Hundreds of years ago, on May 10, 1318, this gentle stream in the County Clare countryside may have been flowing red with the blood of soldiers of the Gaelic Irish chieftain Connor O’Dea and the Anglo-Norman Richard de Clare, a descendent of Strongbow.
Up to 500 men died in the battle, which became known as the Battle of Dysert O’Dea. De Clare’s forces were defeated by some rather brilliant Irish military strategy.
The site of the battle was near Dysert O’Dea castle, between the County Clare towns of Ennis and Corofin.
The battle over control of the Kingdom of Thomond essentially erupted between factions of the O’Brien clan. One of those factions had been aligned with the Normans, who invaded Ireland in 1169.
From his castle at Bunratty, de Clare at the time had ruled over most of western Ireland, but the Kingdom of Thomond was treated as a sovereign state encompassing most of north Munster including County Clare, County Limerick, north County Kerry and north County Tipperary.
The dispute between the O’Briens gave de Clare an opening to attempt to conquer Thomond, but his defeat only served to strengthen the Irish fight against foreign rule.
The Kingdom of Thomond remained secure for another 250 years!