Ó Croidheáin
Family History
(Cryan / Crean / Crehan)

This page is maintained by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (Kevin Cryan) who can be contacted through his art website at http://gaelart.net/  Latest update: 22 / 1 / 2023



BLAZON: Argent a wolf rampant sable between three human hearts gules.
CREST: A demi-wolf rampant sable holding between the paws a human heart or.

Crean family motto:

'Cor mundum crea in me Deus'
Psalm 51:10
'God, create a pure heart in me,
and make my spirit strong again.'

Origins of the name Ó Croidheáin

We can see from the earliest transliterations of Ó Croidheáin (O'Craidhen[1], O'Craian[2], Crean[3]) and their connections with tombs depicting a coat of arms with three hearts that Croidhe (or 'croí' in new spelling) referred to the Gaelic for heart.
The second part of Croidheáin, 'áin' most likely refers to 'án' which means 'noble', 'pure', 'pleasant', 'elegant' as in 'an t-aos án': the fairies (literally the pure/noble people/folk) (see Dineen's Irish-English Dictionary).
This is backed up by the Crean family motto: 'Cor mundum crea in me Deus' (Psalm 51:10) which means: 'God, create a pure heart in me'.
The modern spelling of Croidheáin, 'croíán' is still used today in Gaelic for a 'gallant' or a 'suitor' (pure heart)(see Ó Dónaill's Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla).

[1] Spelt O'Craidhen in The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Four Masters (Annála na gCeithre Máistrí, 1632 - 1636)
[2] A tomb in the Dominican friary in Sligo reads: "Here lies Cormac O Craian and Aecca nic Aengusa his wife" showing the Crean coat of arms (1506).
[3] Spelt Crean on the Crean - Mc Dermot Crucifixion Plaque (1668), Ardcarne Cemetery, Co Roscommon showing the Crean coat of arms.

Cryan Family History

Facebook site

Michael Crow manages the Cryan surname Project on FTDNA and created a page for research on Facebook


 Feel free to join!

Resources for researchers

The following list contains files, pictures and information that has been gathered from many different sources, including Internet websites and lists, the National Library, the National Archives, the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Registry of Deeds, Military Archives, Roscommon and Kerry County Libraries etc.

Gravestones and Memorials
Crean / Cryan Stone Memorials from 1500s-1900s

Précis of Memorials of Deeds relating to Crean and Cryan
of Counties Sligo and Roscommon
Registry of Deeds Henrietta Street, Dublin

Entries for Cryan and variants 1793 - 1833 of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages
Roman Catholic Registers for Boyle and Kilbryan (1792) Co Roscommon

Images from The
Roscommon Herald
Cryan et al pictures/drawings 1
Cryan et al pictures/drawings 2

Mormon list
Mormon: Cryans and variants Part 1
Mormon: Cryans and variants Part 2

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
CRYAN DEATHS 1864-1983

The Irish Times
Irish Times Cryan clippings Page 1
Irish Times Cryan clippings Page 2

Roscommon Herald Articles
Cryan and variant references from microfilmed Roscommon Heralds in the National Library in Dublin:
Roscommon Herald Cryan references

Collected articles containing Cryan (and variants) references:
Roscommon Herald Articles 1 - 85
Roscommon Herald Articles 86 - 132

Genealogy Research Centres for Counties Sligo, Roscommon and Leitrim.


National Library family history research

General Register Office

1901 and 1911 Census

Irish Newspaper Archive

Irish genealogy site

Trinity College Dublin Genealogical Research

Catholic Church records

Irish genealogy site

UK genealogy site

The Rootsweb CRYAN-LIST (1998-2007)
The CRYAN-LIST on Rootsweb was set up in early 1998 and has been a great source of information for Cryan researchers. The CRYAN-LIST contained much information on many variants of the O Croidheain surname: Croidheain, Craigen/Creighan, Crawn/Craun, Crane, Crean, Craen, Creen-e, Cre(a)g(h)an, Cre(a)han, Cro(u)ghan, Crain-e, MacCroghan/McCrohan, Crowen, Cryan-s, Crion, Creyon, Krine, Crine, Cryne, Crehen, Craheen

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12
Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16 Part 17 Part 18
Part 19 Part 20 Part 21 Part 22 Part 23 Part 24
Part 25 Part 26 Part 27 Part 28 Part 29 Part 30
Part 31 Part 32 Part 33 Part 34 Part 35 Part 36
Part 37 Part 38 Part 39 Part 40 Part 41 Part 42
Part 43 Part 44 Part 45 Part 46 Part 47 Part 48
Part 49 Part 50 Part 51 Part 52 Part 53 Part 54
Part 55 Part 56 Part 57 Part 58 Part 59 Part 60
Part 61 Part 62 Part 63 Part 64 Part 65 Part 66
Part 67 Part 68 Part 69 Part 70 Part 71  

Early History

According to E. MacLysaght (Irish Families) (O)Cryan,Crynes are Co. Roscommon versions of Crean - "O Crean,Crehan - According to MacFirbis, O Crean and O Cregan are synonymous, Crehan being a variant of Crean. In Irish Crean and Crehan are O Croidheain (spelt O Craidhen by the Four Masters) ... These families formed a minor sept of the Cineal Eoghan belonging to Donegal, with a branch in the neighbouring county of Sligo. They are twice mentioned by the four Masters as wealthy merchants, ... in 1506 as of Donegal; in 1572 as of Sligo. The Clongowes manuscript gives them a higher status : the then head of the family was John O Crean of Ballynegare, and inanother place in the manuscript O Crean of Annagh is stated to have been one of the leading families of Co. Sligo in the sixteenth century. According to the "Annals of Loch Ce" the Bishop of Elphin in 1582 was an O Crean, but he was "removed" in 1584. Father Daniel O Crean (d. c. 1616) of Holy Cross, Sligo was Provincial of the Dominican order in a period of intensive persecution."

Books with references to the early Creans:

Olde Sligoe: Aspects of Town and County over 750 Years
John C. McTernan  (Has a foto of Crean tomb in Abbey)

MacDermot of Moylurg: The Story of a Connacht Family
Dermot MacDermot (Author), Conor MacDermot (Illustrator)

Power, Politics and Land: Early Modern Sligo, 1568-1688
Mary O'Dowd (Author) 

The Irish Dominicans, 1536-1641
Thomas Flynn (Author)

History of Sligo: County and Town, FROM THE ACCESSION OF JAMES I. TO THE REVOLUTION OF 1688; With Illustrations from Original Drawings and Plans,
Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)
W. G. Wood-Martin (Author) 

The History of Sligo: Town and County
Terence O'Rorke (Author)

The Irish & Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry (orig. 1884, reprint 1969)
John O'Hart

Irish Pedigrees - Vol. I Irish Pedigrees - Vol. II   or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation
John O'Hart (Author)  (Limited American Edition, New York, 1915)

The Streets of Sligo

Fiona Gallagher (Author)


MacDermot of Moylurg: The Story of a Connacht Family
Dermot MacDermot (Author), Conor MacDermot (Illustrator)

Other Families
O CREAN (O Croidheain)

The O Creans were a minor sept of the Cenel Eoghan in Donegal. A branch settled in Carbury in the north of County Sligo. From an early date they were merchant family and are frequently and favourably mentioned in the Annals. Traders were a base class in mediaeval Ireland and it is most unusual for the Annalists to mention merchants at all, so the O Creans must have been worthy as well as prosperous people. By the 17th century they had become considerable landowners.

1506 "Domhnall 0 Crean, a rich charitable prosperous humane merchant, died suddenly while hearing Mass in the Monastery of Donegal." (A.C.)

1506 A tomb in the Dominican friary in Sligo reads: "Here lies Cormac 0 Craian and Aecca nic Aengusa his wife."

1528 "John 0 Croidhin, the unique son of a merchant who was of most fame an name for keeping up a guest house in his own time for the poor of God and for every person of the needy folk beside and who bought more than he sold died in Sligo in his own house on March 14, after gaining victory from world and from demon. And his wife, namely Una, daughter of MacDermot Roe, died in the year next after, among her friends in Moylurg, after unction and after penance." (A.U.)

1572 "Henry 0 Crean, a wealthy affluent merchant of North Connacht, died." (A.F.M.)

1560-1594. Andrew 0 Crean is mentioned in Wood-Martin as a priest of the O.P. diocese of Elphin in 1560. He was made Bishop of Elphin by papal decree 28/1/1562. In 1582 he was appointed by Dublin as Anglican Bishop, in succession to Roland de Burgo, himself a Catholic but Anglican Bishop of Elphin at the same time as being Catholic Bishop of Clonfert. (See F.X. Martin's "Bernard 0 Higgin, Bishop of Elphin" in Studies in Irish History 1979.) According to Fr. Martin, Rome was very out of touch with this remote district! Andrew was replaced as Anglican Bishop in 1584 by John Lynch and died at the Friary in Sligo in 1594. (John Lynch is thus described in A.L.C. 1588:- "There was a wicked heretical bish-op in Elphin; and God performed great miracles upon him. His place of resk dente was in the Grainseach of Machaire-riabhach; and a shower of snow was shed for him, and a wild apple was not larger than each stone of it; and not a, grain was left in his town; and it was with shovels the snow was removed from the houses; and it was in the middle of summer that shower fell." According to Harris (Ware's Works), Lynch, who resigned the See in 1611, "lived a concealed and died a public Papist.")

1585 William 0 Crean, Sligo, is in the Composition of Connacht. John 0 Crean of Ballynegare, Carbury, is in a Perrott Inquisition.

1590. lohn, son of Owen 0 Crean, the least wicked merchant that was in Erinn,

died in Sligo." (A.L.C.) John married Annabla MacDermot, a daughter of Eoghan, king of Moylurg 1533-34. Before this marriage, Annabla had had children by Sir Brian na Murtha 0 Rourke, one of whom was Brian 0 Rourke, so that, in the Battle of the Curlews in 1599, the two leaders in the Irish army were her son, Brian Og 0 Rourke, and her nephew Conor Og MacDermot, a grandson of Eoghan. Later on, in more peaceful times, Annabla's 0 Crean son, Andrew, (see tree below) and Conor Og's son Owen were close colleagues in the affairs of County Sligo.

1590/91 A James 0 Crean was High Sheriff of Sligo and informed the Binghams of 0 Rourkes flight to Scotland with Trevor.

1598 John 0 Crean was a prominent County Sligo landowner with his seat at Ballynegare. (Another 0 Crean seat was Annagh, now Hazelwood).

1603 James I Pardons included many 0 Creans, namely:- Donald, Fra. Richard, Henry, Arthur mc William, Thomas, Richard mc Robert, Cormac, Henry mc Robuck, all merchants of Sligo, Andrew Fitzjohn of Galway, and Arthur Fitzedmund, priest.

1613 Andrew 0 Crean, gent., was granted: In Carbury By. the town and lands of Ballynegarne otherwise Ballynecarne and 12 quarters; in Tirerrill By. the 'chapel or cell' of Ballindoon.

1621 In the Grant of a Charter to Sligo, Andrew 0 Crean was nominated Constable, and Robert and William 0 Crean were on the Council; as was Owen mc Conor Og MacDermot.

1625 Alice Jones, wife of Roebuck 0 Crean, was buried in Sligo abbey.

1629 Andrew 0 Crean was High Sheriff of Sligo.

1631 Fr. Daniel 0 Crean was Provincial O.P. at the Dominican priory, Sligo, 1631- 1; 34. In the Confederate wars, he was captured at Ballymote in 1643 but was - allowed to go free by Sir Charles Coote. He died in 1655.

1641 Andrew 0 Crean, of Crean's Castle, was again High Sheriff. The original Castle of Sligo had been effectively demolished by 0 Donnell towards the end of the Elizabethan wars and the two 'castles' surviving in 1641/42 were the fortified homes of Andrew 0 Crean and of Lady Jones. In this year, when the 'massacre of the Protestants' took place, Andrew 0 Crean helped Mrs. Ann Stanoway to escape to Owen MacDermot's house at Drumdoe (see page 225). Andrew had sons, Captains John and William, in the 1641 Rising and a Roebuck 0 Crean also took Part; as did Father Daniel 0 Crean, above.

1658 Peter 0 Crean, merchant of Sligo, died. (Will.) His daughter had died before him. She was married to a Nicholas 0 Crean. They had a son, John.

At some time after the 1641-49 rebellion had been suppressed, Andrew Crean and 'Agnes née French (presumably his wife) were transplanted from Annagh, Co. Sligo, to Annagh, Co. Mayo (just north of Ballyhaunis) with 600 acres compensation. A Julian Crean was 'jointly with the above' with 634 acres. I cannot place him.

Andrew's son, Captain John, who had fought in the 1641 Rising, had a daughter Ann who married Francis Taaffe, great-grandson of Sir William Taaffe, the Elizabethan adventurer (see page 430). Their son Nicholas, said to have been born in Crean's Castle in 1677, succeeded a cousin as 6th Viscount Taaffe. He died abroad in 1769, having become a General in the Austrian Service and Count of the Holy Roman Empire. He founded the illustrious line of the Counts Taaffe of Austria.

John Crean, gent, and Anthony Crean, merchant, were made burgesses of Sligo, under James II, in 1687.

William Crean of Sligo, gent, married Nora daughter of Christopher Jones of Lisgeoghegan, County Roscommon. Jones died in 1689.

Major Crean (British Army), with Colonel Maurice Moore, revived the Volunteers of County Sligo in 1914. He died on May 27, 1923. (obituary in London Times.)

An Elinor, daughter of Roebuck O Crean (on dates probably Roebuck mc Owen married Cormack MacDermot of Ardcarn. He died 1702. Their memorial tablet is at Ardcarn. One of their daughters married Christopher Taaffe . A Roebuck O Crean, in France, corresponded with a Terence MacDermot 'of Galway' in 1689; the relevant papers were lost in the Four Courts fire in 1922.

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

Ardcarne Cemetery, Co Roscommon
Crean - Mc Dermot Crucifixion Plaque (1668)

There was a monument to Andrew O Crean and his wife Eleanor French in the Sligo Abbey (Dominican Priory) showing the French family coat of arms. [It is now built into the altar of Tober-an-ailt, a holy well 21/2 miles south-southeast of Sligo.(Not true, still in O Crean altar tomb in Sligo Abbey)] Andrew Fitzjohn of Galway, mentioned above in the Pardons of 1603, must have been trading at that time in Galway where the Frenches were merchants. In the transplantations, Andrew's wife is called Agnes née French. Either this is a mistake or Andrew may have married twice into the French family.

