Kingdom of Desmond
The Kingdom of Desmond was a historic kingdom in southwestern Ireland. It was founded in 1118 by king Tadhg Mac Cárthaigh, when the Treaty of Glanmire formally divided the Kingdom of Munster into Desmond and Thomond, it comprised all of what is now most of County Kerry. Desmond was ruled by the Mac Cárthaigh dynasty. Other clans within the kingdom included the O'Sullivans and O'Donovans. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland in the late 12th century, the eastern half of Desmond was conquered by the Anglo-Normans and became the Earldom of Desmond, ruled by the FitzGeralds and Fitzmaurices; the king of Desmond, Diarmaid Mac Cárthaigh, submitted to Henry II of England, but the western half of Desmond lived on as a semi-independent Gaelic kingdom. It was at war with the Anglo-Normans. Fínghin Mac Carthaigh's victory over the Anglo-Normans at the Battle of Callann helped preserve Desmond's independence; the kings of Desmond founded sites such as Blarney Castle, Ballycarbery Castle, Muckross Abbey and Kilcrea Friary.
Following the Nine Years' War of the 1590s, Desmond became part of the Kingdom of Ireland. From its inception in 1118 through 1596, the Kingdom of Desmond was ruled by the family of the MacCarthy Mór. For centuries the MacCarthy Mórs reigned as Kings of Desmond, maintained significant demesne lands throughout the kingdom. Principal seats were at Pallis Castle, Castle Lough, Ballycarbery Castle. After the death of King Donal IX MacCarthy Mór in 1596, following the effective end of the Gaelic Order after the Battle of Kinsale, the former Kingdom of Desmond was partitioned between County Cork and County Kerry. Subsequent to the end of the MacCarthy Mór sovereignty in Desmond, descendants entitled to the highest Gaelic designation of "Chief of the Name" of the MacCarthy Mór family, are properly styled as Princes of Desmond. A secondary title of the MacCarthy Mór would derive from the lordship designation of his sept. Generational offshoots of the Royal House of Desmond received their own territories and titles – known as appanages of the royal house.
Those MacCarthy Mór cadet branches which did not evolve to the MacCarthy Mór chief-of-the-name status, became chiefs-of-the-name of their own princely septs, i.e. MacCarthy Reagh of Carbery, MacCarthy of Muskerry, MacDonough MacCarthy of Duhallow; because of their location, it was the MacCarthys of Muskerry and Carbery who ended up fighting the majority of the battles against the Normans – the FitzGerald Earls of Desmond – while defending and expanding the Gaelic realms. By the mid-sixteenth century, the main line of the MacCarthys Mor had withdrawn to Kerry, so any modern claims that they are still entitled to the nominal overlordship of Carbery and Muskerry might be rejected by any extant descendants of these branches. One of three principalities within the original Kingdom of Desmond, under the MacCarthy Reagh dynasty founded by Donal Gott MacCarthy in the mid-13th century, achieved independence from the overlordship of the MacCarthy Mórs of Desmond. Thus, the MacCarthy territories were over a fourth again greater outside of Desmond proper, due to the independent and considerable principality of Carbery, directly to the south/southeast of Desmond.
Principal seats of the Lords/Princes of Carbery were at Kilbrittain Castle, as well as Timoleague Castle. Possession of the latter was in dispute with the Norman family of Barry, who were prominent in West Cork; some of the more notable sub-lordships under the MacCarthy Reagh dynasty of Carbery included castles at Ballydehob, Downeen and Kilgobbin, to name but a few. The MacCarthys of Muskerry, on the other hand, derived more from the MacCarthys Mór, so were considered a sept of the main dynasty; this principality of the Kingdom of Desmond began in the 14th century as an appanage of King Cormac Mór MacCarthy Mór for his second son, Dermod. At various times, because of their adeptness at playing the political game with England, the Lords/Princes of Muskerry bore various British titles, such as Earl of Clancarty, Viscount Mountcashel, Baron of Blarney. From its rebuilding in the late 15th century by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, Blarney Castle, near to Cork city, was the principal seat of the MacCarthys of Muskerry.
