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DONAL O SULLIVAN, PRINCE OF 'BEAR. AND BANTRY.
THE O'SULLIVAN SEPT
T. D. SULLIVAN
(AUTHOR OF " DUNBOY, AN HISTORICAL POEM ; " " MEMOIR
OF A. M. SULLIVAN ; " " RECOLLECTIONS OF TROUBLED
TIMES IN IRISH POLITICS;" "EVERGREEN;"
"SONGS AND POEMS;" ETC,)
If cjieAc caji cpeAc Ati cjieAc f o cIaoi*6 5Aex>eAtAib
C-peAc -do CjteAc te cfteACA cfuoc eifieAtin
C^eAc nA 5C|ieAc A3 ctAnriA An ctAon-cf aojaiI.
— CA-og 5Aex>eAtAc 6 StulteAbAin,
SEALY, BRYERS AND WALKER
Middle Abbey Street
BOSTON COLLEGE LIBRARY
CHESTNUT HILL, MASS
SEALY, BRYERS AND WALKER,
MIDDLE ABBEY STREET,
TO THE MEMORY
PRINCE OF BEARE AND BANTRY,
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
A Nets) Volume of Verse,
By T. D. SULLIVAN,
Crown Svo, 1/-
VVHAT THE PRESS SAYS :—
" They have the true Hibernian flavour. " — Scotsman.
" The writer of those stirring verses has certainly given us
value for our money. . . The author has an ear for rhyme and
rhythm — a ready wit, a light touch, and a distinct sense of fun
— an equipment which many a would-be poet lacks." — Cork
° The contents of ' Evergreen ' deal with various topics of
current interest, and are written in Mr. Sullivan's usual happy
vein." — Ulster Herald.
" A charming little volume, containing a splendid collection
of verses ; written in a bright and racy style, for which the
author is justly famous." — Waterford Star.
" Light and tuneful pieces. . . Noting the dates appended
to the songs and squibs, we are struck by the appositeness of
the book's title, for the same freshness and raciness is to be
found in the latest pieces as in the verses that delighted Irish
readers and audiences in the long ago." — Irish Iitdependent .
" The charm, ease and grace of T. D. Sullivan's poems are
too well-known to be mentioned at this stage of his literary
career. His verses appeal to the popular taste, and live in the
memory of the people. . . . One of the neatest and best
printed books we have seen for a long while." — The Kerryman.
"Genuine poetry, clever rhyme and good-humoured
squib. ' ' — Daily Express.
'* Will give much pleasure to lovers of poetry and good-
humoured squibs." — Galway Express.
SEALY, BRYERS c8 WALKER,
Middle Abbey Street, DUBLIN.
In Ireland, every part of which has been the scene of
stirring events, and whose people have experienced
many vicissitudes of fortune, the publication of local
histories relating to the affairs of minor areas—such as
counties, baronies, and parishes — conversant also with
the public life and actions of the leading families and
personages in those districts, would, I have often
thought, possess much interest, and be generally ser-
viceable in the way of our national education. They
would be useful materials for larger works, and
facilitate their production.
There still exists among the masses of our people
(though, happily, matters are improving in that respect)
a lamentable degree of ignorance of the history of their
country. Generations have come and gone, " lived,
moved, and had their being," amid scenes rich in
historic associations, knowing little or nothing about
them. Our land is thick sown with memorials of a
troubled past, of times of mixed sadness and glory ; but
our young folk tread historic fields, and see in every
landscape the relics of stately towers, castles, churches,
and monasteries, having but hazy notions — many of
them having none at all — of the tales connected there-
with, and rarely seeking to acquire any knowledge on
This work is intended as a contribution to a class
of national literature in which, as I conceive, we are
somewhat deficient. It is nothing in the nature of a
guide-book ; has nothing to do with routes or fares,
and does not expatiate on the scenic beauties of the
regions with which it is concerned. It has much to say
of an Irish Sept, who, for a long period, were the owners
and rulers of a famous territory. I hope it may have
interest for Irishmen generally ; but, at all events, if all
the O'Sullivans, at home and abroad — or even a tenth
of their number — show a practical appreciation of the
work, the publisher will have a great deal to do, and
the author will be much pleased.
In the appendix, at the end of the Volume, will be
found many items of interest that could not well be
brought into the text. But it will be for the reader's
convenience that I should here make a few explanatory
references to persons and circumstances mentioned in
the course of the narrative.
Coming to the Elizabethan period, the " Lord
President," so much in evidence, was Sir George Carew,
Lord President of Munster, afterwards Earl of Totness.
It was under his governorship the desolation of Munster
was carried out, the Castle of EKmboy captured, and
the O'Sullivan Sept dispossessed and overthrown. He
was the compiler of the valuable historical work
entitled Pacata Hibernia (Ireland Pacified), the
manuscript of which he left amongst his papers for
publication after his death. The first edition was
issued in London in 1633. It is an authentic narrative
of the campaign, but written entirely from an
English point of view. Of recent editions the most
interesting is that of Mr. Standish O'Grady, published
" The Earl of Thomond" was a member of the O'Brien
family, some of the heads of which had early attorned
to English rule, and rendered important service to the
new masters of their country. The Earl of Elizabeth's
time is spoken of by Irish writers as " the most active
and violent of all the Royalist partisans."
" Lord Mount joy " was an Englishman named Charles
Blount, who, in 1601, was appointed Viceroy of Ireland,
and who did the work usually expected in those times
from holders of that office. We have his name
commemorated in Mountjoy Square, Dublin.
The fate and fortunes of those O'Sullivans of the
olden time would seem to have had attractions for Irish
writers from their day to the present. Far transcending
in historic value all other treatises on the subject is
Don Philip O'Sullivan's Catholic History of Ireland,
admirably translated from the original Latin, and
annotated by Mr. Matthew J. Byrne, published by
Sealy, Bryers & Walker in 1903. It is a good counter-
blast for Carew's Pacata Hibemia.
Several articles on the O'Sullivan history have
appeared within the past few years in Irish periodicals.
The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries,
Ireland, in its quarterly numbers for December, 1906,
and March, 1907, has a paper by W. F. Butler, M.A.,
F.R.U.I., entitled " The Lordship of MacCarthy Mor,"
which is largely concerned with the affairs of the
The Ulster Journal of Archeology for July, 1905, has
a portrait of Donal O'Sullivan Beare, and an account of
his career, by the Right Reverend Monsignor O'Laverty,
The Journal of the Waterford and South-East of Ireland
ArchcBological Society, in its number for April- June,
1901, has a paper entitled " Don Philip O'Sullivan ;
the Siege of Dunboy, and the retreat and assassination
of O'Sullivan Beare."
Other such articles are : —
" Beara's Last Defender," signed " T. B. C," in the,
Record of the League of St. Columba, Maynooth, for years
1902-1903." Many years previously the late Mr. John
George MacCarthy, of Cork, published a historical novel
with a similar title, " The Last Lord of Beara."
" The Sword of O'Sullivan Beare," by Michael Conway,
in The Irish Rosary for September, 1905.
All those publications have been helpful to me ; and
to the writers and publishers I gratefully acknowledge
Arrival of the Milesian Invaders in Bantry Bay. — Bere-
haven Harbour called after their Queen, Beara. —
French and English Naval Fight in the Bay in 1689. —
The attempted French Invasion in 1795. — Wolfe Tone's
Account of the Expedition . . . . 1
The Elizabethan Wars.— The Battle of Kinsale.— The
Spanish Commander's intended Surrender of Donal
O' Sullivan's Castle of Dunboy. — The Castle retaken by
O'Sullivan's Men. — Letters of O'Sullivan to the King
of Spain . . . . . . . . 9
The Desolation of Munster. — Descriptions by English
Writers. — The Siege of Dunboy Castle. — The Massacre
in Dursey Island. — Capture and Destruction of Dunboy
Castle. — Fate of the Garrison . . . . . . 14
O'Sullivan commences his famous retreat to the North. —
Unparalleled sufferings of his Followers. — Fighting all
the Way. — A Brilliant Irish Victory. — Thomas Davis's
poems on the O'Sullivans. Some other Quotations . . 22
CHAPTER V. PAGE
The English Market for Irish Heads. — The Price List issued
by the Lords Justices at Cork. — O'Sullivan Escapes to
Spain. — Is welcomed and honoured by the Kin§^~Is
Assassinated by an Englishman at Madrid . . 31
Religious Troubles. — Endeavours to Protestantise Ireland. —
Settlements of French and Dutch Protestants en-
couraged by the Government. — Lord Deputy Strafford
and his Foreign Artificers. — A Huguenot Settlement at
Berehaven under Jacques de la Fontaine, and what
became of it . . . . . . . . 36
How the Irish suffered for their Loyalty to King Charles I.