Some of the MacDermot links with this family are as follows. Annabla, Andrew's mother, was a daughter of Owen MacDermot, K.M. 1533-34. Owen mc Conor Og of the Drumdoe MacDermots (q.v.) was made a ward of Court in 1607, being then a minor. His first guardian was Sir William Taaffe but when he obtained livery in 1617, the guardianship had been transferred to Andrew Crean. Owen and Andrew were closely associated in County Sligo affairs until the 1641-49 troubles. The Cormack MacDermot, d. 1702, whose monument is at Ardcarn, may have been a son of this Owen. His wife, Eleanor, was a daughter of Roebuck O Crean, who may have been the son of Roebuck son of Owen in the above tree, or the Roebuck who took part in the 1641 Rising - they were probably the same Roebuck.

The O Creans, the O seems to have been dropped after the 1641-49 Rising, continued into modern history in the family of Crean-Lynch, as shown in the tree below, taken from the McDonagh MSS in Sligo County Library, amplified by B.L.G. (Ireland) 1871 edition.

According to MacLysaght, the surname Cryan, common in County Roscommon, derives from Crean. Creans were still numerous in Tireragh in 1857. The firm of James Crean & Co. of Dublin, originally soap manufacturers, was founded by Creans from County Mayo.

Crean Coats of Arms
Sligo Abbey

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

Crean Coat of Arms

From base of stone on right:


From base of stone in middle
(Crean motto)


Head Stone Of Dominic and Mary Crean Of Sligo (1743)
Sligo Abbey

"Here Lies The Body of Mrs Mary
Crean Alias Loftus Wife Of
Dominic Crean Of Sligo
Who Departed This Life The c - Day Of
Nov 1743 Aged ----- years. Also
The Body of Mr Dominic Crean
Who Departed This Life The 4th
Day Of Oct 1743 Aged 57 years.
This Stone Was Erected By
His Elder Son Captain John
Crean of Jamaica."

This Stone is located on the ground
against the Abbey wall immediately on the right
after passing through the far right
Arch of the Rood Screen. It is beneath the
remains of Roebuck O'Crean's stone.
(Sean Crean)


Mary Crean Lynch (1759)
Sligo Abbey

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

Crean Coat of Arms
(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

"Mrs Mary Crean alias Lynch of Stran-
dhill departed this life 2nd July 1759
aged 84 years. Mrs Monica Geoghegan
alias Crean of Strandhill departed this
life 17th October 1759 aged 48. This
monument was erected by Mr Murragh
Geoghegan for his mother in law
who here lies."


The Irish & Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry (orig. 1884, reprint 1969)
by John O'Hart

p. 456: "Symon CRANE" listed in the Grants, Under the Acts of Settlement &
Explanation [1661-65].
p. 35:  The BENNETT Family:  "134.  Eleanor, daughter of Nathaniel WARREN; m.
Robert CREAN of Dublin (of the CREAN-LYNCH Family) .... This Eleanor in 1838
removed to the City of NY with her children.
"135.  Henrietta-Agnes CREAN (d. in Saxony 31 mar, 1873); daughter of Eleanor.
Married in NYC 6-June-1840, James Gordon BENNETT, who was born at New Mill,
Keith, Banfshire, in Scotland; was the founder of the "NY Herald" Newspaper;
and died in 1872, leaving issue one son and one daughter ..."
footnote:  "This Henrietta-Agnes CREAN had a brother Robert CREAN of NYC, who
d. s.p.; and two sisters - 1. Helena-Margarette CREAN, 2. Georgina CREAN.
This  Helena-Margarette CREAN married, first, Lindsay Downes RICHARDSON of
Dublin (son of Marmaduke Jenni RICHARDSON of Armagh) and had: 1. Linsay Robert
RICHARDSON of NYC, Capt. 7th NY N.G. (d.s.p. 1873); Marmaduke Jenni Schomberg
RICHARDSON, NYC, living in 1881; 3. Eleanor RICHARDSON-BISHOP, D.S.p. in 1880
- all three born in Dublin.  And Georgina CREAN, mentioned above, m.
Vichenburg of NY, living in Holland in 1881." [from Leslie]

The History of Sligo: Town and County
by Terence O'Rorke


It is to be regretted that there is no list extant of the Priors of Holy Cross, some of whom must have been men worth remembering. In the absence of any record, the writer thinks it may be of use to give here, in chronological order, the names of such Priors as he has come across, with a word or two of biography where he can, leaving to others to add new names, and to enlarge the biographical notices. The following are the names he has met with:-

1. Manus, son of Baethghalach MacEgan, Prior of Sligo, died, according to the Annals of Loch Ce, in 1411. The name of this prior does not occur either in the Four Masters or the Hibernia Dominicana.
2. Brian, the son of Dermot McDonogh, as we have seen, was Prior in 1416, when the convent was restored after the burning; His name is given in the Four Masters, the Annals of Loch Ce, and Hibernia Dominicana.
3. The next prior, we know of is Andrew Crean, or O'Crean, who from Prior of Sligo, became Bishop of Elphin. He was a native of Sligo, and a member of the most distinguished family then in the place after that of the O'Connors. They appear to have settled in Sligo towards the close of the fifteenth century; and the first of this branch of whom we have any record, is Cormac, who is buried in the beautiful altar tomb which stands in the nave of the church, and which bears a Latin inscription, thus rendered by Mr. Langrishe, the distinguished architect and antiquary, in the "Kilkenny Journal" of October, 1884:

"Hic . jacet . Cormacus. Ocraian Et Ehon ac . Nanangasa . uxor. Eis . an . Do., MCCCCC VI."
Here lieth Cormac O'Craian, and Nanangasa, his wife, The year of the Lord, 1506.

Originally of Tirconnell, where Donnell O'Crean, "a rich, humane merchant, died suddenly while hearing mass in the monastery of Donegal, in 1506", the O'Creans came, probably in the wake of O'Donnell, to Sligo, where they devoted them-selves successfully to mercantile pursuits, as the Annals of the Four Masters record, under the year 1572, the death of Henry O'Crean, "a rich and affluent merchant of Lower Connaught."

It is feared that other members of the family were not always so honourably employed as these merchants, for we find "Bishop Crean, of Sleegaugh," granted in 1547, a fee of 12d, a day for life, by Henry the Eight, which, considering the date of the gift and the character of the giver, is, to say the least, a suspicious transaction; while in 1593, another of the family, James O'Crean, appears to have acted as spy for the English authorities against some Irish bishops, including the Primate, Doctor Magauran. If these men were as guilty as they look, the infamy belongs to themselves, and indeed, produced men as honourable and virtuous as any of their day. 

The O'Creans were not long in Sligo when they began to invest money in land; and before many years had passed, they held landed estate not only near the town, but in carious other parts of the country. Andrew O'Crean of Annagh, or Hazelwood and much of the parishes of Carbury and St. John, in the barony of Carbury, but also considerable stretches of land in Leyney, Tireragh, and Coolavin, as well as the abbey of Ballirdoon, in the barony of Tirerrill. He appears to have died in 1641.

Bishop O'Crean, who has probably uncle of this Andrew, was Prior of Sligo convent in 1561, when Bernard O'Higgins, Bishop of Elphin, having resigned that see in his favour, he set out for Rome, bearing with him the resignation, and a letter of recommendation from the Very Rev. David Wolf, S.J., who, like Monsignor Persico at present, was then acting as Apostolic Delegate of the Holy See in Ireland, and whose word was decisive in everything that regarded the administration of the Irish church.

This proceeding of the Prior, in going to Rome on such an errand, is in marked contrast with the conduct of a few others whom we read or hear of - of some, who, under the influence of genuine Christian humility, shrink, in reality as well as in seeming, from the responsibility of the episcopate;and of others, who, perhaps, from "the pride that apes humility," in dallying with offers of preferment, are only indulging personal vanity, or some equally unamiable constitutional idiosyncrasy; but Dr. O'Crean, when the call of duty came to him later on, proved his humility and becoming a simple friar again - a proof vastly more satisfactory than any amount of "Nolo episcopari" professions.

On reaching France, in the journey to Rome, Father O'Crean fell sick, and became unable to proceed further; but the Pope, on receiving his testimonials, and seeing his qualifications, issued the Brief for his consecration, which, apparently, took place in France, though this is not expressly mentioned. The appointment is thus recorded in the Consistorial Acts:-"Die 28 Januarii, 1562: referente Cardinali 1.1orono, Sua Sanctitas providit ecclesiae, Elphinensi in Hibernia vacanti per resignationem Reverendi Domini O'Higgins (written O'Huyghiun,) ordinis Sancti Augustini Professoris de persona Domini Andreae O'Crean, Hiberni, ordinis Praedicatorum Professoris, quem R.P.David, presbyter Societatis Jesu in Hibernia commorans per suas litteras commendavit."

Unlike his predecessor, Dr. O'Higgins, whose self-will and untractableness of temper lost him the esteem of the people, Dr. O'Crean was a favourite with all classes in his diocese, but more particularly with the native inhabitants of Sligo, who were proud of him as one of themselves. The feeling was mutual, for the good bishop had a special live for his fellow townsmen; and among the benefits, conferred by him on his native town, may be mentioned, in particular, a cross, which he erected at the bottom of the present Market Street.

In thinking of market crosses, which were formerly very numerous in England, there being about 5,000 of them there before the Reformation, and not rare in Ireland, one must not conceive of them, as if they were mere naked pieces of stone or wood in the form of a cross; for they were often arched and elaborate stone structures, roomy enough to afford shelter to the market people upon the coming on of rain, so that, in erecting this Market Cross, Dr. O'Crean made a handsome and expensive present to the people of Sligo. And, the people must have been the more grateful, as it was the bishop's own money that paid for it.

A drinking fountain may have been combined with the market cross, for the combination was not unusual; and the discovery of a well, some time ago, at the foot of Market Street, on the spot where the cross stood, makes it probable, that the fountain was a part of the structure.

From 1562, the date of his appointment, to 1584, Dr. O'Crean seems to have been unmolested by the State in the performance of his episcopal functions, and even to have had the formal sanction of the authorities for the last two years of this period; but being summoned, in the year 1584, to take the oath of supremacy, and refusing, says Dr. Lynch, " to defile himself by such a sacrilegious act," the Government set him aside as far as they could, and put in his place John Lynch, to whom, of course, they gave the temporalities of the see. Lynch was an unprincipled hypocrite, and in such bad odour with the people, that they ascribed to his presence even the natural evils which befel the place of his residence, Grange in Magherow."

There was," says the Annals of Loch Ce, " a wicked, heretical bishop in Elphin, and God performed great miracles upon him. And his place of residence was the Grain sech of Magherow ; and a shower of snow was shed for him, and a wild apple was not larger than each stone of it; and not a grain was left in his town; and it was with shovels the snow was removed from the houses; and it was in the middle month of Summer that shower fell." Even the Protestants came, in the course of time, to think as ill of him as the Catholics, and, as he was reconciled to the Church before his death, in 1611, Ware says of him, "He voluntarily resigned his See, on the 19th of August, 1611, having by alienations, fee farms, and other means, so wasted and destroyed it, that be left it not worth 200 marks a year. It is said, he lived a concealed, and died a public Papist."

"While this wretched man lived amid the execrations of his neighbours, Bishop O'Crean was surrounded by the love and respect of all, in the convent of Holy Cross, to which he retired, in 1584, and in which he lived, a model of every virtue, to 1594, when he went to his reward. He was buried, of course, in the convent, though this is not stated; and the small stone statue of a bishop, or abbot, with crozier in hand, which, after having been removed from, its proper place, now stands on the slab of the high altar, may have been intended to perpetuate his memory.

The proper place of this statue was, no doubt, in the buttress of the east cloister, which at present lacks a part or member, for the statue exactly fills the space of the missing member. It is, perhaps, still more likely that the statue was intended to represent Saint Dominick, the founder of the Order of Friars Preachers, for a statue of Saint Francis, the patriarch of the Franciscans, occupies an analogous position in one of the cloister buttresses of Creevalea Abbey.

The writer is pained to have to add, that having just been to Holy Cross to test certain measurements, made some time ago, he found the buttress of the east cloister gone, though existing in fair preservation at the date of a preceding visit, a fact which shows the alarming rate at which the beauties of the structure are disappearing, and the need of taking prompt and vigorous action to stop or check the vandalism in progress.

It is recorded that Doctor O'Crean had a special devotion to St. Ursula, and her virgin companions.

Crean's Castle

"John O'Crean occupied the old family 'castle' in Castle Street
 in the 1680s where he had a tan yard, as he traded in hides." [Now demolished]

The drawing is from Wood Martin's book, A History of Sligo Vol II,  He gives no source or date for it, so the origin of the drawing remains unknown.

"1630, Francis Taafe, was born at Crean’s Castle, Sligo, his son Nicolas Taafe, was also born at Crean’s Castle in 1677. (Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55). (also Memoirs of the Family of Taaffe)."

Map showing Crean's castle


"The map showing Crean's castle was reconstructed by myself, from a variety of sources. The castle was clearly situated on the southern side of Castle Street, opposite the contemporary Jones' or Gethin's castle. No archaeological trace of it has every been found, despite some modest recent excavations to the rear of Foleys pub. The southern side of Castle Street was most likely extensively rebuilt from about 1820 onwards, obliterating any traces of earlier buildings."

"Notes I made in preparation for Section 12 of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas, Sligo, (F. Gallagher and ML Legge), 2011. This will give you a clear idea of the chronology of Crean's Castle from contemporary sources." (Fiona Gallagher) See below:

Crean’s Castle, Castle St, S.. Fortified town house,

1600 - erected by the Crean merchant family sometime before 1600.
1630, Francis Taafe, born at Crean’s Castle, Sligo, his son Nicolas Taafe, was also born at Crean’s Castle in 1677. (Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55). (also Memoirs of the Family of Taaffe).
1641, held out under siege during rebellion. (Wood Marin, ii, 39).
1645, mentioned in letter from Cpt Gerald Dillon to Sir Ulick Burke, stating that it had held out against the Parliamentarians. (Wood Martin, ii, 76).
1682, John Crean, Castle, (Strafford rental). Also Peter Darsey, ‘house and castle,’in Castle St.
1687, ‘a castle in possession of Peter D’arcy’. (Strafford Rental).Also castle or house now in possession of John Greene. (Strafford Rental).[May have been third fortified house].
1708. ‘Peter Darcy’s Castle house, now in possession of John Gamble. (RD. 1/331/309). 1739, ‘Ruins of Crane’s Castle’. (Henry).
1762, ‘The plot of ground whereon the old castle, commonly called Crean’s castle stood...”. (RD 262/61/166492).
1772, castle, Castle St, occupied by William Blest. (Cess Books)[This may be Jones’ Castle, contemporarily considered as being on Castle Street, rather than Teeling St].
1798. Crean’s Castle pulled down between 1798 and 1807. (Sligo Chronicle, 15-03-1863). Illustration of Castle, (Wood – Martin, ii.36)
(Fiona Gallagher 2013)

The Streets of Sligo by
Fiona Gallagher

Almost a decade in preparation this book is an opportunity to explore the process of urban growth and evolution since the foundation of Sligo by the Normans seven centuries ago. With over 47 chapters, one for each street in the hostoric core, the book is abundantly illustrated with maps, sketches and photographs. Also included are lists of 19th century traders, and an analysis of the population of the borough since 1600.