It was from alleged dialogue between Cormac Teige MacCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, Queen Elizabeth I of England, that the term "blarney" was coined to mean "empty flattery" or "beguiling talk." It is from Blarney Castle that the legend of "kissing the Blarney Stone" derives. Among the numerous sub-infeudations/sub-lordships within the overlordship of the Princes of Muskerry, some of the major ones were: Ballea, Carrignavar, Cloghroe and Downyne; the third of the princely lines that began as appanages of the MacCarthy Mór dynasty was that of the MacCarthys of Duhallow, known as the MacDonough MacCarthys. The Duhallow sept began in the 13th century as an appanage from the then-King of Desmond, Cormac Fionn MacCarthy Mór, to his son Diarmuid, it was the Gaelic lordship of Duhallow that occupied the northern frontier of the MacCarthys of Desmond in their sometime struggles with the Norman family of the FitzGeralds, the Earls of Desmond. The principal seat of the Lords of Duhallow was at Kanturk; the family of the MacDonough MacCarthy Lords/Princes of Duhallow became extinct in the 18th century
Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south west of Ireland. In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a "king of over-kings". Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into counties for administrative and judicial purposes. In centuries, local government legislation has seen further sub-division of the historic counties. Munster has no official function for local government purposes. For the purposes of the ISO, the province is listed as one of the provincial sub-divisions of the State and coded as "IE-M". Geographically, Munster covers a total area of 24,675 km2 and has a population of 1,280,020, with the most populated city being Cork. Other significant urban centres in the province include Waterford. In the early centuries AD, Munster was the domain of the Iverni peoples and the Clanna Dedad familial line, led by Cú Roí and to whom the king Conaire Mór belonged. In the 5th century, Saint Patrick spent several years in the area and founded Christian churches and ordained priests.
During the Early Middle Ages, most of the area was part of the Kingdom of Munster, ruled by the Eóganachta dynasty. Prior to this, the area was ruled by the Corcu Loígde overlords. Rulers from the Eóganachta included Cathal mac Finguine and Feidlimid mac Cremthanin. Notable regional kingdoms and lordships of Early Medieval Munster were Iarmuman, Osraige, Uí Liatháin, Uí Fidgenti, Éile, Múscraige, Ciarraige Luachra, Corcu Duibne, Corcu Baiscinn, Déisi Muman. By the 9th century, the Gaels had been joined by Norse Vikings who founded towns such as Cork and Limerick, for the most part incorporated into a maritime empire by the Dynasty of Ivar, who periodically would threaten Munster with conquest in the next century. Around this period Ossory broke away from Munster; the 10th century saw the rise of the Dalcassian clan, who had earlier annexed Thomond, north of the River Shannon to Munster. Their leaders were the ancestors of the O'Brien dynasty and spawned Brian Boru the most noted High King of Ireland, several of whose descendants were High Kings.
By 1118, Munster had fractured into the Kingdom of Thomond under the O'Briens, the Kingdom of Desmond under the MacCarthy dynasty, the short-lived Kingdom of Ormond under the O'Kennedys. The three crowns of the flag of Munster represent these three late kingdoms. There was Norman influence from the 14th century, including by the FitzGerald, de Clare and Butler houses, two of whom carved out earldoms within the Lordship of Ireland, the Earls of Desmond becoming independent potentates, while the Earls of Ormond remained closer to England; the O'Brien of Thomond and MacCarthy of Desmond surrendered and regranted sovereignty to the Tudors in 1543 and 1565, joining the Kingdom of Ireland. The impactful Desmond Rebellions, led by the FitzGeralds, soon followed. By the mid-19th century much of the area was hit hard in the Great Famine the west; the province was affected by events in the Irish War of Independence in the early 20th century, there was a brief Munster Republic during the Irish Civil War.
The Irish leaders Michael Collins and earlier Daniel O'Connell came from families of the old Gaelic Munster gentry. Noted for its traditions in Irish folk music, with many ancient castles and monasteries in the province, Munster is a tourist destination. During the fifth century, St. Patrick spent seven years founding churches and ordaining priests in Munster, but a fifth-century bishop named Ailbe is the patron saint of Munster. In Irish mythology, a number of ancient goddesses are associated with the province including Anann, Áine, Grian, Clíodhna, Aimend, Mór Muman, Bébinn and Queen Mongfind; the druid-god of Munster is Mug Ruith. Another legendary figure is Donn; the province has long had trading and cultural links with continental Europe. The tribe of Corcu Loígde had a trading fleet active along the French Atlantic coast, as far south as Gascony, importing wine to Munster; the Eóganachta had ecclesiastical ties with Germany, which show in the architecture of their ceremonial capital at the Rock of Cashel.
