Sir Cormac MacCarthy

MacCarthy, Sir Cormac, was third in descent from preceding. An adherent of the English power, he served under Sir George Carew at the siege of Kinsale, and took an active part against the Spaniards and their allies, O'Neill and O'Donnell. Afterwards Carew learned that he was carrying on a secret correspondence with the enemy, and was about to give up his stronghold of Blarney Castle to the Spanish commander for 800 ducats. He was therefore immediately imprisoned and an ineffectual attack made upon Blarney Castle. He eventually agreed to surrender Blarney and Kilcrea to the Queen until his innocence was proved. His castle of Macroom was taken by Sir Charles Wilmot — the defenders having accidently set it on fire.

Mistrusting the promises of the Government, MacCarthy effected his escape from prison in his shirt. His dependents immediately gathered round him, and O'Sullivan Beare rallied to his standard. In view of the trouble he might give if driven to extremities, and of the heavy losses he had sustained in the war, a padon was accorded, upon his giving solvent securities for his good behaviour to the amount of £3,000, and a portion of his estates secured to him. "As the war subsided," says Mr. Wills, "and the country settled into a temporary repose, MacCarthy exchanged the troubled life, which entitled his name to appear in the records of the day, for the peaceful possession of his castles and lands." He died 23rd February 1616. [His son Cormac was in 1628 created Viscount Muskerry and Baron of Blarney, and died in London, 20th February 1640.]


52. Burke, Sir Bernard: Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages. London, 1866.

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.