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A History of the O'Mahony Septs of Kinelmeky and Ivagha
REV. CANON JOHN O'MAHONY, GLENVILLE, CROOKSTOWN
Journal of the Cork Archæological and Historical Society, various issues, 1906-10
Cork: Guy & Co., 1912
FROM THE ACCESSION OF MAHON (A.D. 1014) TO THE DIVISION OF THE SEPT AFTER A.D. 1212
Mahon (Matgamain), son of Cian and Sabia, daughter of Brian, who were married soon after the Battle of Bealach Leachta, A.D. 978,1 may have been about thirty-four years of age when he succeeded his father in A.D. 1014. The first who is recorded as having borne the name of Mahon was Brian's elder brother, and it is not unlikely that the son of Cian was called after him as a further token of reconciliation with Cian. As the rigdamna, or heir apparent of the Chief of the Ui Eachach, Mahon must, as a matter of course, have taken part in the eventful Battle of Clontarf. In every military expedition undertaken by a Tribe, the presence of the Tanist or heir apparent was as indispensably required as that of the Chief himself. This we learn from a multitude of passages in the Annals of the Four Masters and other Annals in which the rigdamna is mentioned among the slain. It will be remembered that at Clontarf the youthful heir of Murchadh, though scarcely of an age to bear arms, was in the fighting line.
When the Cinel Laeghere Branch of the Tribe, in or about A. D. 1015, migrated to Magunihy in Kerry, Mahon and his Branch, the Cinel Aedha, were left in undisputed possession of the entire Eoghanacht Ui Eachach, or Eoghanacht Raithleann. He is called in the Leabhar Oiris, "Ri na naoi bfonn, King (Chief) of the nine territories." Investigation will show that this title implies an expansion of the Tribeland beyond its limits in the ninth and tenth centuries, as described in the introductory portion of this history. To determine its extent in Mahon's time, we must call to mind that in ancient Ireland (and in England also, as Mr. Green has shown in his Making of England) Dioceses were as a rule conterminous with the tribal limits. The Ui Eachach Sept-land was the original Diocese of Cork, as Corcalee, the patrimony of O'Driscoll, was identified with the Diocese of Ross, Ui Fidhgenti with the Diocese of Limerick, the Kingdom of Meath with the extensive Diocese of Meath,2 and there is evidence that since the introduction of Christianity Mac Giolla Padruig's land of Osraighe never extended beyond .he bounds of the present Diocese of Ossory." (O'Donovan, Notes to O'Heerin.)
Hence the old ecclesiastical arrangements, whenever better known, help us to reconstruct tribal limits and vice versa. "The boundary between Ely O'Carroll and ancient Meath," says O'Donovan (Notes to O'Heerin, p. lxxxiv.), "is determined by that of the Diocese of Killaloe and the Diocese of Meath."
The Diocese of Cork, according to the Synod of Rathbreasil, which was held about 70 or 80 years after Mahon's death, extending "from Cork to Carn Ui Neid, and from the Abhain Mor (Blackwater) to the southern sea." The Ui Eachach tribeland, as has been already proved by many testimonies, had the same eastern and western boundaries, and, that its northern and southern limits also coincided with those of the Diocese, is a justifiable inference from the numerous examples above quoted to show the relation of Tribeland and Diocese in ancient Ireland. The inference is confirmed by the ancient quatrain preserved by Smith, which gives "the Paps on the North and the Southern Main" as the limits of the Sept-land in the time of "Flan, a predecessor of Bece"
The sub-denominations of the Tribeland naturally became the "Decanatus" or Deaneries of the Diocese, and from the account of those Deaneries taken at a Government Inquisition in 1615 from the old "rolls of the Diocese of Cork," which had come into the possession of Bishop Lyons (State Papers, A.D. 1588), we can recover the names of most of the "nine territories" (naoi bFonn) over which Mahon ruled. The Deaneries were seven―Kinelea, divided into Kinelea Citra and Kinelea Ultra (this latter identified with Kinelmeky); Kerricurrihy, Kilmughan or Ifflanloe (Ui Flain Luad), Clanshealvy, Fonn-Iartharach, and the city, with its suburban parishes. Kinelea Ultra included "Ringrone, Killanay, Kilgobbin, Particula Gortnagross Templetryne, Rathclarine, Burrin, Kilbrittain, Rathdroutha, Dowagh alias BalIinady, Kilmodan alias Ballymodan, Knockavilly, St. Martin's (i.e., Templemartin), Innishannon, Kilbrogan, St. Michael's de Dowagh." This corresponds with O'Heerin's Kinelmeky, extending to "the harbour of white foam." But Kinelmeky, when these ecclesiastical divisions were made, was only a tribal and not yet a territorial name; otherwise it would have given its name to this Deanery called Kinelea Ultra. The Deaneries of Kinelea (Citra) and Kerricurrihy are the Baronies at present designated by the same names. Clanshealvy (Clann t-Sealbigh) included the parishes from Kinneigh to Drimoleague, with Ballymoney and Murragh. The Deanery of Kihnughan (otherwise "Ifflanloe") comprised Athnowen and Inchageela and the parishes that lie between them. The Deanery of Fonn-Iartharach ("western land"), erroneously given as "Foueragh" in the document of 1615, contained the six western parishes, already mentioned in the Introduction. (Cork Hist. and Arch. Journal, Oct.-Dec., 1906, p. 191).
Kerricurrihy at the close of the ninth century was a district with a chief of its own, "Fogarthach the Wise," who was slain in the battle of Ballaghmughna, in which Cormac Mac Cuilenan, King of Cashel, was defeated, in 903 (Annals Four M.). But it must have been subsequently annexed, or at least made tributary, by the Ui Eachach Chiefs. Place names derived from Mahon are conclusive on that point. Lough Mahon (Loe Matgamna), at the eastern boundary, was probably so called from being the meeting place of the fleet of ships for which Mahon's tribe was noted in the time of King Brian. Ring Mahon (Rinn Matgamna), "Mahon's headland," was at one time the name of a parish containing eight ploughlands. There was also a Carrigmahon.