— The Cromwellian War, Confiscations, and Planta-
tions. — Dispossession of the Native Land-owners in
Cork and Kerry. — Their Properties acquired by English
Adventurers. — Whites, Brown es,Herberts, &c. . . 42
The Romantic Career of Morty Oge O'Sullivan. — His
Shooting of Lewellen Puxley. — A Military Force sent
from Cork to capture him. — Their Attack on his House.
— Morty Shot Dead. — His Body towed at the Stern of
a Sloop from Berehaven to Cork. — His Head set on a
Spike over the Jail. — Poems of Lamentation . . 46
General John Sullivan. — A Leader in the American War of
Independence. — Captures the First Fort in the War. —
Honoured by George Washington. — Helps to rout the
English Army out of Boston. — American Counties
called by his name . . . . . . . . 55
The Admirals Sullivan of the British Navy. — Gunner John
Sullivan of Bantry at the Siege of Sebastopol.— The
O'Sullivans in Literature. — Don Philip O'Sullivan the
Historian. — Tadh Gaolach and Owen Roe O'Sullivan,
Gaelic Poets. — Sir Arthur Sullivan, Musician, etc. . . 61
CHAPTER XL page
The Grand Grabber, Sir William Petty. — His Acquisitions
in Kerry. — He is publicly accused by Sir Jerome
Sankey of Enormous Frauds. — The Prosecution fizzles
out. — Petty's Down Survey. — His Property now " the
Lansdowne Estates." — Scandals of their Management
in " the fifties." — Stewart Trench's Rules and Regula-
tions. — The '' Lansdowne Ward " in a New York
Hospital . . . . . , . . . . 68
The White Family.— The Lords Ban try. —Lord Clinton's
Purchase of Bere Island. — Extraordinary Scenes. —
Descriptions of them by John P. Prendergast,
Author of The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland 79
Concluding Observations ... . . . . 83
Appendix . . , , « * . . .85
ft Book for Irishmen to Bead.
Recollections of CrouWed
Cimes in IrisD Politics.
By T. D. SULLIVAN.
Crows* 8vo. Cloth, 3s. 6d.
" The volume will be read with interest by all who are
concerned with political life in the Emerald Isle." — Dundee
" For those who desire a brightly-written survey of the
varying phases of the Nationalist movement in Ireland
during the past sixty years there is nothing better than Mr.
T. D. Sullivan's book."— Pall Mall Gazette.
" This is a chatty and interesting volume, written in an
anecdotic style, and covering a period which goes back
sixty years. . . . As a repository of anecdote, of des-
criptions of events and men during stirring times, we must
award the book high praise." — Irish Times.
"... His style is lucid and concise, his tone is
moderate, and he has a gift for apt quotation, of pungent
political verse and amusing anecdote." — Literary World.
" . . . Mr. Sullivan's volume must be read to
understand aright the Irish question of to-day. To Irish
people it will not only have a value, but a fascination." —
A New Edition in Paper Covers will
shortly be issued by the Publishers,
SEALY, BRYERS & WALKER,
MIDDLE ABBEY STREET, DUBLIN.
The O'Sullivan Sept.
BANTRY Bay comes in for honorable mention
at an early period of Irish history. It is recorded
that its shores were the first landing place of the
adventurers who came from Spain under the command
of Queen Scota, widow of Milesius, and captained by
her sons. In a note to an edition of Smith's History of
Cork published by Guy and Co. of that city, we read :
Ancient accounts differ much from each other, some making
only three sons of Milesius to land in Ireland ; but the landing of
these, as well as of Partholanus, they all place in the Bay of
Bantry, which they call Inber Sceine.
Bearhaven is said to have come by its name in this
way : — An Irish chief named Owen the Splendid, having
been defeated in a great engagement by " Conn of the
Hundred Battles," fled to Spain, where he married the
King's daughter, Beara. Returning after the lapse of
some time at the head of a powerful force, his vessels
put into a commodious harbour on the south-west coast
2 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
of Ireland, with which he was so pleased that in honour
of his wife he called it Bearhaven. The haven in later
times gave its name to the extensive district now known
as the barony of Beare.
The Bay is a great inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, about
28 miles in length, varying in width from five to eight
miles, free of shoals or rocks in any way perilous to
navigation, and of great depth. On its northern shore
are three harbours, Berehaven, Adrigoole, and Glen-
garriffe, with Bantry harbour on its eastern or landward
end. Two islands, like great breakwaters, make and
shelter the harbours of Berehaven and Bantry. Sir
George Carew, in his " Pacata Ribemia" thus describes
the place : —
The haven of Beare is situated twelve miles to the northward
of that promontory or foreland, so well known by the name of
Mizzenhead, or Carrowhead. That which we properly call Bere-
haven is the sea which entreth between the great island (before
mentioned) and the main, or country called Beare, or O'Sullivan's
country. At the entrance of the harbour it is not above a
musket-shot over, I mean from the castle of Dunboy to the great
island ; being entered, the tides are slack, good anchorage, and
convenient places to bring ships on ground, smooth water, five
fathoms deep at low water mark. Towards the north end it
groweth much larger, at the least a league over, and of capacity
sufficient to contain all the ships of Europe.
The writer, it will be observed, calls the district
" O'Sullivan's country," and as such it was then known,
and had been known for a long period. But it was not
the native ground of the Sept ; they came from a district
in Tipperary, from the neighbourhood of Knockgraffan,
Clonmel, and thereabouts, where they had been lords
of the soil, but whence they were dislodged by the
spreading power of the Anglo-Norman invaders. Then
they moved south and joined their Milesian kinsmen
in the wide district in which was comprised the south-
western parts of Cork and Kerry. There the sept segre-
gated into two great divisions, separated by a range of
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 3
mountains ; on the northern or Kerry side of the line
was the O' Sullivan Mor tribe, on the southern, or Cork
side, along the shores of Bantry Bay, were the
Whether this settling down of the newcomers was
peaceably effected or not does not clearly appear from
the record ; but the resistance, if any, to their intrusion
must have been only slight and desultory. The over-lord of
those districts — and of a much wider extent of territory —
at that time was the MacCarthy Mor. The O'Sullivans
came in under his sovereignty, so to say, and like the
other septs under his almost nominal headship, they
undertook to pay him his customary tributes — to
furnish him with a prescribed number of fighting men
for his service in time of war, and with a stipulated
amount of supplies for himself and his followers whenever
he had occasion to go on hostings or visitations through
his territory. Anti-Irish writers refer to those " cuttings
and closherings " of the Irish chiefs on their clansmen
as if they were tremendous exactions — an intolerable
burderf ; but they were nothing of the kind. The
clansmen lived in rude plenty ; they did not lack food
or clothing ; there were no evictions for non-payment
of rent — and no shootings of landlords. They loved
their chiefs, to whom they paid a moderate amount
of tribute in money as well as in kind, but nothing
comparable to what is extracted from their class in
our time by Irish landlords and England's ingenious
system of taxation.
