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Irish Surnames West Cork Surnames and Sources

West Cork Surnames include the following and please note these surnames are found in other Irish locations also: McCarthy, O'Mahoney, O'Donovan, Canty, Dempsey, Moxley, Evans, Welpy, O’Learys O’Driscolls, Moxley, Dempsey, Scanlan, Rochford, Skuse and Daly , O' Sullivan, Crowley, Regan and O'Leary Williamson, Baker, Dukelow, Beamish O'Neill's from Bantry and Macroom. McGrath's from Dunmanus Bay

Irish Origenes Map with Dr Tyrone Bowles

Always check the Irish translation: Evans translated.Ó hÉimhrín, Heverine, Heveran, Heveron, Hefferin, Going back to the Irish variant can provide may other variants and many different meanings. Crowley: Very numerous: mainly Cork but also Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Waterford, Connacht. Ir. Ó Cruadhlaoich. "hard-hero". Originally a branch of the MacDermots in Roscommon, it is said they settled in W Cork and formed an important sept there. However, this group may have been Mac Roghallaigh. Beamish: Quite numerous: Cork, Sth East, Ulster. English, 16 cent when they settled in Kerry and have been associated with that area and Cork Dempsey: Ó Díomasaigh (proud). The sept was seated in Clanmalier, Laois-Offaly, until dispossessed in 17 cent. The O'Dempseys are of the same stock as the O'Connors of Offaly and were a powerful sept in the territory lying on the borders of Leix and Offaly known as Clanmalier. O'Dempsey, Chief of Offaly, was one of the few Irish leaders who could boast of having defeated Strongbow in a military engagement, which he did in 1172, Strongbow's son-in-law, de Quenci being killed in the battle. Dermot O'Dempsey (d. 1193), Chief of the Name, founded the Cistercian Abbey at Monasterevan. St. Evin, it may be mentioned, who established the church at Monasterevan, a place which bears his name, was the patron saint of the O'Dempseys. The Dempseys, too, were notable among the priests of the penal times, one of the John Dempsey, a relative of Viscount Clanmalier, being Bishop of Kildare. MacCarthy: Very numerous: all areas, particularly Cork-Limerick-Kerry. Ir. Mac Carthaigh from first name Carthach, loving. One of the leading septs of Munster, displaced at the Invasion to Cork and Kerry. The Muskerry branch were seated at Blarney Castle. Dukelow: Durrus, This interesting and unusual surname, of Old French origin, was initially introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and subsequently by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecutions in their own country. Regan. Ir. Ó Riagáin (perhaps dimin. of rí, a king). A sept of Meath and one of the "Tribes of Tara", who were dispersed at the Invasion. There were other septs in Thomond and Cork. The pronounciation in Munster is Réagán, which would account for the name of President Ronald Reagan of USA. The sources on the Ask about Ireland website were excellent for Histories of West Cork at

When researching West Cork surnames and sources, the story of emigration emerges. Settlers with West Cork surnames arrived to foreign shores from the 17th Century onwards with waves of emigration following afterwards. The sources for West Cork Clans and Surnames are excellent. This can be directly attributed to Heritage centres such as The Skibbereen Heritage Centre who have a dynamic team bringing Ireland's past to life.

The Skibbereen Heritage Centre

I spoke with Terry Kearney prior to the Show broadcast: The Genealogy Radio Show - West Cork Surnames and Sources aired 2 November, 2917. Terry let me know just how well the centre caters for heritage visitors and referred to Margaret Murphy who has an excellent reputation as a genealogist. The work within the site shows strong dedication to sources and is incredible useful with the databases on Tenants, Reproductive Loan Funds, Schools Rolls. The information on West Cork Townlands is very useful for family history research, see http://skibbheritage.com/genealogy/west-cork-townlands/

Sources - Reproductive Loan Funds - Reproductive Loans - The databases on the Skibbereen heritage centre website absolutely fantastic. The Reproductive Loan Fund were 19th century institutions that provided credit to the poor of Ireland. At their peak, in the years immediately prior to the Great Famine, up to 13 individual loan funds operated in the greater Skibbereen area putting £75,356 into circulation in the local economy over a 10 year period. Explore this amazing collection of records from Ireland’s Western Seaboard too from Find my Past 1821-1874. Findmypast is a subscription site. The records come from The National Archives at Kew and relate to the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund. This is the first time these records have been made available in full online. The majority of the records cover the years 1824-1846 and provide unique information about your ancestors from before and during the Irish Famine. They are an excellent resource for the Irish family historian, because they record the names of individuals, who are often missing from official government records. Many of the records are loan application forms, which include the name of the borrower and two names of guarantors, who were often close family members or neighbours. Other details recorded include occupation, notes of health, family circumstances and whether the borrower emigrated. Some records survive for the Kilmoe & Crookhaven, Schull, Durrus, Creagh, Baltimore, Castletownsend, Glandore and Ballineen funds. These records include loan details and also subsequent follow up reports. The loan records give details of the amount of the loan and the names of the guarantors. The follow up reports give an indication of how the Famine affected the poor of West Cork and are one of the few surviving records that offer information on who died and emigrated during this time.

