Histories Menu

A History of the O'Mahony Septs of Kinelmeky and Ivagha


Journal of the Cork Archæological and Historical Society, various issues, 1906-10

Cork: Guy & Co., 1912



        From the two principal lines of Chieftains descended from Mahon, five Minor Septs or Families (as has been shown in vol. xv., No. 81, this "Journal") branched off between the middle of the thirteenth century and the middle of the fourteenth. In the number above quoted, an account was given of the three Minor Septs that were seated in West Muskerry, the two others being "more conveniently reserved for the concluding portion of this History."

        Dermod Mor, Chieftain of Ivagha, who was alive, according to the "Munster Annals," in A.D. 1319, and is said to have died in 1327, arranged, before his death, that Rosbrin Castle1 and eighteen ploughlands along with it should be given to his two sons, Donal and Dermod. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Finin. The new Chieftain refused to carry out the provision made for his brothers. Donal and Dermod decided to leave Ivagha, taking with them whatever they possessed and some2 personal adherents amongst the clansmen. Dermod "went to Desmond" (a name then confined to MacCarthy More's country in Kerry), and received a hospitable welcome and a settlement from MacCarthy More, who from the interest he took in the two brothers, is considered to have been a relative of the late Chieftain of Ivagha. Donal, the elder of the two, went to Barrett's Country, of which MacCarthy Mor was then overlord,3 and most probably by MacCarthy's authority or influence obtained all or some of the ploughlands of the small parish of Kilnaglory. The tribal genealogists of Ivagha kept track of the descendants of the two refugee brothers, as may be seen in Genealogical Table No. III (supra) under the headings of "O'Mahony of Kilnaglory" and "O'Mahony of the SIiocht Dermod Og of Desmond.

There are no materials known to the present writer for an account of the Kilnaglory sub-sept before the date of its extinction. We learn from an Irish Geneal. MS. (23 G. I., R. I. Acad.) that the last head of this family, a contemporary of the last, or nominal, Chieftain of Ivagha (1650), was David O'Mahony, and we find in the "Census of 1659" that there were twelve bearing that surname in Kilnaglory Parish, together with some "McDaniels and McShanes," most probably of that same surname, which was omitted according to colloquial usage, as e.g., MacCarthy of Blarney was omitted according to colloquial usage, as e.g., MacCarthy of Blarney in 1578 called himself and was called by others, "Cormac Mac Teig." No persons of the name O'Mahony appear among the dispossessed freeholders of Kilnaglory in the Cromwellian "Book of Survey and Distribution," and it may be inferred that their freeholds were forfeited after O'Neill's "Rebellion" in 1601. There is evidence that among the citizens of Cork in 1640-1650 there were a good many O'Mahonys. This is plainly implied in Bruodin's4 narration of the awfully barbarous execution of Francis O’Mahony, Superior of the Cork Franciscans, ordered by the Governor of Cork in 1652. It may be presumed that most of those citizens referred to came into Cork from Kilnaglory, which was in its immediate vicinity, and this presumption becomes a moral certainty as regards those families which during the following century kept up the Christian name of David, which was not known among their namesakes of Kinelmeky and Muskerry. In striking contrast to the comparative obscurity of the race of Donal of Kilnaglory, his younger brother's posterity―


had a prosperous and distinguished career. Dermod’s descendants gradually acquired a large extent of land, and had multiplied so considerably that (as we shall see later on), in a State Paper of the Tudor times,5 they are described as a "populous Sept." Sept organization, in the strict sense of the term, was of course not possible for them in a Tribeland not their own, but at the period referred to, the Head of the Family was looked up to by his multitudinous kinsmen, and through them wielded considerable influence. The Branch survived the downfall of the parent Septs of Ivagha and Kinelmeky, and of the Sept of MacCarthy More; it―did not sink into obscurity even in the Penal Days, and contributed a large number of highly distinguished officers to the Irish Brigade in the service of France and Spain.

        The principal authority for the history of this Branch between 1327 and 1680 is an Irish MS. in the O'Reilly collection R. I. Acad., classed 23. E. 26, which is in full accord with (I) the Leabhar Muimhneach copied by O'Cronan in 1739, and (2) MS. 23. G. 22. (O'Longan MS.), but is somewhat more detailed than either of the latter, and comes down a generation later in its record of some of the families. It is mainly genealogical, but contains several historical statements also. A comparison of this document with other sources of information, namely, (1) Inquisitions, (2) other State Papers, (3) Dublin Chancery records, (4) O'Rahilly's poems, and (5) the special pedigrees of some of the officers of the Irish Brigade (recorded by M. Cherin, vol. vi., 649), establishes beyond question its thoroughgoing and minute accuracy. The MS. known as the "History of the Kingdom of Kerry," written about 1750, and published for the first time in the "Cork Hist. and Arch. Journal," vols. iv. and v., is an authority for the events of the writer's lifetime and of the Cromwellian period, which he could have heard described by eye-witnesses. But, about Kerry tribal history in the previous centuries, this writer fell into numerous glaring errors, through not having access,6 as his Editor remarks, to any of the Irish Annals and other indispensable records. Accurate information about the officers of the Irish Brigade is supplied by O'Callaghan's valuable History, which we shall supplement with some extracts from the Duke De St. Simon's Memoirs.