Olde Sligoe: Aspects of Town and County over 750 Years
by John C. McTernan


(Has a foto of Crean tomb in Abbey)
From 'Sligo and its surroundings - 1739' Page 131

In the midst of the Town stands the old Market Cross, supported by four small pillars of black marble polished and fluted. It is a square to which there is an ascent of four steps on each side. On the top is an inscription which by the style and wit seems monkish. It alludes to a marriage between Hart and Crean.
Under the Arms are these lines:-

Desine mirari Lector quod bis Tria non sunt,
Sex: Unum faciunt, necduo Sculpta noles.
Nempe ex Conjugibus caro facta est una duous.
De sex corda Duo, Deque Duobus Unum.
Hinc Duo sunt Unum, sex Unum, et quod magis Unum.
Munitumque, Lupus quam quod et Hasta Fovent.

[Translated, it reads:

"Cease to marvel, Reader, that twice three are not
six : they make one. Nor seek for two inscriptions.
Truly one flesh is made from two spouses.
Two hearts [are made] from six and one from two.
Hence two are one,  six [are] one, and what is more
one and more protected than the one that the wolf and the spear watch over [?]."]

N.B. The Arms of Hart, who created this Cross, are three hearts, the Crest a spear. Those of Crean three
hearts, the Crest a wolf. There is no date.


'the O'Creans, opulent, cultured and enjoying a social status comparable with the merchant princes of Galway.'
[(1) Domnall O Craidhen (Donnell O'Crean) a pious and conscientious merchant, died, while hearing mass in Donegal. (2) Cormacas O Craian, who is buried in the beautiful altar tomb which stands in the nave of Sligo Abbey, which bears a Latin inscription, "Hic . jacet . Cormacus. Ocraian . Et Ehon ac . Nanangasa . uxor. Eis . an . Do., MCCCCC VI." (Here lieth Cormac O'Craian, . . . . . . and Nanangasa, his wife, The year of the Lord, 1506.)]
Andrew O'Crean 'left the family business to become a priest and later Bishop of Elphin'
in the year 1603 there were twelve O'Creans with warehouses and shops re-opened
one of the twelve Andrew Fitz John O'Crean married Ellen French daughter of a Galway merchant prince
All mostly descended from Domnall O Craidhen (Donnell/Donald O'Crean) a pious and conscientious merchant, died, [in Donegal Abbey] while hearing mass in Donegal.
Andrew Fitz John O'Crean of Sligo was the grandfather of Nicholas Taaffe, Baron of Ballymote, Viscount Corran and Earl of Austria, who was born in the O'Crean Castle in Sligo in the year 1677.
Andrew O'Crean High Sheriff of the County of Sligo convened a meeting at Ballysadare of the principal gentry


Maurice Fitzgerald, the most powerful Geraldine of his day, played a major role in the Norman conquest of Connacht. In return, he received the Barony of Carbury and other territories in what is now the County of Sligo. In 1236 he pursued Phelim O'Con-nor, the titular King of Connacht, from his stonghold in Roscom-mon across the Curlews, and did not give up the hunt until he reached the ford over the Sligeach or Sligo river. To assist him in gaining a foothold here, he engaged the services of Archdeacon Clarius Mac Mailin by offering him, in the King's name, the site of a 'spital house', or hospital, at Sligo. The Archdeacon, one of the great humanitarians of the Middle Ages, fell for the bait and pro-ceeded to assemble on the proposed site requisite stone, sand and lime. Just as building was about to begin, Fitzgerald withdrew his offer and ordered the Irish King of Connacht to use the materials in the building of a castle. When O'Connor refused to comply, Fitzgerald himself descended on Sligo and erected what was proba-bly a typical Norman castle of the thirteenth century, complete with keep and bawn; so that Wood-Martin is perfectly right in his assertion that Sligo was fortified in the 13th century, for your bawn of that period was capable of housing both retainers and livestock. Unfortunately for the peaceful development of Sligo as an Anglo-Norman burgh, the Fitzgeralds became embroiled in a vendetta with their counterparts in South Connacht which resulted in the withdrawal of the Fitzgeralds, followed by the untoward decline of the Anglo-Norman De Burgo influence. This influence ceased with the extinction of the De Burgo earldom and the swift Gaelicisation of their kinsmen and relatives, the Burkes of Mayo and Galway. Had the Fitzgeralds or the De Burgos succeeded in implementing to the full their aims in regard to Sligo, its history, instead of being a lamentable series of burnings, razings and rebuilding, would have been something akin to that of Galway. We can also take it as certain that the inhabitants of Anglo-Norman Sligo were, for a large part of the 13th century, subjected to feudal laws and

customs —first under the Fitzgeralds, and, afterwards, under the 'Red Earl' de Burgh, in the opening decades of the 14th century, when Sligo castle was rebuilt by him in a style some-what similar to Bally-mote castle. You can take it from the parallel case of Galway that its magistrates, provosts, bailiffs or seneschal were appointed first by Fitzgerald and after-wards by De Burgh. Galway only adopted its present coat of arms when its walls were built in 1396 and it received its first Royal Charter of Incorporation. Prior to that year its provost and seneschal used the personal seal of De Burgo as the common seal of Galway. As in the case of Galway so also with the infant burgh of Sligo. The office of seneschal was one of the very few feu-dal customs borrowed by the Irish chieftains from the Anglo-Nor-mans. For them his functions varied from public hangman and rent collector to constable of his castle and man of business in sea-port towns. The only legacy of enduring importance which these Anglo-Normans left in 'Old Sligo' was the Convent of the Holy Cross which Fitzgerald built for the Dominicans in 1252. It was unmolested by the Irish War Lords, whereas the Castle of Sligo

rarely failed to be the object of their fury in the form of demolition or burnings. Like the Anglo-Normans, a succession and repetition of O'Donnells, O'Connors and Burkes realised that Sligo was the key to North Connacht and the doorway into West Ulster. Their policy in regard to Sligo was if we cannot hold it we will make it untenable for our rivals, hereditary foes or kinsmen with ambitions alike. Yet here and there the annalists, as if tired of recording with monotonous regularity the War Lords' slayings, burnings and raz-ings, vary their fare with victories over the world, the Flesh and the Devil and even condescend to give us, here and there, a fleeting glimpse of the patient, thrifty, resilient middle classes rebuilding Sligo town and repairing it, and even restoring the bridges leading into, it, in the comparatively peaceful years of the late fourteenth century, when the resuscitated branch of the O'Connors, domiciled in Carbury, were powerful enough and united enough to protect the Town from outposts as far away as Tuam in the south, and the Bundrowes river in the north. The annalists tell us that in those years Sligo's buildings of stone and wood were splendid. They give us a glimpse even of their contemporary amusements, as for exam-ple in this sarcastic passage penned by a scribe in the rival O'Conor Doh household: —

'Donnchad son of Muirchertach Baceach son of Domnall O'Connor died from a fall on the flagstone in front of Sligo Castle at the Cavalry sports on St. Mary's Day in the beginning of autumn in the year 1419. That was the day on which the Sligo Indulgence was proclaimed and Donnchad stood in need of his share of that Indulgence for he only lived a week after breaking his leg that day.''

The 'Indulgence' mentioned in the foregoing quotation refers to the rebuilding of Holy Cross Convent, otherwise The Abbey, by Prior Brian MacDonagh, and is taken from the recently edited 'Annals of Connacht'. The comparative peace which Sligo enjoyed during much of the 15th century was interrupted by that tragic weakness, inherent in the Brehon Code system of tanistry, under which various branches of the Carbury O'Connors strove to become masters of the castle

and the Town. Added to this fratricidal strife was an intensive drive by the O'Donnells to re-establish and sustain their claims to Sligo and North Connacht; and coupled with it were the efforts made by the Connacht chieftains, particularly the MacWilliam Burkes and the MacDermots, to keep the O'Donnells out of Sligo and out of Connacht. These struggles were gyrostatic in regard to Sligo and even at this distance we can see them progressing from being glorified faction fights in the 14th and 15th centuries into that form of total warfare. This left Ireland as a wilderness by the end of the 16th century. The introduction of gun powder in large quantities, and a steady influx of Scottish mercenaries also contributed to this state of affairs. Earlier references to the Gaelic plunderings and burnings of Sligo may be, more often than not, written off or discounted as forcible reflexion, that is a desire on the part of the aggressor to humiliate an opponent rather than the acquisition or destruction of his property. If this were not so in the case of Sligo Town, we could hardly expect to find in it merchants such as the O'Creans, opulent, cultured and enjoying a social status comparable with the merchant princes of Galway. The beautiful early 16th century Altar Tomb of Cormack O'Crean which ante dates the lordly O'Connor-Sligo monument in the Dominican Convent of Sligo by more than a century, was not erected by the family of an upstart Sligo merchant, for Cormack O'Crean was but one of numerous Sligo merchants of that name, the doyen of whom was Donald O'Crean who also died in the year 1506. Many of the Tirconaill surnames, now common in and around Sligo, such as Devanny, have their origin in the merchants and artizans who came with the O'Creans to Sligo about this time. These men of peace must have felt relieved when, in 1538, O'Donnell pulled one Teig O'Connor from off his pedestal and nominated a rival Teige O'Connor in his place. In return for this the O'Donnell nominee signed a solemn covenant in the Monastery of Donegal in which he undertook to hold the castle and town of Sligo as O'Donnell's Warden. Apart from its military articles, one of the civil conditions stipulated that, while O'Connor retained the castle of Sligo in his care, O'Donnell "shall have the small tower of Sligo to give it to

whosoever he pleases of his own people for the purpose of transact-ing all his private affairs in north Connacht". Wood-Martin was of the opinion the this tower was O'Crean's castle. But O'Donnell was not the type to requisition the home of one of his natural fol-lowers — and the O'Creans had still many ties with Tirconaill —while outsiders, such as the O'Connors, had alternative accommodation which they were bound to have in the Castle of Sligo or one of its outbuildings. These points have forced the conclusion upon me that O'Donnell, like every other Irish War Lord of his race, having a very delicate palate for precedent, custom and privilege, chose the "small tower of Sligo" for his seneschal because it was already the seat of civil administration in Sligo. While at this stage it would be unsafe to give a particular description of the legal code used by O'Donnell's seneschal in Sligo we would be safe in assuming that Donald O'Crean's merchant sons, grandsons and relatives had already canalised the direction of the Guild Mer-chant which they saw working so smoothly for the trade and commerce of their merchant friends in Galway. Even when one of the family, Andrew, left the family business to become a priest and later Bishop of Elphin he still retained an interest in the peaceful development of Sligo's trade by erecting Leacanaspick (the bishop's stone), a feudal structure surmounted by a cross and complete with stocks and lock-up for the punishment of defaulting debtors and petty criminals. If, therefore, 16th century Sligo had a special place of punish-ment, it follows that the Town also had a recognised venue in which convictions were made and that venue was the seneschal's "small tower of Sligo", which brings us to the tower emblazoned on the Sligo Coat of Arms, where the tower is a ruined tower. Heraldic symbols are not arbitrary nor abstract inventions. They are the totems and symbols intimately and exclusively associated with the bearer, and I suggest that the small tower of Sligo was of as great importance, with its accumulation of records, etc., as the Castle of Sligo. It too was destroyed by the O'Connors and the O'Donnells when for the last time in 1602 the Gael violated 'Old Sligo'. On that occasion they even dismantled the Convent of Holy Cross rather than leave it habitable for the advancing

English forces under Lambert. When some ten years later the King's Law Officers were preparing the first Royal Charter for Sligo, the Fitzgeralds sought to revive their ancestors' title and likewise the Earl of Clanrickard. These claims were not unknown to the Ulster Herald of the day, and as Heralds were by law compelled to make visitations throughout the country, he, as an antiquary on the spot in Sligo, was bound to incorporate in his coat of arms of the New Sligo the broken seneschal's tower as a grim reminder of the arrested development of the 'Old Sligo'. The Irish chieftains burned and destroyed Sligo on the 12th June, 1602, and the following day Sir Oliver Lambert rode at the head of a motley collection into it. Included in it were war worn Englishmen, land-hungry Welshmen and a collection of the Queen's Irishmen of the Pale like Sir William Taaffe with their claims already pegged in the County, as well as native renegades, all of them tearing asunder the shrivelled carcass of Celtic Ireland. Their commander was not the only man amongst them who had an eye for beauty, for a large number of his men afterwards settled in and around Sligo. He was, however, the only one of them who has

left us his impressions of Sligo transmitted as a dispatch to the Lord Deputy on the day of his arrival. "I found nothing but the ruins of the old castle and the abbey broken afresh ... the town had been burned the day before by Donnell O'Connor-Sligo . . . " . "Sligo","he continued, "is a dainty dwelling for a gentleman ... and of great importance for the state of all this province if it were walled, but I think it cannot be made strong. The hills on one side overlook every quarter." In this apt description of Sligo, found amongst the State Papers, we have the reason for Sligo's arrested development during medieval times. Lambert was not the first man to notice this defect, for the O'Crean's and the other Sligo mer-chants nearly forty years previously had welcomed the return of the English rule in Connacht and had secretly and openly peti-tioned the walling of their town. Even Elizabeth, Queen of Eng-land, having heard of their plight, ordered the implementation of this need. But every move made in this direction was balked by the astute O'Connor-Sligo, who saw in its fulfilment the eclipse of his family as the Lords of Sligo. It speaks well for the recuperative powers of Sligo town when we find that one year after its destruction, in the year 1603, there were twelve O'Creans, with warehouses and shops re-opened. One of the twelve, Andrew Fitz John O'Grean, married Ellen French, daughter of a Galway merchant prince, and through this alliance was enabled to open a branch warehouse in that city. All these O'Crean merchants were mostly descended from Don-ald O'Crean who died in Donegal Abbey in 1506. They had a direct interest in the business life of Sligo for upwards of three hundred years. Here and there they threw out a branch which grew up and down the social scale. Unlike their kinsmen, the Frenches, some of whom settled in Sligo about this time or opened branch warehouses there, they only entered the money lending business on somewhat similar lines to the modern merchant banks. Andrew O'Crean and the Frenches had as their best customers the O'Connor-Sligo family who owed Patrick French £28,000 about ihe year 1640. Andrew O'Crean held mortgages from most of the native and newly import-ed landed gentry. In some cases he had already foreclosed on these mortgages and one of these plums which came into his hands was

the Hazelwood estate which was later comfirmed in his possession by royal grant. We can readily understand the ease with which marriage alliances were made even into the peerage, for Andrew O'Cre-an of Sligo was the grandfather of Nicholas Taaffe, Baron of Bally-mote, Viscount Corran and Earl of Austria, who was born in the O'Crean Castle in Sligo in the year 1677. By comparison with the O'Creans, most of the twelve burgesses who formed the first Borough of Sligo were mere carpetbagmen. One of these was William Harrison, the villain of P.G. Smyth's 'Wild Rose of Lough Gill'. He was a secret service man of that day, his speciality being the discovery of properties liable to escheat-ment to the Crown, defective titles and churchlands long concealed or returned to laymen. The first Provost, or Mayor, Roger Jones, and the remaining burgesses such as Edward Crofton and Richard Robinson, were genuine Elizabethan adventurers, who, having won their spurs in battle, settled down to make a success of their peaceful ventures, and in the process of doing so contributed much to the development of early 17th century Sligo. In addition to being Provost of the Borough, Jones was the nominal Governor of Sligo. He was also appointed Keeper of the newly erected Gaol, became a merchant of note and, as such, was selected as the first Mayor of Sligo. When the dreadful Cromwelliam Wars were over in Ireland, Sligo had shrunk to a mere village of 488 inhabitants of which approximately three out of four were native Irish. This figure is given in 1659 and on comparing it with the Hearth Money Rolls of a few years later the figure is reasonably accurate. A survey of the houses in Sligo made about the same time is full of interesting topographical detail and gives sufficent material to show the rapid progress made towards rebuilding Sligo during the years prior to the Williamite Revolution. The modern streets in the business sec-tion of the Town date from this period.