Corcach (Cork), for many centuries the eastern boundary of the tribeland, had become a part of it in the time of Cian and Mahon. The locality in which St. Finhar established his monastery, the nucleus of the future city, was according to the ancient Irish "Life of Barra," chapt. xiii., in the district of the Uibh Iair. These were a kindred tribe, being the descendants of the youngest son of Corc, king of Munster, Iar, about whom the Annals are silent, though his name is presented in the genealogical lists in the Books of Leinster and Ballymote. But in the eleventh century Corcach had become dependent for protection on the Ui Eachach; in Cian's time in the year 1012 they went to the rescue of the city when being burned by the Danes, and Cathal, son of Donal, son of Duvdavoren, distinguished himself by killing the leaders of the foreigners. Again, as we shall see later on, in the time of the grandson of Mahon, in 1088, the Clan saved the city from an incursion of the Leinster Danes. It cannot be supposed that, at such a period, Corcach was independent of the neighbouring Chief, on whom it had to rely for protection.
As Kinelea, though, ecclesiastically divided, was one tribal subdenomination, we can make out only six of the" nine territories" from the seven Deaneries enumerated. A seventh territory would be Musgrylin (Murgraroe Flainn or Floinn3), a Deanery, comprising a number of parishes between the Blackwater and the Lee; belonging to the original Diocese of Cork (according to the Synod of Rathbreasil), but attached to Cloyne subsequently. There remain two territories unidentified. Hence it may be concluded that Mahon must have acquired two other districts outside his old hereditary Sept-land and outside the Diocese of Cork. Where are we to look for these? Perhaps some light is thrown on the question by the place-name Dunmahon, and by the tradition mentioned by Smith in the following passage of his History of Cork (p. 320, New Ed.):―"To the west of Fermoy lies Carriganedy, i.e., the rock of the shield, where stood a castle (qu. Dun?), said to have been built by the Mahonys."
During the Chieftainship of Mahon, in the year 1024, occurred the death, by assassination, of a remarkable man, Cuan O'Lochan, Ollamh and Chronicler, who in both capacities was long associated with Rath Rathleann, near which a special residence4 was appropriated to him by Cian. His death is recorded by several Annalists, and by the Leabhar Oiris in the following terms:―1024. "This year was killed Cucln O'Lochan, chief File [poet] and Chronicler of Cian, son of Maolmuadh."5 This distinguished Ollamh left Rathleann some time after his patron's death, and is said to have been acknowledged as a regent or administrator of the kingdom of Ireland, after the death of Malachy, for two years. "It can hardly be said that his work was cut short, for more than 1,600 lines from his hand have come down to us. He was one of the most famous of a group of famous men belonging to the tenth and eleventh centuries, distinguished in their day as genealogists, chroniclers, and poets, whose voluminous productions have survived to our own time." (Text Book of Irish Literature, by Miss Hull, p. 170)
Under the year 1028 the death of Mahon is entered as follows in the Leabhar Oiris:―"Mahon, son of Cian, son of Maolmuadh, King of the nine territories, and Maolsechlann The Stammerer, King of Meath, died." The Four Masters give 1038 as the date of Mahon's death, but, for a reason already assigned, the Leabhar Oiris should be regarded as a preferable authority on South Munster affairs.
Sabia survived her son three years. The (original) Annals of Innisfallen, year 1831, have the entry: "Sadbh (pr. Soyve), daughter of Brian, died." The Leabhar Oiris, which gives fuller information than the Annals of Innisfallen about the history of the tenth and eleventh centuries, ends with the death of Mahon.
It was reserved for this Chieftain that his name should be borne as a surname by his posterity, and, eventually (in the course of centuries), by the entire Sept, which included, of course, families descended from his cousins and remote relatives. In his time each member of an Irish tribe had, like an ancient Greek or Hebrew, only one name, and was distinguished from others by mentioning the name of his father and grandfather. People grew impatient of this cumbrous arrangement, and a widespread preference was manifested for an unalterable surname towards the beginning of the twelfth century in Ireland and (a curious coincidence) in the same century in England also. It would be a mistake to assert (what has been often asserted) that the Irish families deliberately selected the name of their principal ancestor to be a surname; it is not improbable that they began to be called after a certain ancestor by their neighbours,6 and that they themselves gradually adopted the patronymic thus applied to them. Had Mahon's descendants made a selection, the name chosen would assuredly be that of Cian. Mahon, Cathrach (from whom M'Carthy), Donchadh (from whom O'Donoghue)―to give a few out of many possible examples―were not the principal ancestors in their respective lines. And some families supposed to be called after their principal ancestor were in reality called after a descendant and namesake of his.
Mahon's name was also used in his Clan as a praenomen or Christian name, but, in the Anglicizing period, it was altered to Matthew. Maolmuadh was in more frequent use down to the 17th century, and even since in some Kerry families, altered into Myles. But the praenomen that was in most frequent use was Cian,7 fairly well Anglicized into Kean; some degenerate descendants have had the bad taste to change it into "Cain."
Mahon's son and successor was Brodchon. Dr. O'Donovan calls him Brodchu. As the name Brodchon was used as a genitive ("Mac Brodchon") in the genealogical list, he inferred by analogy a nominative Brodchu, but it would seem inaccurately. The word is apparently indeclinable, judging from the language of the entry, which we shall quote presently, from the (Dublin) Annals of Innisfallen. The only record that has come down to us about this Chief relates his participation in one of those deplorable inter-tribal feuds that had become more frequent than ever during the century and a half subsequent to the Battle of Clontarf. The entry referred to is:―"A.D. 1072. A hosting by Brodchon, son of Mahon, son of Cian, son of Maolmuadh, son of Bron, into the Decies, from which he carried off much booty to recover which there was a pursuit by the people of Magh Feine, and an engagement followed, in which Mudan O'Driscoll, Chief of Corcalee, was slain, and many others on both sides." There was an old feud between South Munster and the Decies, and in Cian's time, as was shown in a previous page, from the Leabhar Oiris, the people of the Decies were the aggressors. As Brodchon was the leader of this expedition and other Chiefs followed his standard, he is thus shown to have kept up the leading position held by his father and his grandfather Cian, in Desmond. From the series of ancestors who are attached to his name in the above entry, it is evident that surnames had not yet come into use in his Clan, 1072. The statement made in Burke's Landed Gentry, that he was the first called "O'Mahon," is inaccurate; such an appellation in his time would mean grandson of Mahon.
