Donough MacCarty, 1st Earl of Clancarty

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Donough MacCarty
Earl of Clancarty
Second Viscount Muskerry.jpg
PredecessorCharles MacCarty, 1st Viscount Muskerry
SuccessorCharles MacCarty, 2nd Earl of Clancarty
Died5 August 1665
Spouse(s)Eleanor Butler
FatherCharles MacCarty, 1st Viscount Muskerry
MotherMargaret O'Brien

Donough MacCarthy (Irish: Donnchadh Mac Cárthaigh), 1st Earl of Clancarty, 2nd Viscount Muskerry (1594–1665), was a leader of the Irish Confederation. He led the Confederates' Munster army during most of the Irish Confederate Wars and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. He belonged to the moderate faction, which wanted to collaborate with the royalists against the Commonwealth and the Covenanters. He was one of the last to surrender. In 1658, in exile, Charles II created him Earl of Clancarty. He recovered his lands at the Restoration.


Birth and origins

Donough was born in 1594, [1] probably at Blarney Castle, the habitual seat of his parents. [2] He was the second son of Charles MacCarty and his first wife Margaret O'Brien. His father was the 1st Viscount of Muskerry. His grandfather was Sir Cormac MacCarthy, who had received an English title to his lands during the Tudor conquest of Ireland. Donough's mother was a daughter of Donogh O'Brien, 4th Earl of Thomond. Both sides of the family were important Gaelic Irish dynasties. His parents married about 1590. [3]

He was the younger of two brothers:

  1. Cormac, predeceased his father; [4] and
  2. Donough (1594–1665).

His sisters were:

  1. Mary, married 1st Sir Valentine Browne and 2ndly Edward FitzGerald; [5]
  2. Helen, married Colonel Edmund FitzMaurice, eldest son of Thomas, 18th Earl of Kerry; [6]
  3. Elinor, married in 1636 Charles MacCarthy-Reagh. [7] [8]
Family tree
Donough MacCarty with wife, parents, and other selected relatives.

d. 1616

d. 1640

bef. 1596 –

1st Earl

1st Duke

d. 1722

c. 1633 – 1665

d. 1698

c. 1643 – 1694
d. 1703
3rd Earl

c. 1638 – 1676

d. 1698
2nd Earl
4th Earl


XXXDuke of
XXX Earls of
Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.

Marriage and children

He married Eleanor Butler (1612–1682), eldest daughter of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles sometime before 1641. [9] This marriage made him a brother-in-law of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond.

Donough and Eleanor had five children, three sons: [10]

  1. Cormac also known as Charles (1633 or 1634 – 1665), slain in the Battle of Lowestoft [11] predeceased his father;
  2. Callaghan (c. 1638 – 1676), succeeded his brother's son as the 3rd Earl of Clancarty; [12] and
  3. Justin (c. 1643 – 1694), fought for the Jacobites and became Viscount Mountcashel. [13] [14] [15]

—and two daughters:

  1. Helen (died 1722), (died 1722), married 1st John FitzGerald of Dromana and 2ndly the 7th Earl of Clanricarde; [16]
  2. Margaret (died 1703), married Luke Plunket, 3rd Earl of Fingal; [17]

Already in his forties, he sat in the Irish House of Commons in the Irish parliaments of 1634 and 1640 as member for County Cork. [18]

His elder brother having predeceased his father, he succeeded his father in 1640 at the age of forty-six as the 2nd Viscount Muskerry. [19] As he was promoted Earl of Clancarty only in 1657, he was known as Lord Muskerry during the events of the Irish Rebellion of 1641, the Confederate Wars and the Cromwellian conquest.

Irish wars

Ireland suffered 11 years of war from 1641 to 1652, which are usually decomposed into the Rebellion of 1641, the Confederate Wars, and the Cromwellian Conquest. Muskerry was involved in all of those.