The town of Bantry, we are told in some old topo-
graphical works, was formerly called Ballygobbin ;
other accounts state that at a more remote period its
name was just what it is to-day — " Bean-traigh," —
the white strand. In the time of Oliver Cromwell,
Ireton, son-in-law of the " Lord Protector," had a
fortification erected about a mile to the south-west
of the present town. A number of the small traders
4 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
of Bantry, thinking they could do better business in
the vicinity of the fort, built some houses there, which
came to be called " Newtown," but after some time
both the fort and the new settlement were deserted
and the traders returned to their old location by the
Several projects for the construction of new forts
at Bantry and Berehaven were devised from time to
time by the English governors at Dublin Castle, and
recommended to the higher authorities in London,
but they were not carried out. In the Calendar of
State Papers, Domestic Series, of the reign of William
and Mary, published in 1906, we get a specimen docu-
ment in the following letter : —
1694, April 10, Dublin Castle.
The Lords Justices of Ireland to Sir John Trentchard.
Experience every day shows us how well some forts (now
demolished) were placed ; and how much it would contribute
to the public peace and safety if they were restored. The town
of Bantry is seated in the bottom of a large and well frequented
bay and in the borders of Bearhaven, Glanaroghty and Muskerry,
where for nearly twenty miles there are no Protestant inhabitants.
This is a den of Tories who molest the country round about here ;
the Popish natives harbour them, and, corresponding with the
French privateers, betray to them merchant ships, so that
within these two years above twenty ships have been taken
from thence by the privateers, The wisdom of former times
built a fort in this place, by which that wild and rebellious country
was kept in awe by a small garrison. And the Irish, when it
came into their hands in 1698, demolished it, that it might no
longer be a bridle upon them. The re-building of this fort nearer
to the sea than it was, will secure those ships which shelter there,
prevent this correspondence with France, unkennel those thieves
that from thence do so much mischief, and every year save more
than the whole charge will come to.
The reader will notice the assumption in this paper —
which indeed runs through all the Anglo-Irish literature
of the time, official and unofficial — that the only people
THE 0> SULLIVAN SEPT 5
who had no right to live in Ireland were the natives
whose fathers had been there from the dawn of history.
Bantry Bay was more than once the scene of a visit
from a French fleet on anti-English purposes intent.
Every one knows of the expedition under General Hoche
and Wolfe Tone in December, 1795 ; but more than a
hundred years before that time — in April, 1689 — a
sharp engagement between French and English war-
ships took place in those waters. The details, sum-
marised from Campbell's Naval History, read thus : —
The 29th of April (1689) Admiral Herbert, being on the south
coast of Ireland, by his scouts discovered the French fleet, and
next day had intelligence that they were gone into Baltimore,
being forty-four sail ; but on pursuing them the scouts had a
sight of them to the west of Cape Clear, and upon steering after
them, found they were got into Bantry Bay. The admiral lay
off the bay all night, and next morning stood in, where he found
the enemy at anchor ; but they soon got under sail, bearing
down upon them (the English) in a line composed of twenty-
eight men of war and five fire-ships. When they came within
muskct-shot of the " Defiance," who led the van, the French
admiral (Perrault) put out the signal of battle, which was begun
by firing their great and small shot at the " Defiance " and the
rest as they came into line. The English made several boards
to gain the wind, or at least to engage them closer. Finding
that way of working very disadvantageous, Admiral Herbert
stood off to sea, as well to have got his ships into a line as to have
gained the wind of the enemy, but found them so cautious in
bearing down that he could not get an opportunity to do it, so
he continued battering upon a stretch till five in the afternoon,
when the French admiral stood into the bay. The (English)
admiral's ship and some others being disabled in their rigging,
could not follow them, but continued for some time longer before
the bay ; and the admiral gave them a gun at parting.
In this action Captain George Aylmer, of the " Portland," with
the lieutenant and ninety-four seamen, were killed, and about
two hundred and fifty wounded. On the 7th of May the admiral
got into Plymouth with the fleet.
Clearly this was a French victory ; but English
writers do not like to call it by that name.
The fleet despatched by the French Directory in
6 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
the latter part of December, 1795, with a military
force designed to aid a projected Irish rising against
English rule, met no enemy on their way, but were
dispersed and wrecked by tempestuous weather. Such
vessels of the expedition as got into Bantry Bay remained
there for nearly a week — and a week is a great deal
in war time — rolling and straining at their anchors,
without attempting to put on shore the soldiery they
had brought with them — they were awaiting the arrival
of one of their missing vessels, the " Fraternitie " in
which was General Hoche, the commander of the
expedition. On board the '•' Indomptable, ,, in the
bay was Theobald Wolfe Tone, almost heart-broken
with anxiety and vexation as day after day went by
without bringing in certain of the ships which had
left Brest on the 16th of the month, but had parted
company in the furious storm which burst upon them.
A few extracts from the diary penned by Tone at this
time will illustrate the situation : —
December 22nd (1795). — This morning, at eight, we have
neared Bantry Bay considerably, but the fleet is terribly
scattered ; no news of the Fraternitie. . . . All rests now upon
Grouchy, and I hope he may turn out well ; he has a glorious
game in his hands, if he has spirit and talent to play it
December 23rd. — Last night it blew a heavy gale from the
eastward, with snow, so that the mountains are covered this
morning. ... It is to be observed that of the thirty-two points
of the compass the east is precisely the most unfavourable to
us. . . . Oh, that we were once ashore, let what might come
after ; I am sick to the very soul of this suspense. ... I am
now so near the shore that I can, in a manner, touch the sides
of Bantry Bay with my right and my left hand, yet God knows
whether I shall ever tread again on Irish ground. ... I could
tear my flesh with rage and vexation, but that advances nothing,
and so I hold my tongue in general, and devour my melancholy
as I can.
Next day came a gleam of hope to the heart of this
well-nigh despairing and desperate man ; but it did
not last long. The wind, with what an Irish Nationalist
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 7
might regard as a malignant persistency, continued
adverse, — as if it were English manufacture, and had
been sent straight across from London. The diary
thus continues : —
Dec. 24th. — Well, at last I believe we are about to disembark ;
God knows how I long for it. But this infernal easterly wind
continues without remorse, and though we have been under
weigh three or four hours, we do not seem, to my eyes, to have
gained one hundred yards in a straight line.
Dec. 25th. — . . . The wind continues right ahead, $0 that it
is absolutely impossible to work up to the landing place, and
God knows when it will change.
Dec. 26th. — Last night, at half after six o'clock, in a heavy
gale of wind, still from the east, we were surprised by the
admiral's frigate running under our quarter and hailing the
Indomptable, with orders to cut our cable and put to sea instantly.
. . . Certainly we have been persecuted by a strange fatality
from the very night of our departure to this hour. We have
lost two commanders-in-chief ; of four admirals not one
remains ; we have lost one ship of the line, that we know of, and
probably many others of which we know nothing ; we have been
now six days in Bantry Bay, within five hundred yards of the
shore, without being able to effectuate a landing ; we have been
dispersed four times in four days, and at this moment, of forty-
three sail, of which the expedition consisted, we can muster of
all sizes but fourteen.
Dec. 27th. — . . . At half after four, there being every appear-
ance of a stormy night, three vessels cut their cables and put to
sea. The Indomptable, having with great difficulty weighed one
anchor, we were forced at length to cut the cable of the other
and make the best of our way out of the Bay, being followed by
the whole of our little sq.uadron, now reduced to ten sail, of which
seven are of the line, one frigate, and two corvettes or luggers.
So miserably ended the French expedition to Bantry
Bay. 1 The subsequent career and tragic fate of Wolfe
1 To memorise the expedition and honour its Irish leader,
the Town Commissioners of Bantry, in 1898, — the centenary
pear of the Irish insurrection — gave to the market square of their
town the name of " Wolfe Tone Square." The motion was
made by the Parliamentary representative of the district, Mr.