        Dermod Og O'Mahony, who left Ivagha in 1327, was alive in "Desmond" in the year 1355; we have no record of the exact date of his death. His only son, Sean (John), married the daughter of Aodh O'ConneIl, and had a son, Dermod, who was "alive in 1442," and married Sabia, daughter of O'Sullivan Mór of Dunkerron. He had two sons, Concobar (Conor) and Donal. Conor is alluded to in a document of the year 1471, as then living, and married the daughter of Geoffrey O'Donoghue, granddaughter of a former MacCarthy More.7 His son was Tadhg (Teig), who nourished in the reign of Henry VIII, when Lord Deputy Grey was commissioned to obtain, as best he could, by threats or diplomacy, "pledges" or hostages from the Irish Chieftains. In the "Calendar of State Papers" for the year 1538, three documents are referred to as containing an account of Lord Grey's proceedings, the articles agreed on, the names of the Chiefs and the hostages; they are preserved in the British Museum, and have not been examined by the present writer. If Teig O'Mahony's name be mentioned therein as one of the MacCarthy's hostages (as has been alleged), that circumstance would show that he was a near relative of MacCarthy, as a remote cousin would not be taken as a hostage. But, however that may be, certain it is that Teig, now head of the whole Kerry branch, and the inheritor of the accumulations of his predecessors, was a man of very considerable property and influence, and was able to leave each of his sons one or more ploughlands. According to a practice then very usual in Irish Septs, Teig received a sobriquet―the appellation of Mergeach, an appellation which we find in the Annals given to the uncle of Silken Thomas ("Four M.," 1535), to Nial MacSwiney (1575), and to one of the O'Briens. It may mean "angry looking" or "pockmarked''' or "freckled," but we cannot now determine which meaning was intended. The word certainly did not mean "wanton," as it was explained (confounding it with "Meranagh" or "Meidhreach") by Sir W. Betham, who hardly ever translated correctly an Irish agnomen. Teig Mergeach O'Mahony died in 1565.8 He had married a daughter of Dermod O'Sullivan Beare (ob. 1549), and left eight sons.

        Dermod, the eldest son, died some time before 1588. Conor, the second son, died in 1578, according to an Inquisition held in 1626 (preserved in the Record Office, Dublin), which declares that "Conogher Mac Teig Mergeach O'Mahony was seized as of fee of the ploughland of BaIlyaher, and that John is his son and heir, and is of full age." Dermod, the eldest son, had probably much more land, but his "Inquisition" has not been preserved.

        Donal, the third son, was caIled Donal na Tiobraide, from the property he held in the Tubrid, a district of Iveragh. Owing to the death of his two elder brothers, Donal had become the head of the Kerry branch in or before 1588. In that year he is referred to in a State Paper under the strangely distorted name of Donal Mac Tybert as "the Head of a populous Sept called the Mergies (recte O'Mahony Mergeachs), the Chief officer of MacCarthy More's territory, and the foster father of the yonge ladye", (Ellen, the daughter of MacCarthy More, Earl of Glencar, wife of Florence MacCarthy More).

        The English Government sought to prevent the marriage of the heiresss of MacCarthy More, Earl of Glencar, and Florence MacCarthy, the Tanist of Carbery, as very injurious to the English interest. NaturaIly enough, the principal Irish in South Munster favoured the match as likely to consolidate and strengthen Irish power. Sir Warham St. Leger, in a "Tract" sent to Lord Burghley on this subject, reported that "this evil counsel" did proceed from the Lords of Counties in Desmond and the principal Officers about MacCarthy More"; he then mentions the chief conspirators by name: O'Sullivan Mor, Seneschal of Desmond; Mac Finnin, lord of a lesser country; and Donal na Tubrid, head of the O'Mahony Meirgeachs, "foster father of the yonge ladye." A few weeks after this communication was sent to Burghley, the dreaded marriage took place, and Sir Thomas Norreys wrote to Walsingham on July 1st, 1588: "According to your orders, I have caused to be apprehended the Countess (wife of MacCarthy), Mac Finnin, and 9Teig Mergeach (recte Donal na Tubrid, son of Teig Mergeach O'Mahony), as being privy to the practice," i.e., aiders and abettors of the marriage; he goes on to say that he hopes soon to have the other conspirators, including O'Sullivan Mor. Those arrested were imprisoned in Castlemaine, described in another letter as "a vile and unwholesome place."

        The "Inquisition" held about Donal's property has not been preserved, so we do not know the date of his death. In the "Book of Survey and Distribution" (A.D. 1657) we find that his grandson,10 Conogher, and Donal Og MacCarthy had between them 1596 acres in Iveragh, which they lost by confiscation. Several of Donal na Tubrid's grandsons were living in 1680 when the Irish Genealogy (23. E. 26) was made out. From one of these descended Lieut.-Gen. Count Bartholomew O'Mahony11 (of whom more presently) and his uncle, Dr. O'Mahony, "Medicin du Roi" in the time of Louis XV, and a great benefactor of his exiled countrymen. Their family had settled at Knockavora, Kerry.

        Finin, fourth son of Tadhg O'Mahony. According to MS. we have been following, Finin had four sons: Dermod and Conor "went to Spain with all their families"; John, who remained in Kerry, had a son who is mentioned as "James the Provincial."

        Maolmuadh (Myles), fifth son, and Owen, sixth son of Tadhg O'Mahony, "went to Spain with all their families," most probably at the same time and from the same motive, having been engaged in O'Neill's "Rebellion." More particulars12 are known about Owen, who appears to have been a man of energy and enterprise. He was a fast friend of the unfortunate Florence MacCarthy More, and it was to his house in Kerry that Florence sent his eldest son when Sir George Carew was endeavouring to find the boy and retain him as a hostage. The "Pacata Hibernia" relates that Carew continually "importuned the bringing of his eldest son," and that Florence at one time yielded, and "wrote to Owen Mac Teig Mergeach to bring the child to Cork," but, having got an encouraging message from O'Neill, he changed his mind and requested Owen "to convey the boy back to Desmond" (Kerry). Owen joined O'Neill's campaign, and was in consequence reported to the Government as a "notable rebel" by Teig Hurley, a paid spy. Hurley states in his report that Owen, "despairing of pardon, fled into Spain with O'Sullivan Beare, and entering the King of Spain's service, became his pensioner," i.e., received a monthly pension, as did many of his kinsmen of Ivagha (vid. supra), while waiting for a commission. Maolmuadh (Myles), his elder brother, had, doubtless, the same motive as Owen for seeking refuge in Spain. The spy goes on to report that Owen came from Spain to London to see Florence MacCarthy in the Tower, probably to concert measures for his escape. Owen succeeded in returning to Spain without being discovered, but had the misfortune to lose his son, who came over with him and fell a victim to an epidemic then raging in London. See the spy's Report in Mr. McCarthy Glas's "Life of Florence MacCarthy More," p. 403, et seq.