The Irish Rebellion of 1641 was launched by Phelim O'Neill from the northern province of Ulster in October 1641. Initially, Muskerry raised an armed force of his tenants and dependants to try to maintain law and order. [20] However, he was soon prompted to join the rebellion by the atrocities committed by the English President of Munster, William St Leger, against the Irish Catholic population in general.

In addition, many of Muskerry's relatives, who had lost lands to Protestant settlers in the Plantations of Ireland had already joined the rebellion – a factor that doubtless influenced Muskerry's decision. In 1642, being already 49, he put his armed men at the service of the Confederate Catholic Association of Ireland, an alternative, Catholic government based in Kilkenny, which had been formed by the rebels.

Muskerry was appointed to the "Supreme Council" of the Confederation of Kilkenny, their effective government. He was part of the team that negotiated with Charles I and his representative in Ireland, James Butler, Earl of Ormond, to secure an alliance between the Irish Confederates and English Royalists in the context of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Ormond was his brother-in-law. Muskerry was sympathetic towards royalism and disliked the more intransigent Confederates led by Giovanni Battista Rinuccini and Owen Roe O'Neill. Muskerry, who was already 49 at the time, was given the command of the Confederate Munster army. However, large parts of Munster were held by the Inchiquin's Protestant army.

On 4 June 1643 he commanded the Confederate Ulster army at the Cloghleagh where the Irish horse under Castlehaven, seconded from the Leinster Army, routed a detachment of Inchiquin's troops. [21]

In 1646 Muskerry commanded the Confederate army that laid siege to Bunratty Castle and captured it mid-July 1646 from the army of the Parliament. [22]

Early in August 1647 Muskerry resigned as general of the Confederate Munster Army. [23] The Confederate Supreme Council gave this command to Viscount Taaffe, who lost the Battle of Knocknanauss on 13 November 1647 against English and Munster Protestant troops under Inchiquin. He sent his eldest son, Charles, at the head of a regiment to France. [24]

In 1649, shortly after the execution of Charles I and the declaration of the Commonwealth of England, the Confederates did eventually approve a treaty with Charles II and the English Royalists. However, Ireland was soon invaded by the Parliamentarian New Model Army in 1649 under Oliver Cromwell, [25] who had the aims of avenging the uprising of 1641, confiscating enough Irish Catholic owned land to pay off some of the Parliament's creditors, and eliminating a dangerous outpost of royalism.

Muskerry fought the last three years of this campaign in his own lands in western Cork and Kerry, from where he raised troops from his tenants and guerrilla bands known as "tories". He tried to relieve the siege of Limerick in 1651 but was intercepted and defeated on 26 July 1651 by General Roger Boyle, Lord Broghill, later Earl of Orerry, in the Battle of Knocknaclashy (also called Knockbrack), near Banteer, east of Killarney, [26] and never came near Limerick, which surrendered on 27 October. Knocknaclashy was the last pitched battle of the war.

Muskerry fell back into the mountains of Kerry. On 27 June 1652 he surrendered to Edmund Ludlow, handing over his last stronghold Ross Castle near Killarney and disbanding his 5000-men army. [27] [28] One of his sons was with him in Ross Castle and was given to Ludlow as hostage to guarantee his father's compliance with the terms. [29] This son must have been Callaghan, his the second son, as his eldest, Cormac, was away in France and Justin was only about nine years old and probably with his mother in France.

He was allowed to embark to Spain. [30] He lost his estates in the Act of Settlement of 1652. His name is the eighth on the list of over 100 men who were excluded from pardon. [31] He found that he was not welcome in Spain because he had opposed Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, the papal nuncio. He therefore returned to Ireland in 1653, where he was put on trial in Dublin, being accused of having been responsible for the murder of English settlers in 1641 during their evacuation from his house at Macroom to Cork. However, it was established that he had tried to protect them and he was acquitted. [32]


After his acquittal he was again allowed to embark to Spain, but he seems to have gone to France where his family had already moved some time before the capture of Ross Castle. His wife lived with her sister Mary Butler, Lady Hamilton, in the convent of the Feuillantines in Paris, [33] and his daughter Helen was sent to boarding school at the abbey of Cistercian nuns of Port-Royal-des-Champs, near Versailles, together with her cousin Elizabeth Hamilton.