The year 1088 was a memorable one in the records of the Ui Eachach Mumhan. In that year the Sept performed its most notable military exploit, the defeat of a formidable combination of the Norsemen organised to plunder Cork. That city had enjoyed a respite from such attacks ever since A.D. 1012, when Cian's Clan came to its rescue―too late to prevent the burning, but in time to retaliate severely on the invaders. The burning of Cork in 1087, not being- attributed by the Annalists to an invading force, must be regarded as accidental; fires of accidental origin must have been of very frequent occurrence in ancient and medireval times, when towns were (like London at the period of the Restoration), "built for the most part of wood and plaster." (Macaulay, Hist. of Engl., vol. i., c. 3.)
"In the year 1088," say the Four Masters, "a great slaughter was made by the Ui Eachach Mumhan, of the foreigners of Ath Cliath, Loch Garman and Portlairge (Dublin, Wexford and Waterford) in the day that they jointly attempted to plunder Corcach Mumhan (Cork)."8 The fame of this exploit spread throughout Ireland, and the Annals of Ulster mention it in terms almost identical with those that have been just quoted. The victory was a crushing one and verified the ancient battle-cry of the Sept,9 "Lasair Romhainn a Buadh." Had the foreigners succeeded, they would, most probably, have converted Cork into a well-fortified stronghold like Dublin, and continued to make predatory incursions into the surrounding country.10 All Desmond, and not Cork alone, was deeply interested in the result of the combat, which one tribe had the courage and the power to undertake:―
It is improbable that the battle was fought in the vicinity of Cork. The Clan was able on this occasion to prevent the intended plundering, and not merely to retaliate on the plunderers after the injury was done, as in 1012. Now, it would not be possible to receive notice of the movements of the Danish ships, to muster a sufficient number of clansmen in the vicinity of the Chief's residence, and to reach Corcach, fifteen miles distant, before the Danes could have sailed up from the mouth of the harbour. It is more likely that it was in the heart of their tribeland that they intercepted the Danish forces, who may have followed the same course as their predecessors in the ninth century, when they "ravaged Carbery and Muskerry, and a third went towards Corcach."12 They probably entered Kinsale Harbour and sailed up to Innishannon, intending to march through Kinelmeky and the valley of Muskerry on to Corcach, to which they would have sent round their ships. Certain it is that in the earlier part of the nineteenth century the tradition prevailed that a battle was fought between the Irish and the Danes at Castle na Leachta (Castle Lac) in Kinelmeky. In the field near the ruins of the old castle there are four pillar stones, whose number and traditional name (Leachta) indicate that the plain on which they stand was a battle-field. They are of considerable size, one being twelve feet high, another nine, and another six. They are of clay slate, a material not to be found in that red sandstone district, and must have been brought with much labour from a considerable distance to commemorate an event evidently deemed of no ordinary importance.13
In the following year, 1089, according to the (Dublin) Annals of Innisfallen, a combat took place between the Ui Eachach and Dermod O'Brien, with the result that "two hundred of Dermod's soldiers were slain." Dermod being at feud with his brother, Murchertach, King of Munster, whose Leinster enemies be openly joined in 1087, and being expelled from Thomond, may have sought to make a settlement for himself in Brodchon's tribeland.
Brodchon, if alive in those years, would have been too old to take an active part in those two combats, and the office of leader would devolve on his son and successor, Cumara, who ruled the Clan from Brodchon's death to the beginning of the twelfth century. The claim to the sovereignty of Munster, which Cian bad put forward after the Battle of Clontarf, was not renewed by the Chiefs who succeeded him. They acquiesced in the supremacy of the House of Brian, and consoled themselves with their privilege of exemption from tribute, recognised in the Book of Rights14. So wrote the Tribal Bard in some archaic verses, which must be referred to this period, and are preserved in MS. 23, G. 22, p. 49, and other MSS. (R. I. Academy):―
"Though a Chief of the Ibh Tail (O’Briens) be in it (i.e., the sovereignty of Munster), the day that the offspring of Bron (i.e. an O'Mahon) goes to meet him, he has nothing to do but to salute by an inclination of the head."
The entry of Cumara's death is placed under the year 1091 in the (original) Annals of Innisfallen:―"O'Mahon, the son of Brodchon, was killed15 treacherously by the son of Maolmuaidh,16 the son of Matudain." The above year corresponds with the year 1107; owing to the defective chronology17 adopted by the Innisfallen Annalists in the tenth and eleventh centuries, all events are ante-dated by sixteen years. "Ua Matgamna" is used in this entry as a true surname; if the Annalist meant "grandson of Mahon," he would have used the accustomed formula, "Mac Mic Matgamna" or "Mac Brotcon, mic Matgamna."
In the same Annals the death of his successor, Donogh Donn, who in all probability was engaged, as being the rigdamna, in the two combats above mentioned, is recorded in the year 1102, recte 1118:―Mac Mic Brotcon, ua Matgamna do ecc. He was succeeded by his son, Cian (A.D. 1118-1135), the third of his line who bore that name. In this Chieftain's first year commenced the decline of the Sept's predominance in South Munster. We shall, therefore, take occasion to recapitulate in a few brief sentences what has been proved regarding the position it held in Munster from the sixth to the twelfth century.
The posterity of Eochaidh, son of Cas, son of Corc, King of Munster, were the first to detach themselves from the main stock, and form a separate tribe, which established itself in the present County of Cork, while the other Eoghanachts were domiciled in Tipperary and part of Limerick. (See introductory chapter, note 17.) The other families descended from Corc, through Aengus K.M. (ob. 489), were designated by the name of "Ui Aenghusa of the South," and under that name constituted one composite tribe in A.D. 862 (Annals F.M.). In it were the families that afterwards acquired the names of O'Sullivan (now known to be the senior of those families 18), MacCarthy, &c., &c. The sovereignty of Munster down to the time of Brian and his brother Mahon continued to be the privilege of Corc's descendants, but not of any one family19 among them; it was elective, not hereditary, and rarely was any King of Munster (immediately) succeeded by his son. Amongst those Kings of Munster were three of the Ui Eachach (one being of the Cinel Laeghere), and evidence has been given that the Chiefs of the Clan were lords of Desmond as far back as A.D. 845, and no ancestor of any other tribe can be shown to have been described by that title before A.D. 1118.