James Gilhooly ; it was seconded by Mr. Donovan, T.C., and
8 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
Tone, and the outbreak of the Irish insurrection in
1798, do not come within the scope of this work ; but
numerous recent publications, at popular prices, bring
the record within the reach of every patriotic Irishman-
Here I turn back from the period of those naval
operations to deal with the events of an earlier time,
when, in the later part of the 16th century and the
opening years of the 17th, Ireland was being swept
with fire and sword by the soldiery of England, and
the part of the country with which these pages are
specially concerned was made the scene of horrors and
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT
THE story of how the territories of Bere and Ban try
passed from the hands of the O'Sullivans forms
a chapter of Irish history which I propose to
outline briefly in the following pages. The overthrow,
dispossession and dispersion of the Sept date from the
closing years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. From
the beginning to the end of that reign there was an
almost continuous tangle of wars between France,
Spain, and England, largely due to events arising out
of the " Reformation," then in its earlier stages ; and
Ireland, refusing to accept the new doctrines and form
of worship proffered to her by Henry the Eighth and
his daughter, was inevitably drawn into the trouble.
The suppression of the monasteries and seizure of the
Church revenues in England had enriched whole swarms
of needy nobles, sleek courtiers, and adventurous
soldiers ; and there was still a field for such profitable
operations in Ireland. The opportunity was availed of
to the utmost. Of the ultimate result — as regards the
shock of conflict — there could hardly be any doubt.
England was a consolidated country, under a centralised
government, with an army, a navy, and a national
exchequer ; Ireland had none of these things ; she
had chiefs, and bards, and learned churchmen ; she
had warriors too, but their prowess had been for the
most part exercised in inter-tribal or provincial conflicts,
and as regards military science they were behind the age.
Touch England — even in those days — at the remotest
point, of her territory, coast, creek, or headland, and
the thrill was felt at the centre of her national life :
10 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
the head was turned round and the fangs were bared
to bite whatever trod on the tail ; while in Ireland,
Connaught or Munster might be invaded and raided
again and again without Leinster's or Ulster's troubling
their heads about it. The struggle between the two
countries was like a collision between an iron pot, all
of one piece, and a composite article of really finer
material, but whose several parts were ill-cemented
and some of them but slightly stitched together. Or,
to vary the illustration, I would say that when it
came to a quarrel and combat between a bard armed
with a harp and a manuscript and a semi-savage wielding
a hatchet, the bard was bound to have the worst of it.
The northern chieftains, O'Neill, and O'Donnell, made
a noble stand and achieved some brilliant victories
before they were finally broken down and overborne.
In the south the most splendid resistance to the
Elizabethan forces was made by Donal O'Sullivan of
Dunboy, Prince of Beare and Bantry. When O'Neill
marched with an army from Tyrone to relieve Ireland's
Spanish allies, under the command of Don Juan de
Aquila, who were besieged at Kinsale by an English
army greatly superior to them in number, O'Sullivan
brought a strong contingent of his clansmen to join
the national ranks. On the night of the 23rd of December,
1 601, the Irish forces and the beleaguered Spaniards
made a badly concerted attack on the besiegers. They
were defeated, thrown into disorder, and put to rout.
Shortly afterwards, the siege continuing, Don Juan-
capitulated and surrendered the town on terms compat-
ible with the honour of his army ; but he undertook
at the same time to deliver up to Lord Mount] oy, 1 the
forts of Dunboy, Baltimore, and Castlehaven, into
which Spanish garrisons had been put by arrangement
with their owners. O'Sullivan, on learning of this
1 Sir Charles Blount, who had been made Lord Deputy foi
Ireland and Baron Mountjoy by Queen Elizabeth.
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 11
proposed handing over of his castle to the enemy, was
furious. His view was that the Spanish commander
had no right or power to do anything of the kind ; and
he resolved that it should not be done. But the first
question was, how to rid his castle of the Spaniards,
into whose possession he had given it when he thought
they would defend it to the last against the English.
Finding that they considered themselves bound to
act on the terms of their commander's capitulation,
and were resolved not to yield the castle except to the
English, O 'Sullivan decided to treat them to a process
of summary eviction. He had some of his men inside
the castle to work an opening in one of the walls without
exciting the suspicions of the Spaniards, and when all
was ready he had eighty of his followers, in the mid of
night, to pour in through the breach and seize the place,
to hold it, as he alleged, for the king of Spain. O'Sullivan's
men, acting on the instructions they had received, offered
no violence to the garrison ; but some of the latter
fired on the intruders and killed three of them. The
affair, however was quickly composed, the Spaniards
agreeing to accept transport from the place by sea
to join a party of their countrymen at Baltimore. A
few of their number who were expert gunners were
induced by O'Sullivan to remain to aid him in the
defence of the castle, which he knew would shortly
be besieged by a powerful army.
Letters in explanation and justification of his conduct
were then sent by O'Sullivan to King Philip and to two
of his ministers — documents at once forcible and
pathetic. His letter to the King, somewhat abbreviated,
reads thus : —
My Lord and King,
. . . Upon the landing in Castlehaven of your generals with
a fleet and men from your Greatness, I came to their presence
tendering my obeisance unto them in the name of your Highness
. . . and yielded out of my mere love and good will, without
12 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
compulsion or composition, into their hands, in the name of
your Majesty, not only my castle and haven called Berehaven,
but also my wife, my children, my country, lordships, and all
my possessions for ever, to be disposed of at your pleasure. . . .
Notwithstanding, my gracious lord, conclusions of peace were
assuredly agreed upon betwixt Don Juan de Aquila and the
English — a fact pitiful, and (according to my judgment) against
all right and humane conscience. Amongst other places whereof
your Greatness was dispossessed in that manner — which were
neither yielded nor taken to the end they should be delivered to
the English — Don Juan tied himself to deliver my castle and
haven, the only key of mine inheritance, where upon the living
of many thousand persons doth rest that live some twenty
leagues upon the sea coast, into the hands of my cruel, cursed,
misbelieving enemies, — a thing I fear in respect of the execrable-
ness, inhumanity, and ungratefulness of the fact, if it take effect
as it was plotted, that will give cause to other men not to trust
any Spaniard hereafter with their bodies or goods upon these
causes. . . . My lord, in that I judge this dishonourable act to
be against your honour and pleasure, considering the harm that
might ensue to the service of your majesty, and the everlasting
overthrow that might happen to me and my poor people, such
as might escape the sword (if any should), I have taken upon
me — with the help of God — to offer to keep my castle and haven
from the hands of mine enemies until further news and order
from your highness.
Don Juan, presumably a brave soldier, but apparently
a somewhat theatrical person, was much incensed by
O 'Sullivan's re-capture of his castle, which he regarded
as compromising his own honour, and he offered to
re-take it for the Lord President, who, replied, in effect,
that he would prefer to carry out that business himself.
We read in the " Pacata " that :—
When report was brought to Don Juan de Aquila (then in Cork)
of the surprise of Dunboy, he took it for a great affront, and
would presently have drawn from Kinsale the Spanish companies
there yet remaining, and march to Dunboy to regain it by force,
and deliver it according to the composition into her majesty's
hands, but the Lord Deputy and the President (who were desirous
to see his heels towards Ireland) wished him not to trouble him-
self with that business, as, when he was gone, the President
should take order for the reducing of it into his own hands.
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 13
It does not appear that King Philip found any fault
with O 'Sullivan for what he had done ; on the contrary
he continued to be a friend of the Irish chief to the last
day of his life. In " A narrative of the state of Ireland
from the Spanish landing in Kinsale till the end of May,
(1601) by Father W. Bath, SJ., Spiritual Director of
the University of Salamanca, we read : —
Don Juan made peace with the English, and delivered to them
the strong places which he had retained. One of the Irish nobles,
O'Sullivan, learning this, turned the Spaniards out of his castle
of Berehaven, seized the munitions, and to prove his loyalty to
the King of Spain, sent his son to him as a hostage. His majesty
was greatly affected by this conduct, so much so that he con-
ceived a lasting esteem for O'Sullivan.
The favours and friendships bestowed on O'Sullivan
gave great offence to the English government, and were
protested against by one of their Ministers of State.
