The McCarthys of Cork

In 1565 Diarmid McCarthy, the seventh chieftain of Muskerry, again defeated the Geraldines, under the command of Sir Thomas of Desmond, his father-in-law, who was taken prisoner and slain by his guard.

The eighth lord was Cormac MacTeige, who again defeated Sir James, brother of the Earl of Desmond. In consequence of this victory he was appointed Sheriff of the County of Cork by the Lord Justice of Ireland.

His power was very considerable, for he could at any moment raise a force of 3,000 fighting men. He maintained the favour of the English, and often did them good service. He accompanied Sir George Carew to the siege of Kinsale, attacked the Spanish trenches, and drove the Spaniards towards the town. On the latter receiving assistance he was forced to give way, until relieved in turn by the besieging army.

Before the close of that siege suspicion as to his fidelity to the English cause arose, and this was confirmed by his cousin, Teige McCormac Carty, who gave information that he was in communication with the Spanish Government. He was thrown into prison, but making his escape soon after, he succeeded in obtaining pardon. He died at Blarney in 1616.

Cormac Oge, the ninth lord, died in 1640 and was succeeded by his son Donogh. The Cromwellian wars at this time disturbed the country. Donogh, with the O'Sullivans, O'Donovans, etc., fought on the side of the king. He was appointed one of the leaders of the Confederate Catholics and espoused the cause with great ardour. He was the last to lay down his arms, and played a distinguished part in all the transactions of the time. In 1642, at the head of a numerous host, he prepared to lay siege to Cork, but was opposed by Inchuquin, the head of another Irish family, and defeated.

In 1643, Broghill, son of the Earl of Cork, attacked and took the Castle of Blarney, which he held for a considerable time, and in 1652 he pursued and defeated Muskerry and his party then proceeding to relieve Limerick, which was besieged by Ireton. In 1656 he obtained licence from Cromwell to raise in Ireland a force of 5,000 men for the service of the King of Poland.

On the restoration he was created Earl of Clancarthy and restored to the greater portion of his estates. He was the author of some poems, two of which have come down to us, one being an address to the B. Virgin Mary. He had three sons, Cormac, the eldest, who whilst serving in the same ship with the Duke of York, afterwards James II., was killed in a sea fight with the Dutch; Callaghan, the second son, succeeded his father as Earl of Clancarty; the third son, Justin, obtained from the King the title of Lord Mountcashel. Donogh died in London in 1665.

Donogh, the third Earl, on the landing of James II. at Kinsale received him, and joined his standard. The fortunes of Clancarty fell with those of James. After the surrender of Cork he was taken prisoner and exiled. He subsequently obtained pardon, and it is alleged would be restored to his estates by William only for the interference of Sir Richard Cox. He obtained a pension of £300 a year, and died at Hamburg in 1734. His property was supposed to be worth £150,000 per annum. In 1796 about £200,000 worth was confiscated.

Robert, the fourth Earl, petitioned King George II. through Sir Robert Walpole for a restoration to his rank and fortune. The adventurers who held his estates petitioned the English Parliament to oppose his claims. He was at the time serving in the British Navy with distinction, and a compromise was arrived at by which he obtained a sum of money and promotion to the rank of Captain of the “Adventure.”

A sense of injury always rankled in his breast, and as he fell under suspicion of leanings towards the Stuarts he resolved to retire from the navy.

He joined the French military service, had apartments in the palace, was raised to high rank in the army, and had conferred on him many of the privileges of the higher nobility. He received a pension of £1,000 a year from the French King and came to reside at Boulogne-sur-Mere, that he may be as near as possible to his native land.

He was a man of social and convivial disposition, and loved to entertain English and Irish guests. He died in 1770, leaving two sons with little better than commissions in the army.

It is believed they died without issue and the title became extinct. It was revived in 1803, and a French family became its possessor. This family claimed descent from Ellena McCarthy, daughter of Cormac Oge, Lord Muskerry, who died in 1640.

“1177. By reason of the war waged this year between Thomond and Desmond, i.e., North and South Munster under their respective kings—Donall O'Brien and Diarmuid McCarthy, the entire country from Limerick to Cork, is converted into a wilderness. The people fled into the woods from beyond the Lee to Aow Eachach and beyond Mangerton, and the Eoganact Lach-lain was wasted to Ferdrum in Uibh Eachad.

“1209. Dearmit McCarthy, Donogh Cairbreach O'Brien, and Murcertach O'Donoghue, King of Locha-lein, with Donogh na Hinirce, O'Mahony, dethrone Florence McCarthy, whence much mischief afterwards ensued.” (Annals Innisfallen.)

Read "The History of West Cork" at your leisure

Early Irish History and Antiquities, and the History of West Cork

Read The History of West Cork at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

Enjoy this book on just about any device of your choice. Full hyperlinked contents and index have been included to make navigation easy, and the experience pleasurable.

The ebook is available in .mobi (for Kindle), .epub (for iBooks, etc.), and .pdf formats. See details ».