        Donogh, the seventh son, is stated (Irish MS. 23. E. 26), to have had two sons―Conor, who "went to the Low Countries," and Kean (Cian), who became the ancestor of the well-known family, the Mahonys of Brosna-Kilmorna. An Exchequer Bill in 1709 describes Kean's grandson, Cornelius Mahony gentleman," as settled in Brosna in A.D. 1699. Down to his (or his father's) time none of the O'Mahony families appear to have settled outside MacCarthy More's portion of Kerry. Brosna was within the Earl of Desmond's territory, and, until the Confiscation of 1584, was occupied by the Earl's Harpers and Bards, subject to the condition of supplying him with necessaries, when he passed that way (Carew Calendar, A.D. 1572). The author of the "History of the Kingdom of Kerry" (published in this "Journal," vol. v., p. 233) says that "from Daniel, who went to Kilnacluny [he meant KiInaglory], in Barrett's Country, are descended the O'Mahonys of Brosna." That statement is one of the author's numerous errors13 about Kerry tribal history. He seems not to have known that Kilnaglory was in Co. Cork.14

        Seán, the eighth son of Tadhg O'Mahony. Regarding his posterity more numerous records are available. Some of his descendants became conspicuous personages in Kerry County history. He was the ancestor of the families of (1) Dunloe Castle, (2) Dromore Castle, (3) Dromadisert, in Magonihy, and Kilmeedy Castle, in Drishane, including one Co. Cork family, that of the present writer.

        Seán, according to the Irish MS. already quoted, had two sons, "Donchadh and Sean Og." Donchadh (or Denis) must have been the owner of a considerable amount of land, for, as will be shown presently, his younger brother was possessed of five ploughlands. Among Donchadh’s sons, according to the above MS. authority, was John, who became known as "John of Dunloe," and was the founder of the families of Dunloe and Dromore. John married Honora, daughter of Maurice O'Connell of Caherbarnagh. In 1665 the townland of Dunloe passed to him as the marriage portion of his second wife,15 Gillen, daughter of O'Sullivan Mor. The Castle of Dunloe (built by the Fitzgeralds in 1215) had been partly destroyed by Ormond in 1570 ("Annals Four M."), who left standing only three walls of the flanking tower. The Castle and townland are, mentioned in the Inquisition of O'Sullivan Mor in 1623, who bequeathed "all his lands" to his son, Donal, by whom they were bequeathed to his successor, the O'Sullivan Mor of the year 1665 (Kerry Inquisitions, R. I. Acad., and note to "History of the Kingdom of Kerry"). John Mahony rendered the tower habitable by building an east wall, very distinguishable (it is said) at the present day from its companions of the thirteenth century. He died in 1706, leaving two sons by his first wife, Daniel and Denis. Of the latter there is nothing to be recorded except that the Dromore estate was acquired for him in 1686, and that he became the founder of the Dromore line.

        Daniel, the elder, inherited his father's Castle and estate. He was a remarkable personage, who wielded a power throughout Kerry, in the very midnight of the Penal Laws, which can only be explained by his possessing an exceptional force of character. He greatly extended his possessions by obtaining middle interests from the English absentees who had got large grants of confiscated land; he states in an extant letter16 that he paid to them head rents amounting to £1,500 a year-equivalent to three or four, times that amount of money in our time. Thinking that Irish Catholics had suffered quite enough for the Stuarts, he "renounced the Pretender," and then applied for and obtained permission to keep arms, under shelter of which personal concession he armed his numerous retainers.17 He applied his resources systematically to thwart the execution of the penal laws. The following is an interesting extract from Miss Hickson's "Old Kerry Records":―"Daniel of Dunloe, as he was popularly called, troubled himself little about the rival merits of the claimants to the crown of England, his ambition being to maintain his own supremacy in Dunkerron, Magunihy, and Iveragh, and to keep out the intruding Palatines. He was an uncompromising Catholic,18 but not an unkindly neighbour to the Elizabethan settlers, with some of whom he was connected by marriage. The Chief of Dunloe used every stratagem to defeat the Act of 1661, which made "Papists" liable to "quit rents," an impost granted to Cromwellian soldiers and adventurers. Kennedy, a quit rent collector, had dispossessed Donogh McSweeny, an ancient proprietor,and a whisper from the dispossessed McSweeny went forth to Donal of Dunloe, and all the power of that redoubtable chieftain was brought to bear on Kennedy. Kennedy got a petition drawn up to the Privy Council, Dublin, "from an unknown friend." The mysterious appeal is in the Bermingham Tower: "The humble address and representation of the loyal subjects in the Barony of Magonihy sheweth that Daniel Mahony of Dunloe hath for several years made himself great and powerful, that he hath four thousand tenants ready at all times by day and by night to do his will, that he lives in a Castle very strongly fortified, the strongest hould except Ross Castle in the County; that he and his mob of fairesses (sic) are so dreaded for his mighty power that noe papiste in the kingdom hath the like. That he hath one hundred a year worth of concealed lands belonging to the Crown, that he impedeth the collection of quit rents, hearth money, &c., a wilful man19 without conscience, very powerful for his strength of men."

        No action having been taken by the Dublin Castle authorities, a signed petition was forwarded containing substantially the same statements. "Since the Capitulation of Limerick, the said lands have been used by Daniel Mahony of Dunloe and by his father, John, deceased, and those deriving under them, without paying one farthing to the Crown. Daniel hath three thousand followers and subjects, all of the Pope's Religion." The signed appeal had no more effect than the anonymous one.

        Mr. James Anthony Froude was greatly impressed by Daniel's anomalous power and the weakness of the Government which it implied: "The great peninsulas of Dunkerron and Iveragh and the other properties were held in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, on a lease of lives renewable for ever, by Daniel or Donnell Mahony of Dunloe Castle. The Viceroy might be supreme in Dublin Castle, but Daniel Mahony was sovereign in Kerry. It is hardly necessary to say that a Dublin Lord Lieutenant in 1717 was no match for Daniel and his four thousand. The memorialists submitted to their fate and to the Ruler that the genius of Ireland had set over them.20 . . . The Castle was best pleased when it got least trouble. Daniel Mahony might rule in Kerry, Martin in Connemara, and O'Donoghue threaten a bench of magistrates with 500 rapparees, but the Government desired to hear as little as they might about administrative weakness."―(Froude's "The English in Ireland," vol. i., pp. 452, 454, 477).