Here is an extract from a letter of his to the English
representative at the Spanish Court : —
As touching O'Sullivan, it is very fit that you let them know
that the report of the honor they did him hath come unto his
Majesties ears, and that although they will alledge that in the
time of hostility betwixt England and Spain it may be he did
them many services, and may then have deserved well at their
hands, for which they have just cause to reward him, yet since
by his Majesties happy coming to these crowns those differences
have had an end, and that there is a perfect League and Amity
betwixt them, his Majesty cannot chuse but dislike that they
should bestow upon him any Title or Dignity, which only properly
belongeth unto him towards his own subjects ; that, therefore,
he would be glad that they would forbear to confer any such
titulary Honour upon any of his subjects without his Privity.
From all which it appears that even in the time of his
overthrow and exile the English kept a close watch on the
expatriated Prince of Beare and Bantry, and did their
utmost to prevent his being accorded in other lands
the recognition to which his patriotism and his valour
had entitled him.
14 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
THE storm of war which 'Sullivan expected soon
burst upon his castle and clansmen at Dunboy.
He made such preparations for the reception of
the enemy as were possible to him, strengthening the
outer walls, excavating some trenches and setting up
obstacles to a hostile advance. But Dunboy castle, like
most of those existing in Ireland at that period, was but
ill-fitted to withstand artillery. The walls indeed were
thick, but the masonry was poor ; and once a battery
was placed within range of them and allowed free play
for even a few days, the ruin of such structures was
assured. To provide a place of retreat in which to
make a last stand for the national and catholic cause,
in case of defeat at Dunboy, O Sullivan sent a party
of his men with three pieces of cannon to hold possession
of Dursey island and, if possible, prevent a landing
of the enemy there. The island is at the extreme end
of the Beara promontory, and is divided from the main
land by a great cleft of the mountain, of which evidently,
it at one time formed part ; a deep and narrow channel
is thus formed through which the tide runs with great
force, and in which the swells tumbling in from the
Atlantic toss up huge waves, rising to an extraordinary
height. The place is thus described in the " Pacata " : —
Near unto the haven of Beare there is a small island called the
Durseys, which is very strongly seated by nature, by reason of
the difficulty of landing, which is but in one narrow entrance,
which may be defended with a few hands ; and besides it is
impossible for any boat to arrive at this entrance except it be in
a dead calm, the least gale of wind raising such billows as do en-
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 15
danger any boat a9 shall come near the shore. This impregnable
place was selected for their extreme refuge if Dunboy should be
won by the English.
The English commanders in Munster could now turn
their almost undivided attention to O'Sullivan's country.
They had harried, ravaged, and devastated all the rest
of the province. To say they had made a desert of it
would be to use an inadequate form of words, for nature's
deserts are peaceful places with no indications of having
been ths theatres of murderous strife and cruelty of
every form and degree : the desert made by the soldiers
of Elizabeth was strewn with corses, studdied with
the ruins of castles, mansions, churches, schools, and
peasant homes — the fields black from the burning of
crops, dotted by skeletons of the victims of the sword,
fire, and famine. English writers of the time, some of
them witnesses of the scenes, give harrowing accounts
of the condition of the country. Thus the historian
Leland writes : —
The southern province seemed to be totally depopulated, and,
except within the cities, exhibited an hideous scene of famine
In the " Pacata " we read :—
Sir Richard Pearce and Captain George Flower, with their
troops, left neither corn nor horn, nor house, unburnt between
Kinsale and Ross. Captain Roger Harvie, who had with him
his brother Captain Gawen Harvie, Captain Francis Slingsby,
Captain William Stafford, and also the companies of the Lord
Barry and the treasurer, with the President's horse, did the like
between Ross and Bantry.
Several other English historians give painfully horrible
descriptions of those scenes, amongst them the poet
Edmund Spenser — a private secretary in the employ
of one of Elizabeth's chief governors of Ireland, snugly
located on part of the confiscated property of the
Desmonds, and living in a castle robbed from its rightful
owners. This litterateur, place-hunter and land-grabber,
16 BAN TRY, BEREHAVEN AND
who had himself advised and recommended the policy
of starvation to be employed against the Irish, penned
in his View of the Present State of Ireland (and with
an affectation of pity) pictures of the desolation of
the country and the murderous destruction of the
people so shocking, so repulsive, that even at this day,
one cannot read them without a shudder. I quote
but one specimen, and omit the most revolting part
of it :—
Notwithstanding that the same was a most rich and plentiful
country, full of corn and cattle, yet, ere one year and a half they
were brought to such wretchedness as that any stony heart
would rue the same. Out of every corner of the woods and glens
they came creeping forth upon their hands, for their legs could
not bear them ; they looked like anatomies of death ; they
spake like ghosts crying out of their graves ; they did eat the
dead carrions, happy where they could find them ... in a
short space there was almost none left, and a most populous and
plentiful country suddenly left void of man and beast.
The reader will note the admission made in this
" Spenserian stanza/' as it might be called, that Ireland
under the rule of its native chiefs, before the English
came upon them, was " a most populous and plentiful
country." In the ruin of it this dainty sonneteer was
only too glad to take part. The fair lands and castle
of Kilcolman were not sufficient to satisfy his greed.
In violation of even such English law as then existed
in Ireland he managed to take possession of a large tract
of land owned, not by the natives — as legal ownership
went then — but by one of the Anglo-Norman proprietors,
Lord Roche, Viscount Fermoy. Legal proceedings to
recover the land were taken against him, with the result
that the " gentle poet " was compelled to relinquish
that portion of his ill-gotten gains. His end was to die,
landless and hungry, in London.
After the capitulation of the Spaniards at Kinsale
and the dispersion of the Irish forces, Mount joy drew
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 17
his whole army together and set out for the reduction
of the last fortress on Irish ground holding out for the
Irish cause. But he resolved to proceed cautiously.
On the 9th of March, 1601, he instructed one of his
commanders, the Earl of Thomond, to march with a
large force into' Carbery, " and from thence into Beare,
there to view in what manner the castle of Dunboy
was fortified, of the incredible strength of which much
The " Pacata " tells us that " the Earl marched
as far as the Abbey of Bantry about three score miles
from Cork, and there had notice that Donal O'Sullivan
Beare and his people, by the advice of two Spaniards,
an Italian, and friar named Dominic Collins, did still
continue their works about the castle of Dunboy."
He also had notice that Tyrell, one of O'Sullivan's
most trusty captains, with considerable forces, was
prepared to dispute the passage of his army through
the rugged ground lying between Bantry and Berehaven,
whereupon the President resolved that he would have
his troops transported by sea to Beare island, whence
they should cross to the mainland and proceed to the
reduction of the castle.
The Abbey of Bantry, above referred to, was founded
in 1540 by Dermot O'Sullivan for Franciscan Friars.
During the Elizabethan war it was sometimes occupied
by Irish and sometimes by English soldiery, but its
end was to be ruined and razed to the ground. An
incident in its history is thus narrated in a letter of
Sir Warham Sentleger to Mr. Secretary Fenton, written
at Cork, March 24, 1582.
" Good Mr. Secretary, — The best news I have to advertise you
is that your brother James escaped of late, a very narrow escape
of being taken by the western traitors ; he not knowing of the
defeat of his soldiers, nor yet of the abandoning of the Abbey
of Bantry, sent certain boats from Bearhaven thither with
provisions for the soldiers, who, mistrusting nothing, came to
18 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
the Abbey, thinking to unload their provision, and the men
being landed, the traitors lying close in the Abbey issued suddenly
out and took the men and boats with the victuals, and hanged the
men. Your brother coming after in another boat, not knowing
the traitors to be in the Abbey was unawares unto him pursued
with four boats full of tratiors, who had taken him if night
had not favoured him, which being dark, he entered in among
the rocks where he was forced to hide himself three days and
three nights without any sustenance ; and so with great toil the
fourth day he reached the Castle of Bearhaven, where he
remaineth sick, by the great toil he had upon the sea and the
cold entertainment he had upon the rocks."
The site of the Abbey is now the chief burial place
for people of the town and district. In it was dug the
great pit into which were cast the coffinless remains
of hundreds of victims of the great famine of 1847-48.
