugtar Páirc San Labhrás in aice le Cill na bPáistí.

St. Laurence’s Fields

To the west of the town, there is another medieval site. In the area known as Kilnabasty, children who died before being baptised would have been buried here during the Middle Ages and afterwards. At that time it was believed that unbaptised children could not be buried in Christian cemeteries. Other people would have also been excluded from the medieval town of Loughrea. Leprosy was a common disease in the middle ages and historians believe that an area for lepers, somewhere near Loughrea. It would have to have been outside the town walls to avoid the disease being spread in the town. St Laurence was the patron saint of lepers and is believed that the hospital could have been in the area called St. Laurence’s Field nearby Kilnabasty.

This page was added on 22/08/2016.

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