Mac Cárthaigh

Rev Patrick Woulfe

Mac CÁRTHAIGH—IVM'Carhig, M'Carhie, MacCarha, MacCarthy, MacCartie, MacCarty, MacArthy, &c.; 'son of Cárthach' (Old Celtic Caratacos, loving, an ancient Irish personal name). The MacCarthys were the chief family of the Eoghanacht, i.e., the descendants of Eoghan Mor, son of Oilioll Olum, King of Munster in the 3rd century. They took their name from Cárthach, lord of the Eoghanacht, whose tragic death, in 1045, is recorded in the Annals. Cártach was the son of Saerbhreathach (a name still in use in the family, anglicised Justin), who was the grandson of Ceaillachán of Cashel, King of Munster in the Danish period. Prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion, the MacCarthys were Kings of Desmond, or South Munster; but shortly after that event they were driven from the plains of Tipperary into the present counties of Cork and Kerry, where, however, they became very numerous and retained considerable possessions down to the revolution of 1688. They were divided into three great branches, the heads of which were known respectively as MacCarthy More who resided chiefly in Kerry, MacCarthy Reagh, lord of Carbery in West Cork, and MacCarthy of Muskerry; and there were numerous minor branches. In 1565, Donal MacCarthy, the then MacCarthy More, was created Earl of Clancar, and other members of the family were at various periods ennobled as Barons of Valentia, Earls of Clancarthy, Viscounts Muskerry, and Lords Mountcashel.

Alphabetical Index to Irish Surnames