        Daniel died in 1729.21 An account of those who succeeded him down to the present century would be beyond the scope of this work, the purpose of which is historical rather than genealogical.

        We shall now return to the junior branch of Daniel's line―that of Seán Og (his grandfather's brother). We find the Sean Og of the Irish MSS. (frequently quoted supra) mentioned in a document in the Record Office as "John Mahony, Gentleman, possessor of the townlands of Dromadisart, Duneen, Knockanlibeare and Tuarnanonagh, who died in the year 1674." This John, according to the Irish MSS., had two sons, Teig and Dermod.

        Teig, the eldest son, married about the year 1660, and continued to reside with his father at Droumadisert. In 1668 the Duke of Ormond, who had claimed for some years to be the immediate owner of several large estates in Kerry, finding his title to anything more than a head rent questioned, surrendered his claim in the following notice: "For Colonel Mac Fynine, Lieut.-Col. McGillicuddy, and Mr. Teig Mahony, or either of them:―I do hereby give notice that I waive the possession of the lands enjoyed by me in the Baronys of Dunkerron and Glanerought, and shall expect hereafter to receive only the chiefries due to me out of them." It would seem from this that Teig had been associated with the two others above-named in the agency of those estates.

        On his father's death in 1642, he succeeded to the ownership of the ploughlands above enumerated. In the same year he acquired the Castle of Kilmeedy with adjoining land22 in Drishane, Co. Cork, and some time after, five additional ploughlands in Kerry. Cut off from the chance of fee simple ownership, he set himself to accumulate as many middle interests as possible, like his cousin-german, John of Dunloe. In 1686 his son John married Ellen, daughter of Stephen Rice. We get an interesting glimpse of bygone social arrangements in the 23"Marriage Articles between Teig O'Mahony of Droumadisert, Co. Kerry, Gent., and his son John, of the first part, and Stephen Rice, Gent., of Castlemore, Co. Kerry, and his daughter Ellen, of the second part." It is agreed (1) "That John shall marry Ellen according to the Rites of our Holy Mother ye Catholic Church. (2) That Stephen shall pay Teig, in trust for John, Ninety head of cow cattle and 8 mares and garrans, viz., 20 cows, 20 heifers and 20 yearlings, on 16th of May next, and the 8 mares and garrans on the same date, and 10 heifers and 20 yearlings on 16th May, 1688. (3) That Teig Mahony and his wife, Sheely, have good title to the Castle and plowland of East KiImeedy, in Drishane parish, in Co. Cork, which they are to convey to trustees for said John and Ellen for their lives. (4) That Teig has a lease for years of the 2 plowlands of Droumadisert, the house on which, with the 5 gneeves of land next the house, is to descend to John and Ellen on death of Teig and Sheely. (5) That Teig has a lease of the 3 plowlands of Cahirdianisk and of Kilewedane, Cnockanawlgort, and Cluondonigane, of which he shall assign to John the two plowlands of Cnockanawlgort and Cluonidonegane."

        Besides the lands thus settled on him and those which he inherited at the death of his father (who was alive in 1700), the same John O'Mahony acquired some ploughlands "near Sliabh Mis and near the Maine," according to 24contemporary evidence. In 1700 he lodged his "Claims" and Title Deeds (still preserved) with the "Trustees of Forfeited Estates." In the claims it was stated that "Claimant is adjudged to be within the Articles of Limerick." But the Articles of Limerick were soon after treated as waste paper by the Dublin Parliament. He was deprived of Kilmeedy Castle and lands, which were sold,25 with all the rest of Muskerry, in Chichester House, Dublin, in 1703. He succeeded in retaining most of his ploughlands in Kerry, some of which are bequeathed in his eldest son's will in 1727. He probably did not live many years after 1700, for he is said to have 26"died in the prime of life." He was the subject of a really splendid Elegy composed by the poet O'Rahilly, who dilates on his lineal descent from Cian, his wealth and prosperity, and his generosity. O'Rahilly mentions specially his patron's fondness for the study of ancient Irish History―"Splendid student of the Annals of Erin." The Rev. P. S. Dinneen, M.A., the Editor of O'Rahilly, expressed the opinion (which the present writer shared for some time) that the subject of the poem was" John, the father of Daniel of Dunloe." But O'Rahilly's apostrophe―"O John, son of Teig, grandson of Seán Og," is decisive against that conjecture, and clearly describes the John of whom we have been giving an account. From this poem it might be inferred that he married, secondly, a daughter of an O'Donoghue of Glenflesk. His son, another John, of Droumadisert, made a will in 1727,27 appointing as one of the Executors his cousin, Daniel of Dunloe.

        Returning now to Dermod, brother of Teig aforesaid (Irish MS. 23. E. 26. R.I.A.)―he was doubtless provided with one or more townlands by his father, who was able to bestow so many on the eldest son (vid. supra). Dermod had five sons, the eldest of whom was Conor (otherwise Cornelius). In 1689 when Tyrconnell, James II’s Lord Lieutenant, issued a general call to arms, fifty regiments of foot were hastily raised throughout Ireland. In Magonihy, Kerry, a company was raised largely composed of members of the O'Mahony gens; it was joined by three sons of Dermod O'Mahony, and the eldest, Cornelius, obtained the rank of Lieutenant.28 He and his company formed part of General Justin MacCarthy's army which besieged and took Bandon in 1689. He went through the entire campaign, in which his two brothers were killed; their lands in Kerry were, of course, confiscated. At the attack on Bandon he had saved the life of a Williamite gentleman named Hungerford, who, at the conclusion of the war, conveyed to him a liberal offer of a tract of land near the Round Tower of Kinneigh, Co. Cork, which he accepted. He died about 1728, and was buried in Kinneigh graveyard. From some feat of strength he acquired the agnomen of "Laidher," which descended to his posterity; a Kinelmeky family, south of the Bandon river, had a similar name, but was not related to him. His grandson and namesake, who, according to his headstone at Kinneigh, died in 1797, aged 74 years, preserved his sword and uniform, and some portions of the latter still remain. He communicated these particulars to his son John (died 1806), the grandfather of the writer of this history.

