Much change in west Cork after Cromwell's visit

Continuing our look back on some of the excellent articles which appeared in the Castletownbere Christmas Newsletter in the 1980s. The following article was submitted by Micheal Hanley formerly of the Square, Castletownbere, and a Manager of AIB in Tuam Co. Galway, for a number of years.
Sadly Michael passed away last May (RIP). Each year without fail Micheal wrote a special article for the Newsletter, which we will bring back over the next few years.

In this article “Cromwellian Confiscations in Beare and Bantry” one can understand the research that went into it. The first confiscations in Beara took place before Cromwell’s time. The chiefs of two McCarthy sets, one in the half-barony of Beare, the second in the half barony of Bantry, were both killed in action in the Desmond Rebellion, and the sept lands were forfeited to the Crown. It was in Cromwell’s day, however, the native Irish lost all their lands.

The names of the twenty forfeiting tituladoes, as given in John O’Hart’s The Irish and Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell Came to Ireland (p.276) are as follows: The spelling is given as in the original. (1) Daniel O’Sullivan Beare. (2) Cahil O’Sullivan, Beare. (3) Owen McShane Boy. (4) Thomas Browne. (5) Teige Buy. (6) Owne McDooling. (7) Owne McFynin Duff. (8) Teige McDaniell. (9) Tfynin McDermott. (10) Donogh McKnogher O’Donogane. (11) Mortogh McDaniell. (12) Owen McTfynin. (13) Rory McTfynin. (14) Dermot McTfynin. (15) Randolph Linihigane. (16) Dermott O’Liney, alias The O’Liney. (17) Owen Riegh. (18) Murtagh McDaniell Sullivane. (19) Owen McTeig Sullivane. (20) Owen McTeig McDaniell Sullivane.

It is worth noting that sixteen of the twenty tituladoes are O’Sullivans (1) Donal O’Sullivan Beare far and away the greatest landholder in Beara. During the 1641 Rebellion he was a Colonel in the Confedrate Army. As well as taking his share in the fighting, he was sent on diplomatic missions to the Continent. He was eldest son of Owen Ogue, and grandson of Sir Owen O’Sullivan Beare.
If chieftainships had not been extinguished he would unquestionably have been chief of his nation. He married a daughter of Viscount Clare – not the first O’Brien marriage made by an O’Sullivan Beare, as Donal Cam’s mother was a daughter of the Earl of Thomand. Among his own people he was known Donal Cron (the Swarthy). He was not the first of his line to hold that name, for an ancestor of Donal Cam, chieftain in his day, was also known as Donal Cron. After the Restoration in 1660 he petitioned the King for the return of his lands. I have seen a long letter from King Charles, ordering that he be restored to all the lands he held before the Cromwellian confiscations. However, despite this and his continued plea neither he nor any of the nineteen others ever got as much as a rood back.

Title had changed several times in many cases, the King was insecurely seated on his throne, the Roundhead faction was still strong in England, and indolent, clever Charles, remembering his wandering youth, was resolved, no matter what else happened, not to go “on his travels” again (2) Cathal O’Sullivan Beare. Note the full title. It seems probable that he was a younger brother of Donal Cron. The other O’Sullivans were probably decendants of Sir Owne, or heads of venous septs. (3) Owne McShane Buidhe O’Sullivan.

(4) Thomas Browne. Sir Valentine Browne came over to Ireland after the Desmond Rebellion as a land surveyor. He was married to Thomasine, daughter of Sir N. Bacon, Keeper of the Great Seal. He was a crypto-Catholic, and if he had remained on in England, it is likely that the family would have conformed within two generations. The crippling recusancy fines would have seen to that.

In Ireland, in an obstinately Catholic atmosphere, he openly adhered to the old Faith. He was given lands for his services, and was accused by his enemies of feathering his own nest – a common complaint against land surveyors, notably the greatest land shark of them all, Sir William Petty. His son, Sir Nicholas Browne, ancestor of the Earls of Kenmare, married a daughter of Sir Owne O’Sullivan Beare, and two of Sir Nicholas’s daughters married brothers, sons of O’Sullivan Mor of Dunkerron.

It seems highly probable that the forfeiting proprietor, Thomas Browne, was a decendant of Sir Nicholas, possibly a younger son. (5) Tadhg Buidhe O’Sullivan. (6) Owen MacDulaing O’Sullivan. (7) Owen MacFineen Duff. Presumably the MacFineen Duv of his day. (8) Tadhg MacDonal O’Sullivan. (9) Fineen Mac Dermot O’Sullivan. (10) Donough MacConor O’Donegan. (11) Morth MacDonal O’Sullivan. (12) Owen MacFineen O’Sullivan. (13) Rory Mac Fineen O’Sullivan. (14)Dermot MacFineen O’Sullivan. (15) Randal O’Lynch. (16) Dermot O’Lyne. Why “alias The O’Liney” is appended I cannot say. In Irish usage the head of his clan was known as O’Neill, O’Donnell, O’Driscoll etc. The O’Neill, O’Donnell etc., is an English custom. (17) Owen Riabhach (Swarthy, or Brindle) O’Sullivan. (18) Morty MacDonal O’Sullivan (19) Owen MacTadhg O’Sullivan. (20) Owen MacTadhg MacDonal O’Sullivan.

It would appear that the O’Donegans were once a power in the land. I have been unable to discover whether they were settled in Beara before the first O’Sullivan Beare ever set foot there, but I think it likely that this is so. They may have lost lands to the early Normans, Lord Barnwell of Berehaven and deCarew of Dunamark, and later when the Normans were driven out by the MacCarthys, they may have suffered at the hands of the O’Sullivan Beare’s.

The place-names, Ballydonegan below Allihies and Reendonegan near Bantry, appear to indicate that they once held large tracts of land. I believe that the O’Lynes were hereditary physicians to the O’Sullivan Beare Lords. Don Philip, the historian, tells us that Amhlaoibh O’Lyne accompanied Donal Cam to Spain and that he was a famous doctor, remarkable for his skill in curing ailments. Presumably one of Amhlaoibh’s kinsmen made peace with Owen Ogue, and held the septs lands. Dermot O’Lyne lost all in Cromwell’s confiscations.

It is worth noting that the famous Dr. Lyne of Ardgroom, who figures in Smith’s History of Cork, and of whom Gerard Lyne has written extensively, was also named Dermot, and he may well have been a grandson, or even a son (for he was a very old man in the early 1740s) of the 1641 titulado. One last comment that may be worth noting. At the time of the Cromwellian confiscations O’Donegan, O’Lyne and O’Lynch all had their holdings of land to the north of Castletownbere, which is loosely known as “The Northern Parish” today. (Eyeries).

Courtesy of the Southern Star