Thomas de Clare

(c. 1245—1287) magnate and administrator

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(d. 1287), granted Thomond by Edward I in 1276, and perhaps the last of the medieval conquistadors. A younger brother of the earl of Gloucester, he was a confidant of the king, whom he accompanied on crusade in 1270–2. He went to Ireland in 1274, participated in campaigns in Wicklow, and married a daughter of the Geraldine lord, Maurice Fitz Maurice. His later years were dominated by the attempt to conquer Thomond. He built castles at Bunratty and Quin, and exploited the quarrels of the O'Briens. His execution in 1277 of Brian Rua O'Brien (Brian Ruad Ó Briain), with whom he had allied, was denounced in the Gaelic history Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh, and in the 1317 Remonstrance. From 1309 his son Richard showed equal vigour; but after Richard's death at the battle of Dysert O'Dea in 1318, and the partition of his lands between heiresses, English power in Thomond waned.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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