The majority of Irish ogham inscriptions are found in Munster, principally in areas occupied by the Iverni the Corcu Duibne. Europe's first linguistic dictionary in any non-Classical language, the Sanas Cormaic, was compiled by Munster scholars, traditionally thought to have been directed by the king-bishop Cormac mac Cuilennáin; the School of Ross in Munster was one of Europe's leading centres of learning in the Early Middle Ages. Several sports in Munster are organised on a provincial basis, or operate competitions along provincial lines; this includes traditionally popular sports such as hurling, Gaelic football, rugby union and soccer, as well as cricket and others. Munster is noted for its tradition of hurling. Three of the four most successful teams in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship are from Munster; the final of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship is one of the most important days in the Irish GAA calendar. Munster is the only province in Ireland that all of its counties have won an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Traditionally, the dominant teams in Munster football are Kerry GAA and Cork GAA, although Tipperary GAA and Limerick GAA have won All-Ireland Senior Football Championships. Kerry in particular are the most successful county in the history of football. Rugby is a popular game in the cities of Limerick a
Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Bannockburn on 23 and 24 June 1314 was a Scottish victory by King of Scots Robert the Bruce against the army of King Edward II of England in the First War of Scottish Independence. Though it did not bring overall victory in the war, which would go on for 14 more years, it was a landmark in Scottish history. King Edward invaded Scotland after Bruce demanded in 1313 that all supporters still loyal to ousted Scottish king John Balliol acknowledge Bruce as their king or lose their lands. Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. King Edward assembled a formidable force of soldiers from England and Wales to relieve it — the largest army to invade Scotland; this attempt failed. The Scottish army was divided into three divisions of schiltrons commanded by Bruce, his brother Edward Bruce, his nephew, the Earl of Moray. After Robert Bruce killed Sir Henry de Bohun on the first day of the battle, the English were forced to withdraw for the night.
Sir Alexander Seton, a Scottish noble serving in Edward's army, defected to the Scottish side and informed them of the English camp's position and low morale. Robert Bruce decided to launch a full-scale attack on the English forces and to use his schiltrons again as offensive units, a strategy his predecessor William Wallace had not done; the English army was defeated in a pitched battle which resulted in the death of several prominent commanders, including the Earl of Gloucester and Sir Robert Clifford, capture of many others. The victory against the English at Bannockburn is the most celebrated in Scottish history, for centuries the battle has been commemorated in verse and art; the National Trust for Scotland operates the Bannockburn Visitor Centre. Though the exact location for the battle is uncertain, a modern monument was erected in a field above a possible site of the battlefield, where the warring parties are believed to have camped, alongside a statue of Robert Bruce designed by Pilkington Jackson.
The monument, the associated visitor centre, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The Wars of Scottish Independence between England and Scotland began in 1296 and the English were successful under the command of Edward I, having won victories at the Battle of Dunbar and at the Capture of Berwick; the removal of John Balliol from the Scottish throne contributed to the English success. The Scots had been victorious in defeating the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297; this was countered, however, by Edward I's victory at the Battle of Falkirk. By 1304, Scotland had been conquered, but in 1306 Robert the Bruce seized the Scottish throne and the war was reopened. After the death of Edward I, his son Edward II of England came to the throne in 1307 but was incapable of providing the determined leadership his father had shown, the English position soon became more difficult. In 1313, Bruce demanded the allegiance of all remaining Balliol supporters, under threat of losing their lands, as well as the surrender of the English forces encircling Stirling Castle.