The families above mentioned as having been included under the name of the "Ui Aenghusa of the South" were for a half-century before, and about a half-century after, the date of the Battle of Clontarf, in a state of obscurity; they are not mentioned at all in the Annals of that period. But in the twelfth century one of them obtained a prominence that lasted for over four hundred years. Carthach, the ancestor of the M'Carthys (ob. 1045, Annals F.M.), and his two successors, Donogh and Muirieadhach (1092), lived and died Chiefs of Eoghanacht Cashel, which coincided with the Barony of Iffa and Offa 20 in Co. Tipperary. Such also was the designation of Tadhg, son of Carthach, until 1118. In that year Tadhg united with the "people of Desmond," or at least some section of them, in an attack on Brian, son of Murchad O'Brian, who was killed in the combat. Influenced by this evidence of Tadhg's hostility to the O'Briens, Turlough O'Connor, King of Connacht, their arch-enemy, when he had successfully invaded Munster, that same year, divided it into two independent provinces, raising Tadhg to the position of King of Desmond. Tadhg, however, appears to have never come to live in the South, but ended his days in Eoghanacht Cashel (Annals F.M., 1124). TurIough O'Connor restored Tadhg's race when "expelled from Desmond in 1139," and in' 1151 Dermod (King of Desmond at the time of the Norman Invasion) "assumed the sovereignty of Desmond, by the help of the Connacht men." (Annals F.M., the latter clause accidentally omitted in O'Donovan's translation.)
But the Chiefs of South Munster did not acquiesce without a struggle in O'Connor's arrangement. Cormac, the successor of Tadhg, was expelled by the Ui Eachach in 1126. So says the (Bodleian) Annals of Innisfallen under the year 1110 (recte 1126):―"Cormac, grandson of Carthach, was expelled by the Ui Eachach of his own province" (do n-ib Eacac Ren). The generic name implies that the Annalist21 includes both branches so called, and in 1127 "O'Mahon" and O'Donoghue" are expressly named by the (Dublin) Innisfallen Annals as combining with three other Chiefs against Donogh McCarthy, who was also expelled. The above entry in the (Bodleian) Annals about the combination against Cormac McCarthy cannot be reconciled with that in the Annals of the Four Masters, which ascribes Cormac's dethronement to O'Connor. But in Munster affairs the authority of the original Innisfallen Annalist should not be set aside; it is, moreover, confirmed to a certain extent by an entry in the Annales Hibernici, quoted by Ware in his notes on the Charter22 alleged to have been given by Dermod McCarthy to a Church in Cork. It is quoted in English characters as follows:―"Cormac mac Muriagh mic Carthaigh do aithsiocean do matuib agus a dul go Liosmor an olithre. " The correct reading would be (as required by the context) do aithrioghadh do maitbib―Cormac was dethroned by nobles (Chiefs) and went to Lismore, &c. The Chiefs are not named, but the Annalist would surely mention the King of Connacht, if he took part in the action.
The time of Cian's chieftainship was certainly a disturbed one. He took part with "the Chieftains of Munster and Thomond" in some expedition, against whom we are not precisely informed, but a battle took place at Clonenagh, near Mountrath, where, according to the (Dublin) Annals of Innisfallen, A.D. 1135, "Cian, son of Donogh Donn, son of Cumara, son of Brodchon, O'l\Jahon, King of Ui Eachach, was killed."23
The immediate successor of Cian (the third) was not his son, who must have been under age in 1135, as his death is recorded in 1212. By the Tanist law his brother, or other near relative, became head of the Sept. The Christian name of this successor has not been preserved, but in the Annals, under the year 1137, we find that "Cormac M'Carthy, O'Mahon, O'Donoghue and other chiefs went to Portlairge to oppose Turlough O'Brien." Cian's son, however, afterwards succeeded to the Chieftainship, for in the same Annals is the entry:―"A.D. 1171. Donogh O'Mahon over the Ui Eachach; Donal O'Donoghue over the Eoghanacht of Loch Lein." In subsequent entries, and in the genealogical table, Donogh is described as the son of Cian. We are now arrived at the period of the Norman Invasion.
Donogh, son of Cian the third of that name, succeeded to the chieftainship on the death of his uncle, who fell in the victorious attack made on the English garrison of Waterford by the Irish of South Munster24 at the close of the year 1170. It was the custom of clansmen to attach to the name of the Chief a Learainm, or sobriquet, suggested by some personal peculiarity or circumstance connected with his place of birth or fosterage. Donogh's only salient peculiarity was a habit of going the round of his forts and living for some time in each, instead of residing permanently or principally at Rath Rathleann. Hence the appellation of Donchadh, "Na Himerce (Himerke) Timchill," or, more briefly, Na Himerce,"25 Donogh "of the changes of residence," as he is generally called in the Annals and Genealogies. As may be seen by referring back to Genealogical Tables Nos. I and II, he is the stem to which the genealogists trace not only the two principal septs of the name (those of Kinelmeky and Ivagha), but all the minor septs or families. He held a memorable position also in the tribal history as having been the last chieftain who succeeded to the entire territory26 of his ancestors. That territory was of a straggling, inconvenient conformation, most difficult to defend at a time when sudden incursions were the rule rather than the exception in Irish warfare, and when a standing force was not usually maintained. Before the "hosts from Carn Ui Neid" could arrive or even be summoned from the west, a muster of clansmen in the eastern parts might be hopelessly outnumbered and cut to pieces by an invader. Under this disadvantage, an almost perpetual struggle had to be kept up against the encroachments of the English invaders and of Irish neighbours on the integrity of the tribeland during the chieftainship of Donogh na Himerce.