        Hitherto no mention has been made of a family which at the close of the seventeenth century and the earlier portion of the eighteenth became the most distinguished of the name, viz., the family of Colonel Dermod O'Mahony and his brother, General Count Daniel. In "Burke's Commoners," and in Sir Ross O'Connell's notes to the "Life of the Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade" (vol. i, p. 51) it is suggested or assumed, but not expressly asserted, that the family belonged to the Dunloe29 and Dromore line. But this was an erroneous conjecture. The family did not descend from DermQd Og, the founder of the Kerry branch, through any of the sons of Tadhg O'Mahony, the Head of the branch in the middle of the sixteenth century, but through his brother Donal. This appears from the pedigree in the Herald Office made out in 1712 for the son of Colonel Dermod, John, Captain in the Army of the "Low Countries." The applicant must have supplied the names of his ancestors of the Kerry Branch, leaving to the Herald Office to add on the names of those of more remote centuries. He must at all events have known the names of his grandfather and great-grandfather, and the names which he gave―"Dermod and Daniel, sons of John, son of Daniel, son of Dermod," &c., constitute a succession that does not occur in the genealogy of the descendants of Tadhg, in MSS. 23. E. 26, and 23. G. 22. (R.I.A.) and others.


        As was shown in a previous page, the first "Irish Brigade" was in the service of the King of Spain. The exodus of nobles and clansmen commenced in 1603, and continued down to the Cromwellian period. Sir "William Petty says that "the chiefest of the nobility and gentry took conditions from the King of Spain, and transported thither forty thousand of the most active, spirited men." The names of some of the "O'Mahons of Ivagha" who received Commissions in the Spanish army have been already given from the report of an English spy, but, of course, the Spanish records would contain many more. In the time of James II the tendency was towards France. The following is an extract from O'Callaghan's History of the Irish Brigade":―"Amongst the officers of King James during the War of the Revolution in Ireland were several gentlemen of the O'Mahonys, including two brothers, Dermod and Daniel. Dermod, as Colonel,30 was distinguished at Aughrim and Limerick. Daniel, having attained the rank of Captain in the Irish Foot Guards, accompanied the National Army to France, where he obtained the post of Major in the Regiment of Dillon." In the War of the Spanish succession he had a career of extraordinary brilliancy, and became known in French military history as "Ie fameux Mahoni." His defence of Cremona in February, 1702, was the foundation of his fame on the Continent. North Italy, then subject to Spain, became that year "the cockpit" of the contending nations. Marshal De VilIeroi, a Court favourite, personally brave but no tactician, was sent in command of the French and Spanish forces to oppose the great Imperialist General, Prince Eugene of Savoy―"impar congressus Achilli." Cremona, situate on the left bank of the Po, then in the Spanish Dominions, was VilIeroi's headquarters. It was strongly fortified by a wall pierced by five gates, one of which, leading to a bridge of boats over the river, was known as the Po gate. Confiding in the strength of the fortifications, the French neglected ordinary precautions. By a skilfully arranged plan, rendered possible by the co-operation of an Austrian31 partisan in Cremona, Prince Eugene, during the course of ten days, introduced, through a disused aqueduct or sewer that passed under the walls, a sufficient force to seize the next gate, and open another that had been walled up. Before dawn on [Friday] Feb. 1st, 1702, after a night march of eighteen miles he poured in his cavalry through one gate and his infantry through the other, and had occupied the principal portion of the city before the French were awakened from sleep. De Villeroi and several of his officers were captured. For the completion of Eugene's plan it was necessary to seize the Po gate and keep it open for Vaudemont's five thousand men, who were to cross by the bridge of boats from the right side of the river at a stated hour. To execute this task, Baron De Mercy with his cuirassiers galloped at once from the gate of St. Margaret by which they had entered the city. Not far from the Po gate were the barracks of the Irish Regiments of DiIIon and Burke, so named from their first Colonels. The former was commanded by Major Daniel O'Mahony in the absence of Colonel Lally, father of Lally Tollendal; the latter by Lieut.-Col. Wauchop. The Major, whose quarters were in the centre of the town, succeeded with difficulty in reaching his men, who turned out half-dressed. The two regiments were at once led to the Po gate, Wauchop, as senior officer, at first taking command. There the small "guard of the gate," consisting of an Irish Captain and thirty-six men, had been for a considerable time, by well-directed volleys, holding in check the Austrian cuirassiers and infantry. The combat that ensued lasted until near ten o'clock, a.m., when the Irish Brigade was completely victorious. Wauchop had been wounded, and the command of both battalions now devolved on Major O'Mahony, who thus got "the opportunity of his life." He was ordered by Count Revel to fight his way to the Mantua gate, and in that march the chief exploit of the day was performed. Baron Freiberg disposed his cuirassiers so as to attack the Brigade "in front, flank, and' rear." But the Irish commander, promptly "arranging his men so as to face their assailants, on every side, received the onset of the Imperialists with an intrepidity that astonished them." The Cuirassiers were utterly routed, but another corps of them soon after came on and, headed by Freiberg in person, broke through the ranks of the regiment of Dillon, but after a desperate struggle they too were repulsed and Freiberg killed.32 Having complied with his orders, the Major took on himself the responsibility of returning to the Po gate. "He judged correctly,'" says the historian of the Brigade, "for a fresh body

of Austrian troops had just arrived. Stationing himself by the battery, he played the artillery at the building which the enemy had occupied, and swept their troops away whenever they showed themselves."

