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His mother was Mór daughter of Toirdealbach O’Brian, who was a grandson of Brian Boru. She married and was one of the wives of Ruaidri na Saide Buide (Rory of the Yellow Hound) Ua Conchobair. Rory was blinded by an O’Flaherty and the Dal gCais dominated Connaught. Turlough became King of Connacht at 18 depriving and possibly murdering his brother. He was king for 30 years. Turlough constructed Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe (“Fort at the Mouth of the Gaillimh”) in 1124. This developed into the city of Galway.
He is remembered mainly for commissioning the Cross of Cong, which contained a relic of the cross of Christ, and for builing the cathedral in Tuam where the Cross was to rest. Turlogh also is said to have built the first three stone castles in Ireland as well as the first stone bridges over the Shannon and the Suck rivers.
His son Rory O’Connor was to become the last High King in 1166. Another son Cathal Cromhdearg (of the Red Hand) is the subject of a legend that entered common language. Chased from the kingdom by Turlough’s jealous wife, Cathal worked as a lowly labourer in the fields until one day he was discovered by his hand and recognised as the true heir. "Cathal's farewell to the rye" is a proverb meaning a farewell never to return.
Both Turlough and Rory O’Connor were buried at Clonmacnoise.
Thank you Stephanie! I have been meaning to write you a note and have been so crazy with work since we returned. The trip was unbelievable! We had a wonderful time and loved every minute of the trip.
Andrea Stevens, Plantation, Florida