The castle was one of the most important castles held by the English, as it commanded the route north into the Scottish Highlands. It was besieged in 1314 by Robert the Bruce's younger brother, Edward Bruce, an agreement was made that if the castle was not relieved by mid-summer it would be surrendered to the Scots; the English could not prepared and equipped a substantial campaign. It is known that Edward II requested 2,000 armoured cavalry and 25,000 infantry, many of whom were armed with longbows, from England and Ireland; the Scottish army numbered around 6,000 men, including no more than 500 mounted forces. Unlike the English, the Scottish cavalry was unequipped for charging enemy lines and suitable only for skirmishing and reconnaissance; the Scottish infantry was armed with axes and pikes, included only a few bowmen. The precise numerical advantage of the English forces relative to the Scottish forces is unknown, but modern researchers estimate that the Scottish faced English forces one-and-a-half to two or three times their size.
Edward II and his advisors were aware of the places the Scots were to challenge them and sent orders for their troops to prepare for an enemy established in boggy ground near the River Forth, near Stirling. The English appear to have advanced in four divisions, whereas the Scots were in three divisions known as'schiltrons', which were strong defensive squares of men bristling with pikes. Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, commanded the Scottish vanguard, stationed about a mile south of Stirling, near the church of St. Ninian, while the king commanded the rearguard at the entrance to the New Park, his brother Edward led the third division. According to Barbour, there was a fourth division nominally under the youthful Walter the Steward, but under the command of Sir James Douglas; the Scottish archers used yew-stave longbows and, though these were not weaker than or inferior to English longbows, there were fewer Scottish archers only 500. These archers played little part in the battle. There is first-hand evidence in a poem, written just after the battle by the captured Carmelite friar Robert Baston, that one or both sides employed slingers and crossbowmen.
The exact site of the Battle of Bannockburn has been debated for many years, but mos
Brian Boru was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, his elder brother, Brian first made himself King of Munster subjugated Leinster becoming High King of Ireland, he was the founder of the O'Brien dynasty. With a population of under 500,000 people, Ireland had over 150 kings, with greater or lesser domains; the Uí Néill king Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, abandoned by his northern kinsmen of the Cenél nEógain and Cenél Conaill, acknowledged Brian as High King at Athlone in 1002. In the decade that followed, Brian campaigned against the northern Uí Néill, who refused to accept his claims, against Leinster, where resistance was frequent, against the Norse-Gaelic Kingdom of Dublin. Brian's hard-won authority was challenged in 1013 when his ally Máel Sechnaill was attacked by the Cenél nEógain king Flaithbertach Ua Néill, with the Ulstermen as his allies; this was followed by further attacks on Máel Sechnaill by the Dubliners under their king Sihtric Silkbeard and the Leinstermen led by Máel Mórda mac Murchada.
Brian campaigned against these enemies in 1013. In 1014, Brian's armies confronted the armies of Leinster and Dublin, with Norsemen fighting on both sides, at Clontarf near Dublin on Good Friday; the resulting Battle of Clontarf was a bloody affair, with Brian, his son Murchad, Máel Mórda among those killed. The list of the noble dead in the Annals of Ulster includes Irish kings, Norse Gaels and Scandinavians; the immediate beneficiary of the slaughter was Máel Sechnaill. The Norse-Gaels and Scandinavians produced works mentioning Brian, including Njal's Saga, the Orkneyinga Saga, the now-lost Brian's Saga. Brian's war against Máel Mórda and Sihtric was to be inextricably connected with his complicated marital relations, in particular his marriage to Gormlaith, Máel Mórda's sister and Sihtric's mother, in turn the wife of Amlaíb Cuarán, king of Dublin and York of Máel Sechnaill, of Brian, he was one of the 12 sons of Cennétig mac Lorcáin, king of Dál gCais and king of Tuadmumu, modern County Clare a sub-kingdom in the north of Munster.
Cennétig was described as rígdamna Caisil, meaning that he was either heir or candidate to the kingship of Cashel or Munster, although this might be a interpolation. Brian's mother was Bé Binn inion Urchadh, daughter of Urchadh mac Murchadh, king of Maigh Seóla in west Connacht; that they belonged to the Uí Briúin Seóla may explain why he received the name Brian, rare among the Dál gCais. Brian's family were descended from the Ui Tairdelbach branch of the Dal gCais; this branch had taken power from the more powerful Ui Óengusso branch which had traditionally supplied the Kings of the Dal gCais. This power shift occurred after the death of Ui Óengusso King Rebechan Mac Mothla who died as King of the Dal gCais in 934; the sons of Brian's grandfather Lorcan seized the opportunity and took power from the rival branch, with Brian's father Cennétig being the most successful of these. His father was the first King of the Dal gCais to lead an army beyond his own territory and lead an expedition as far north as Athlone.