        He performed a service even more important than these exploits, which is attested by the Duc De S. Simon. The French Commander-in-Chief had unaccountably neglected to order the destruction of the Po bridge. In an interval between the combats "Mahoni went personally to him and persuaded him to send orders to De Praslin to destroy the bridge," by which Vaudement might have attacked and taken the Po gate. On seeing from the Cathedral tower the destruction of the bridge, Eugene decided to retreat. In the evening Count Revel sat down to write the despatch for the King, and conferred on the Irish officer, the real rescuer of Cremona, the honour of taking it to Paris. It contained the following:―" . . . Les Regiments Irlandais ont fait de merveilles; M. De Mahoni, qui porte la presente en pourra rendre un bon compte a votre Majeste.” St. Simon, who knew the Major, arid described him as "un officier Irlandais de beaucoup d'esprit et de valeur," gives a graphic account of the excitement caused by the news at Marly on February 9th. He was in the antechamber, which was crowded with courtiers, while the Major was closeted with the King for over an hour. "On coming out, the King declared that he had never heard so good an account of a military event; told as it was with great clearness and an agreeable manner. He said that he had promoted Major O'Mahony to the rank of Colonel, and bestowed on him a pension and a present of a thousand louis d'or for the expenses of his journey."33 The rest of this celebrated officer's career was spent in Spain, he having, by the desire of Louis XIV, entered the service of the King's grandson, Philip V, with the rank of Brigadier-General. Philip loaded him with honours in return for signal services that (it is not too much to say) secured him on his throne. In 1705 he appointed him Major­General, in 1706, military Governor of Cartagena, and soon after Lieut.­General. At the battle of Almanza, O'Mahony led the Irish regiment of Dragoons, and contributed greatly to the victory. In the campaign of 1710 he was appointed a Count of Castile. At the close of that year the important battle of Villaviciosa was fought between the Duke De Vendome and Stahrenberg, "the Second Eugene." King Philip was present by the side of his celebrated Marshal. A portion of his cavalry reserve was under General Val de Canas and the other portion under Count O'Mahony, and to these two Generals belongs the credit of turning an expected defeat into a decisive victory. Philip V wrote on the day after the action to Louis XIV: "Marshal Vendome, seeing that our centre gave way, and that our cavalry made no impression on the enemy's right, considered it necessary to retire to Torrija, and gave orders for that purpose, but as we were going there, we were informed that Val de Canas and Mahoni with the cavalry they had under their orders charged the enemy's infantry and handled it very severely, which caused us to march back with the rest of the army," &c. No more is said of Val de Canas, but De Bellerive, an eyewitness, wrote: "Ere night set in, the brave Comte De Mahoni, having no cannon to fire on the retreating troops, invested them on one side, and then sent a drummer to Stahrenberg summoning him to surrender. "Stahrenberg kept the drummer until next day, and escaped during the night aided by a dense fog, but had to abandon to the Irish General his "700 mules laden with all the plunder of Castile." "The King," says the same author, was so satisfied with the Comte De Mahoni that he appointed him a Commander of the Military Order of Sant Iago, with an annual revenue of fifteen thousand lines." He was the only one of the Irish Generals in the French or in the Spanish service that held an independent command, as at Alcoy in Valentia, with six thousand men in 1708, and in Sicily, which he saved for Spain in the same year. His contemporary, De Bellerive, the French military historian already quoted, summed up his career as follows: "His whole life has been a continual chain of dangerous combats, bold attacks, and honourable retreats." He died at Ocana, in Spain, in January, 1714. His body must have been transferred for interment to Madrid, only forty miles distant. There is no record of his interment in Ocana, as the writer is informed by Don Vicente Lopez Martino, Parroco de Ocana, who has obligingly examined the records of the four parish churches of that town for 1714.

        He married Cecilia, daughter of George Weld, of an old Catholic family in Dorsetshire, and had two sons (neither of whom left male descendants):―
        I. James Joseph, born 1699; the sponsor at his baptism was James Francis Edward, called by his adherents James III, and by his enemies "The Old Pretender." James Joseph inherited his father's title of Count of Castile, rose to the rank of Colonel in the Spanish Army, and of Lieutenant-General in the army of Naples, then under Spain. He died in 1757. His only child, Cecilia,
34 married Prince Justiniani, and was thus the grandmother of the late Prince Justiniani Bandini, Lord Newburgh (died Aug., 1908, aged ninety years).
        2. Demetrius (Dermod) succeeded to his brother's title of Count. He had risen to the rank of Brigadier-General in the Spanish Army. About 1760 he was appointed Ambassador of Spain to the Court of Vienna. It is a striking evidence of his merits that he should have obtained so distinguished a position, coveted,
35 no doubt, by the chief Grandees of Spain. The following extract from the (English) "Annual Register," 1766, affords evidence of his attachment to the land of his fathers. "On the 17th of this month His Excellency Count O'Mahony, Ambassador from Spain to the Court of Vienna, gave a grand entertainment in honour of St. Patrick, to which were invited all persons of condition that were of Irish descent, being himself a descendant of an illustrious family of that kingdom. Among many others, were present Count Lacy, President of the Council of War; the Generals O'Donnel, McGuire, O'Kelly, Browne, Plunket, and McElligott, four Chiefs of the Grand Cross, two governors, several knights military, and six staff officers, four Privy Councillors, with the principal officers of State; who, to show their respect for the Irish nation, wore crosses in honour of the day, as did the entire Court."

        An original document signed by General Count Daniel, when Colonel, has been found by the present writer among some papers relating to the Brigade, in the R. I. Acad. Library. From this document his autograph is here reproduced:

It will be observed that the French "De" is used to represent the Irish "O." His son's Bookplate is also reproduced36 in which the ancient Irish Motto of the Clan, "Lasair romhainn a buaidh," was inaccurately printed by the Italian or Spanish engraver.

