Padraig lenihan consolidating conquest
In any case, the provincial aristocracy intermarried frequently, and thus Florence was related not only to members of the Carberry Mac Carthys, but also to those of Muskerry, and on his mother’s side to the (Hiberno-Norman) Fitzmaurice Fitzgeralds, and the Roche family.
Before their destruction in the second Desmond rebellion, the Fitzgerald Earls of Desmond dominated Munster, claiming tribute off the Mac Carthys.
The Mac Carthys were a ruling sept, believing themselves to be descended from the pre-conquest kings of Munster.
These were smaller septs or clans who lived within the Mac Carthy lands.
St Leger, in 1588, listed over 16 clans (Mac Donochoe, O’Callaghan, O’Keefe and Mac Aulief for example) over whom Mc Carthy Mór had superiority.
According to George Carew, the Lord President of Munster in the late 1590s, election and the approval of an overlord (‘giving of the rod’) were equally important in the succession of a chieftain, ‘the rod avails nothing except he be chosen by the followers, not yet the election without the rod’ Similarly, Florence would later deny the importance of the intervention of Hugh O’Neill in making him Mac Carthy Mór, saying that it was a title that, ‘the O’Sullivans and the rest of the gentlemen, freeholders and followers of the country laid on me’ On the other hand, O’Neill’s approval was of enough significance for Florence to go great lengths to get him to switch his backing from Florence’s half brother in law Donal to Florence himself.
Moreover, the succession of the Mc Carthy Reagh lordship in Florence’s lifetime was decided by negotiation within the ruling kindred, with a hierarchy of seniority being decided in advance of the death of a chieftain, without any reference to the inhabitants of Carberry.
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This is a republication of John Dorney’s excellent dissertation on Florence Mac Carthy. Head of Department: Research Supervisor: Professor Michael Laffan Dr.