Over the pit stands a large granite cross, erected to
their memory in recent years by the brothers Tim and
Maurice Healy. It bears no inscription or lettering
of any kind other than the Scriptural words, " Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord."
The siege of Dunboy Castle practically commenced
on the 6th of June, 1602, and lasted until the 18th, both
days included. The little garrison — only 143 men —
made a heroic defence, but they had against them an army
numbering over 2,000, with two batteries of artillery,
so the little fortress was doomed from the very commence-
ment of the operations. While the siege was in progress
the Lord President took measures for the destruction of
the intended last refuge of the O'Sullivans in Dursey
island. He had a force of 160 men, with some pieces of
cannon, embarked for the invasion of the island ; this
they effected, and, after a stubborn resistance, made
themselves masters of the place. How the defenders,
after they had surrendered, were dealt with is briefly
told in the " Pacata " :—
Of the rebels four were killed, two hurt, who, with all the rest
were brought into the camp, and after executed.
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 19
But this is not the whole story ; the fate of a number
of the islanders, as well as of the garrison, is more fully
told by Don Philip O'Sullivan Beare in his Catholic
History of Ireland. He says : —
The inhabitants were terrified by the sudden arrival of the
enemy ; some sought the protection of the altars, some ran to
hide, some betook themselves to the fort, which the few armed
men surrendered on the enemy's promise of safety, as it had no
cannon or fortifications. The English, after their wonted manner,
committed a erime far more notable for its cruelty than their
honour. Having dismantled the fort and fired the church and
houses, they shot down, hacked with swords, or ran through with
spears the now disarmed garrison, and others, old men, women,
and children, whom they had driven into one heap. Some ran
their swords up to the hilt through the babe and mother who was
carrying it on her breast ; others paraded before their comrades
little children, writhing and convulsed, on their spears ; and
finally, binding all the survivors, they threw them into the sea
over jagged and sharp rocks, showering upon them shots and
stones. In this way perished about 300 Catholics, the greater
part of whom were retainers of my father Dermot.
Hideous as this picture is, it is quite of a piece with
the ordinary operations of the English soldiery in Ireland
during the periods of the Elizabethan and Cromwellian
wars. Of this abundant testimony has come to us from
the pens of English writers.
It may be asked did the Irish not seek to take revenge
in kind for these atrocities ? Did they never attempt
to follow the evil example set them ? My reply is,
they would not be human creatures if they could take
such usage tamely. The race of men who could do so
have not yet been born, — and never will be. But as
a matter of fact during the whole course of the war
which desolated Munster, the cruelties, the savageries,
the inhumanities of the campaign were almost entirely
the work of the English party. The Irish " rebels "
as they were called, were in their own country, on their
own lands, the territories of their fathers for many
generations — in their own homes, in the midst of their
20 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
families ; the crops were of their sowing, the flocks
and herds in the fields were their property. Amongst
them, therefore, a numerous and well equipped army
of marauders were able to carry out with comparative
ease a long campaign of spoliation and slaughter.
And if sometimes the harassed natives availed of
opportunities to give the Englishmen a taste of their
own quality, was it any wonder ?
On the 13th of June an attempt to relieve the besieged
castle of Dunboy was made by Captain Tyrell, one of
O'Sulli van's chief officers ; it was ineffectual, because
the small force under his command could do no more
than give a somewhat lively alarm to the English camp.
Nothing can rout and defeat one army except another
army ; and O 'Sullivan had no army in the field. The
siege of the castle went on ; after a cannonade of seven
days duration the building was beaten into ruins. As
the masonry was tumbling about their heads the
defenders sent out a messenger to the Lord President
with an offer of surrender if their lives might be spared
and if they were allowed to march out with their arms.
The response of the Lord President was to hang the envoy.
The besiegers soon after effected an entrance into the
ruined building ; hand-to-hand fighting of the most
desperate character ensued, the defenders being gradually
beaten from one point to another till they were driven
into the cellar, where they made their last stand. A
few of them managed to get outside the walls, where
they were immediately cut down ; eight men rushed
to the sea shore and attempted to swim across to Bere
island, but the English captains, judging that something
of the kind might be adventured, had three boats with
armed men on board waiting for the chance, and the
unfortunate swimmers were shot or speared in the water.
The final scene is thus recorded in the " Pacata " : —
The eighteenth (June) in the morning three and twenty more
likewise rendered themselves simply to Captain Blundell, who
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 21
the night before had the guard, and after their cannoniers, being
two Spaniards and an Italian (for the rest were slain) likewise
yielded themselves ; then MacGeohagan, chief commander of
the place, being mortally wounded with divers shot in his body,
the rest made choice of one Thomas Taylor, an Englishman's
son (the dearest and inwardest man with Tyrell, and married to
his niece) to be their chief, who, having nine barrels of powder,
drew himself and it into the vault and there sat down by it, with
a light match in his hand, vowing and protesting to set it on
fire, and blow up the castle, himself, and all the rest, except they
might have promise of life, which being by the Lord President
refused, his lordship gave direction for a new battery upon the
vault, intending to bury them in the ruins thereof ; and after a
few times discharged, and the bullets entering amongst them
into the cellar, the rest that were with Taylor, partly by inter-
cession, but chiefly by compulsion (threatening to deliver him up
if he were obstinate), about ten of the clock in the morning of the
same day constrained him to render simply. . . Sir George
Thornton, the sergeant major, Captain Roger Harvie, Captain
Power, and others entering the vault to receive them, Captain
Power found the said Richard MacGeohagan lying there mortally
wounded (as before mentioned), who, perceiving Taylor and the
rest ready to render themselves, raised himself from the ground,
snatching a light candle, and staggering therewith to a barrel of
powder (which for that purpose was unheaded), offering to cast
it into the same, Captain Power took him and held him in his
arms with intent to make him prisoner, until he was by our
men (who perceived his intent) instantly killed ; and then
Taylor and the rest were brought prisoners to the camp. . . .
The same day fifty-eight were executed in the market place . . .
The whole number of the ward consisted of one hundred and
forty-three selected fighting men, being the best choice of all
their forces, of the which no one man escaped, but were either
slain, executed, or buried in the ruins, and so obstinate and
resolved a defence had not been seen within this Kingdom.
" So obstinate and resolved a defence had not been
seen within this Kingdom." Notable and memorable
words By members of the O'Sullivan Sept they should
be for ever borne in memory as a testament of glory.
22 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
THE fall of Dunboy caused the abandonment
of a second expedition which King Philip had
intended to despatch to Ireland. Its arrival was
for some time expected by both the Irish and the English,
and desultory fighting went on in various parts of the
South, — in all which operations O'Sullivan and his friend
Tyrell were active participants. They achieved some
small successes, but by degrees they were overborne
by the foreigners, aided, unfortunately, by Irish allies,
the corrupted and rotten refuse of once noble clans.
Castle after castle was captured and destroyed ; the
homes of the humbler folk were sought out in all directions
and unsparingly burned ; and a fresh sweep was made
of all the live stock that could be gathered in from
districts previously wasted, — this, of course, with a
view that such of the natives as might escape the edge
of the sword should perish of starvation.
Under those desperate circumstances O'Sullivan
decided on withdrawing from the wasted and desolated
South, and, with the small remnant of his forces, and
a number of the members of his immediate family,
making the best of his way to the territory of his friend
O'Rourke — an irreconcilable " rebel " like himself — in
the county of Leitrim. It was a desperate venture,
a terrible march, or rather flight, the little party —
still fighting for their lives — being hunted almost every
mile of the way by bands of denationalised Irishmen,
mercenaries of Anglo-Irish settlers and recreant Irish
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 23
families. A detailed account of those operations is
given in Don Philip O'Sullivan's history ; the " Pacata "
thus briefly tells the story : —
As they (O'Sullivan's party) passed by the skirts of Muskery,
they were skirmished withal by the sons of Teg Mac Owen Cartie,
where they lost some of their men, and most of their carriage ;
in passing by Liscarroll, John Barry, brother to the Viscount,
with eight horsemen and forty foot, charged their rear at the ford
of Ballaghan, where he slew and hurt many of them ; and of
his part one horseman was slain.