        Besides the foregoing, only three O'Mahonys appear in some published lists of the Irish Brigade in the Spanish Service. "Don Daniel, Cadet, 1715; Don Patricio, 1729; Don Jaime, 1803." But the records in the Archives of Simancas, examined at the writer's request by a Spanish gentleman (from 1700 to 1755, not as yet from 1600-1700), have been found to contain the following entries:―
        "1. Cornelio O'Mahony, Capitan de Dragones en el Regimento de Badoma O'Mahony, A.D. 1717.
        2. Don Diego O'Mahony, Irlandes, Capitan de Caballos, 1723.
        3. Don Dionisio De Mahony, Alferez (Ensign), 1733.
        4. Don Luis Francisco Mahony, Coronel (Colonel), agregado al Regim. Infanteria de Aragon, 1736.
       5. Hoja de servicios del Coronel Conde De Mahony, hasta el anno 1721 (Record of Colonel Count James Joseph, vid. supra).
       6. Hoja de servicios del Coronel y Brigadier Don Demetrio De Mahony, hasta el fin de Decembre, 1755. Afterwards Ambassador to Vienna (Count in 1757)."
        Cornelius O'Mahony, Colonel, who died in 1776, appointing the ambassador his executor, already mentioned in the account of the Ui Flon Luadh Sub-Sept.
        In the Austrian Service, Lieut.-Col. William O'Mahony, born in 1760.
        In the Army of Holland―John, Captain, 1721; Cornelius, Captain, 1723. "The sons of Colonel Dermod are held in great esteem in Holland," writes the author of the "Kingdom of Kerry," their contemporary.
        In the French Service, the exhaustive De La Ponce MSS. mention the following:―
        1. Derby, born in Ireland 1718 (son of Daniel of Dunloe), Colonel in 1778.
        2. Timothy, born in 1713, Capt. in 1745, died 1769. Regiment de Walsh.
        3. Jeremie, Lieutenant, 1789.
        4. Denis, Lieut. in 1783, Reg. de Dillon.
        5. Kean, same Regiment, Lieut., 1787.
        6. Bartlemy, born 1749, died 1819, a descendant of Donal na Tubrid O'Mahony, Lieut.-General and Count. See many particulars about him in Mrs. O'Connell's "Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade."
        7. John Francis, son of Col. Derby, and grandson of Daniel of Dunloe, Chef De Battalion 1807. Being a strong Royalist, he is unfavourably referred to by his republican countryman Miles Byrne in his Memoirs. Colonel in 1812 in the Irish Regiment. Colonel in Regt. of the Line (41st) in 1819. Count in 1815. Brigadier (Mestre de Camp) in 1823. He was alive in the time of Louis Philippe, and was succeeded by his son, Count Ernest. A Count O'Mahony who resides in Rue Dauphinee, Orleans, is now the chief representative of his name on the Continent.


The statement in Cusack's "Hist. of Kerry," and in O'Harte's compilation, that the dispossessed Chief of Kinelmeky took refuge in Kerry, and a similar statement made by another writer about the owner of Rosbrin Castle in Elizabeth's time, are quite unfounded.