[Extract from Lecture by JAMES C. MCDONAGH, delivered to the Sligo Field Club, and published in "Sligo Champion" May 2nd 1953]

Andrew O'Crean (d. 1594)
Contributed by Ó Floinn, Tomás S. R.

O'Crean, Andrew (d. 1594), catholic bishop of Elphin and prior of Sligo, bore the name of a family of Cinél Eoghain, who by the sixteenth century had settled in Sligo. Members of his family were prominent merchants at the port of Sligo, where the fish trade was the lucrative industry. The O'Creans were second only to the O'Connors Sligo, and with them had learned to survive and thrive between the two most powerful lordly dynasties contending for control of the area, the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell (north-west Ulster) and the MacWilliam Burkes of Lower Connacht. As prior of Sligo abbey, Andrew O'Crean may have been educated in Spain. He belonged to the most important of five Dominican houses (Sligo, Roscommon, Ballindoon, Cloonshanville and Tulsk) in the extended diocese of Elphin, stretching from Sligo to Athlone.

In 1551 Roland Burke, papally appointed bishop of Clonfert (1534), was nominated anglican bishop of Elphin by Edward VI for political reasons. He had obtained the temporalities of Elphin several years before, but the unpopular incumbent, the Augustinian bishop Bernard O'Higgin (qv) (1542–61), did not quit Ireland for exile in Portugal until about 1554. O'Crean largely owed his promotion to Elphin to the pragmatic judgement of the Jesuit David Wolfe (qv), who described him as greatly esteemed by the laity, not so much for his learning as for his amiability and holiness. He also had the vital local support of the Gaelic Irish lords and merchants, which his predecessor had lacked.

In late 1561 O'Crean set out for Rome with his fellow Dominican Eugene O'Hart (qv), to secure his appointment to Elphin. While passing through France he fell ill. He was made bishop of Elphin in the same consistory (28 January 1562) that nominated O'Hart to Achonry; he returned to Sligo without participating in the final sessions of the Council of Trent (1562–3), and, on arriving home, designated the Dominican church his cathedral. In 1566, together with O'Crean and Redmond O'Gallagher (qv), bishop of Killala, O'Hart convened a provincial synod for Connacht, in which the decrees of Trent, dogmatic and disciplinary, were promulgated as normative for catholic life, particularly determining the criteria for the validity of sacramental marriages and the banning of clandestine ones.

Before O'Crean's episcopacy began there was already a conflict of ecclesiastical jurisdictions, complicated by perennial territorial rivalries in Connacht. It has been suggested that O'Crean's active government did not extend outside the northern portion of Elphin, where he had the assured support of his kinsmen and probably that of the O'Connors, while Roland Burke (qv), who though he was the anglican nominee was a catholic by conviction, exercised more than nominal control over the rest of the diocese, strongly supported by the Upper MacWilliam Burkes. O'Crean lived mostly with the Dominicans of Sligo abbey, who, through the influence of Domhnall Mór O'Connor Sligo (qv), enjoyed comparative security and tranquility. O'Crean was left undisturbed by his episcopal counterpart or by sporadic attempts on the part of the government to introduce anglicanism. When Lord Deputy Sidney visited Sligo in October 1566, he remarked how he was met by O'Connor Sligo and the bishop (O'Crean) ‘offering service and fealty to your majesty and all courtesy to us’ (M. V. Ronan, The reformation in Ireland under Elizabeth 1558–1580 (1930), 191). Archdeacon John Lynch (qv) of Tuam was aware of two papal briefs (5 June 1575 and 13 August 1579) addressed to O'Crean but did not comment on their content. Bishop Burke's death in 1580 may have prompted O'Crean to assert full jurisdiction over the whole diocesan territory of Elphin, especially in the matter of the temporalities retained by Burke.

In 1582 O'Crean sought some form of recognition from, or accommodation with, the Dublin government. It would appear that he was seeking, and received, confirmation for control of the diocesan revenues, accepting them as the gift of the crown. There was no hint that O'Crean was temporising or that he complied externally with Elizabethan religious policy, as Roland Burke had done. It is on record that he consistently refused to take the oath of supremacy; so the appointment (1582) of Thomas Chester as Elizabeth's bishop of Elphin (1582–3) speaks for itself. O'Crean was responsible for the erection of a marble cross (leacht an easpaig) in Sligo town. He zealously promoted the implementation of the Tridentine reforms in Elphin and through quiet diplomacy reasserted the catholic episcopal administration of the diocese without compromise or vacillation. Bishop O'Crean died in 1594.

Rome, Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Registra supplicationum, 3401, f. 61v;
P. F. Moran, History of the catholic archbishops of Dublin (1864), 85; ALC, ii, 512, 455; AU, iii, 482, 572–4;
P. Woulfe, Sloinnte Gaedhael is Gall: Irish names and surnames (1923);
M. V. Ronan, The reformation in Ireland, 1536–1668 (1925);
Lynch, De praesulibus Hib., ii; F. X. Martin, ‘Confusion abounding: Bernard O'Higgin, OSA, bishop of Elphin, 1542–1561’, Studies in Irish History: presented to R. Dudley Edwards, ed. Art Cosgrove and Donal McCartney (1979);
Thomas S. Flynn, The Irish Dominicans, 1536–1641 (1993)


Bishop of Elphin

The Bishop of Elphin (el-FIN; Irish: Easpag Ail Finn) is an episcopal title which takes its name after the village of Elphin, County Roscommon, Ireland. In the Roman Catholic Church it remains a separate title, but in the Church of Ireland it has been united with other bishoprics.

1562 1594 Andrew O'Crean, O.P. Appointed on 28 January 1562. Died in office in 1594.


Bishop of Elphin throne?
Croghan Throne pictures


The Irish Dominicans, 1536-1641
by Thomas Flynn


That Andrew O'Crean owed his promotion to Elphin in 1562 to the pragmatic judgement of David Wolfe is clear from one of Wolfe's letters to Rome, dated 12 October 1561:

"Bernard O'Higgin, Bishop of Elphin, had resigned his see in favour of a Dominican, Andrew Crean, the prior of Sligo, a man of piety and sanctity, who is moreover held in great esteem by the laity, not so much for his learning as for his amiability and holiness. The said Bernard was a good and religious man in himself, but he was not acceptable to the people. Seeing that he was losing the temporalities of the see through this dislike which the people had for him, he chose Father Andrew, who is beloved by everyone, that thus all that was lost might be regained. Father Andrew now goes to Rome, with the permission of his provincial, to obtain that see,

[76 Cal. Pat. Rolls Ire., las. 1, pp vii, 5. 77 Lynch, De Praesulibus Hib., ii, 342. 78 ASV, Archiv. Arcis, XIV, 11, vol. 41, f. 68r: `Acculen. eps. ord praed strenuus catholicae ficlei propugnator.' The details of O'Hart's career set out above disprove the inaccurate assertion made by S. Ellis that the bishop 'managed to remain acceptable to both sides', namely pope and queen. See S. Ellis, Tudor Ireland, 1470-1603, London 1985, 197. 79 P. O'Sullivan Beare, Selections firm the Zoilomastix, ed. and trans. T. J. O'Donnell, Dublin 1960, 21. Similar tributes in A. Femandes, Concenatio Praedicatoria pro Ecclesia Catholica, Salamanca 1618, 282; A. De Altamura, Bibliothecae DOMilli-canae, Rome 1677, 434, 538; G. M. Cavalieri, Galleria de'Sommi Pontefici, Benevento 1696, 407.]

bearing with him the resignation of the said Bernard. Father Andrew asked me for testimonials, and though I personally know little about him, I can attest to the reputation for virtue which he enjoys through-out the country."

Andrew O'Crean's Augustinian predecessor, Bernard O'Higgin, quitted Ireland definitively for continental exile in about 1554. This had caused a serious void in the diocese of Elphin. Bishop Roland Burke, who had been papally appointed to Clonfert in May 1534, had sub-sequently surrendered his bull of appointment in order to receive the temporalities of the see from Henry viii. During O'Higgin's absence from his diocese Burke was nominated Anglican Bishop of Elphin on 23 November 1551. From this point it became imperative for Rome to install an effective Catholic bishop to counter Burke's influence, excep-tionally strong in the southern part of this important diocese. A recent study has shown that a vital factor in O'Crean's nomination was the local socio-political support which his predecessor had lacked.

O'Crean was evidently very acceptable 'to the people', most of all to the ruling Irish lords and the leading merchant families of Sligo. `O'Crean was a member of the well-known Gaelic merchant family at the port of Sligo, where the fish trade was the lucrative industry.'8' The O'Creans were second only to the O'Connors Sligo, and with them had learned to survive and thrive between the two powerful lay lords contending for control of the area, the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell or north-west Ulster and the Mac-William Burkes of Lower Connacht." As prior of Sligo abbey, Andrew O'Crean belonged to the most important of five Dominican houses in the extended diocese of Elphin, stretching from Sligo to Athlone.

In the late autumn of 1561 O'Crean set out for Rome with Eugene O'Hart to obtain the letters of his appointment to Elphin. While passing through France he fell ill, and being unable or unwilling to travel further he remained in France until the bull of his appointment reached him." Made bishop by papal provision (28 January 1562) in the same consistory

[80 Cited by Moran, Archbishops of Dublin, 417-19 (trans. 85-7) at 85. Fora summary of his episcopate see P. F. Moran, 'The See of Elphin in the Sixteenth Century' in IER, 1st ser., 2 (1866), 152-4. 81 Martin, 'Confusion Abounding', 70-76. 6 Croidhelin (O'Crean) was the name of a family of Cinel Eoghain who in the sixteenth century settled at Sligo, where they prospered as merchants, and afterwards acquired a considerable amount of landed property in the area. Woulfe, Sloinnte Gaedhael is Gall, 484; see also Anndla Uladh, Annals of Ulster, ed. W. M. Hennessy and 13. MacCarthy, iii, Dublin 1895, 482, 572-4; Annals of Loch Ce, ed. W. M. Hennessy, ii, Dublin 1939, 512; Cal Pat. Rolls Ire., Jas 1, 20, cited in NHL, iii, 15. 82 Martin, 'Confusion Abounding', 81-2. 83 Lynch, De Praesulibus Hib., ii, 291.]

that named O'Hart to Achonry, O'Crean returned to Ireland without participating in the last sessions of Trent (1562-3). Later, in common with his fellow bishops of Achonry and Killala, O'Crean accepted the decrees and legislation of the council as normative for Catholic life and practice in Connacht. This decision was given concrete effect in marriage procedures, where all three dioceses decided on a uniform policy con-cerning the conditions for the validity of sacramental marriages and the banning of clandestine ones.84 It has been suggested that O'Crean's active government did not extend outside the northern portion of his diocese, where he would have had the open assistance of his own kinsmen and that of the O'Connors, and that Roland Burke, the Anglican nominee, exercised more than a nominal control over the rest of the see, with the weight of his Clanwilliam supporters behind him."

This is simply surmise, perhaps accurate or quite inaccurate. The truth is that there is no firm evidence one way or the other on which to base a reliable judgement. Andrew O'Crean lived mostly in Sligo abbey, whose fine church he designated the cathedral church of Elphin.86 For the most part he was left undisturbed by the reformers or by sporadic attempts to introduce Anglicanism on the part of officialdom. Bishop Roland Burke's death in 1580 may have prompted O'Crean to assert full jurisdiction over the whole diocese, especially in the matter of the temporalities, a significant portion of which may have been retained by Burke. The issue may have become more pressing with the appoint-ment of John Harvey, an Englishman, as administrator, who was granted the diocese 'in custodium' by royal letters patent in 1582.87

An entry under this same year in the Annals of Loch Ce suggests that O'Crean sought some form of recognition from the Dublin government: 'The bishopric of Elphin (Olifinn) was given to Andrew O'Craidhen by the Council of Eirinn at Ath-Cliath.'88 What O'Crean in fact was seeking was confirmation for the totality of the diocesan revenues, thereby accepting them as the gift of the crown. There was no hint of temporising or of external compliance with Elizabethan religious policy on the part of O'Crean, otherwise this would have been dolefully chronicled by the Annals of Loch Ce or mentioned in the contemporary State Papers. It is on record that he consistently and strenuously refused to take the Oath of Supremacy." The mentalities and the complexities surrounding

[84 Ibid. 85 Martin, 'Confusion Abounding', 71. 86 ASV, Reg. Suppl., 3401, f. 61v. 87 J. Ware, The Whole Works of Sir James Ware concerning Ireland, ed. W. Harris, i, Dublin 1739, 634. 88 Annals of Loch CE, ii, 455. 89 Lynch, De Praendibus Hib., ii, 291.]

so many issues of the age may not be perfectly definable or capable of proof, but the appointment of another Englishman, Thomas Chester, as Anglican Bishop of Elphin, who died shortly afterwards in June 1584,90 speaks for itself. Had O'Crean really temporised, Chester would not have been named Bishop of Elphin. When Lord Deputy Sidney and his retinue had encamped in O'Connor Sligo's country on 21 October 1566, `O'Connor Sligo came unto us with the Bishop of Elphin, most humbly offering service and fealty to your majesty and all courtesy to us.'91

His conduct on that occasion illustrated his diplomatic and conciliatory character, but this could hardly be described as displaying evidence of compromise or vacillation. Thomas Burke, author of Hibernia Dominicana, referred to O'Crean as 'Andrea Xerea',92 which may indicate that O'Crean once studied at Jerez de la Frontera in the south of Spain. Beyond this designation, Burke had nothing further to say of O'Crean's episcopate. He was at some stage of his career awarded the degree of master of theology, which in that era would indicate that he was a trained theologian. He was respon-sible for the erection of a marble cross (Leacht an Easpaig) in the town of Sligo.93 Towards the end of his life he retired from the active admin-istration of his see and lived quietly with his Dominican brethren, having earned for himself a reputation for sanctity. He died at Sligo in 1594, in the midst of his fellow Dominicans, who, through the influence of Domhnall Mar O'Connor, enjoyed comparative tranquillity and security.