By his death in 951 had been acknowledged as "King of Tuadmumu". His brother Mahon built on these achievements and was the first to capture Cashel and become King of Munster. Brian was born at a town in the region of Tuadmumu. Brian's posthumous cognomen "Bóruma" may have referred to "Béal Bóruma", a fort north of Killaloe, where the Dál gCais held sway. Another explanation, though a late interpretation, is that the nickname represented Old Irish bóruma "of the cattle tribute", referring to his capacity as a powerful overlord; the River Shannon served as an easy route by which raids could be made against the provinces of Connacht and Meath. Both Brian's father, Cennétig mac Lorcáin, his older brother Mathgamain conducted river-borne raids, in which the young Brian would undoubtedly have participated; this was the root of his appreciation for naval forces in his career. Thus an important influence upon the Dalcassians was the presence of the Hiberno-Norse city of Limerick on an isthmus around which the Shannon River winds.
The Norse had made many a raid themselves from the Shannon, the Dalcassians benefited from some interaction with them, from which they would have been exposed to innovations such as superior weapons and ship design, all factors that may have contributed to their growing power. When their father died, the kingship of Tuadmumu passed to Brian's older brother, and, when Mathgamain was killed in 976, Brian replaced him. Subsequently, he became the king of the entire kingdom of Munster. In 964, Brian's older brother, claimed control over the entire province of Munster by capturing the Rock of Cashel, capital of the ancient Eóganachta, the hereditary overlords or High Kings of Munster, but who in dynastic strife and with multiple assassinations had weakened themselves to the point they were now impotent. Earlier attacks from both the Uí Néill and Vikings were factors; this situation allowed the illegitimate but militarized Dál Cais to attempt to seize the provincial kingship. Mathgamain was never recognized and was opposed throughout his career in the 960s and 970s by Máel Muad mac Brain, a semi-outsider from the Cashel perspective but still a legitimate Eóganacht
Annals of Inisfallen
The Annals of Inisfallen are a chronicle of the medieval history of Ireland. There are more than 2,500 entries spanning the years between 433 and 1450; the manuscript is thought to have been compiled in 1092, as the chronicle is written by a single scribe down to that point but updated by many different hands thereafter. It was written by the monks of Innisfallen Abbey, on Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane, near Killarney in Munster, but made use of sources produced at different centres around Munster as well as a Clonmacnoise group text of the hypothetical Chronicle of Ireland; as well as the chronological entries, the manuscript contains a short, fragmented narrative of the history of pre-Christian Ireland, known as the pre-Patrician section, from the time of Abraham to the arrival of Saint Patrick in Ireland. This has many elements in common with Lebor Gabála Érenn, it sets the history of Ireland and the Gaels within Eusebian universal history, provided both by a Latin world chronicle and extracts from Réidig dam, a Dé, do nim, a Middle Irish poem attributed to Flann Mainistrech in manuscripts.
The annals are now housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. In 2001, Brian O'Leary, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Killarney, called for the annals to be returned to the town. Irish annals The Chronicle of Ireland Evans, The Present and the Past in Medieval Irish Chronicles, Studies in Celtic History 27, Woodbridge: Boydell Hughes, Early Christian Ireland: Introduction to the Sources, Sources of History, London: Hodder and Stoughton Annals of Inisfallen — Text of the annals Annals of Inisfallen — Original text Annals of Inisfallen — pre-Patrician section Digitised images from Rawlinson B 503, Images available on Digital Bodleian. Call for Annals of Innisfallen to be returned to Killarney — local newspaper article
The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages: a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish and Scottish Gaelic; the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those nationalities is today more complex. Gaelic language and culture originated in Ireland. In antiquity the Gaels traded with the Roman Empire and raided Roman Britain. In the Middle Ages, Gaelic culture became dominant throughout the rest of Scotland and the Isle of Man. There was some Gaelic settlement in Wales and Cornwall. In the Viking Age, small numbers of Vikings raided and settled in Gaelic lands, becoming the Norse-Gaels. In the 9th century, the Scots Gaels of Dál Riata merged with Pictland to form the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba. Meanwhile, Gaelic Ireland was made up of several kingdoms, with a High King claiming lordship over them. In the 12th century, Normans conquered parts of Ireland. However, Gaelic culture remained strong throughout the Scottish Highlands and Galloway.