1.  []
2.  So expressly the MS. quoted.
3.  See MacCarthy Glas. "Life of Florence," page 33, quoting State Papers.
4.  Bruodin's "Propugnaculum." See also an account of this barbarity by Lynch (Gratianus Lucius), Card. Moran's "Persecution of Irish Catholics," and "Aphorismical Discovery,'' &c., a contemporary MS., edited by Gilbert.
5.  Letter of Sir Warham St. Leger to the Privy Council on Florence MacCarthy's marriage, 1588.
6.  The Editor blundered almost as badly in attempting corrections of the author on Kerry Tribal history. He says in a note that the O'Donoghues and O'Mahonys were driven into Kerry by the English in the middle of the eleventh century! The O’Donoghues migrated from the Co. Cork about 1020, and the O'Mahonys never went as a tribe or part of a tribe to Kerry, as is set forth above.
7.  The dates given In the three preceding sentences are not taken from the Irish MS. Genealogy, which does not give dates or the names of the wives of Dermod Og's successors, but from M. Cherin's MS.; M. Cherin must have been shown documentary evidence for these statements.
8.  M. Cherin's MSS. The name Aedh Yeranacb, "Aedh the Wanton" (Chronic. Scotorum, A.D. 1079, note), probably suggested to Sir W. Betham his mistranslation of Meirgeach.
9.  Before this name the words "DonaI, son of," must have been accidentally omitted either by Norreys himself or by the printer of his letter as given by Mr. McC. Glas, "Life of Florence"; Teig Mergeach died twenty-three years before the events mentioned in this letter.
10.  An inference from the fact that DonaI's property was in Iveragh, and that he had a grandson named Conogher (Irish MS. above quoted).
11.  Cf. his pedigree (given by M. Cherin, and abridged in "Life of the Last Colonel of the Irish. Brigade") with the Irish MS. 23 E. 26, which gives the grandsons and great-grandsons of DonaI.
12.  See Cal. State Papers, 1586-1588, page 110―"An order against Jenkyn Conway on behalf of Owen Mac Teig Mergeach, 8th Sept., 1585." Jenkyn Conway was a lieutenant of horse to the Kerry "undertakers," and a very grasping and aggressive member of their class.
13.  The Editor of that MS., Rev. Fr. Jarlath, allowed this statement to pass without correction. Having in the Preface indicated some his author's mistakes, he inserted in the notes several errors of his own. Here is one: "Neither the O'Mahonys nor O'Donoghues were in Kerry until the middle of the eleventh century(!) when they were driven out of Cork by the Anglo-Norman invasion."(!) In another passage, attempting a brief history of the O'Donoghues, he confounds those of Killarney with the O'Donoghues of Eoghanact Cashel, a totally different clan, who died out in the eleventh century. See note by the present writer, this "Journal," Oct.-Dec., 1907, p. 192.
14.  As the present History is not intended to come down beyond the beginning of the 18th century, see, for a further account of the Brosna-Kilmorna branch, Burke’s "Landed Gentry." Mr. J. O'Mahony, Brosna, belongs to this branch.
15.  The above account of this "John of Dunloe" is sustained by (1) a Dromore pedigree of 1730, made out for one of the family who married Count Conway in France; (2) a Dunloe pedigree (in the Herald Office) of Colonel William O'Mahony of the Austrian Service. Both documents (the former more fully) trace John of Dunloe to Denis, son of John, son of Teig Mergeach O'Mahony. They thus refute the fiction, of quite recent origin, that the first Mahony of Dunloe was some unknown "Daniel from Cork" who married the widow of an imaginary Sughrue, owner of Dunloe. See also Sir Ross O'Connell's notes to "Life of the Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade," p. 50, vol. i.
16.  See Miss Hickson's "Old Kerry Records."
17.  The permission was withdrawn after a few years. See "List of Roman Catholics allowed to retain arms in the year 1711, et seq." (Dublin Record Office). The renunciation of the Stuarts moved the Jacobite poet O'Rahilly to class DonaI among the "upstarts"―the planters and their followers. See his prose satire (MS., R.I.A.).
18.  The families of Dunloe, Castlequin, Cullinagh, and Dromdisert remained Catholic, as did the Kilmorna family until 1792.
19.  The memorialist was hardly an ideal authority on questions of conscience. "A farmer of the taxes," says Macaulay ("Hist. England," vol. i., p. 137), "is, of all creditors, proverbially the most rapacious." And he Quotes an old ballad on the Hearth Money Collectors:―
        "There is not an old dame in ten, and go search the nation thro',
        That if you speak of Chimney men will not spare a curse or two."
20.  Here follow the quotations above given from the memorials to the Castle.
21.  For his characteristic compliment to his daughter Joanna and singular bequest to her, see Sir Ross O'Connell, p. 51, op. Citat.
22.  In Title Deed No. 78, lodged with Trustees of Forfeited Estates, 1700, Teig is said to have been "entitled to said lands under the Acts of Settlement, in right of his wife, as coheir and proprietor." She and her two sisters, in right of whom their husbands had a claim to the adjoining ploughlands, were McCarthys of Drishane, descendants of the family that built the Castle in 1445.
23.  No. 86 among title deeds lodged in Chichester House, 1700.
24.  O'Rahilly's Elegy (Dinneen's Edition). The title of the Elegy is "An bár Seátain meintig Ui Matgamna." The Editor translated "Mergcach" in his first edition "The Rusty"; in his second edition, "The freckled," being unaware that it was not a personal but a hereditary appellation, and should therefore, according to usage, be left untranslated. As, e.g., "Florence MacCarthy Reagh," not Florence MacCarthy "the swarthy." The appellation "Mergeach" for the Kerry branch was discontinued shortly after the date of this poem, and became quite forgotten.
25.  The following is the extract from the "Book of Sales of Confiscated Estates, Barony of Muskerry":―"Kilmeedy-Castle and ploughland, 501 acres, John Mabony."
26.  O'Rahilly's Elegy.
27.  In the list of Wills In the Record Office we find "Daniel Mahony of Dromadisert, gent., 1762," and "Timothy of Dromadisert, gent., 1828." This family may be still in existence.
28.  Readers of D'Alton's "King James's Army List" know, or should know, that the "List" is formed from very imperfect records―perfect ones could not be expected in a time of such confusion. Of some regiments only the names of two or three officers are preserved. See notes to "Life of Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade." O'Callaghan ("Hist. of the Brigades"), who made further researches, says: "Among the officers of King James during the War of the Revolution were several gentlemen of the O’Mahonys," p. 204.
29.  The same opinion commended itself, at first, to the present writer. and was expressed by him in a note written for the new edition of O'Rahllly. But after the discovery of the Herald Office document that opinion became untenable.
30.  Dermod is erroneously said to have fallen at Aughrim. He is mentioned by MacGeoghegan in the list of troops lately arrived in France after the Treaty of Limerick, and new modelled in 1695. He died in Italy in 1710, according to the Herald Office document above referred to. He is not heard of in active service in the War of the Spanish Succession, having probably retired through wounds or ill health.
31.  Cassioli, the rector of a Church. There must have been many Austrian partizans in Cremona, as 500 of Eugene's picked men had been secreted there before the surprise. French writers call these Cremonese traitors. but most Italians looked on the proceeding from a different standpoint. They were very anti-French, as Louis XIV says in a letter to Vendome.
32.  The above account is graphically as well as accurately summarized by Thomas Davis in his ballad, "The Surprise of Cremona, 1702":―
From Milan to Cremona, Duke Villeroy rode,
And soft are the beds in his royal abode;
In billet and barrack the garrison sleep,
And loose is the watch which the sentinels keep.
                    .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Through gate, street and square with his keen cavaliers,
A flood through a gully, Count Merci careers,
They ride without getting or giving a blow,
Nor halt till they gaze on the gate of the Po.
"Surrender the gate!"―but a volley replied,
For a handful of Irish were posted inside.
                   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
But in thro' St. Margaret's the Austrians pour,
And billet and barrack are ruddy with gore;
Unarmed and naked the soldiers are slain―
There's an enemy's gauntlet on Villeroy's rein.
                   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Here and there thro' the City, some readier band
For honour and safety, undauntedly stand,
At the head of the regiments of Dillon and Burke
Is Major O'Mahony, fierce as a Turk.
His sabre is Bashing-the Major is dress'd.
But muskets and shirts are the clothes of the rest!
Yet they rushed to the ramparts, the clocks have tolled ten,
And Count Merci retreats with the half of his men,
"In on them!" said Friedberg―and Dillon is broke,
Like forest flowers crushed by the fall of the oak;
Thro' the naked battalions the cuirassiers go:―
But the man, not the dress, makes the soldier, I trow.
Upon them with grapple, with bay' net.. and ball.
Like wolves upon gaze-hounds, the Irishmen fall―
Black Friedberg is slain by O'Mahony's steel.
And back from the bullets the cuirassiers reel."
                .   .   .   .   .   .  .
    "Down to our times," says O'Callaghan ("Hist, Irish Brigade") "the piper of Munster has performed the air of 'The day we beat the Germans at Cremona.' O'Rahilly's "Illusive Vision" distinctly points at the hero of Cremona as the battle cock of Rath Rathlean, whom he hopes to see coming over to the assistance of the old King,"
33.  "Le roi prit plaisir a s'entendre sur Mahoni et dit qu'il n'avait jamais out personne rendre une at bonne compte, ni avec tante de nettete d'esprit et meme agreablement."―"Memoires de St. Simon." Dangeau and St. Simon considered that the Surprise and the Rescue of Cremona were the two most extraordinary events in military history, Voltaire used similar language. The current saying was that "Cremona was taken by a miracle and saved by a greater miracle."
34.  Through her mother. Lady Anne Clifford. Cecilia acquired and transmitted a right to the Earldom of Newburgh. See Burke's "Peerage," art. Earl of Newburgh.
35.  That some jealousy was felt by the Spaniards at Irish promotions, see in Bouterwek's "Hist. of Spanish Literature," Bohn's ed., p 387.
36.  The copy of the Bookplate was kindly supplied by Mr. Pierce G. Mahony, B.L.