Almost certainly Andrew O'Crean was buried in the Dominican church, his 'cathedral'. It was this same prominent O'Connor who was regarded with such favour by Elizabeth that when he refused the title of earl she gave him the right to be styled The O'Connor of Sligo. It was through his intervention that an order was issued prohibiting the destruction of Sligo abbey. This was typical of the policy of compromise and con-cession made by English officialdom in Elizabethan Connacht. Lynch concluded his biographical notice on O'Crean by adding a most valu-able and telling comment on current Elizabethan religious policy in Sligo: it was the custom that those who had received holy orders during Mary's reign were not compelled `to change their habit' or go into exile; and hence it was that Andrew O'Crean was not in the least molested once he stayed within the walls of his Dominican monastery of Sligo." Andrew O'Crean's episcopate differed notably in style and expression from that of his fellow Dominican bishop, Eugene O'Hart of Achonry.

[90 Ware, Works, i, 634. 91 Ronan, The Reformation in Ireland, 191. 92 Burke, Hib. Dom., 486. 93 Lynch, De Praesulibus Hib.,ii, 291. 94 Ibid.]

While he was not moulded in the Tridentine spirit to the same extent as O'Hart, he nonetheless favoured its spread and implementation because of his loyalty to the Holy See, with which he had regular correspondence."

[95 Ibid. Lynch was aware of (and may have had in his possession) two papal briefs addressed to O'Crean, dated 5 June 1575 and 13 August 1579, but did not comment on their content.]

with Illustrations from orginal Drawings and Plans


O'Crean, 13 n, 20, 36, 39, 44, 45, 55, 63, 67-70, 95, 97, 141, 143, 144, 148, 151, 164
Crean, 48, 97, 290.
Crean's Castle, 76

13 n LIST OF CHIEF GENTS FIT TO BE INSERTED IN THE COMMISSION OF THE PEACE FOR THE COUNTY OF SLIGO. Lord St. Leger, Sir Roger Jones, Gustos Rotulorum ; John St. Barbe, Edward Crofton, David O'Dowd, Swine MacDonough, George Crofton, Provost of Sligo ; Owen MacDermot, Cormac O'Hart, William Harrison, Charles Dowd, Andrew Crean, James Dowd, Teighe O'Hagan, James O'Connor, Swine MacDermott. (A.D. 1616.) M38., F., 3, 15, T.C.D

1641 Towards the close of November, or the commencement of December, Andrew O'Crean, High Sheriff of the County Sligo, convened a meeting at Ballysadare of the principal gentry (pre- sided over by O'Conor Sligo), nominally for the purpose of re- pressing the incursions " of foraigners, and to suppress the violent courses of idle persons within county."

Seemingly there were in the town two centres of defence, O'Crean's Castle, and Lady Jones's Castle (which would appear to have been in close proximity), and both were of sufficient strength to offer stubborn resistance to the imperfect military tactics of that age.
Sir Eoger Jones, Knt., Governor of Sligo, died in 1637 ; his widow, however, evidently retained possession of the castle. Fig. 5 is taken from an eighteenth century rude sketch of Crean's Castle, which would appear to have been then modern- ized.1
1 Judging of this castle from a map of the town made in the year 1G89, there must have been originally some kind of outworks, which were demolished in more peaceable times. It lay a little back from the road, at the corner of the present Albert Street, close to the abbey. In recent years, when a drain was being opened in the adjoining street, some traces of the ancient foundations could be observed. Le Gouz, a French tra- veller who visited Ireland in the year 1644, gives the following general description of the residences of the better class : " The castles or houses of the nobility consist of four walls extremely high, thatched with straw, but, to tell the truth, they are nothing but square towers without windows, or at least, having such small apertures as to give no more light than there is in a prison. They have little furniture, and cover their rooms with rushes, of which they make their beds in summer, and of straw in winter. They put the rushes a foot deep on their floors and on their windows, and many of them ornament the ceilings with branches."

The garrisons of the castles were greatly trammelled by the crowds of helpless women and children that thronged through the portals for protection, bearing with them as much of their goods as they could transport.
The siege lasted from eight to ten days ; at last, Cotton, who was in conimand, being very closely pressed by the besiegers who had taken possession of all the neighbouring houses and points of vantage from whence a musketry fire could be directed sent out Andrew O'Crean to negotiate terms of surrender. After two days' absence O'Crean returned, but Cotton thought the proffered terms too hard and broke off the parley, having previously addressed the besieged, and told them what they had to expect ; he then asked whether they would accept the terms
or hold out, saying that he himself would maintain " the holde " with such men as were determined " to stick unto him," but any that so wished should he dismissed and sent out of the castle with a pass and two shillings in money. A man named Mahon Cunningham alone stepped out of the ranks, said he did not care to hold out to the last, and claimed his pass and money ; hoth were immediately handed to him hy Cotton. When Cunningham perceived that none of his comrades fol- lowed his example, he asked leave to remain, but was at once disarmed and reproached by " the said Eusigne Cotton, who told him that he was unworthy to be trusted in the Castle, for he was a coward."

Sampson Porter, one of the victims, suffered many severities before death put an end to his sufferings. Peter O'Crean, a humane Roman Catholic merchant, had obtained a protection for him and his family; but whilst O'Crean was absent on business, some of the Irish fell upon Porter, tied his hands behind his back, and half hanged and tortured him till he con- fessed where his scanty hoards were hidden. O'Crean, on his return home, complained to O'Conor Sligo of the breach of his protection, but received the same reply which most leaders of revolution have to give, viz. : that his followers had got beyond his control.
To be in debt to any of the leading Roman Catholic mer- chants was a circumstance which offered a favourable chance of life ; so at least found Henry Knott, the son of an English trader who owed a considerable sum of money to William O'Crean ; this creditor implored O'Conpr Sligo to save the life of Henry Knott, as otherwise he would lose all chance of the debt due by the father.

After the massacre of Sligo, Andrew Crean, being anxious to save the lives of John Stanoway and his family, sent them off to Owen MacDermott at Drumbo ; the latter, however, was then absent at Ballymote, but on his return the situation was not improved.

On the following day the survivors were marched off to Ballymote. Mr. and Mrs. Crofton, Mrs. Wray, and her husband (a minister) were in front of the Irish escort (commanded by Captain John Crean), when two men rushed from the ranks and slashed Wray savagely with their skeans ; he was conveyed to Ballymote, where he lingered in agony for two days before death put an end to his sufferings

Of the Irish, about sixty fell, amongst whomwas John O'Crean of Sligo, 1 together with thirty people of note belonging to the Counties of Sligo and Leitrim. The bodies were all stripped for the sake of their clothing, and the arms and apparel were carried to Manor-Hamilton.
1 This is evidently the Captain John Crean who was present at the capture of Templehouse

Sligo abbey
The base of the cross is towards the front of the altar, and the head towards the east window, reaching only partly across the table-stone which was formed of several pieces. Commencing at the north side, then running along the front, and turning up the south side, is the following inscription in Lombardic characters :
with long spaces between the words, and so placed that " IOHANNES " was on the north side ; next it, and along the front, came the surname (probably O'Craian), now lost ; ME is in the centre, just at the foot of the cross ; FIERI was next placed in front, near the southern angle ; and FECIT is cut on the stone which formed that angle along the south end. There is a blank between E and C in FECIT, as if a letter had been erased. At present it is at the northern angle, which makes the inscription rather puzzling at first sight ; it is to be hoped, therefore, that it will be restored to its original position. The stone, bearing on it the surname of the " JOHANNES" mentioned in the inscription, has not been found; possibly it may have recorded the name of an early prior of the Abbey, who had caused the table- stone to be made

There is a fine altar-tomb inserted in the north wall of the nave, with a very sharp-pointed, arched canopy filled with elaborate flamboyant tracery. The inscription runs along the top of the decorated front slab. The letters McS are nearly illegible. AC is -according to the late W. M. Hennessy- the mediaeval form of the Irish OG, i.e., young. The name of O'Crean's wife, Faraengasa, 1 is according to the same

1 Faraengasa. A somewhat similarly sounding name occurs in an in- quisition taken in the town (apiid villam) of Ballymote, 10th Feb., 1607. The jury find " quod Ffarganhegula [? Ffarganhegusa] O'Connor seisit fuit ..... due Insulee in mar. vocat, Insula Noclane et Insula ne Capple [now Horse Island] continent 2 acras terr., et Regi ptinent Jure Corone sui."

authority also a mediaeval form of a well- known woman's name, Fasaengusa. Later tablets are inserted in the recess ; one of these bears the date 1616 over the coat of arms and crest of the O'Creans. On the dexter side is a wolf rampant be- tween three hearts, with the initials A. C., supposed to be those of Andrew Crean. The sinister half is ermine, a chevron colour not apparent with the initials E. F. alongside, evidently those of Crean's wife, who was supposed to be Ellen Flynn. The crest appears to be a demi-wolf rampant, holding between his paws a heart ; beneath is cut in an irregular manner the following inscription, which would seem to con- tain a play upon the name Crean :


Lying against the chancel wall there are two slabs (about 24 inches each way) with armorial bearings carved on them ; on the first appears to be the coat of arms of the Banada family of Jones. The second slab bears the arms of the O'Creans, with those of a different family of Jones impaled ; dexter, a wolf rampant between three human hearts, for O'Crean ; sinister, a lion rampant, for Jones ; above is the date 1625, and under- neath the quaint inscription :

Wee two are one by his Decree
That raigneth from Eternity ;
Who first erected have these stones,
We Robuere Crean Elica lones.

Revolution of 1688
The following is a list of the members of the new Corpora- tion of Sligo established by James upon the ruins of the old one, destroyed either by quo ivarranto or a forced surrender, 21st March, 1687 taken from the Patent Koll of the High Court of Chancery, as given by Harris in his History :
"Andrew French, Provost. 24 Burgesses. Martin O'Connor, Esq. ; John Taaffe. Esq. ; Sir William Gore, Bt. ; Henry Craften, EsqV ; Oliver O'Gara, Esq.; Kane O'Hara, Esq.; Edward Craften, Esq.; Pierce Gethin, Esq.; James French, Esq.; Philip Ormsby, Esq.; George Craften, Gent.; Terence M'Donogh, Esq. ; Walter Phillips, Esq. ; Philip Cox, Merchant ; Jasper Bret, Esq. ; John Crean, Gent. ; Andrew Lynch, 1 Apothecary ; Anthony Crean, Merchant ; Peter Darcy, Merchant ; John Delap, Mer- chant ; Bartholomew Jones, Esq. ; Thomas Jones, Esq. ; Andrew Martin, Merchant ; Charles Hart, Gent. Laurence O'Hara, Town Clerk

The following is an alphabetical list of the names of householders, &c., taken from " A Survey of Houses in the town of Sligo, 1663 " 1 :
Allen, Thos. ; Armstrong, Geo. ; Arthur, Peter; Audley, Joseph; Barnes, Thorn.; Barrett, Nicholas ; Bashford, Clement ; Baxter, Garrett; Bell, Willm. ; Bennett, Richd.; Bennett, Walter ; Blake, Adam ; Blake, Win. ; Booth, Hum. ; Bramley, Wm. ; Bryan, Richd. ; Butts, Nicholas ; Carrone, John ; Chapman, Walter ; Cockridge, Wm. ; Uooper, Cornet ; Crafford, James ; Crafford, John ; Crafford, William ; C^reanj' Andrew ; Crean, Cicely ; Dowan, Edwd. ; Duany, Domk. ; Duff, Conn. ; Dun, Nicholas ; Edgworth, Major ; Edmond, James ; Faber, Peter ; Falliagh,
Peter ; Fay, Pat ; Fitzgerald, ; Flinton, Saml. ; Flood, Thos. ;
French, Andrew ; Fritt, John ; Gamble, John ; Gara, Cormack ; Gara, Edmd. ; Garren, Donagh ; Gillaspicke, Pat ; Gillegraff, John ; Gilman, John ; Gorman, John ; Greene, Edwd. ; Greystocke, Thos. ; Halford, Edwd.; Hamilton, John; Hamlett, Willm.; Harrison, Thos.; Hunter, Willm. ; James, Thos.; Jones, Elizabeth ; Jones, Francis ; Kean, Ellinor ; Kellyes, Wm. ; Kenge, Wm. ; Kirkwood, James ; Knox, James ; Knox, Jane ; Lilly, David ; Linch, Andrew ; Longan, Sheely ; Longden, John ; Lue, John ; Mcllwhole, Janet ; McDonogh, Edmd. ; McDooan, Teig ; McDovells, Colla ; McKilroe, Owen ; McLoughlin, Wm. ; Me Lynn, Nicholas; McMeelry, Edmd.; McNemarra, Pat ; Malys, Edmd. ; March, James ; Marches, Mathew ; Martyn, Brian ; Martyn, James ; Mnrtyn, John ; Mihan, Pat ; Mills, Richard ; Moran, Edmd. ; Morgan, Capt. ; Morris, John ; Munger, James ; Myhan, Donogh ; Neilan, Hugh ; O'Conor, Chas. ; O'Conor, Owen ; O'Conor, Sligo ; O'Crean, Andrew ; O'Dogherty, Cahir ; O'Flyny, Thos. ; O'Kenny, Murragh ; O'Maly, Edmd.; O'Mongan, Pat; Parke. Cornelius; Parsons, Richd. ; Prover, Maurice ; Rampkin, Hugh ; Ratcliffe, Geo. ; Raven, Wm. ; Roa, Gabriel ; Redmond, Wm. ; Ronan, Roger ;~Sandera, Henry ; Scroopo, Russell, ; Sheile, Francis ; Smith, John ; Smith, Wm. ; Stoope, Wm. ; Story, Wm. ; Stuart, Jane ; Symons, Paul ; Tewdy, John ; Troope, John ; Trumbell, Elnr. ; Tullagh, Robert ; Williams, Thos. ; Willows, Robt. ; Wills, Richd.; Wodlan, Wm. ; Woods, Humphry

BAEONY OF CAEBUEY, PAEISH OF AHAMLISH. Aghagode, 1 qr. (mort- gaged to John French) ; worth 6 per annum. Ardnaglasse, 1 qr. ; mortgaged also to John French; worth 7 per annum. Gortnoleck and Coltecere, 1 qr. ; mortgaged to Andrew O'Crean, Esq. ; worth 12 4s. per annum. Dorelean, 1 qr. ; in possession of the Countys as parte of her Dowrey from S r . Donogh O'Connor; worth 12 per annum. Clunorkooe, qr. ; mortgaged to Andrew O'Crean, Esq. ; it hath bogges and wood ; worth 5 7*. per annum. Killcade, % qr. ; mortgaged to Patrick French ; worth 6 per annum. Carowloile, qr. ; mortgaged to the same; it hath goodwood; worth 6 per annum.