In 1657 Charles II sent Muskerry, together with Sir George Hamilton to Madrid on a fruitless diplomatic mission. [34]

Charles II, in exile at Brussels in 1658 rewarded him with the title of Earl of Clancarty . [35]

Later life, death, and timeline

At the restoration Clancarty, as he was now, and his family returned to the British Isles. He eventually recovered his estates under the Act of Settlement of 1662.

In 1665 his son Charles, Lord Muskerry, was killed in the Battle of Lowestoft, a naval engagement with the Dutch [11] during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667). Charles left an infant son, also called Charles who became heir apparent.

Clancarty died in London on 4 August 1665. [36] Charles's infant son died on 22 September 1666. [37] The succession then reverted to Donough's second son Callaghan, who became the 3rd Earl of Clancarty.

See also

Notes and References

  1. 1 2 Cokayne 1913, p.  214, line 19: "Donough MacCarty ... was b. 1594;"
  2. Ohlmeyer 2004, p.  107, left column, line 26: "Blarney Castle, just north of Cork City and 'a place of great strength' was the family's principal residence."
  3. Cokayne 1893, p.  425: "He [Charles MacCarty] m. firstly, about 1590, Margaret, da. of Donough (O'Brien), 4th Earl of Thomond..."
  4. Ohlmeyer 2004, p.  107, left column, line 24: "With the death of his elder brother Cormac, Donough became heir ..."
  5. Burke 1866, p.  344, right column, line 26: "I. Mary m. 1st, Sir Valentine Browne; and 2ndly, Edward FitzGerald of Ballymellon"
  6. Lodge 1789, p.  197: "Colonel Edmond Fitz-Maurice, who married Ellena, fifth daughter o Charles, Lord Viscount Muskerry."
  7. Lainé c. 1830, p.  75, line 10: "Elinor Mac-Carthy, mariée en 1636 avec Cormac ou Charles Mac-Carthy-Reagh."
  8. Burke 1866, p.  344, right column, line 28: "II. Eleanor, m. to Charles-Mac Carthy Reagh, whose only dau. Ellen became wife of John DeCourcy, 21st Baron Kingsale."
  9. 1 2 Ohlmeyer 2004, p.  107, left column, line 35: "... Donough MacCarthy had married by 1641 Eleanor (or Ellen; 1612–1682), the eldest daughter of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, and sister of James, later Duke of Ormond."
  10. Burke 1866, p.  344, right column:Lists children as Charles, Callaghan, Justin, Helen, Margaret.
  11. 1 2 3 Cokayne 1913, p.  215, line 13: "He d. v.p. slain on board 'the Royal Charles' in a sea-fight against the Dutch, 3, and was bur. 22 June 1665 in Westm. Abbey."
  12. Cokayne 1913, p.  216, line 6: "CALLAGHAN (MACCARTY) EARL OF CLANCARTY etc [I.], uncle and h., being 2nd s. of the 1st Earl."
  13. Cokayne 1893, p.  390: "THE HON. JUSTIN MACCARTY 3d and yst s. of Donough, 1st EARL of CLANCARTY [I.] by Eleanor, sister of James DUKE of ORMONDE ..."
  14. 1 2 Murphy 1959, p. 49: "I have been unable to determine the precise date of his [Justin's] birth: the year 1643 is an approximation arrived at ..."
  15. Wauchope 2004, p.  111, left column: "c. 1643 – 1694"
  16. Cokayne 1913, p.  233, line 2: "He [William] m. 2ndly Helen, widow of sir John FITZGERALD, of Dromana, co. Waterford (who d. 1662), da. of Donough (MACCARTY), 1st EARL of CLANCARTY [I.] by Eleanor ..."
  17. Cokayne 1926, p.  386, line 26: "He [Luke Plunkett] m., before 1666, Margaret, da. of Donough (MACCARTY) EARL OF CLANCARTY [I.], by Eleanor, sister of James (BUTLER) 1ST DUKE OF ORMONDE, and da. of Thomas BUTLER, styled VISCOUNT THURLES."