Dermod MacCarthy, King of Desmond, called by the English, King of Cork, was the first Irish prince to do homage to Henry when he came in person. It is very probable that his motive was to secure, by means of an apparently powerful and trustworthy suzerain, his own precarious position, which (as was shown in the foregoing pages) was derived from the support of the King of Connacht, and not from the consent or through the conquest of the other chiefs of Cork and Kerry. Neither he27 nor any of the others who formally submitted to Henry, observes Mr. Haverty, "understood Norman rapacity, or could have imagined that in paying homage to Henry as liege lord, they were conveying to him the absolute ownership of their territories." Absorbed in their own local feuds, they had not followed the course of events in England since the Conquest, or they would have been warned by the fate of the AngloSaxons,28 every rood of whose lands was confiscated, and they themselves reduced to abject serfdom. Those Irish chiefs soon found Norman rule to be what, according to Mr. Leeky, it continued for centuries to be, "too weak to introduce order and obedience, yet sufficient to check the growth of any enterprising genius amongst the natives; . . . like a spearpoint embedded in a living body, it inflamed all around It and deranged even vital functions." "It prevented," says Hallam, "the rise, in the course of time, of an Egbert or Harold to consolidate the provincial kingdoms into one hereditary monarchy." The faithlessness of the Norman was also made evident by the Charter given in 1177 to the two adventurers, Fitzstephen and De Cogan, a sweeping confiscation, or attempted confiscation, of the rights of chiefs and clansmen, who, if the attempt could be carried out, would henceforward exist on sufferance in their own land. The adventurers were owners of the whole county as far as a piece of parchment could make them owners, and their representatives in after times often described themselves, or were described in Inquisitions and by some recent writers, as "owners" of places they never were able to seize; thus Barry Oge was often described as the "owner" of Kinelmeky and Ibh Flan Lua (Muskerry). Of the thirty-one cantreds of the" Kingdom of Cork" (O'Donovan says "there was no such Kingdom"), they were only able to appropriate "seven contiguous to the city," says Giraldus, "agreeing to divide the tribute of the other twenty-four when they should have been brought into subjection." Cox improves on Giraldus by stating that "Dermod Mac Carthy and the others accepted of grants of those cantreds, paying a small yearly chief rent thereout." (Cox's Regnum Corcagiense). It is now well known that there were no such "grants" either given or accepted.
Had Donogh Na Himerce gone to make his submission to the English King, his action would have been recorded as was that of the Chief of the Deise, certainly not a more important tribe in South Munster than the Ui Eachach. There is reason for believing that he maintained towards the invaders the same attitude as his predecessor, who died fighting against them at Waterford; he, too, as we shall see, lost his life in the same way, after having undergone a considerable spoliation at their hands. This spoliation commenced in 1179; we are informed that the grantees of Henry's Charter given in 1177 proceeded to seize seven cantreds two years afterwards. De Cogan succeeded in seizing Dundrinane (now Castlemore), in the Muskerry portion of Donogh's territory, and as we learn from Cox (Regnum Corcagiense) fixed his residence there. It afterwards passed from him either by grant or by forcible capture to the son of Dermod Mac Carthy. Kinelea, in the east, was invaded and made over subsequently to Robert Fitzmartin,29 from whom it passed to the Barrys. On the West coast, Richard de Carew, Marquis of Cork, who died in 1198, seized on Innisfodda (Long Island) and another ploughland, which he afterwards restored by way of a marriage portion when his daughter married Dermod Mor O'Mahon, the eldest son of Donogh. These seizures were rendered comparatively easy by the disastrous feuds that had arisen, at a most inopportune time, between the Irish tribes. In 1178 there had occurred one of the periodical wars between Thomond and Desmond, with the result, according to the Dublin Annals of Innisfallen, that "the country between Cork and Limerick was devastated, and the greater part of the race of Eoghan Mor fled into the woods of Ivagha." The compiler of those Annals, as we have often before observed, is not an impartial authority in recounting the exploits of the DaIcassian race; but whatever may have been the result of the war, it must have greatly weakened the Irish and favoured the enterprise of the English adventurers. Under the year 1179 an entry in the same Annals records that before that year, or at least before the end of it, Dermod Mac Carthy and O'Donoghue of Loch Lene (Killarney) had attacked and "expelled Donogh Na Himerce O'Mahon, King of the Ui Eachach." It is plain from this entry that Donogh's power was considerable when Dermod Mac Carthy did not venture to attack him without being reinforced by an auxiliary. It is plain, too, that Dermod's power over Co. Cork tribes was rather nominal than real, as he had to procure the required aid from the O'Donoghues seated in distant Magunihy, in Kerry. There is decisive evidence that Donogh recovered his position after this defeat, for in the Bodleian Annals of Innisfallen, under the year 1206, we read:―" The son of Dermod Mac Carthy30 stirred against Fineen and Donogh Cairbreach O'Brien and O'Mahon and all Desmond." This quotation has to be given from an old English translation of the 17th century in T.C.D. Library, as the Irish text from the Bodleian MS. in Dr. O'Connor's edition is not complete, but ends with the year 1196. The passage is obscurely worded, but one thing appears plain enough, viz., that O'Mahon (Donogh Na Himerce) is mentioned as a power in Desmond. From the same (Bodleian) Annals, under the year 1201, we learn that in a war between Thomond and Desmond a portion of Donogh's tribeland, that in the vicinity of the Round Tower of Kinneigh, was terribly devastated. The O'Briens formed an alliance with De Burgo, who, like his confreres, was glad to interfere in Irish quarrels, and Dalcassian and English troops marched, says the Annalist, "into Muskerry Mitine, where they took many spoils, and then they marched to Kinneigh, where they tarried seven days, and they burned much corn in all the places they reached. They also killed Amhlaoibh O'Donovan, King of Hy Cairbre (Aedhbha) and Mac Oisdelb with some, of his followers and many others." The Dublin copy of the Annals of Innisfallen alters the above by saying that O'Donovan was killed "at Kinneigh," and Dr. O'Donovan improves on this by the inference that O'Donovan was "then for some time seated at Kinneigh." However, in another passage (Annals F. M., vol. 2, p. 934) he holds the opinion that the O'Donovan tribe did not abandon their home in Hy Fidgenti, Co. Limerick until the year 1229.31 This is a dreary narrative of feuds and rapine in the South of Ireland. Chroniclers of most other parts of the country record similar events, but it should be borne in mind that this state of affairs was not peculiar to the Irish tribes. "About this period," says Mr. Haverty (Hist. of Ireland, chapt. xxi), "the mutual feuds of the English Barons in Ireland were as capricious and sanguinary as any that we have had to lament among the Irish." And if we look to the Continent, Germany was passing through the anarchy of the "Great Interregnum," and Italy was beginning to be torn asunder by the Guelph and the Ghibelline factions, which for two centuries embroiled its numerous petty republics. Rarely has it happened in any country in former times that domestic dissensions were checked by the apprehension that advantage might be taken of them by a foreign enemy. These observations it is necessary to make, as some readers might imagine that there was not, outside of Ireland, any instances of the folly exhibited by Mac Carthy32 and O'Donoghue in attacking O'Mahon in 1179, in the presence of the English enemy, by whom they both lost their lives―the one in that very year, and the other in 1105.