Tissan, qr. ; . . . mortgadged to Eoebucke O'Crean, who sets it to undertenants for 6 per annum ; it is good arrable land, it hath good turffe, 3 days mowinge, it will grase ... cows, and it is worth 7 per annum.

Kahaberny, 1 qr. ; ... mortgadged to Robuck O'Crean ... it is worth 10 per annum.

Knocknagee, 1 qr. . . . ; mortgadged to Andrew Creane, Esq. ; hee leaves it to his sonn John, whoe setts it to Thomas O'Summaghan, 1 and John Dorragha O'Laghna, fosterers . . . ; it is good ruffe grassing ground, sheltered with shrubes . . . ; worth 12 per annum.

The following lands were held by the
BARONY OF CARBURY, PARISH OF AHAMLISH. Carownogransy ; The inheritance of Andrew O'Crean, who tooke it in mortdgage from my Lo. of Corke, hee lets it to undertenants for 10 per annum ; it is good arrable lande, there is an old castle built uppon it, it hath good turffe, 4 dayes mowing, it will grase 50 cowes, and it is worth 12 per annum.
PARISH OF ST. JOHN'S. Aghamore, 1 qr. ; set for 15 per annum ; it is good arrable land a part, it hath a great scope of moun- teyne and fir- wood, and good turffe, 3 days mowing ; it now grases 100 cowes and it is worth 16 per annum. Ballenogarn, 4 qrs. The inheritance of Andrew O'Crean and Henry Oge O'Crean, who setts them to undertenants for 18 a quar. Of these 4 qrs. they have good shelter and good turffe, it will grase 400 cowes and it is worth 72 per annum. Lecarownocalry, qr.
PARISH OF CALEY. Cartronnogrogagh, 1 ; sett to undertenants for 5 per annum, and all countrey chardges . . . and is worth 7 lls. per annum. Lecarownotullagha, |-qr. ; worth 9 per annum. Clogherbeg, 1 qr. ; . . . It is some rockey grounde, it hath good shelter, and good turffe, 6 dayes mowinge, it will grase 100 cowes, and is worth 20 per annum. Cloghermore, 1 qr. ; ... set to under- tenants for 17 per annum and country chardges, with 4 barrells of malt, 8 fatt muttons, 12 medders of butter, 24 medders of meale, the third parte to be wheat, a chosher at Christmas. It is some parte rockey ground, it hath good shelter, and good turffe, 5 dayes mowinge, it will grase 100 cowes, and is worth 20 per annum. Colgoder? i qr. ; worth 10 4s. per annum. Kineltin, 1 qr. ; it is worth 20 per annum. Carignogroagh, iqr.; worth 6 10s. per annum. Lecarow- clunestallan, % qr. ; Annagh (now Hazlewood), 1 qr. ; Killbride, 1 qr. ; These 3 qrs. and (?) is the inheritance of Andrew O'Crean, Esq r ., whoe setts them to undertenants for 40 per annum and 10 barrells of malt, 10 muttons, 100 workmen, 20 medders of butter, 40 medders of meale ; it is some part good arrable land, hath good turffe and shelter and heathy grounde, it will grase 200 cowes, and it is worth 49 13s.

1 In the parish of Ahamlish there is a townland named Grogagh.
2 Probably Colgagh

per ann. Lissacopan and Carrownoughter, 5 cartrons; ... set to undertenants for 21 per annum ... it is good arrable land, it hath good turffe, 5 days mowinge, it will grase 120 cowes and it is worth 25 per annum. Srabraghan, 1 1 qr. ; Saununighteragh, 1 qr. ; sett to undertenants for 32 per annum. It is all good arrable land, uppon the qr. of Shrabraghan ther is a good English mill, one of the best in the country : for duties he getts in these 2 qrs. 8 barrells of malt, 16 medders of butter, 32 medders of meale, 8 fatt muttons, 40 workmen. It hath good turffe, 12 days mowing of good lowmeddow, it will grase 120 cowes and is worth 38 per annum.
PARISH OF KILLASPUGBRONE. Gransagh, 4 qrs. ; John O'Crean . . . bought it from Sr. Robert Kinge, Knt. ; it is all good arrable land, and some heathy ground, it hath good turffe and meddowes ; the said John getts in these 4 qrs. the som of 16 barrells of malt, 16 fatt muttons, 1 6 medders of butter, 64 medders of meale, 8 workmen ; it will grase 400 cowes, and it is worth 100 per annum.
BARONY OF TIRERRILL, PARISH OF KILMACALLAN. Ardneskin, 1 qr. ; ... it is a spongey ground and great store of heath ... it hath a weare of Eeles uppon Unshinagh.
PARISH OF KILLADOON. Moore, qr. (now Ballindoon) ; . . . it hath good turffe and (a) good spring with a mill uppon it ... and is worth 7 per ann. by reason of the burialls in the Abbey and the benefitt of the mill.

BARONY OF TIRERRILL, THE HALFE PARISH OF ENNAGH (Ballysa- dare). Clooneihr, % qr. ; Carrowmeer, 1 qr. ; Lynamanta, Cornakea- sagh, 1 qr. ; Cloonvickduffe, 1 qr. ; Eahrippen, 1 qr. ... possest by the said Sily, his mother, whoe setts it to undertennants for 18 per ann. and 40 medders of butter, 80 medders of meale, 13 barrells of malte, 120 workmen, 21 fatt muttons, together with 60 egges and one hen uppon every tennant. These 2 quarters are good arrable lande . . . worth 42 per ann. Cashell, 1 qr. ; . . . the Lo. Taaffe hath in mortgadge from Nicholas Browne of Gallaway, merchant, whoe had it in mortgadge from . . . Brian oge (Mac Donnogh) his father, together with 8 qrs. more in mortgadge of 800. The said Lo. Taaffe letts the one half of it unto the said Brian oge, his mother, for 4 per ann., and letts the other halfe to Thomas the Miller, together with the mills, for 16 per ann., soe that the whole quarter may be worth 20 per ann. Carrowmeer, 1 qr. ; mortgadged . . . about 10 years past for 100 unto Andrew (O)Creane, Esq., who gave it to his sonne John O'Creane ... it is in parte good arrable lande, the other parte good pasture, with a great scope of mounteine and woods . . . worth 10 per ann.
PARISH OF EJLROSS. Clonagh, % qr. (probably portion of Castle- dargan) ; ... it hath parte of the aforesaid logh (i. e. Castledargan lake) worth 7 per ann. Tourehowen, ; worth 4 per annum. Tomerancy, ; . . . mortgadged to Andrew Crean, Esq., for 26, who setts it together with a small Irish mill, to the said John Grana for 4 per annum . . . worth 5 per annum. (All the foregoing are sub-denomi- nations of Clonagh.)

O'Crean, 13 n, 20, 36, 39, 44, 45, 55, 63, 67-70, 95, 97, 141, 143, 144, 148, 151, 164
Crean, 48, 97, 290.
Crean's Castle, 76


History of Sligo; county and town; with illustrations from original drawings and plans
by Wood-Martin, W. G. (William Gregory), 1847-1917
Publication date 1882-1892
Topics Sligo, Ire. (County) -- History
Publisher Dublin : Hodges, Figgis
Volume 2

IN THE COUNTY OF SLIGO. (MS. F. 3. 2, Trinity College, Dublin.}

Deposition of Peeter O'Crean
The Deposition of Peeter O'Crean, merchant in Sligo, taken the 18 th of May, 1653.
Peeter O'Crean of the age of thrittie three years or thairabouts,
being duely sworne upon the holy Evangelists, and examined saith, that he lived in Sligo att the begineing of the rebellion, and thair continued till thair was a siege layd unto the towne, And that the inhabitants of the barony of Carbery wer the first that came to the siegde, in two great bodies, one part of tham cam from the lower parts of the barony under the command of Teag Boy O'Connor, Charles O'Connor, Hugh O'Connor, brothers to O'Connor Sligo, Phelim M'Shan O'Connor, Teag O'Connor of Glen. And the other part who lived within the bridges, wer headed by Donell M'Brian Dorrogh O'Connor, Hugh M'Con O'Connor and others, who quartered thamselves in the houses adjoyneing to the church. The next partie of men that cam to the siedge was Owen O'Rork and the inhabitants of the lower part of the County of Lettrim, headed by the said Owen O'Rork, Laughlin M'Glanaghie and others, and the dayes followeing the inhabitants of the other baronies within the County of Sligo cam also headed by Cap* Brian M'Donogh, who was afterwards mad Lieu" Colonell; Cap* Patrick Plunket, Cap 1 Moreis Keogh M'Donnogh, Cap* Brian M'Swyn, Cap 1 David O'Dowd, and Cap 1 Thibe reagh Bourk and others, who all lay in siege against the towne, till the Castles wer surrendered, and this Deponent being further exa- mined who wer the most active at that tyme in all thair under- takeings, sayth that he observed Teag M'Conmy most active in robbing and plundering eftir the surrendering of the Castles, and this Deponent being further examined saith that the English had gott quarter and that they wer to have thair lyves and so much of thair goods as they wer able to cary upon thair backs, with a convoy to pass whither they pleased, which was immediately broken ; And the deponent further saith that eftir the takeing of the Castles, hee this Deponent went to O'Connor Sligoe and procured a protection for on Sampson Porter, whereby he migh[t] have libertie to live in the towne, with his wyff and familie, upon which protection the said Sampson Porter re- mained with [t]his Dep 1 in his hous, and that on Owen M'Rori O'Connor finding his opportunitie when this Deponent was abroad upon his privat occations, fell upon the said Sampson Porter, and did continually tortur him having a rope about his neck and halfe hange- ing of him, and tyeing his hand behind his back till hee the said Sampson was forced to confess that he had the matter of seaven- teen pound of gold hid in the ground, which att length hee gott, notwithstanding all that the Deponent was able to do for the pre- servation of the said Sampson, his person or goods, and this Deponent
further saith that he went to O'Connor Sligo and complained of the breach of the protection given to the said Sampson, whereunto the said O'Connor replyed, that he was not able to remeidie it for hee had no command of the said Osven M'Eori O'Connor; And this Deponent further saith that the said Sampson remained thair with him eftir this first plundering of him, which incoragded others to come and search for goods belonging to the said Sampson Porter sewerall tymes, by which means this Deponent (as he alledgeth) was lyk to be undone, so that he this Deponent perswaded the said Sampson Porter to remove into another house, whereupon the said Sampson removed with a friar called Hugh M'Martin to the Abbey, and from thence to on Dermott O'Dawan Smith his hous, out of the which hous the said Sampson was carried to the gaole and thair murthered, and further this dep 1 sayth that that very night wherein the murder was committed Cap ta Charles O'Connor, Cap tn Hugh O'Connor, with some of thair fol- lowers to the number of twelf or thaireabouts, cam in upon this Depon* rushing into his hous about twelf a clock at night, and eftir some threatenings of the Depon* the said Charles O'Connor Demanded of the Depon* which of all the English in prison hee wuld rather have inlargded and sent away safe, whereunto this Depon* ansered that he wold wish that they wer all safe, and especially hee did wish that on Eichard Swash, shoemaker, Sampson Porter, M r "W m Welsh, and Henri Knapp, might be sent away safe, whereunto Charles O'Connor replyed, striking his hand upon his knee, that he should newir see Sampson Porter trott again, whereupon the souldiers of the said Captans rushed in into the Chamber wher this Dep 4 was with thes Cap tns with six drawn swords and twelfe drawin skeins, and bragged that these were the swords and skiens that had committed the murder, and gloried in the fact ; And this Deponent further sayth that he knew besyd these Captans, thes persons following, who wer present att the committing of the murder, to witt, Teag O'Sheal, dead, Eori Ballagh O'Hart, Owen O'Hart, Brother to Rori Ballagh O'Hart, Gerrard Herbert, and Edward Herbert, Thomas "Welsh and Nicholas "Welsh, which said Thomas "Welsh was then drummer to Cap tn Charles O'Connor, and this Dep* further sayeth not.
Signed, and acknowledged PEETER O'CEEAN