In the early 17th century, the last Gaelic kingdoms in Ireland fell under English control. James I sought to wipe out their culture. In the following centuries the Gaelic language was suppressed and supplanted by English. However, it continues to be the main language in Scotland's Outer Hebrides; the modern descendants of the Gaels have spread throughout the Americas and Australasia. Gaelic society traditionally centred around the clan, each with its own territory and king, elected through tanistry; the Irish were pagans who worshipped the Tuatha Dé Danann, venerated the ancestors and believed in an Otherworld. Their four yearly festivals – Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasa – continued to be celebrated into modern times; the Gaels have a strong oral tradition, traditionally maintained by shanachies. Inscription in the ogham alphabet began in the 4th century, their conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of writing in the Roman alphabet, Irish Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature in western Europe.
Irish mythology and Brehon law were preserved, albeit Christianised. Gaelic monasteries were renowned centres of learning and played a key role in developing Insular art, while Gaelic missionaries and scholars were influential in western Europe. In the Middle Ages, most Gaels lived in ringforts; the Gaels had their own style of dress, which became the belted kilt. They have distinctive music and sports. Gaelic culture continues to be a major component of Irish and Manx culture. Throughout the centuries and Gaelic-speakers have been known by a number of names; the most consistent of these have been Gael and Scots. The latter two have developed more ambiguous meanings, due to the early modern concept of the nation state, which encompasses non-Gaels. Other terms, such as Milesian, are not as used. An Old Norse name for the Gaels was Vestmenn. Informally, archetypal forenames such as Tadhg or Dòmhnall are sometimes used for Gaels; the word Gaelic is first recorded in print in the English language in the 1770s, replacing the earlier word Gathelik, attested as far back as 1596.
Gael, defined as a "member of the Gaelic race", is first attested in print in 1810. The name derives from the Old Irish word Goídel/Gaídel spelled Gaoidheal in pre-spelling reform Modern Irish, but today spelled Gaeil or Gael. In early modern Irish, the words Gaelic and Gael were spelled Gaoidhealg and Gaoidheal; the more antiquarian term Goidels came to be used by some due to Edward Lhuyd's work on the relationship between Celtic languages. This term was further popularised in academia by John Rhys. According to the scholar John T. Koch, the Old Irish form of the name, Goídel, was borrowed from a Primitive Welsh form Guoidel meaning'forest people','wild men' or, later,'warriors'. Old Welsh Guoidel is recorded as a personal name in the Book of Llandaff; the root of the name is cognate at the Proto-Celtic level Old Irish fíad'wild', Féni, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *weidh-n-jo-. This latter word is the origin of Fenian. A common name, passed down to the modern day, is Irish; the ultimate origin of this word is thought to be from the Old Irish Ériu, from Old Celtic *Iveriu associated with the Proto-Indo-European term *pi-wer- meaning "fertile".
Ériu is mentioned as a goddess in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Along with her sisters Banba and Fódla, she is said to have made a deal with the Milesians to name the island after her; the ancient Greeks. This group has been associated with the Érainn of Irish tradition by others; the Érainn.
Finnian or Fínghin mac Donnchadh Mac Cárthaigh, known to the English as Florence MacCarthy, was an Irish prince of the late 16th century and the last credible claimant to the MacCarthy Mór title before its suppression by English authority. MacCarthy's involvement in the Nine Years' War led to his arrest by the Crown, he spent the last 40 years of his life in custody in London, his lands were distributed among English colonists. MacCarthy was born in 1560 at Kilbrittain Castle near Kinsale in the province of Munster in Ireland, into the MacCarthy Reagh dynasty, rulers of Carbery, the son of Donogh MacCarthy Reagh, 11th Prince of Carbery, his grandfather was 9th Prince of Carbery. The significance of MacCarthy's career lies in his command of territories in west Munster, at a time when the Tudor conquest of Ireland was underway. Southwest Munster was the area most open to Spanish intervention, mooted from the late 1570s to aid Catholic rebellions in Ireland; the overlord of much of this area, but excluding Carbery, was the MacCarthy Mór of Desmond, whose lands were located in modern west Cork and Kerry.
