The  Names of the Baronies of County Cork.



The Baronies of Cork present a strange mixture of names, some referring to old  Irish tribes  who occupied these territories before the supremacy of the Eoghanachta, some of the late Irish rulers, mainly  McCarthys, and yet others to the great barons of the Anglo-Norman period.  There is no consistancy in the selection of these names.


In considering these names one should refer to the map overleaf.  These Baronies are defined by the Parishes they contain.  This is accurate in most cases, but most Baronies also contain a few Parishes which they overlap and share with another Barony.  No attempt has been made to show this on the map, but this slight inaccuracy does not seriously affect the overall picture.


It must be remembered that the principal chieftains of the McCarthy and O Sullivan families , McCarthy mór and O Sullivan mór, both lived in Co. Kerry so are not included in this list.  Also that the principal Anglo-Norman Lord in Munster, FitzGerald, was based in Co.Limerick.  The FitzGeralds considered themselves to be Sovereign Lords over all County Cork, and claimed dues from all these chieftains.  To some extent they were successful in this, and some of the Cork Baronies, particularly in East Cork, were firmly under their sway.



West Muskerry

This was the area ruled over by McCarthy of Muskerry at the peak of his 1689.  It includes 10 Parishes and 189,819 acres.  It is the largest Barony in County Cork.  It includes one of his power bases, the castle of Macroom.  The name Muskerry is derived from the name of a tribe of old Ireland, the Muscraidhe, who occupied the land called Muscraidhe Mitaine.  They were the descendants of Carbury Musc, who was a son of Conary II king of Ireland AD 212-220.


East Muskerry

This was also under the sway of Lord Muskerry by 1689.  It includes 17 Parishes and 122,856 acres.  It also includes another two of his power bases, the castles of Blarney and Kilcrea.



The territory controlled by one of the two O Sullivan chieftains of County Cork,  O Sullivan Beare.  It includes 1  Parish and 59,216 acres.  Bantry is unique in being both a Parish, and a Barony.  It is named after the old tribe of the Beantraighe who occupied this land.



The land of the second of the two O Sullivan chieftains  of County Cork.  It includes 4 Parishes and 89,984 acres.  It is named after Beara, the wife of Owen Mór, King of the Musraidhe in the 2nd.c.

After the defeat of O Sullivan Beare at Dunboy, the two territories were reunited, but the Barony names still reflect the earlier position.



Barry mór was one of the Anglo-Norman barons, and the head of the Barry family.  The other two main branches were Barry roe and Barry óg.  This barony includes 27 Parishes and 148,755 acres.





Ibane & Barryroe

Ibane is  the name of an early Irish Clan, the Uí Baghamna.  Their chieftains later adopted the surname of O Flynn.  Barryroe reflects the name of the second of the Anglo-Norman  Barry family, Barry roe, who owned this land later.  It includes 9 Parishes and 34,158 acres.


West Carbery  (WD)

The land of the O Mahonys an Fonn Iartharach (Western). It includes 6 Parishes and 109,125 acres.


West Carbery  (ED)

The land of the O Driscolls.  It includes 9 Parishes and 79,483 acres.


East Carbery  (WD)

The land of the O Donovans.  It includes 6 Parishes and 104,432 acres.


East Carbery  (ED)

This might be said to represent the lands of McCarthy Reagh.  It includes 11 Parishes and 67,596 acres.  In practice this Lord claimed suzerainty also over the entire area of Carbery.

Carbery was the name given to the Barony in the 12th.c. when Cathal O Donovan moved South from Cairbre-Aebhdha in Limerick.  He gave his new territory the name of the tribe, Cairbre, from whom he was descended. 



The territory of the Anglo-Norman Baron, Lord de Courcey .  It includes 3 Parishes and 8,811 acres.  It is the smallest Barony in County Cork.



Also de Courcey land.  It includes 4 Parishes and 12,181 acres.  It is difficult today to understand the differentiation between Courceys and Kinsale.  The de Courcey family and the Lords Kinsale were of the same  stock. 



The land of the fourth great McCarthy chieftain, McCarthy of Duhallow.  Includes 15 Parishes and 232,368 acres.  His centre of power was in Kanturk.  McCarthy of Duhallow was overlord of 3 other major Clans in North Cork, O Callaghan, McAuliffe and  O Keefe.  The name Duhallow is a corruption of Duthaigh Ealla. ie. the district of the River Allua.



One of the two Baronies in the hands of the O Mahonys of Kinelmeaky (Eastern).  Includes 13 Parishes and 50,936 acres.  The name comes from Kinel Aodh, a sub-division of the early 6th.c. Irish kingdom of Uí Eachach.  The kingdom was divided between the two brothers, Aodh and Laoghaire.



Also an O Mahony Barony.  It includes 6 Parishes and 36,372 acres.  The name comes from Kinel Beicce who was another  brother of Aodh and Laoghaire of the Uí Eachach.


Condon’s & Clangibbons

Condon was one of the Anglo-Norman barons.  Sometimes known as de Caunteton.   The Clangibbon name represents the FitzGibbons, who were a branch of the FitzGeralds.  It includes  13 Parishes and 74,990 acres. 



Was the territory of the Anglo-Norman barons called Roche.  It includes 26 Parishes and 125,019 acres.

The head of the family called himself  Lord Fermoy and lived in Castletownroche.  The name itself refers to earlier owners of the land, the Irish Clan of Fir Maige Fene.



Was the territory of the Anglo-Norman barons called Barrett.  It includes 2 Parishes and 31,849 acres.

The Barony of Barretts was much larger originally, but suffered grieviously at the hands of the Muskerry McCarthys and others.


The FitzGeral  Baronies.

Orrery & Kilmore.  Includes 17 Parishes and 71,318 acres.  Principal seat   Castleishen.  The name Orrery refers to the tribe called the Orbhraighe who originally owned this district.  Kilmore or Coille mór refers to part of this country which was densely wooded.

Imokilly.   Includes 23 Parishes and 95,318 acres.  Principal seats Castlemartyr and Youghal.  The name refers to the old Irish tribe, the ní meic caille who originally owned this territory.

Kinataloon.  Includes   4 Parishes and 27,706 acres.  Principal seats Mogeely and Conna.  The name is thought to be Ceann-na-talun, or the geographical description, the headland.

Kerrycurrihy.  Includes   8 Parishes and 23,959 acres.  Principal seat   Carrigaline.  It is named after the old Irish tribe, the Ciarraighe Cuirche who originally owned this territory. 



The Parishes in and around Cork City.  It includes 13 Parishes and 46,333 acres.



It will be noted that there are baronies which bear the names of most of the great land owning dynasties of County Cork.  Perhaps the most notable omission is Richard Boyle, the Earl of Cork, who was probably the most infamous land grabber of them all. The Earl however does not miss out entirely in the naming of the Baronies of County Cork.  One of his larger estates he obtained from the Fitzgeralds and later donated to his son Roger.  Roger is perhaps better known as Lord Broghill, and later Earl of Orrery, which appears above.

                                                                                                            Peter O’Leary