After 1206 we have no record about O'Mahon until 1212, and he may have enjoyed an interval of peace, rare in his troubled career. By incessant struggles he had succeeded in preserving about two-thirds of his septland. But in 1212 the heroic old chieftain, who, born before 1135, must have been in or about his eightieth year, was once more in arms in defence of his rights against the English invaders, and the result is told by the Annalist:―"was killed by the foreigners."
Donogh left three sons, Muirchertach, Dermod Mor, and Conchobar. The chieftainship devolved on the eldest son, Muirchertach. His name, preserved in the Annals, does not occur in the genealogies, as his line became extinct by a tragic event, which will presently be related. Dermod Mor became the ancestor of the Chiefs of Ivagha, and Conchobar of those of Kinelmeky. The division of the sept may be considered to date from the time of Muirchertach. It was not the result of internal discord in the ruling family of the clan, but arose naturally through force of circumstances. Dermod Mor appears to have had during his father's lifetime, charge of the western portion of the tribeland. A portion―a small portion only―of the tribeland had been seized by Richard de Carew, one of the Norman adventurers who established himself in the West, obtained the title of Marquess of Cork, and built the Castle at Dunnamark.33 He gave his daughter in marriage34 to Dermod Mor, giving (in reality restoring), by way of a marriage portion, the island of Innisfodda (now Long Island) and a townland, "Calloghe-Chrage, by Schull Haven," which townland the present writer cannot identify. This statement rests on the authority of Sir George Carew, "a born genealogist," as he has been called, who was a descendant of the Marquess, and had, at the end of the 16th century, access to accurate information on the subject. Moreover, in the Irish genealogies (as in MS. 23, H.1.e., R.I. Academy) we find a "Ricard" among the four sons of Dermod Mor―a name sufficiently indicative of a Norman connection. Muirchertach was, no doubt, during his lifetime chief of all the tribeland east and west. But when the time came for Dermod to succeed him, part of the territory between Kimelmeky and Ivagha had been seized by Donal Gott Mac Carthy, and it was felt that it was no longer expedient that two disconnected territories should be under one ruler, and thus by tacit or express agreement Dermod remained as chief in Ivagha, and his brother Conchobar was elected Chief of Kinelmeky.
But to return to the history of Muirchertach. It appears that he was the first of his race designated by the appellation of Cairbreach,35 "of Carbery," derived most probably from his having been "fostered" in Carbery, a part of his territory. There are several instances of names having been given to Chiefs for a similar reason. When the genealogists of Louis XlV recognised the origin of one of the exiled chiefs as commencing with "O'Mahoni de Carbrie, 1220," they must, according to their custom, have exacted the production of some historical document (now lost) referring to a chieftain who flourished at that date.
For twenty years the last chieftain of the undivided septland appears to have been left undisturbed by his Norman and Irish neighbours, but in 1232 a great disaster befell him from an unprovoked and treacherous attack, for which he was unprepared. This attack is described, with strong censure, by the (Bodleian) Innisfallen Annalist:―"A.D. 1232. Domhnall Gott Mac Carthaigh was taken prisoner by his own brother, Cormac Mac Carthaigh, but he was set at liberty by him at the end of a quarter, and immediately after this Domhnall went, at the instance of Maghnus O'Cobhthaigh and Fineen O'Muirchcartach (O'Moriarty) to commit an unneighbourly act against Muirchertach O'Mathghamhna (O'Mahony), a thing which he did, for he slew the three sons of O'Mathghamhna, and plundered himself, and, in consequence of this, Domhnall Cairbrcach and his race remained in the South from that forth."36
The above translation is by Dr. O'Donovan, who gives also the original, in the Miscellany of the Celtic Society, 1849, p. 142. But "Fineen O'Moriarty" is substituted for "the daughter of Moriarty" on the authority of the old English translation (T.C.D. Library) of the Annals by Duald Mac Firbis, in whose Irish text was Fingin, which in O'Donovan's copy became ingin (a daughter), owing to the initial letter having become faint or obliterated. The old translation appears also to have brought out more clearly the force of the last sentence of the original:―"And therefore he (Donal Cott) is called Donal Cairbreagh, and his posterity also, for he enjoyed the South ever since.” In the account of the origin of McCarthy Reagh's power in Carbery given by Mr. MacGarthy Glas, with copious quotations from Annals and other sources, the above record is omitted.
The bereaved chieftain died within the following eight years, for he must, of course, be the O'Mahony of Carbery referred to in the Annals of the Four Masters under the year 1240:―"The Monastery of Timoleaguc was founded for Franciscan Friars by Mac Carthy Reagh, Lord of Carbery, and his own tomb was erected in the choir of the Friars. In this Monastery also Barrymore, O'Mahony of Carbery, and the Baron Courcy are interred." This entry must be said to refer to a new Church built by Mac Carthy Reagh on the site of the old Church of St. Molaga, for the adjoining Monastery was, beyond doubt, founded by Lord William Barry, as is clearly proved from the Book of Timoleague in Records of the Barrys, by Rev. Edmond Barry.37 The tomb had doubtless existed in the old Church of St. Molaga, whose name, and not the circumstance of a new church, recommended it as a place of interment.
We shall now proceed with the history of the Kinelmeky Sept, as the Western Clan of Ivagha was an offshoot, though its chiefs were an elder branch of their family.
