Mangerton Mountain | An Ancient Battle Ground
As we discussed before with each image we produce we like to have a piece of history/story to accompany it. While researching Mangerton Mountain, I came across an interesting piece of history! Best grab a tea or coffee for this one..
An ancient battle ground lies to the northern slope of the mountain dating back to 1262.
Here the battle for territory between the Mac Cárthaighs (Gaelic forces) and FitzGeralds (Anglo-Norman forces). The site is known as Tooreencormick ‘Tuairín Cormaic’ (meaning little field of Cormac),after Chief Cormac MacCárthaigh, who was killed during the clash. The battle was a MacCarthy success however as the Normans were kept out of the region.
I looked into the lineage of the Mac Cárthaigh clan, a dominant family in Munster, they ruled for 5 centuries!
The original clan leader Carthach, an Eóganacht Chaisil king, was killed in 1024. Carthach was a bitter rival of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru. The family were then pushed out their traditional homelands in the Golden Vale of Tipperary.
His son, Muireadhach (meaning son of Carthach) became the Eóganacht Chaisil, they migrated westwards and into a north-west Cork provenance. Muiredach’s death in 1092 was swiftly followed by the murder of his brother and successor at the hands of Ceallachán O’Callaghan. Having usurped the kingship of the Eóganacht of Cashel, he retained it until his death in 1115.
This is when when Tadhg, son of Muireadhach, took action to regain power. This is when he and his brother adopted Mac Cárthaigh as their surname. At the time the great-great grandson of Brian Boru, Muirchertach Ua Bhriain, was King of Munster and High King of Ireland.
By 1118 Tadhg was effectively the ruler of south-west Munster, however the constant feuding between the Mac Cárthaighs and the Ua Bhriains led to The Treaty of Glanmire. Munster was divided and Tadgh became the first King of Desmond and Ua Bhriains were given Thomund.
In 1123, his brother Cormac became the second Kind of Desmond, this was also short lived. After a failed attempt to invade Connacht in 1127, he took Holy Orders and retired to the monastery of Lismore.
Despite this, the Mac Cárthaigh clan remained in power for the next 5 centuries. Feuding amongst themselves became a thing of the past in the 1200’s as they had a new enemy in the invading Normans.
Which leads us nicely back to the Tooreencormick Battle on Mangerton Mountain in 1262, where Chief Cormac Mac Carthy died (Another Cormac, few names to choose from in Ireland!)
Still with us?
I kept digging for more information & found that this Mac Cárthaigh family had eventually moved to Ross Castle. It had been built in the 1400’s under the O’ Donoghues but it changed hands in the 1580s to the Mac Carthy Mór clan. They leased the castle and the lands to Sir Valentine Browne, ancestor of the Earls of Kenmare.
The castle was amongst the last to surrender to Oliver Cromwell during the Irish Confederate War. Lord Muskerry (MacCarty) held the castle against General Ludlow. However, it was by water that he attacked the stronghold and succeeded. The Irish had a prophecy that Ross could never be taken until a warship could swim on the lake, an unbelievable prospect.
“Ross may all assault disdain, Till on Lough Lein strange ship shall sail.”
Our client ordered a few pieces, three of which were of Mangerton Mountain and Lough Lein, I am quite surprised I was able to find a story that linked them so well.
Apologies to any Cormacs reading this, you didn’t fair too well.
Thanks for reading,
The Gallery Team