History of Tibohine
Tigh Baoithín had 15 ancient ‘baile’ or ‘sen-cleithí’ from which it can be inferred it was half a ‘Tríocha Céad’ or’ Barony’ or 'Hundred’. It was referred to frequently by Bishop Tíreachán as "Tír Éanna in Airteach". On the east, it was separated from 'Magh Ai’ of Cruchán by a sruill from the Castlerea area down through Bealach na gCarr (Ballinagare) to meet the Brídeog River with which and Lough Technet* it was bounded on the north. Abha na Luinge flowed along most of its west side to almost Bun Suicín in Co. Mayo. The Suck on the South separated it from Cill Caoimhín (St. Kevin's Cell > Kilkeevan parish), Castlerea.
Who was this Enda of Airteach?
He was son of the famous King Niall Mór and a brother of Laoghaire. Enda with his brother, Fiach, rudely opposed St. Patrick at Uisneach (Co. Westmeath) in 433, and when Patrick pronounced a curse on Uisneach and Fiach, Enda listened to Patrick and was baptised. In sorrow, he made atonement and offered to Patrick for the church – “ a Ridge in every Nine” in all his territory, as a dowry with his infant son, Cormac, whom he placed as a foster son with Patrick’s sister Darerca. King Laoighre confirmed this grant of territory to Patrick. It comprised 15’ sen cleithí’ in Airteach (Connacht) in which Laoighre had previously installed Enda as ruler. There was at the time, a literary, as well as a civil fosterage in Ireland.
This Cormac was reared and educated by Patrick’s nephews (sons of Darerca) to wit: Bishop Domhnall of Aileach Airtigh (now Castlemore, Ballaghaderreen), Bishop Coimid of Cluain Sean Mhaoil (Cloonshanville, Frenchpark) and Bishop De Bonne (Davone in Kilnamanagh, Frenchpark – Boyle road).
Incidentally, this Cormac Mac Éanna Mac Néill was Patrick’s successor in Armagh. In accordance with the “servitude of the church” (Book of Armagh) as the land of Airteach really belonged by spiritual descent to Cormac, the four churches in Airteach had to send a cow each to Cormac and his successors until it was remitted by St. Nuadu, Abbot of Armagh, in 801 A.D.
St. Patrick arrives at Fairymount
In 437 the holy virgin Lallocc (daughter of Darerca, niece of St. Patrick and foster sister of Cormac) was brought by Patrick and Bishop Cathach to Ard Senlis (ancient name of Fairymount/Mullach na Sí). They came 5 miles north from Ard-Lice near Cloonalis where they founded a church and left Deacon Caoimhín.
From him the church came to be called Kilkeevin (now Casterea parish) and the parish naturally took its title from the church. The old church was little more than a mile from Castlerea, to the west, and its ruins, or rather its site, in the old churchyard may still be seen, near the mansion of O’Conor Don, at Cloonalis.
In Fairymount, on the side of Maighean Íontach (Moyne), a mile west of the old fort on top of Ard Senlis, Patrick founded a church to which Lallocc gave her name, Cill Lallocc, a name which down the years has been very badly pronounced and the spot is now known as Cill i Hooley. There are no ruins of the church, but it was known as sacred ground and was used as a burial place for unbaptised infants until a short time ago. Near it he obtained another church site in Magh Nento. It would appear that Lallocc had her convent and oratory at some distance from the church of Magh Nento. The place is now known as Fairy Mount, a conspicuous hill about five miles north of Castlerea. Magh Nento was the surrounding plain.
The site of the old Don Lios in Fairymount is the present Carn Cloch on the summit of Fairymount hill (the highest point in Co. Roscommon). It commands a great view over Airteach and to Cruachán. The name 'Ard Sean Lios' and 'Maighean Íontach' have disappeared in the last 30 years. The name 'Mullach na Sí' has been adopted and there are two meanings given for its origin by old people. Mullach na Sídhe - the mount of the whirlwinds (586 ft.) and Fairymount – the hill of the fairies supposed to be given to it by ancient pagans who saw Lallocc and her holy virgins in the distance near Ard Sean Lios. There remains no other name as a saint other than St. Lalocc in the Fairymount area.
According to Dr. Hanley, Patrick founded another church nearby for Bishop Cethech of whom there is no mention again in Fairymount. He is found with Patrick and Cethech’s brother, Síchill, in Oran where a Basilica was built.
Patrick did not travel from Fairymount to the Tibohine end of Airteach. Instead he went south, on to Oran. Why? We must remember he travelled by Carbad (chariot) and there was no ramhad from here to Tibohine.
According to Cormac’s Glossary there were 5 classes of roads in Erin.
Sed, Semita Unius Animalia.
Lamh Rod – a Bridle road
Tuath Rod – a people’s path from fort to fort.
Bóthar – a road for flocks.
Ramhad – a road so wide that the chariot of a king or a Bishop could pass by each other without touching.
St. Patrick arrives at Tibohine
Instead we find that Patrick came to the present place called Tibohine from Magh Loirg (Moylurg). He was proceeding north through Magh Loirg when his horses were stolen from his camp at Eas Mac nEirc (Assilyn). He came to his friends in Airteach for fresh horses and to the present place called Baothín. Here he founded a church which later came to be known as Domus Baethini – Tí Bhaoithín (The House of St. Baoithín) which gave its name to the parish. Local tradition held that Baothín was with him but Tíreachán in the Book of Armagh states that Baethín, grandson of Enda of Airteach, inherited (spiritual) this church a century later. In the Tripartite, Baethín is given as a contemporary of St. Naithí and St. Attracta of Breedouge.
Baethín of Airteach apparently extended this church and the number of cealla (cells) covered several acres of hill in Tibohine, overlooking Domus Baethín. It flourished from the 6th to early 18th century and was described in the Book of Lecan and the Annals. “An áit ba mhó cliú in Airteach ba é Tí Beatha é” – The most famous place in Airteach was Tí Bhaoithín. The civil rulers were Clann Diarmaid Gall of Enda.
There was not to be found a ceard (craftsman) in Erin that was not to be found in Tí Tibohine. It is frequently mentioned in the Book of Lecan, Book of Armagh and the Annals.
A talk given to the Lough Gara Historical Society by Patrick Timon of Fairymount in 1969 [pub. Roscommon Archeological and Historical Society Journal, vol 1]
The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick "V. PATRICK AMONGST THE CIARRAIGE OF MAGH AI"
Folklore related to this place is available on Duchas.ie