1. The compiler of the
(Dublin) "Annals of Innisfallen" (circa 1760) has the following under
the year 978:―"Peace was made between Brian and Cian, and Sadbh, the
daughter of Brian, was given in marriage to Cian, and the tributes of the race
of Eoghan Mor, and his (Cian's) hereditary portion from Cork to Carn Ui Neid,
until Saerbretach should come to the sovereignty." The concluding portion
of this entry affords another instance of this Annalist's habit (which O'Donovan
often refers to) of manipulating facts mentioned in ancient records that he had
access to, so as to make them accord
with a theory of his own, It is simply incredible that the ambitious Brian ever
contemplated that anyone outside his own family should obtain the sovereignty of
Munster, which he had won by a severe struggle. In the contentions, already
narrated from every available source, that occurred after Brian's death, no one
thought of Saerbretach, either in connection with Munster or Desmond; he lived
and died In obscurity, being mentioned only in genealogical lists. The compiler
was under the influence of the prominent position obtained by Saerbretach's
posterity in the twelfth century.
2. Formed by a union of older Dioceses within the bounds of Meath.
3. Muskry Flainn or Floin (varieties of spelling) originally included "Ifflonloe" as well as the Deanery "Musgrylin." The Flan mentioned in the Irish quatrain preserved in Smith (" Hist. of Cork," new Ed., p. 14) as a predecessor of Bece (a quo Kinelmeky) as having conquered the entire of Muskerry is identified with Criompthan (Criffan) Ri Rathleann, the father of Aedh and Leaghere, ancestors of the two branches of the Ui Eachach. This is clear from a stanza in the "Leabhar Oiris" version of the topographical poem on Rath Rathleann:―
"Cinel Laegeire Mic Floinn."
Criompthan, therefore, the father of Aedh and Laeghere, must have borne also the name of "Flann" or "Flan."
4. See Topographical Poem already given in this "Journal," vol. xiii., No. 73, p. 31.
5. O'Lothcain in "Annals Four M."
6. There can be little doubt that in this way originated many English surnames―(1) residential, as John at the WeIl (AtweIl), WiIliam at the Wood, Thomas at the Field, Richard at the Townend, etc.; and (2) nicknames turned into surnames, as Hogg, Heavyside, Coward, Smallman, etc., acquiesced in rather than selected by their unlucky possessors.
7. The families who retained this Christian name, when it bad been dropped by others, were known as "Kean Mahonys," or "Mahony Keans," and, eventually, many of these became known as Keane, the original name being quite forgotten, as McDonogh McCarthys became McDonoghs and Dennehys, and the descendants of a Brian McSwiney, Brians and O'Briens.
8. Sir James Ware had followed some other ancient record, which gave 1089 as the date of this battle:―“Ostmanni Dublinii, Wickloae et Waterfordiae, dum conjunctis viribus Corcagiam diripere intenderent, ab Oneaj!bensibus in praelio fusi et profligati sunt." Jacobi Waraei, Equitis Aurati, Liber De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus. Lord. 1658, 2nd Ed. Ware's "Oneaghenses" has been ridiculously translated "the Oneachys" by a writer in an old number of this "Journal."
9. See the War Cries of the different Irish Septs, afterwards the mottoes of families, in a MS. of Theophilus O'Flanagan, in R. I. Academy.
10. In the next century the Danes came into Cork in the peaceful capacity of traders.
11. Ov. Fastorum Lib. II., 197.
12. "Wars of the Gael," p. 31. See also p. 7, "and they (the Danes) plundered Dundermuighe and Innis Eoganain," Dunderrow and Innishannon.
13. In Lewis's "Topographical Dictionary," published 1835, the writer of the article on Templemartin alludes to the tradition of the battle between the Irish and the Danes, but misstates it completely in saying that the pillar stones were erected to commemorate the victory by the Danes in 868. Perhaps by a slip of the pen "by" was substituted for "over." The erection of pillar stones was an Irish, not a Danish, custom. Moreover, the Danes in their sudden forays for plunder would not remain in a hostile territory long enough to transport such huge masses of stone from a great distance. Tradition would not fix the date 868, which must be that writer's conjectural addition. His own theory of the Druidical origin of the stones is futile, and opposed to the still existing traditional name, Leachta, "sepulchral monuments."
14. See quotation from the Leabhar na gceart in p. 27. (Jan.-March No. of this "Journal," 1907.)
15. Tré baogul is curiously rendered by Dr. O'Connor (Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres), "prae timore." The phrase occurs a few times in the "Annals Four M.," where O'Donovan translates it, "by an unfair advantage."
16. Not identified. The name, and its variety Madadhan, was a usual one in the North and in Connacht; there is also an instance of it among the Dalcassians. ("Annals F. M." 1088).
17. See Dr. Todd's "Wars of the Gael," p. 240, note. Dr. O'Connor (Rerum Hibem. Script. Vet.) has the following note at A.D. 1022:―"Hi Annales Aeram Communem praecedunt annis 17." This refers to one particular entry; sixteen would represent the more usual discrepancy. The defects of their chronological system do not impair the credit of those Annals.
18. So O'Donovan and Duald MacFirbis have proved.
19. From the foregoing pages it will be seen that Mr. Gibson, in chap. I of his "History of Cork," commenced with a sweeping mis-statement. Summarizing the history of Munster before Brian Boru's time, he says: "Munster had been from an early period, possessed by the Mac Carthys of Cork, and the Dalcassians, or O'Briens, of Limerick. The King of the whole of Munster was chosen alternately from these two great families." The facts are:―(1) That of the first mentioned of those Septs (if we exclude Corc and other Kings common to many tribes) there were only three Kings of Munster before Brian's time, namely, Failbe Flann, Colgu, and Ceallachan Cashel. See "Wars of the Gael," p. 240, and note in Chron. Scotorum, as to Donogh, son of Ceallachan Cashel. (2) That of the Dalcassian or O'Brien race there were most probably none at all. (Dr. Todd, and see also p. 80, April-June, 1907, No. of this "Journal.")
20. O'Donovan's notes on O'Heerin. O'Donoghues, a different tribe from those of the Ui Eachach, are often mentioned in the Annals as Chiefs of this district in the earlier part of the eleventh century. But they appear to have died out.
21. He mentions that the O'Donoghue Chief, "Cahal of the red hand, grandson of Donal, King of the Ui Eachach (i.e., his own portion thereof), was killed on that occasion. Plainly, this Annalist had a good opportunity of hearing all about Cormac's expulsion.
22. In a special article at a future date, the present writer intends to prove that the Charter is a forgery, concocted two centuries after Dermod's time.