When they came to the river of the Shannon, they, finding
the river high, and no boats nor troughs to pass them over into
Connaught, they killed many of their horses, and made shifts
with their hides to make certain little boats, called in Irish
nevogs, in the which they transported their men and baggage.
Nevertheless, before all were passed the river, the sheriff of the
county of Tipperary fell upon their rear and slew many of them.
Being in Connaught they passed safely through the county of
Galway until they came into the Kellys' country, where they were
fought withal by Sir Thomas Burke, the Earl of Clanrickard's
brother, and Captain Henry Malby, who were more in number
than the rebels. Nevertheless, when they saw that they must
either make their way by the sword or perish, they gave a brave
charge upon our men, in the which Captain Malby was slaine,
upon whose fall Sir Thomas and his troops, fainting with the
loss of many men, studied their safetys by flight, and the rebels
with little harm marched into O'Rourke's country.
The next morning, being the fourth of January, 1602, Sir Charles
coming to seek the enemy in their camp, he entered their quarter
without resistance, where he found nothing but hurt and sick men,
whose pains and lives by the soldiers were both determined.
What a feat to be recorded with a smug sense of
satisfaction — the killing of sick and wounded men,
not in the heat of battle, but in cold blood, in a
deserted camp which the English had entered without
This wonderful retreat of O'Sullivan's has been
expatiated on in terms of admiration and sjinpathy
by many writers of our own time, as well as of earlier
dates. It has frequently be^n compared to the retreat
of the 10,000 Greeks from Persia under the command
24 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
of Xenophon after the battle of Cunaxa. The Greek
warriors had a longer route to traverse, involving, of
course, a longer period of danger and suffering,
but as regards endurance, courage, and valour, the
men of Beare and Bantry were fully up to that high
O'Sullivan's little party started from Glengarriffe
on the 31st of December, 1602. With privations of every
sort, as well as with the swords and spears of the enemy,
they had to contend all the way. Half-starved, footsore,
weary, worn out by constant fatigue and want of sleep,
some dropped out and others died on their toilsome
journey. Their chieftain rallied, cheered and encouraged
his men as best he could. One of his little speeches
to them is thus recorded by his cousin Don Philip, the
historian : —
Since on this day our desperate circumstances and unhappy-
fate have left us neither wealth, nor country, nor children nor
wives to fight for, but, as on this instant the struggle with our
enemies is for the life that alone remains to us, which of you, I ask,
in God's eternal name, will not rather fall fighting gloriously in
battle and avenging your blood, than like cattle, which have no
sense of honour, perish unavenged in cowardly flight ? Surely
our ancestors, heroes famed for their high spirits, would never
seek by a shameful flight to shun an honourable death, even
when they could fly. For us it will be honourable to follow in
their footsteps, especially as flight offers no salvation. See the
plain stretching far and wide, without hindrance of bog, without
thick woods, without any hiding places to which we could fly
for concealment. The neighbouring people are no protection for
us. There is none to come to our aid. The enemy block the
roads and passes, and we, wearied with our long journey, are
unable to run. Whatever chance we have is only in our own
courage and strength of our own arms. Up, then, and on them,
whom you excel in spirit, courage, achievements past, and holy
faith. Let us remember this day that enemies who have every-
where attacked us have heretofore been routed by the Divine
mercy. Above all, let us believe that the victory is the gift of
God. Let us think that Christ our Lord will be with his servants
in their utmost need, and that for His name and holy faith we
join issue with heretics and their abettors.
THE 0* SULLIVAN SEPT 25
For the rhetorical form of this address the historian
probably is responsible ; but it may readily be believed
that the chieftain spoke in that sense, and in the native
tongue, which would carry his words straight to the
hearts of his clansmen. Scarcely had he concluded his
speech when the royalist cavalry "were down in full tilt
upon him," and a protracted engagement ensued,
resulting in a brilliant victory for Donal's little band of
heroes. In this battle, says Don Philip, "about ioo
royalists fell, the flower of their forces, their general,
Malby, Richard Burke, three standard-bearers, as
many adjutants, more sergeants, and the rest were
Irish, Anglo-Irish, and English gentlemen. O'Sullivan,
collecting the enemy's arms and colours, fled that
evening and following night through a host of surround-
ing enemies through O' Kelly's country, with such haste
that he left some soldiers worn out on the road, and
overcome with sleep.
After three more days of such toils and sufferings,
all that was left of O'Sullivan's little band reached
the territory of the friendly chief, O'Rourke, by whom
they were welcomed and hospitably entertained — for
O'Rourke was a veritable " brother in arms," as
resolute a " rebel " as Donal himself. When setting
out from Glengarriffe they numbered about one
thousand, of whom only 400 were fighting men ; —
the rest were followers who feared to remain in
the country after they had left ; amongst them were
a number of women. When they entered O'Rourke's
castle there remained of the fighting men only 18 ;
of the non-combatants, (sutlers, helpers, etc.) 16 ;
and only one woman had survived the hardships of
The incidents of this woful but glorious march seem
to have had a special attraction for the muse of our
national balladist, Robert Dwyer Joyce, who has
given us three poems founded on them. From one
26 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
entitled " Crossing the Black water," I take the following
We stood so steady,
All under fire ;
We stood so steady,
Our long spears ready
To vent our ire —
To dash on the Saxon,
Our mortal foe,
And lay him low
In the bloody mire !
'Twas by Blackwater,
When snows were white ;
'Twas by Blackwater,
Our foes for the slaughter
Stood full in sight.
But we were ready
With our long spears,
And we had no fears
But we'd win the fight.
Horses to horses,
And man to man —
O'er dying horses
And blood and corses
Our general, thundered ;
And we were not slack
To slay at his back
Till the flight began.
Oh, how we scattered
The foemen then —
Slaughtered and scattered
And chased and shattered
By shore and glen —
To the walls of Moyallo
Few fled that day. —
Will they bar our way,
When we come again ?
Of another of the defeats inflicted by the hunted
chief on his pursuers, the same patriot bard
THE O 1 SULLIVAN SEPT 27
has given us a poem of nine verses, two of which
I here quote : —
The ambush was set in the Passage of Lightning,
And now in the moonlight sharp weapons came brightening ;
The lance of the Saxon from Mulla and Mallow,
And the pike of the kern from the wilds of Duhallow,
Soon clashed with the swords of the men of Berehaven,
Till the echoes rolled back through the Glen of the Raven !
Then O' Sullivan burst like the angel of slaughter
On the foe by the current of Geerath's wild water ;
And the brave men of Cork and of Kerry's wild regions
Were his rushing destroyers, his death-dealing legions ;
And onward they rode over traitor and craven,
Whose bones long bestrewed the lone Glen of the Raven.
Thomas Davis was profoundly impressed by that
touching episode of Irish history, and made it the subject
of several poems. One of these has reference to the
secret return of O 'Sullivan to his native place to bear
away to Spain his wife and infant son, who, during
his absence had been lovingly cared for by one of his
faithful clansmen, McSwiney. Of Davis's ballad of
eighteen verses I can here quote only the following : —
" A baby in the mountain gap —
Oh ! wherefore bring it hither ?
Restore it to its mother's lap,
Or else 'twill surely wither.
A baby near the eagle's nest !
How should their talons spare it ?
Oh ! take it to some woman's breast,
And she will kindly care it."
" Fear not for it," McSwiney said,
And stroked his cul-flonn slowly,
And proudly raised his matted head,
Yet spoke me soft and lowly. —
" Fear not for it, for, many a day
I climb the eagle's eyrie,
And bear the eaglet's food away
To feed our little fairy."
28 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
An hour went by, when from the shore
The chieftain's horn winding
Awoke the echoes' hearty roar —
Their fealty reminding ;
A moment, and he faintly gasps —
"These — these, thank Heaven, are left me," —
And smiles as wife and child he clasps.—
" They have not quite bereft me."