  18. 1 2 Ohlmeyer 2004, p.  107, left column, line 45: "In the parliaments of 1634 and 1640 MacCarthy sat as MP for co. Cork and served as member of the committee which presented grievances to Charles I in 1640."
  19. 1 2 Ohlmeyer 2004, p.  107, left column, line 47: "In the same year [1640] he succeeded his father as second Viscount Muskerry."
  20. Carte 1851, p.  148, line 17: "It was the middle of December before any one gentleman in the province of Munster appeared to favour the rebellion; many of them had shewn themselves zealous to oppose it and had tendered their service for that end. Lord Muskerry, who had married a sister of the Lord Ormond's, offered to raise a 1000 men at his own charge ..."
  21. Castlehaven 1815, p.  40: "I lost no time in the charge, and quickly defeated his horse, who, to save themselves, broke in on the foot, and put them into disorder ..."
  22. 1 2 Coffey 1914, p.  179: "Bunratty fell in the middle of July 1646."
  23. Coffey 1914, p.  194: "Early in August 1647 Muskerry laid down his command."
  24. Carte 1851, p.  305: "... had sent over a regiment under his eldest son Cormac Maccarty, then a youth but thirteen years old, who continued to serve abroad until the restoration."
  25. 1 2 Coffey 1914, p.  213: "Cromwell landed in Dublin on August 15th [1649]."
  26. 1 2 Coffey 1914, p.  222: "The last real battle fought in Ireland until the battle of the Boyne, nearly forty years later was at Knockbrack, on July 26th when Broghill fought Muskerry."
  27. 1 2 Ohlmeyer 2004, p.  107, right column: "he fought on before finally surrendering at Ross Castle (27 June 1652) and fleeing to the continent."
  28. Firth 1894, p.  320, line 10: "Ross in Kerry; where the Lord Muskerry made his principal rendezvous, and which was the only place of strength the Irish had left, except the woods, bogs and mountains ..."
  29. Firth 1894, p.  322, line 4: "... his son together with Daniel Obryan were delivered to me as hostages ..."
  30. Webb 1878, p.  303, right column, line 49: "He then passed into Spain."
  31. Firth & Rait 1911, p.  599: "That James Butler, Earl of Ormond, ... Donogh Mac Carthy Viscount Muskerry ... be excepted from pardon for Life and Estate."
  32. Firth 1894, p.  341: "... the court acquitted him ..."
  33. Clark 1921, p.  8, line 27: "... his [Antoine Hamilton's] mother and his aunt, Lady Muskerry, had apartments at the Couvent des Feuillantines in Paris ..."
  34. Clark 1921, p.  9: "A little later [in 1657], Charles .. despatched Sir George Hamilton and his brother-in-law, Lord Muskerry, to Madrid to find out whether it would be agreeable to the King of Spain that the Irish now in Spain and those who would come over from the French should be sent immediately into Ireland."
  35. 1 2 Cokayne 1913, p.  215, line 2: "As reward for his services he was by patent dat. at Brussels 27 Nov., 1658, cr. Earl of Clancarty, Co. Cork [I.]"
  36. Cokayne 1913, p.  215, line 6: "He [the 1st Earl] d. in London, 4 Aug. 1665."
  37. Cokayne 1913, p.  216, line 4: "... d. an infant, 22 Sep. 1666."
  38. Seaward 2004, p.  127, right column: "… he sailed to England and on 29 May [1660] he entered London in triumph."
  39. Seccombe 1893, p.  437, left column, line 16: "He [Donough MacCarty] died in London on 5 Aug. 1665."
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Clancarty
1st creation
Succeeded by
Charles MacCarty
Preceded by
Charles MacCarty
Viscount Muskerry

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