Deposition of John Crean
Examinations taken at Sligoe, the 14th day of May, 1653.
John Crean of Sligoe sayeth that hee was made Cap tn of a foote company by Teige O'Connor Sligoe, then called Collonell of the County of Sligoe, a litle after Christmas, 1641. And at a meetingeof the officers of the Irish army itt was ordered that five Capn" with theire companies shoulde goe out of the barronyof Garb ry to beseidge Temple- house, the residence of William Crofton, Eso/, the names of the said five cap" 8 were these, viz 1 , Tiege boy M'Shane O'Connor, Phelym M'Shane O'Connor, Roger O'Connor, M'Fardinando Donnell O'Connor, M r Bryan Dorah, and this examinant, and that they should ioyne with the captains of the other barronies of the said County of Sligoe to accomplish that service, and that they shoulde yealde obedience unto the comand of Lieut. Collonell Brian M'Donnoge, then liu 1 to the said Collonell O'Connor Sligoe, whereuppon they all wentt to Templehouse, and there it was agreed uppon by the cheife officers that mett for the settinge forwarde of that seidge that there should remaine there only
a partie out of each barrony of the said County, for the barrony of Carbry, this exam* with his company was left there. Out of the barrony of Leignie Cap" Brian O'Hara ; out of the barrony of Corren, Cap" Hugh M'Donnogh, with authority unto Cap" Brian O'Hara to comaund in cheife oer those forces in regarde the said garrison of Templehouse is seituate in O'Hara's country. And that after some continewance of tyme in that seidge, the said M r Crofton yealded to deliver upp that house uppon Capitulation articled betweene the said three cap n8 & him, wherein was a clause of safety to the said M r Crofton, & all in that houlde with him for their lives and some reservation of M r Crof ton's goodes and others, the certainety whereof hee leaves to the said writinge. But as for the murther of M r Oliphant layed to his chardge he knewe not of itt, nor did heare hee was executed untill after the same was done by some of Cap Brian O'Hara & Cap n Hugh M'Donnoghe's souldiers over whome hee had noe power, neither was in place (sic) but at that tyme ymployed him self e aboute the preservation of M r Crofton & his wife with all the English of that house which were in alone roome with them, from the fury of the enraged souldiers, & countrymen whoe were furiously actinge their pleasures aboute that house in the instance of that destration. And for the murther of Henry Norwell & and the oulde woeman hee sayeth that hee is not knoweinge of itt, nor was in Templehouse at the tyme of their killinge, neither did hee see or knowe of the killinge of any of the Brittish which came out of the County of Mayoe ; hee at that instant of tyme beinge at Ballymoate uppon a visite to the lorde Taafe that then lay sicke, but hee 'was afterwards enformed that those persons were seised uppon by Cap 1 Brian O'Hara whoe carryed bouletts with him out of Templehouse leager to putt uppon them in a place called Eathbane neere thereunto, where this exam 1 heares they were murthered by Neile Murry O'Scanlan and others of the Company of Cap n Hugh M'Shane Glasse M'Donnoghe. And as to the killinge of M r "Wray this examinant sayeth that hee procured a horse for him, and his wife (being his tenantts) to Carry them to Sligoe, and soe to Convoy them into the North for their safety, And had them both sett on horse backe to goe alonge in company with M r "W m Crofton and his wife, when on a sudden Shane M'Eickard M'Manus and Hurtagh M'Manus of the Company of Captain Brian O'Hara, tooke the opportunity as they were rideinge before the rest of the Company to fall uppon the said M r "Wray, & some of them to give him a slash or two with a skeine on his heade uppon sight whereof this exam* advanced forwarde endeavouringe to
stave them of from doeinge more mischeife, And gott M r "Wray to Ballymoate, & there had Chirurgions to dresse his woundes, but for all they coulde doe within two daies after hee died. This examin* lastly sayeth that his said Collonell Teige O'Conne Sligoe came to Temple- house soone after the surrender of the same, before either the officers or souldiers were dispersed, and that they the Cap M whoe tooke in the said houlde bought a barrell of sacke to bestowe uppon him for his welcome thether, where after the same was drunke each man departed without the said Collonell 0' Connor' s further takeinge noetice of any act or thinge that had bin there donn.
This examination taken before JOHN CREAN.
Deposition of Richard O'Crean
The Examination of Richard O'Crean of Carowcashell, gen*, taken befor me the 24 of May, 1653.
Eichard O'Crean of Carowcashell, being of the age of fortie years or thairabouts, being examined, sayth that he lived in Carowcashell, within the barony of Tireragh, and County of Sligo, at the begineing of the rebellion, And that the next day after the committing of the murder in Sligo, hee this Examinant cam to the towne of Sligo, and heard of the said murder, and that hee heard that the said murder was committed by Charles O'Connor, Hugh O'Connor, brothers to O'Connor Sligo, and another Hugh O'Connor, and that thair was on of the name of Butts at that fact whoes names this Examinant doeth not remember, and that on Eichard Welsh being gaoler at that tyme was constrained to the murder, as this Examinant was informed. "Wherupon this Examinant mad no longer stay in towne, hot being greived att the said fact returned back. And this Examinant further sayth that the said Cahill O'Connor and Hugh O'Connor committed murder in Ton- rego upon the persons of on Thomas Coote, Thomas Crowne, and others within the barony of Tireragh, in the hous of Mulmore M'Swyn, and that the fact was committed violently against the wills of the said Mulmore M'Swyn and Gilian Lynch his wyff, who is now liveing ; As also this deponent being further examined heard that thair was a murder committed in Ardneglas upon sewerall persons by the souldiers of Brian M'Swyn. And this Examinant further sayth that eftirwards in the next year on Eobert Nisbitt and his wyff and his sone was murdered in the said towne of Ardneglas by some Ulster- men, being of the company of on Neal Merigagh M'Swyn, who is now Dead, and that very day this examinant sayth that hee had entertained two Scottish men as servants in his hous for a year, and
being abroad and hearing of the murdering of Robert Nisbit, his wyff, and sone, hee this examinant mad hast home, wher he found his two servants readi to be execut by on Eori O'fflannell, who is now dead, and some others, being in all four in number, of the company of Brian M'Swyn, whom, with much adoe evin with the hazard of his lyve, this examinant rescewed out of thair hands, And this examinant heard of the murder of Skryn committed by Connor Roe M'Conmy, Colla M'Swyn, and two women, which woomen was observed to Dy a miserable death ; And further this examinant sayth that on Calvagh O'Connor, sone to Donald O'Connor of Donoghatrahan, with a brother of his owen, whoes name this examin* knoweth not, some six years ago (the said Calvagh and his brother being then in protection) finding some strangers passeing thoroe the countrey (as this examinant be- leeveth) they fell upon tham, nigh Donecohy, and murdered tham, and further this examinant sayth not.
Signed and acknowledged RICHARD O'CREAN.
before mee, as witness my hand, RICH: COOTE.


The earliest recorded Ó Croidheáins both died in the same year,1506

(1) Domnall O Craidhen (Donnell O'Crean) a pious and conscientious merchant, died, while hearing mass in Donegal.

(2) Cormacas O Craian, who is buried in the beautiful altar tomb which stands in the nave of Sligo Abbey, which bears a Latin inscription, "Hic . jacet . Cormacus. Ocraian . Et Ehon ac . Nanangasa . uxor. Eis . an . Do., MCCCCC VI." (Here lieth Cormac O'Craian, . . . . . . and Nanangasa, his wife, The year of the Lord, 1506.)

The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Four Masters (Annála na gCeithre Máistrí)

Donnell (Domnall) O'Craidhen (O'Crean), a pious and conscientious merchant, died, while hearing mass in Donegal Abbey. (1506)

Henry O'Craidhen, a rich and affluent merchant of Lower Connaught, died. (1572)


The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Four Masters (Annála na gCeithre Máistrí) are chronicles of medieval Irish history. The entries span from the Deluge, dated as 2,242 years after creation[1] to AD 1616.

The annals are mainly a compilation of earlier annals, although there is some original work. They were compiled between 1632 and 1636, allegedly in a cottage beside the ruins of Donegal Abbey, just outside Donegal Town.[

The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Four Masters (Annála na gCeithre Máistrí) are chronicles of medieval Irish history. The entries span from the Deluge, dated as 2,242 years after creation to AD 1616.

The annals are mainly a compilation of earlier annals, although there is some original work. They were compiled between 1632 and 1636, allegedly in a cottage beside the ruins of Donegal Abbey, just outside Donegal Town.[3] At this time, however, the Franciscans had a house of refuge by the River Drowes in County Leitrim, just outside Ballyshannon, and it was here, according to others, that the Annals were compiled. The patron of the project was Fearghal Ó Gadhra, MP, a Gaelic lord in Coolavin, County Sligo.

The chief compiler of the annals was Brother Mícheál Ó Cléirigh from Ballyshannon, who was assisted by, among others, Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh, Fearfeasa Ó Maol Chonaire and Cú Choigríche Ó Duibhgeannáin. Although only one of the authors, Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, was a Franciscan friar, they became known as "the Four Friars" or in the original Irish, na Ceithre Máistrí. The Anglicized version of this was "the Four Masters", the name that has become associated with the annals themselves.



Sligo Abbey, Abbey Street, Sligo

Sligo Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Shligigh) was a Dominican convent in Sligo, Ireland, founded in 1253. It was built in the Romanesque style with some later additions and alterations. Extensive ruins remain, mainly of the church and the cloister.

Name and location
The name "Sligo Abbey" is the generally accepted traditional name, but strictly speaking "abbey" is inappropriate as Dominican monasteries are led by priors not abbots: "convent", "friary", or "priory" would be more correct. The community was dedicated to the Holy Cross. The ruins are located in Abbey Street, Sligo, but when it was still functioning, the convent lay outside the town's limits and its location was then usually described as "near Sligo".

The church contains two noteworthy funeral monuments: the "O'Craian altar tomb" and the mural in remembrance of "Sir Donogh O'Connor Sligo". O'Craian's tomb is the oldest surviving monument in the church. Its Latin inscription dates it from 1506 and states that it is the tomb of Cormac O'Craian (or Crean) and his wife Johanna, daughter of Ennis (or Magennis). It fills a niche in the northern wall of the nave next to the rood screen. It consists of a stone table, similar to the altar in the choir, and a canopy consisting of a high pointed arch with tracery. The style is late Gothic.

Sligo Abbey, was a Dominican Friary, founded in 1253 by Maurice FitzGerald, 2nd Lord of Offaly, who was Justiciar of Ireland from 1232 to 1245. His purpose allegedly was to house a community of monks to pray for the soul of Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, whom he was rumoured to have killed. The Dominicans were a poor choice for such a task as their specialty is preaching rather than praying. FitzGerald built a substantial Norman abbey, with all the essential parts and endowed it with lands.

Founded in 1252 or 1253 for the Dominicans by Maurice Fitzgerald, 2nd Baron of Offaly, who was also founder of the town. Having escaped the ravages suffered by the now destroyed Sligo Castle in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Friary was accidentally burned in 1414, but was rebuilt two years later by Friar Bryan MacDonagh with assistance from (the other) Pope John XXIII.

In a recess in the north wall of the nave is the O'Crean tomb dated to 1506, bearing panels in front with the Crucifixion in the centre, the Virgin Mary and St. John on either side; other figures are probably to be identified as St. Dominic (in friar's robes), St. Katherine (with remains of a wheel), St. Peter (with keys), St. Michael (with shield and raised sword), and there are other unidentified figures.


Modern Image of O'Crean Tomb
Sligo Friary, County Sligo.
Copyright Sligo County Library

O'Crean Tomb, Sligo Friary
Choir Of Sligo Abbey. Drawn For Colonel Cooper from an
original sketch and partly finished from a photograph July 1882.
Copyright Sligo County Library

Wakeman drew this monument in August 1880. It can be found in a recess in the north wall of the nave, just west of the rood-screen within Sligo's Dominican Friary. This is the O'Craian or Crean tomb of 1506 and is the earliest monument in the church.

What is immediately noticeable is that the lower part of the tomb was completely buried when Wakeman illustrated it. This is because the Board of Works reduced the ground level to the original level during the restoration of the friary in 1913 by Doctor Cochrane.

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

Today, because of the extensive restoration works, the whole tomb can be seen, while in Wakeman's drawing only the remains of a finely carved canopy and a later crest of the O'Crean's can be seen.

The tomb chest visible today is somewhat similar in design - called English Late Gothic - to the high altar but has nine figures carved in relief on arcaded panels on the front of the tomb.

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

From left to right these comprise a friar, probably St Dominic; then a figure robed and crowned, with a sword in their right hand and he appears to be holding a circle against his breast, perhaps representing the wheel of St Catherine; the third figure is a possible female in a long gown held closed by a belt carrying a staff with an oval shape on its top, and possibly represents a pilgrim; the next figure is the Virgin Mary, beside whom is Christ on the Cross, with St John the Apostle next to him; the next and seventh figure is St Michael the Archangel, recognisable by his wings, raised sword and shield with a cross on it; beside him is St Peter the Apostle, holding the keys to Heaven, and finally there is a bishop holding a processional cross with his hand raised in benediction.

The Latin inscription along the upper part of the top slab of the tomb chest is incomplete but the date 1506 (MCCCCCCVI) can be read and the name Cormac O'Craian. His wife's name might be Johanna Nic Aengusa (Ennis). The O'Crean family were an important, wealthy merchant family, originally from Donegal but came to Sligo in the late 15th century.

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

The crest or coat of arms of O'Crean depicted in Wakeman's drawing is an armorial stone and is the earliest of its type in the Friary, dating to 1616.

(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

It bears the O'Crean family crest - combined with those of the French family crest. The initials on the crest AC and EF are probably those of Andrew Crean and his wife Elizabeth (?) French.


This monument was erected within the Family Tomb (altar) in 1616 for Andrew O'Crean and his wife Eleanor French.
While quite deteriorated, you can still identify the following. On top of the shield is the family crest Demi-wolf with heart in paws. Also the two chalices (one on either side of the shield) have the initials AC on the left, and EC on the right. You cannot read the date from the photo, but below the shield it says 1616. Finally, if you study it VERY CAREFULLY, you can make out on the shield, the two shields of the O'Crean and French families. The French shield is the lower right under the /\. On the upper left you can make out the top two hearts of O'Crean. After you see these, you can identify the bottom heart. (Seán F. O'Crean)


Irish Pedigrees

   or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation
   By John O'Hart (Limited American Edition, New York, 1915)

O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees is a standard work of reference for anyone engaged in Irish genealogy - no library should be without a copy. It was first published in Dublin in 1878 at a time I always thought of as the Celtic Twilight but which Wikipedia tells us was the Irish Literary Revival. This was a time when there was a flowering of work by playwrights, poets and scholars keen to reveal Ireland's Celtic past to an audience who were giving up the Irish language and had forgotten or never knew of Ireland's rich heritage. The work must therefore be seen in that context.

Today a genealogical work which starts with the Creation and giving a pedigree from Adam and Eve would generally not inspire great confidence. O'Hart, quoting many ancient texts does exactly that - stating that the Celtic race descends from Milesius of Spain, his 3 sons and his uncle. The format for the first volume therefore is divided into 4 sections: Families descended from Heber, Ithe, Ir and Heremon staring with the families of Brady, Brenan, Carroll, Casey, Clancy, Coghlan, etc. and ending with Scanlan, Sheane, Spillane, Sweeny, Tatly, Tierney and Tully. At the end of Vol I O'Hart has included colour images of Coats of Arms.

The second Vol. gives families who were of Danish, Anglo-Norman, English, Welsh, Scottish, Huguenot and Palatine extraction. A General Index of both vols. is to be found at the end of Vol II together with a most valuable Index of Sirnames (surnames). Also given is a section Opinions of the Press quoting extracts of reviews of the book in 78 newspapers and periodicals! One of which,The Philadelphia Inquirer, said:

.. We have in our midst so many descendants of the old families of Ireland, that this volume will be deeply interesting and valuable to those who take pleasure in genealogical researches. Mr. O'Hart has shown industry, perseverance and zeal in preserving from loss the records of so many years for the use of our New World.


Census of the Diocese of Elphin 1749

Here is the Cryan/Crean results of the Census of the Diocese of Elphin 1749 from findmypast. (There are crossovers). There are Crean and variants in Roscommon and Cryan variants in Sligo. But the Cryan variants are mainly in Roscommon. So while Crean has a long history in Sligo, Cryan seems to be relatively new. So is it possible that as the Creans declined in importance in Sligo in the 17th century, they moved to other counties where the local accent pronounced Crean differently? If so, then it is very likely that the Cryans are descendants of the Sligo Creans.


Carrowreagh Cryans
Patricia Buker

Currently, there are 3 Cryan families in Carrowreagh (that we know of) and they are all related to Sean Rua Cryan, approx 4 generations back. From what I understand, my Gr.Gr.Grandfather Sean Rua (Red John) had 8 daughters and 5 sons. Two of the sons died young and the farm was split between the remaining 3 sons, Patrick (Padraig Rua), Martin & Peter Cryan. The property on which the family house was located was left to Padraig Rua who is my direct ancestor.