23. A strange mistake was made in the "Annals of the Four Masters" in giving to a chief of a different tribe and territory who died in this Cian's time, in 1121, Maolsechlann Ua Callachain, the name of "Chief of the Eachach Mumhan." O'Donovan, who had omitted to comment on this in his Ed. of the Annals, supplied the omission in the notes that he wrote for the genealogical chapters in "Cambreusis Eversus (Dr. Kelly's Edition). "This," he writes, "is a mere blunder, the Ui Eachach Mumhan were the O'Mahonys and O'Donoghues." It was simply an error such as often occurs when a writer happens to fix his eye on a word in the previous line and unconsciously reproduces it. In the "Annals of the Four Masters," in the line before the above entry, the name Eachach, referring to those of the North, occurred twice. The accidental error of the Four M. is kept up in the Catalogue of the R.I.A. in describing the shrine of S. Lachteen, ordered to be made by the Chief referred to.
24. Annals of Innisfallen" (Dublin copy), under the year 1170.
25. In the genealogical notes (chiefly derived from Sir William Betham) appended to the "Life of the last Colonel of the Irish Brigade," the name is curiously mistranslated, "Donogh of the pilgrimages." Imerce never meant a pilgrimage; it means "a shifting of the household goods and furniture from one holding to another, a departure, a migration." (Dinneen's Irish-English Dictionary, s.v.)
26. The Ostmen or Danes of Cork certainly possessed, at the time of the Norman Invasion, a cantred near Cork, as appears from the Charter of Henry II to Fitzstephen and De Cogan. This may have been part of Kerricurrihy, which, however, was not an original part of the tribeland of the Ul Eachach, though, as has been proved, it formed part of it in the time of Mahon.
27. Mr. Gibson, repeating a statement for which Smith quotes no authority, says that "the Ostmen held Cork and the adjacent country in 1172," and that consequently, Mac Carthy "cannot have delivered up the city, which was in the possession of another. The Ostmen lived in a portion of the city, but if Cork was theirs, it would have had a Danish Bishop, acknowledging the jurisdiction of Canterbury, like Dublin and Limerick, where they had complete control. Mr. Gibson was not a critical writer on this period of Irish history, and filled many pages with mere fiction taken from the "Book of Howth," "written," says Dr. O'Donovan, "by some Anglo-Irish romancer."
28. The Anglo-Saxons make a poor figure in history as compared to the Irish. "They wed to the Norman as they bowed to the Dane," says Mr. Green ("Short History of the English People"). After one battle and an abortive attempt at insurrection, they resigned themselves to the oppression and contempt of their Norman masters. The Irish struggle for independence, under all the disadvantages of almost complete disunion, lasted for five centuries. The Attorney-General of James I., Sir John Davies, had occasion to write a book in 1612, entitled " A discoverie of the causes why Ireland was never brought under obedience to the Crown of England," and he "discovered" that "it is most certain that from Henry II to 39th year of Elizabeth the English forces were too weak to subdue so many warlike septs."
29. Kinelea (see ante, Vol. xii. No. 72, p. 190) was the old original possession of the Cinel Aedha, the elder branch of the Ui Eachach, the branch afterwards called after Mahon. From the genealogical pages of the "Book of Leinster" it is evident that no other Munster tribe was designated by that name, and that O'Donovan's conjecture on this point is unfounded. There is not the shadow of a proof that it ever passed to the Mac Carthys. Fitzmartin was in possession in 1207, and the Barrys, who obtained it from him, were in occupation in 1240. ("Records of the Barrys," by Rev. Edm. Barry.) Some one of those families was, therefore, the occupier when Tracton Abbey was built in 1224. D'AlIemand's (A. D. 1690) conjecture that it was built by the Mac Carthys (followed by Archdall and Smith) was an inference from an unfounded opinion that they were in occupation. One circumstance is quite decisive on this matter. The monks were brought from Alba Landa in Wales, the country of the Fitzmartins and Barrys. There were at that time in Ireland thirteen Cistercian Abbeys, and an Irish founder would have brought the monks from some fine of those, at a time when animosity between English and Irish was at its height.
30. In the Dublin copy of the "Annals of Innisfallen," under the same year, Donogh Na Himerce is mentioned with Donogh O'Brien and O'Donoghue as taking part in the "dethronement" of Fineen Mac Carthy (son of Dermod, King of Cork), who was replaced by his nephew and rival, Dermod Mac Carthy, of Dundroighnan. Donogh suddenly took advantage of this dissension to obtain for himself immunity from attacks from that quarter.
[Addenda et Corrigenda.―One
of the earliest references to the Ui Eachach Sept (afterwards called after
Mahon) and to their fort, Rath Rathleann, is that of Maelmuire of Fahan in
Donegal, “a poet and erudite historian," according to the Four Masters
in recording his death in A.D. 884:―
"The Clan Eochy of Rathlean is without opposition
Magnificent their apparel,
Eoghanacht, wherever they are found
In the land of Munster."
From an imperfect quotation of the above in Cronnelly, the present writer thought it referred to the Ui Eachach of Uladh, and therefore omitted it. An inspection of the original in Dr. Todd's "Nennius," p. 254, shows clearly that the bard meant the Ui Eachach of Munster.
The "Munster Annals" often quoted by Sir James Ware, and supposed to be lost, have been recently identified by the present writer in an Irish MS. in the R.I.A., misdescribed as one of the "copies of the Innisfallen Annals." In it the agreement between Brian and Cian after the battle of BeaIach Leachta is given as follows:―Peace was made between Brian and Cian, and Brian's daughter was given in marriage to Cian, and the tributes of the race of Eogan Mor and his own share of Munster from Carn Thiema to Carn Ui Neid, and from Sliabh Caoin to the sea (in the South), and the keeping of Cashel and Loch Gur and the island of Loch Saighlin and other fortresses in Munster." The compilers of the so-called Dublin Annals of Innisfallen, who draw largely on these Annals, omit all the words after "Eoghan Mor," and substitute a supposition of their own. See supra p. 12, note.
It seems probable on reconsideration that the separation of the Septs of Kinelmeky and Ivagha did not take place until after 1259, and thus Dermod Mor may have been for some years chief of the entire Septland east and west.]