The Four Masters have the following graphic entry under the year 1236: “Heavy rains, harsh weather, and much war prevailed in this year.” The Annals of Kilronan also give a fearful account of the wars, the weather, and the crimes. They mention that Brian’s people burned the church of Imlagh Brochada over the heads of O’Flynn’s people, while it was full of women, children, and nuns, and had three priests in it. There were so many raids on cows, that the unfortunate animals must have had a miserable existence. How a single cow survived the amount of driving hither and thither they endured, considering their natural love of ease and contemplative habits, is certainly a mystery. In the year 1238, the Annals mention that the English erected castles in Connaught, principally in the territory from which the O’Flahertys had been expelled. This family, however, became very powerful in that part of the country in which they now settled.
As Connaught had been fairly depopulated, and its kings and princes nearly annihilated, the English turned their attention to Ulster, where they wished to play the same game. The Lord Justice and Hugh de Lacy led an army thither, and deposed MacLoughlin, giving the government to O’Neill’s son; but MacLoughlin obtained rule again, after a battle fought the following year at Carnteel.
In 1240 the King of Connaught went to England to complain personally of De Burgo’s oppressions and exactions; but his mission, as might be expected, was fruitless, although he was received courteously, and the King wrote to the Lord Justice “to pluck out by the root that fruitless sycamore, De Burgo, which the Earl of Kent, in the insolence of his power, hath planted in these parts.” However, we find that Henry was thankful to avail himself of the services of the “fruitless sycamore” only two years after, in an expedition against the King of France. He died on the voyage to Bourdeaux, and was succeeded by his son, Walter. In 1241 More O’Donnell, Lord of Tir-Connell, died in Assaroe, in the monastic habit. In 1244 Felim O’Connor and some Irish chieftains accompanied the then Viceroy, FitzGerald, to Wales, where Henry had requested their assistance.
The King was nearly starved out, the Irish reinforcements were long in coming over, and the delay was visited on the head of the unfortunate Justiciary, who was deprived of his office. John de Marisco was appointed in his place.
[Illustration: ATHLONE CASTLE.]
 Limerick.—We give an illustration, at the head of this chapter, of King John’s Castle, Limerick. Stanihurst says that King John “was so pleased with the agreeableness of the city, that he caused a very fine castle and bridge to be built there.” This castle has endured for more than six centuries. Richard I. granted this city a charter to elect a Mayor before London had that privilege, and a century before it was granted to Dublin. M’Gregor says, in his History of Limerick, that the trade went down fearfully after the English invasion.—vol. ii. p. 53.