Sean Rua married a woman with the maiden name Carney. I believe that there were 8 daughters & 5 sons. The birth dates are not known at this time

  • Michael, died May 7, 1907 (26yrs). An obituary for his funeral is available

  • John...believed to have died young

  • Peter

  • Martin

  • Patrick (also called Padraig Rua) was my Great Grandfather

  • Nora (married name Kehoe)

  • Winifred (married name Cummins or Mr.G.Commons, Mrs.L.Commons)

  • xxxx (married name Nolan, Mr.& Mrs.J.J.Nolan)

  • xxxx (married name Fitzmorris or Mr.& Mrs.P.Morris)

  • xxxx (married name Kallery)

  • xxxx (married name Connor or Mrs.G.O’Connor)

  • xxxx (married name Mr.& Mrs.M.Connellan)

  • Frances ?


  • in black text, my Grandmother Delia Cryan communicated the history in 1980. 

  • In blue text, an obituary from 1907 names sisters and brother-in-laws. Using this as a reference, there appear to be alternate surnames. For this reason, I’ve included both for cross-reference purposes. 

  • Also, the obituary from 1907 also references uncles which suggested that Sean Rua had a brother Luke Cryan. The same obituary suggests that his Sean Rua’s wife had brothers Peter Carney, John Carney & Martin Carney. 

My Gr.Grandfather was Padraig Rua Cryan (Red Patrick Cryan). He married

Catherine O’Reily and had 5 sons and 2 daughters. The birth dates are not known at this time

  • Mai > Birthdate unknown. Died Oct.10/81. She married Charlie Barrett and remained in Co.Leitrim, Ireland

  • Ann (called Nell) > married name Kenny

  • Tom > died when he was 7 at the family home in Carrowreagh. The description from my grandmother suggested Meningitis.

  • Padraig

  • Samual Gerard > born 1902. Immigrated to Argentina

  • William > was killed by a car in New York

  • John Joseph > my Grandfather, raised his family in Carrowreagh, Ireland.

My Grandfather was John Joseph Cryan (called Jack) Cryan. He married

Bridget Agnes (called Delia, maiden name Elwood). They had 5 sons.

  • Padraig, b1926, married Patricia O'Connor in Carrick-on-Shannon

  • Joseph, b1927, immigrated to Canada, 1949, Married Mary (Kelly) & died Sept.30, 2007

  • Richard, b1930?, resides in Carrowreagh

  • Samual, b1932?, resides in Carrowreagh

  • Thomas, b1934. He immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1953, married Jessie Briget (called Netta, maiden name Kelly) Aug. 31, 1957. They had 6 children which includes me (Patricia. My mother was born in Glasgow, Scotland on Dec.17, 1935 and lived in Mallaig, Scotland until 18 years old. They had 6 children.

  1. Delia Margaret b1958 in Toronto, Canada. Married Charles Grech & had 3 children, Christina Maria, Melissa Carmela & Rebecca Anne.
    Patricia Mairi b1959 in Toronto, Canada. Married Kerry Buker Oct.10, 1981 and had 3 children, Brendan Patrick b1984, Shawna Mairi b1986 & Kylie Margaret b1988.

  2. John Michael (called Iain) b1960 in Co.Roscommon, Ireland. He died Feb.21,2000. Never married.

  3. Gerard Patrick b1961 in Co.Roscommon, Ireland. Married Lorrie (maiden name Tremaine) and had 2 children, Kevin & Colleen

  4. Thomas James b1964 in Toronto, Canada. Married Sharon (maiden name xxxxx, 1st married name McQuade) already had 2 children Ashleigh & Angeleigh. Tom & Sharon had 2 more children, Connor & Sinead.

  5. Maureen Anne b1976 in Toronto, Canada. Married Patrick Farrell and had 3 children, Peri Jane, Caeden James & Layne Rian.

Robert Cryan (1827-1881)

54 Parnell Square, Dublin
(Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)
Robert Cryan (1827-1881) was an Irish medical doctor, professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the Catholic University in Dublin, Ireland, as well as a lecturer on anatomy and Physiology at the Carmichael School of Medicine in Dublin.

Grave of Dr Robert Cryan and other members of the family

Dr Robert Cryan's family tree

Robert Cryan lived at 54 Rutland Square, (now called Parnell Square, Dublin, Ireland, and was licensed to practice medicine in 1847 by the Royal College of Surgeons.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cryan

The Nation 22 November 1856

My Cryan Genealogy
My great great grandfather, John Cryan, married Margaret Dolan in Boyle, Co. Roscommon in 1858 and spent his life in Croghan, about 5 miles south of Boyle, working as a National School teacher (where he is still remembered as Master Cryan) until his death in 1906. From his age on his Death Certificate I believe he was born around 1833 and a reference to a family who had a son, John, at that time has been found. This was a couple, John Cryan and Catherine Drury, who married in 1829 in Croghan and had three sons John (b.1833 in Boyle), James (b.1842 in Boyle) and Patrick (b.1831 in Croghan). I do not know what happened to Patrick and James. Does this information sound familiar to you? Have you ever heard talk of a Master Cryan in your family? Maybe these names have been passed down through the generations as they have in my family. Please let me know at caoimhghin@yahoo.com

Old schoolhouse, Croghan Co Roscommon

 Where John Cryan (1830s-1905), my great great grandfather, taught
Demolished 1990s (Photograph: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin)

Croghan Village Circa 1900


Map of Parish of Croghan

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
by Samuel Lewis


My Great Great Grandmother Eliza Shanahan

My Great Great Grandmother Eliza Shanahan (nee Sullivan, centre, front row) and her family,
Valentia Island, Co Kerry c1890s

Standing - Pat/ Annie/ Johanna / Mick.
Sitting - Maria/ Eliza (Their mother, nee Sullivan) / Nell

My Great Grandaunt, Bridget Cryan (b 1882) (first from left)

My Great Grandaunt, My Father's First Cousin,
My Father's Paternal Grandmother, and My Grandaunt c1920s

Bridget Cryan (b 1882) / Joan O Neil / Johanna Cryan (Shanahan) / Girlie (Cryan) O Neill.

My paternal grandmother with my great grandmother out for a stroll c1930s

Sarah (Kelly) Cryan / Jane( Carty) Kelly (Sarah’s mother). 1930s

My grandparents Liam and Sarah (Kelly) Cryan 1930

Liam and Sarah Cryan
on their wedding day July 1930 in Dublin
and in Saturday Herald.

My granduncle Stephen Cryan (1892-1963) 1920s

Stephen Cryan, at the wheel (Kerry No.3 Brigade I.R.A)
Driving a Ford Model T Touring c1920s


My grand uncle Joseph Cryan with his wife Olive

Joseph Cryan / Olive (Foster) Cryan 1930s


My grandfathers brothers and brother-in-law 1920s

(left to right) Joseph Cryan / Mr Gilsenan (family friend) / Stephen Cryan / John O Neill / Pat Cryan. Circa 1920s

My grand uncle Pat Cryan, Garda H.Q. in the Phoenix Park

Unknown / Pat Cryan (1905-1982) / Unknown / Unknown / 1920s

My father (Kevin Cryan) and siblings 1950s

Back row Des Cryan / Kevin Cryan/
Front row Lauri Cryan / Sally Cryan 1950s


‘Genetic Homelands’

In Ireland Surnames can still be found concentrated in the County from which they originate. In this manner one can examine the individual Surname distribution maps on the Irish Origenes website and pinpoint a ‘Genetic Homeland.’ The Genetic Homeland is the very small area, usually within a 5km (or 3 mile radius) where one’s ancestors lived for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is the area where one’s ancestors left their mark in the place names of that area and in the DNA of its current inhabitants. Since modern science can pinpoint a Genetic Homeland it can also be used to confirm it by DNA testing individuals from the pinpointed area.

Not had a DNA test? Then click on the Family Tree DNA

Surname distribution map for Cryan:

Surname distribution map for Crean:

Surname distribution map for Crehan:



Cryan Opticians

105, Lower George's Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin


John Cryan

There are two people standing in the way of Deutsche Bank and panic. The first is the current chief executive John Cryan. He is no swashbuckling Fred Goodwin (RBS) or Bob Diamond (Barclays) of pre-crisis notoriety. He is a very conservative, feet on the ground pragmatist. He's already managed to reduce the debt of the bank and has plans to do more. The other is even more important. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. He has said this year that he considers Deutsche Bank "rock solid". That is not only reassuring in itself, but indicates there is no way on earth that a rich German government would let the most important bank in Germany - and by extension Europe - come to any harm.

Cash won't be around in a decade, the chief executive of one of Europe's biggest banks predicted on Wednesday. "“Cash I think in ten years time probably won’t (exist). There is no need for it, it is terribly inefficient and expensive,” John Cryan, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said during a discussion on financial technology, known as "fintech".

A fellow Cryan predicting the end of cash. They have to end cash before they can bail in so there will be no run on the banks...


Cryan's Tavern, Hunterdon County, NJ, USA
"If you're ever in Hunterdon County, NJ, USA stop in for Pint and say Hi to the Cryan Family.
Our family roots are from Castlerea, County Roscommon"


Dan Cryan


Dan Cryan has degrees in Philosophy from UCL and now works as a market analyst in London. Sharron Shatil is a Philosophy lecturer at the Open University in Israel. Piero is an illustrator, artist and graphic designer whose work has twice been included in the Royal College of Art exhibition in London. Previous Introducing titles include Aesthetics, Shakespeare and Nietzsche.

John Cryan
University College Cork

John Cryan, a neuropharmacologist and microbiome expert from the University College Cork, shares surprising facts and insights about how our thoughts and emotions are connected to our guts.



Cryan's Teach Ceoil,
Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland

Bridge Street, Carrick on Shannon, Ireland (1990s)
(Photo: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (Kevin Cryan))

Bridge Street, Carrick on Shannon, Ireland, today


Crean's pub, Oldcastle, Co. Meath
(Sligo Creans)

Crean's Shop, Townsend Street, Dublin
(Not sure if these were North Creans (Sligo- Ó Croidheáin)
or South Creans (Kerry -  Ó Cuirin)


Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin 2010

Inventory of Irish War Memorials.



Surname, Forenames War Regiment / Service Site Memorial
Crean, Francis WW I Not stated Clongowes Wood College Clongowes Great War Memorial
Crean, Francis WW I Not stated  Enniskillen, Portora Royal School Clongowes College Great War Memorial
Crean, James WW I West Yorkshire Regt. Castlebar, Mayo Peace Park Mayo Great War Memorial
Crean, T. WW II Merchant Navy (Irish) Dublin 02, City Quay Irish Merchant Navy Memorial
Crean, T. J. WW I Not stated Dublin 04, Wanderers Rugby Football Club Wanderers R.F.C. Great War Roll of Honour
Creane, John Civil War Irish Republican Army Wexford, Republican Garden Parle, Crean & Hogan Memorial
Creane, John (Seán Croidheáin) Civil War Irish Republican Army  Charman Teas Brigade Taghmon Civil War Memorial
Creaney, Felix WW II Not stated Lurgan, Church Place Lurgan War Memorial
Creaney, J. WW I Not stated Lurgan, Church Place Lurgan War Memorial
Creaney, Shaun WW II Not stated Lurgan, Church Place Lurgan War Memorial
Creaney, Thomas [-] Irish Republican Army  Castlegregory (4th Btn.) & Dingle (5th Btn.) Ballyseedy, Co. Kerry Ballyseedy Republican Memorial
McCreanor, G. F. WW II Not stated Banbridge Banbridge War Memorial
McCreanor, M. WW I Not stated Banbridge Banbridge War Memorial
McCreanor, P. WW I Not stated Lurgan, Church Place Lurgan War Memorial


Surname, Forenames War Regiment / Service Site Memorial
Cryan, John WW I Lancers (all regiments)  Lancers(5) Castlebar, Mayo Peace Park Mayo Great War Memorial
Cryan, Patrick WW I Irish Guards Dublin 07, Broadstone Station Midland and Great Western Railway Memorial


Surname, Forenames War Regiment / Service Site Memorial
Crehan, J. WW I Leinster Regt. Portlaoise 4th Leinster Regiment Great War Memorial


Civil War Memorial - John Creane / Seán Ó Croidheáin
Place of Memorial
Taghmon / On south side of R738 on Wexford side of village.



John Cryan's pub, Boyle, Co Roscommon


The Roscommon Herald 28-12-1895


The Leitrim Observer 22 August 1908


Cryans general store, Ballymote, Co Sligo
(Ballymote Cryans, a corner shop selling just about everything)

The Roscommon Herald 19-4-1902



The Irish Times 17 Feb 1951

Ballymote, Co Sligo, Ireland (from Paul Cryan)

M. Cryan's shop c.1938

The shop M.Cryan's would have been my grandfather's brother Matts shop in Ballymote Town . The Cinema is next door and I vaguely remember that was owned by his brother Bartholomew (Batty). My father was born in Cryan's confectionery shop next to McDonagh's pub in O'Connell street, now called Doddy's. I believe this is Matt's shop in the photo which would have been in Teeling street.

'That Certain Age' (1938)


Invoice for works 1918

Invoice for works carried out by Cryan's harness makers. My great grand father Michael  had a harness/saddler business in Ballymote Town. This was carried on by the oldest brother Patrick when he died (no idea what happened to Patrick) and I can only guess that Bartholomew (Batty) kept it going, although he became and auctioneer/land agent. The harness/saddler business was in New Town Street which I believe is now O'Connell street.

Contact Paul for more info or suggestions: paulpatrickcryan@googlemail.com


Frances Cryan

Frances Cryan hails from Carrick-on-Shannon and joined her local rowing club in 1974. Through her rowing talents, she brought many honours to her country, county, town and club. Frances Cryan was five times Irish Ladies Single Sculls Champion from the years 1976-1980 inclusive. Frances became the first woman to row for Ireland in the Olympic Games, when she competed in the 1980 games held in Moscow, and she came seventh in the overall classification table for the single sculls event.


Thomas Cryan
(1937) Thomas Cryan from Boyle, Co. Roscommon. He was twenty-three years old when this photograph was taken. He had immigrated to England when he was twenty-one years old and this was his first visit home. He was considering emigrating from England to Australia at the time. Hence, he was home to visit his family. However, upon returning to England, he decided to remain there and ultimately established his own business. He lived in England for a further thirty-eight years and returned to live in Ireland when he retired.
( Avril Cryan )



The Irish Times
June 1970

The Irish Times 9 September 1946


Cryan's Hotel -
Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim, Ireland

Photo- Martina (77)

'Cryan's Hotel opened in Carrick on Shannon in August 2007. Although the family have been in business in Carrick on Shannon for over 50 years. Having a long established tradition of great hospitality good food and great craic in their famous traditional Irish bar. Cryan's hotel is located right beside the River Shannon and Carrick On Shannon Town Centre.'


The Irish Press 22 July 1960


'Crean's Dublin Made Soap'
Tigh Neachtain Pub, Galway

Cryan's Beef and Ale House
24 1st St, South Orange, NJ 07079

The Leitrim Observer 25 April 1908