Kilmurry Parish Website.






















































A Brief History of the Ancient Clans
of Kilmurry Parish

This document and Document 2:
Kilmurry Parish Placenames are taken from
by Jeremiah O'Mahony, Castletown; published by The Kerryman Ltd., Tralee (no date)

Jeremiah O'Mahony was the schoolmaster in Castletownkenneigh National School (Enniskeane Parish). His son, Canon Liam O'Mahony, is at present Parish Priest of our next-door parish of Newcestown.


THE present parish of Kilmurry, lying east of Kilmichael, is bounded on the north by the River Lee, and on the south by the Bride, at its western end, but extends beyond the Bride in a south-eastern direction. The western part of it has a common early history with Kilmichael, and formed part of the original Ifflanloe. The eastern end from Castlemore to Aherla had more intimate connection with Cineal Aodha. Castlemore was originally known as Dun Draighneain (Drinan's fort), which is mentioned as one of the forts belonging to Rath Raithleann, over two miles to the south.

The western part of Kilmurry, including twenty ploughlands, was given by the Kinelea chief to a kinsman from the west named Finghin, a first cousin of Tadhg an Oir, to whom he had given Ifflanloe, Uimh Flann Luadh. This territory embraced most of Moviddy and parts of Kilmurry and Canovee.

This branch of the O'Mahonys came to be known as the O'Mahony Fineens, from Fineen its founder, and later from one of its members, Donogh Ruadh, it got the nickname Ruadh, and they were called the O'Mahony Ruadh. Descendants of both families are, I believe, still existing as O'Mahony Fineens and O'Mahony Ruadhs.

Like their kinsmen of Kilmichael, they suffered the encroachments of the McCarthys and MacSwineys, but held their land till they, too, got involved in rebellion against the foreigner. Even after confiscation they held on to some of their patrimony and one of them, Fineen Ruadh (Roe) O'Mahony, was owner of Pullerick, 726 acres. He died in the year 1628. His son was owner of the townland of Ballymichael, near Kilmurry.

The senior representative of this branch was Diarimuid O'Mahony (1617 to 1663). He was the owner in fee of Farnanes in the parish of Moviddy. He took part in the 1641 rising and his lands were confiscated. He recovered them after the Restoration of Charles II and died in 1663. Thomas Crook, an English planter, from whom Crookstown got its name, got it as part of the Clancarty estate, confiscated after 1690, and thus passed out this old branch of the O'Mahony family. Some of their descendants were known as O'Mahony Ceitherne, or O'Mahony Kearney. Two of those families that I know of are now extinct though others may remain. The following is the genealogical list of this sub sept: Finghin, Cian, Donogh, Donogh Ruadh, Maolrnuadh, Mahon, Diarmuid, Mahon, Domnal, Tadhg, Finghin, Tadhg and Diarmuid, who is mentioned above as owner of Farnanes. This list may help some descendants to trace their origin.

A third sub sept of the O'Mahony was formed in the latter part of the fourteenth century. This is variously given as Clan Concobhair, or Clan Conogher, the latter form being obviously an anglicized corruption of the former. This was further corrupted when descendants of the sept came to be known as the O'Mahony Cno, an abbreviation of Conogher.

This sept had some sixteen or eighteen ploughlands, partly in Kilmurry and partly in Kilmichael. In an old manuscript Donogh O'Mahony is represented as having Coolmacow, and possibly Curraclogh, Pullerick, and Currabeg, so that we may assume their original habitat was in this locality.

The chief who got the district from his Bandon relative, was named Donogh, and he was fourth in descent from Concobhar, first O'Mahony of Carbery. His successors were: Mahon, Donogh, Finghin, Finghin Og, Finghin Og Maol, Donogh, Concobher, and Donogh who held Coolmacow, etc., in 1656.

The eastern part of Kilmurry saw stirring times. First it belonged to the O'Mahonys of Rath Raithleann. Then it came into the possession of the Norman De Cogan, who installed himself at Dundraighneain and built Castlemore Castle, and he in turn was superseded by the Blarney branch of the McCarthy family who, with the help of the MacSwineys, imposed their sway in this district from Mashanaglas to Kilcrea

I would like to give the McCarthy pedigree, but it is too involved in their general history to be treated in a condensed article.

The MacSwiney family came originally from Donegal and Maolmuire (Myles) MacSwiney, brother of Niall, No.117 in MacSwiney na Tuaithe pedigree, left there and came south to help the McCarthys in their wars against their fellow Gaels as well as the foreigner

As Maolinuire, from his place in the genealogical list, would have died about the year 1400, we may take it as granted that the MaeSwineys made their first permanent appearance in West Cork about the year 1350. This Maolmuire had a son, Donagh, who had a son named Maolmuire, who had a son named Toirdhealbhach (Traolagh) or Terence, who had a son Murrogh-na-Mart, or Murrough of the Beeves, who was alive in 1588. This Murrough had descendants who made fame for themselves. One was Commendatore Peter Paul MacSwiney who lived in Dublin in 1881, and another J. MacSwiney, was one time Secretary of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language. Our own Terence, patriot Lord Mayor of Cork, was one of the sept; his very surname showing him to be of the direct line. Kilmurry is famed in song and story. Who has not heard of that fine air: 'The Flourishing States of Kilmurry'? An Irish poet eulogising the place says:

I know of no province, or beautiful home,
That was more pleasant to view.
My eyes never rested on a land so fine
As that place that is called Kilmurry.

Scanned and published to HTML
Fr. Jerry Cremin Jan. 06 1999