There were, in addition, three more princely branches of the MacCarthy dynasty, the MacCarthys of Muskerry, the MacCarthys of Duhallow, the most wealthy: the MacCarthy Reagh of independent Carbery, of whom Florence's father had been a sovereign prince. It was into a complex interplay between the crown government and these opposing branches that Florence found himself pitched; the MacCarthy Reagh branch established itself as loyal to the crown during the Desmond Rebellions, to assert their independence from their nominal overlords, the Earl of Desmond and the MacCarthy Mór, both of whom had gone into rebellion. Florence's father, Donagh MacCarthy Reagh, served the crown faithfully and reported that he had mobilised his men to drive the rebel Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond out of his territory during the Second Desmond Rebellion; when his father died in 1581, Florence, by in his late teens or early twenties, led around 300 men in the English service with the assistance of an English captain, William Stanley, his lieutenant, Jacques de Franceschi, under the overall command of the Earl of Ormonde.
They drove Desmond's remaining followers out of MacCarthy territory,'into his own waste country', where the rebel earls' troops could find no provisions and deserted. Florence claimed credit for the killing of Gorey MacSweeney and Morrice Roe, two of Desmond's gallowglass captains. Upon his father's death in 1581, MacCarthy inherited substantial property but was not the prince's tanist, therefore did not assume his father's title, which went to Florence's uncle, Owen MacCarthy Reagh, 12th Prince of Carbery; the position of tanist went to Donal na Pipi. But in 1583 Florence did go to court, where he was received by the queen, who granted him 1000 marks and an annuity of 100 marks. In 1585 he served as a member of the Irish Parliament at Dublin. Upon his marriage to Ellen, the daughter and sole heir of the MacCarthy Mór, Florence fell foul of the crown government in Munster on account of the prospective unification of the two main branches of the Clan Carthy. To add to government suspicion, there was a rumour of communications by him with Spain.
In particular, he was accused of contact with William Stanley and Jacques de Francesci, who had defected with a regiment of Irish soldiers from the English to the Spanish side in the Eighty Years' War in Flanders. As a result of these suspicions, Florence MacCarthy was arrested in 1588 as a precaution against his assumption of the title of MacCarthy Mór, which would have given him command over huge estates and thousands of followers; the English authorities considered this too dangerous a prospect in a country they were trying to pacify and disarm. Six months he was moved to Dublin, to London, where he arrived in February 1589 to be committed to the Tower, his wife escaped from Cork a few days probably on his instructions. He was examined by the privy council in March and denied all complicity in the continental intrigues of the English Catholic, Sir William Stanley, he was sent back to the Tower, but fifteen months his wife appeared at court and Sir Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormonde, volunteered to stand surety for him in the sum of £1000.
Since no charges were proved against him, MacCarthy was set at liberty in January 1591 on condition that he not leave England nor travel more than three miles outside London without permission. The Queen's principal secretary, Lord Burghley, backed him, he obtained protection against his creditors and permission to recover an old fine of £500 due to the Crown from Lord Barry, a neighbour and rival of his in Munster, whom he blamed for his arrest. MacCarthy subsequently obtained permission to return to Ireland. MacCarthy returned to Ireland following his wife and child. In the next year, his uncle Owen died and was succeeded by his nephew, Donal na Pípí; the latter bound himself in the sum of £10,000 not to divert the MacCarthy Reagh succession from MacCarthy, in turn his tanist. Florence appeared before the council at Dublin in June 1594 to reply to the accusations of David de Barry, 5th Viscount Buttevant, a local rival of MacCarthy's with whom he had a land dispute, which again implicated him pro-Spanish intrigues with William Stanley.
Florence returned to England by licence and remained there until the spring of 1596 in a vain attempt to prosecute Lor