Durrus Irish Reproductive Loan Fund Records: For some areas, Irish Reproductive Loan Fund records are an important source of genealogical, social and economic information that has been little used in the past. After the famine of 1822, surplus charitable donations were made available to local loan societies in the counties that had been worst affected – Limerick, Cork, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Tipperary. In 1853, after the British Treasury had assumed responsibility for these funds, it was decided to call in outstanding loans. The local police constable submitted detailed returns, townland by townland, reporting on the debtors – who was still in the area, who had died, and who had emigrated. For the Durrus area many of the files are misdescribed as Ballymore. In Durrus the funds were managed by the rector Rev. Crosthwaite in conjunction with the Rev. Traill Schull and the Rev. Fisher, Toormore/Altar. The first person named in =s the borrower the second and third are the sureties.

Example: Irish Reproductive Loans Fund Records. County: Cork. Townland: Curriheen Aghaville (Aughaville) Ellen Spellane Surrendered she land still lives in same area supports herself by small traffic in eggs her husband is dead and her children are doing for themselves. Another entry records John Dukelow Charles Dukelow Skrehanamucca (Coomkeen) Timothy Daly Rossmore 1853 at present a poor shoemaker? Richard Coppinger Mick Sullian Droumreagh Tom Foley Rossnacaheragh Denis Wholly A poor farmer dead since 1848. The name WHOLLY translates to Ó h-Uallaigh, uallach, proud. An agnomen adopted by some of the O'Driscolls of W Cork. John Wholly 1853 in America

West Cork is simply stunning as this source can reveal. We urge you to take a look. West Cork (Irish: Iarthar Chorcaí) is a cultural region in County Cork, Ireland. known for its beautiful peninsulas (such as the remote Beara Peninsula, Sheep's Head and Mizen Head , beaches such as Inchydoney, Owenahincha and Barleycove, and towns and villages such as Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Kinsale and Rosscarbery. The area of West Cork is not strictly defined, but at its broadest definition it includes all parts of County Cork south and west of the River Lee with the exception of Cork city and suburbs. Road signs may be found around Cork city and elsewhere directing traffic for "The West", or "West Cork". The town of Bandon is described as the "Gateway to West Cork". However, both Carrigaline and Macroom are also seen as gateways to the region.
West Cork from Visit West Cork

Canty Surname: As West Cork is famed for its cuisine, artists, writers now, we should note that this was the case in the past centuries also. Canty interesting name has three possible origins, firstly it may be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish 'O'an Chaintighe' which derives from 'cainteach' meaning satirical, hence, 'descendant of a satirist'. It is the name of a bardic family who came from West Cork. One Fearfasa O'Canty was a well known poet in the early 17th Century. In the census of 1659, the name Canty is given as one of the principal names in the barony of Kilnalmeaky, County Cork. The sept spread in to the neighbouring counties of Limerick and Kerry, where the name. Ó an Cháintighe, an Irish Bardic family of west Cork. The medieval poet Fear Feasa Ó'n Cháinte was the composer of the following poems:

  • A shaoghail ón a shaoghail,
  • Bean dá chumhadh críoch Ealla,
  • Gluais a litir go Lunndain all available to read online at the UCC CELT Digital resource

The surname is derived from the Gaelic term cáinteach (satirical). It is now given as Ó Canty or Canty. By Bardic Poetry Osbern mean the writings of poets trained in the Bardic Schools as they existed in Ireland and the Gaelic parts of Scotland, down to about the middle of the seventeenth century. In Scotland, indeed, they lingered on till the eighteenth century. At what time they were founded we don't know, for the Bardic order existed in prehistoric times, and their position in society is well established in the earliest tradition. You will understand that the subject is a vast one, but I mean to deal only with a small portion of it—the poetry of the later Bardic Schools from about the thirteenth century to the close—that is to say, compositions of the period known as Later Middle Irish and Early Modern Irish. For this period the manuscript material is very plentiful, but very little has yet been printed.

