THE SEPT OF THE DOWNS The Downs was a place of some importance. When the submission of 1542 was signed, one of the signatory chiefs was Donogh m'Branne 0 Birne:( was this the ' Donolle obreane, the messenger ' ilustrated in Derricke's ' Image of Irlande' in 1578, Plate V11. ?) his address is elsewhere more than once given as Downes The name appears in full as Downcalybere, the address in 1547 0(" Caloaghe m'Edo O'Todhe O'Bryne" : In 1550 the same man appears as :" Calvacius M'Edmonde O'Thoo 0 Byrne of Downe.": It is written Downe Calliber in an early 16th century official list of "passes" which the Government was advised to clear " (for the purpose of making roads). These forms of the name enable us to identify it as the place referred to in Keating's History of Ireland " On Dun Caillighe Beirre 0 Brain was inaugurated by MacEochadha " Though this passage is not in all the MSS. of Keating and must be accepted with reserve. Perhaps it is a late insertion, and represents a late tradition or practice, altered to fit in with the new territory of the O'Byrnes; for we would expect their place of inauguration to be in Co. Kildare. The suggestion, however, that the chief was inaugurated (on some occasions ~) in this locality receives some corroboration from a name which appears in early 17th century records "as Knockphoball and Knockanpubble, i.e., "the hill of the meeting place": this though the name has now disappeared seems to have been somewhere near Drummin. The only trace of a fortification is a circular rath or fort near the Downs village, mentioned by O'Curry, which commands the southern entrance to the Glen of the Downs.
Extracts from The place names of Co. Wicklow, V11, p 388, 391 DOWNS N 151 dun caillighe Beirre 1637 Downcally bera ( Lodge MSS PROI., 1a 53 54 p. 390) Glen of the Downs 1760 Downs Glin N. The list of " places to be cute" (c. 1540 ) includes Downe Calliber; the pass here means the road thro the glen; the old road went over the high ground to the west. see also Tooman ( the old name for of the Downs Hill ) Sources : Liam Price.
In 1992 I climbed the Downs hill with Pat Byrne of Florida. unfortunately we did not find any inauguration stone ( most of these were smashed and removed by the government forces of the time ) However halfway up the hill we found a 6' high and abt. 4' deep stone wall maybe some 200' long with a V shaped lookout positioned in the centre of the wall. This as a fortification commanded a complete lookout post and defensive wall overlooking the most easterly access between the two Sugarloaf mountains, to Wicklow and the south. This would have been a key position for the O'Byrnes for defending Crioc Branach. >Picture Gallery < Back to Family Septs