Bardic Poetry of any period is easily distinguished by its form. A great deal of it is not really what a modern critic would call poetry in the higher sense. But though it may lack inspiration, it is never wanting in artistic finish. For we must remember that the Irish file or bard was not necessarily an inspired poet. That he could not help. He was, in fact, a professor of literature and a man of letters, highly trained in the use of a polished literary medium, belonging to a hereditary caste in an aristocratic society, holding an official position therein by virtue of his training, his learning, his knowledge of the history and traditions of his country and his clan. He discharged, as O'Donovan pointed out many years ago, the functions of the modern journalist. He was not a song writer. He was often a public official, a chronicler, a political essayist, a keen and satirical observer of his fellow-countrymen."

"I have already mentioned the fact that the file or bard—both terms have come to be used more or less indiscriminately in our period, though at an earlier time there was a techincal distinction of rank between them—belonged to a hereditary caste. The Gaelic poet, we may say, had to be both born and made. In the same way the professions of history, law and medicine were confined to certain families."(Bergin,1912)

Osborn Bergin, Irish Bardic Poetry (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1970), 'Bardic Poetry: a lecture delivered in 1912', pp 3-4, 5.

Our Genealogy Radio show will examine the surnames of West Cork and we have some unusual ones and some unique to Cork.

We will be running Clans and Surnames: Irish Research Week in 2018, May 14-18, 2018 and the programme includes over 30 lectures, fieldtrips, seminars, all designed to help you find your Irish roots and to put your research together. Please see our programme at www.clansandsurnames.com and contact Lorna Moloney at irishroots@clansandsurnames.com or 353-85-8721184 to book same.

Lorna Moloney 'The Genealogy Radio Show'

Excerpt from "An Gorta Mor i gCill Alaidhe" (The Great Famine in Killala) by Patricia Fitzgerald and Olive Kennedy (1996), pp.50-52
"One notorious 'coffin ship' was the Elizabeth and Sarah which sailed from Killala, County Mayo in July 1846 (sic). She was a 74 year old barque of 330 tons built on the Tyne for the Tyne/Baltic trade and her Captain was A. Simpson. It is most likely to have been a 'speculative' venture got up by local 'entrepeneurs'. Her passenger list was certified in Killala as 212 but she carried 276 in this journey. There were only 36 berths and 4 of these were taken by the crew. Inadequate water supplies were carried in leaky tanks and no food was provided... a letter of protest was written by one of the passengers to the newspaper "The Montreal Herald"|
  • 'Sir - The sufferings which we have undergone in our late voyage across theAtlantic and our desire to save others from similar treatment, induces usto address this letter to you... Hugh Leighton, Ship Broker of Sligo, Hugh Simpson, his clerk and John Reilly of Belmullet... used every means in their power to induce us to embark at Killala (County Mayo) on board the Elizabeth and Sarah whereof A. Simpson was master...which would sail on the 1st of May for this port (Montreal)... finally on 26th of May we weighed anchor, and bid adieu to our native land. And now, Sir, commences a tale of misery and suffering which we hope to God none of our fellow mortals may ever experience... two quarts of water was all that was allowed to each passenger; nor was bread or oatmeal ever served out to us... After having being out twenty one days, the master informed us that we were on the Banks of Newfoundland; whereupon many of the passengers wasted their provisions believing that they were close to port; we did not reach Newfoundland until twenty four days after this... the mate, Jeremiah Tindel (the Captain being sick and unable to attend to his duties) ran us ashore on the Island of St. Peter (St. Pierre and Miquelon)... We were then in a most deplorable state, living on short allowance and many of us without any; our pittance of water was both gluey and putrid; disease and pestilence broke out amongst us and carried off many of our fellow passengers in its iron grasp... we succeeded in getting off the reef; our Captain... now breathed his last, and several more of the passengers likewise yielded up their souls to Him who had created them. Their bodies were, of course, immediately committed to the deep; but, the mate, as if to add to our miseries, notwithstanding our requests to the contrary, persisted in keeping the body of the Captain. For thirteen long days ... the body lay upon the quarterdeck in a most horrid state of decomposition, thereby engendering the pestilence among us to a fearful extent, insomuch that twenty two souls had by this time perished... On the 72nd day of our departure from Killala, County Mayo, we dropped anchor at Grosse Isle, Quebec, where we were kindly and hospitably treated by Dr. Douglas, the Medical Superintendent, as also by Mr. Cullingford, who was in charge of the sick; here seven more of our fellow passengers died and many still remain in a very precarious state...
  • (Signed on behalf of fellow passengers)John LAVAL, (LAVELL) late of the Parish of Kilmore
  • James JOYCE, late of the Parish of Laumore went to March Township, now part of the City of Ottawa, by 1848) all from County Mayo, Ireland) Quebec, 22nd August 1846'."
  • Great sources from Allan Lewis and thanks for same, www.bytown.net/fm

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