To Spain — to Spain he now will sail,
His destiny is wroken —
An exile from dear Innisfail —
Nor yet his will is broken ;
For still he hints some enterprise,
When fleets shall bring them over,
Dunboy's proud keep again shall rise
And mock the English rover.
I saw them cross Slieve Miskish o'er,
The crones around them weeping —
I saw them pass from Culiagh's shore,
Their galleys' strong oars sweeping ;
I saw their ship unfurl its sail —
I saw their long scarfs waven. —
They saw the hills in distance fail —
They never saw Berehaven !
Davis, indeed, claimed kinship with the family of
O'Sullivan Beare, and was quite proud of his title to
do so. In Sir C. G. Duffy's Life of Davis we read : —
His father, James Thomas Davis, was a surgeon in the Royal
Artillery, and served in the Peninsular War, with the rank of
Inspector of Hospitals. His mother, Mary Atkins, descended
from a good Anglo-Irish family, which traced back its line to the
great Norman House of Howard, and — what Davis loved better
to remember — to the great Celtic House of O'Sullivan Beare.
In a footnote Duffy adds : —
From a family genealogy I learn that Richard Atkins married
Anne, only daughter of the O'Sullivan Beare, and by her left
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 29
John Atkins, who married Mary, second daugnter oi Robert
Atkins of Fountainville, and had two sons and four daughters,
the fourth of whom was the mother of Thomas Davis.
The writer of the present pages published in i860 a
narrative poem on the siege and fall of Dunboy, and
the subsequent fortune of O'Sullivan. It follows very
closely the historic record, and closes with the following
passages, descriptive of the chieftain's final departure
from the land of his fathers : —
'Twas summer night, the rude winds slept,
As o'er the bay a vessel crept.
Two muffled forms went pacing slow
Along her smooth deck, to and fro,
Watching betimes the far-stretched spars
Sway back and forward through the stars ;
Pausing to hear the watch-dogs' bark
From distant fields come through the dark ;
And hear the heaving waters snore
Along the old familiar shore,
Whose headlands only met the sight
As gloomier patches of the night.
On passed the ship with easy glide
Unto Bear haven's tranquil tide ;
Her low black boat in calm profound
Bore on one form to Beara's ground.
He moved about with moody pace ;
He travelled o'er and o'er the place.
Then, when the brightening of the day
Had warned him from the scene away,
He sought the sacred spot of all,
The ruin — once a castle tall —
And wept upon the broken wall.
On board ! on board ! fair blows the wind,
The Caha hills sink down behind ;
Beare Island dips ; tall Hungry, too,
Melts down into the sea of blue,
No more, except in dreams, to rise
To Donal's or to Eileen's eyes.
Like winter rain, fast fell her tears,
And he, whose heart through troubled years
Its inward griefs in silence kept,
Bowed down his head, and wildly wept.
BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
In Spain, high-placed beside the King,
The wearied exiles rest at last ;
If honours, wealth, and peace could bring
A charm to hide the painful past,
'Twas Donal's now ; but annals say
His heart was by his native bay ;
His words were of the gallant men
Whose good swords flashed through pass and glen
Where'er he led ; and when he thought
O'er all the wrongs the Saxon wrought —
Their treacherous arts, their faithless words,
More deadly than their guns or swords —
Their thirst for blood, their greed of gold ;
Their rage that spared not young or old ;
Their myriad crimes that heaven must hate
And God will punish, soon or late —
Oft did his thoughts break out aloud,
And many a time he firmly vowed
His race, though now proscribed and banned,
Would have and hold their native land,
And guard with patriot pride and joy
The very stones of old Dunboy.
From a Map in the Pacata Hibemia.
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 31
IN the midst of all this wrack and ruin the she-
dragon, Elizabeth, died (March 24, 1603) and
James the First came to the throne. By that
time the Irish war was practically ended. The few Irish
chiefs who until then had been keeping up a sort of
desultory resistance, gave up the hopeless strife, and
sought to get terms from the new monarch, praying
that they might be admitted to the peace and allowed
to retain possession of their lands. With some a settle-
ment was made, but for O'Sullivan and O'Rourke there
was no pardon. Life in their own country having thus
become impossible to them, they were compelled to
seek shelter in foreign lands. O'Sullivan sailed for Spain,
where he was cordially welcomed by the king, who
conferred on him rank, titles, and high honours, and
accorded to him a considerable pension with which
to support his dignity.
While O'Sullivan was carrying on his brave and des-
perate but vain resistance to the overwhelming forces of
the English crown, Her Majesty's Lords Justices issued
at Cork a proclamation setting a price upon his head.
The following is a part of the document : —
And it is also proclaymed that if any psn. or psons. of what
degree or qualitie soever that shall unto the Lo. President bring
the live body of that wicked and unnatural Traitor, Donell
O'Sullyvane, als O'Sullyvane Beare, shall have sum of Three
hundred pounds ster., and for the saide Donnell's head ^200 ;
and for the bodies of the persons undernamed, alive or dead,
32 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
rateably as the same is laid down upon them and every one of
them : —
For Mac Morris liveinge ^300, for him deade £200.
For Fitzthomas liveinge £100, for him deade, 100 marks.
For Donell O'Sullyvane liveinge ^200, for him deade, 100
For the Knight of the Valley liveinge £100, for him deade. 100
For John O'Connor ^100, for him deade 100 marks.
For Oliver Hassey 100 marks, for him deade 050 marks.
It does not appear that those offers of large rewards
for assassinations produced any notable results. The
authorities never got hold of Donal 'Sullivan " liveinge
or deade." But the life of that heroic chieftain had
a tragic ending. The manner of it is thus related by
his cousin Don Philip, 1 who was a witness of the occurrence,
and to some extent, unwittingly, the occasion of it : —
But the last stroke of adverse fortune befel thus : — On the
16th day of the same month (July, 1608), O'Sullivan, Prince of
Beare, in whom all the hopes of the Irish at that time were placed,
unhappily perished in this manner : John Bath, an Anglo-
Irishman, and one whom O'Sullivan held in very high esteem —
even to the extent of taking him under his personal protection,
bestowing many favours upon him, and even admitting him to
his own table in the circle of his most intimate friends — quite
ungrateful for such high favours, carried his presumption so
far as that when a discussion arose touching some money ad-
vanced by O'Sullivan as a loan, he, Bath, dared to make
unfavourable comparisons between a family, one of the most
illustrious among the Irish, and the English, from whom he,
himself, was sprung. Philip, the writer of this history, a cousin of
O'Sullivan, unable to endure this insult, expostulated with Bath
upon the matter. The dispute proceeded so far that they
attacked each other with drawn swords, at a royal monastery
not far from Madrid. In this contest, Bath, terror-stricken, kept
retreating, shouting at the same time. Philip wounded him in the
face, and, as it appears, would have slain him, had not Edmond
O'Moore and Gerald McMorris (sent by O'Sullivan) and two
Spanish Knights, protected him, and Philip would have been
arrested by a constable but for their interference. When many
were attracted to the spot by the quarrel, among others came
1 See Appendix
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 33
O'Sullivan, a rosary in his left hand. Whilst thus incautious,
fearing nothing, and looking in quite another direction, Bath
approached him through the crowd, struck him through the left
shoulder, and again piercing him through the throat, killed him.
So perished one of the noblest Irishmen of his time.
Of the members of his family who had accompanied
him into exile an account is given by his cousin Don
Philip in a Latin poem prefixed to his Catholic History,
from which it appears that his (Philip's) father Dermot,
uncle of Donal, died at the age of ioo years and was
buried in the Franciscan Church at Corunna ; his mother
followed soon after, and was interred in the same tomb ;
his sister Helena was drowned on a return voyage to
Ireland, and another sister became a nun. Philip had
in him the sea-going instinct that one might expect
from a native of Dursey Island, and was also gifted
with literary talent and a love of learning. He entered
the Spanish naval service, in which he rose to the rank
of commander, and much of his literary work in defence
of his race, his country, and his faith, was written on
board ship. He must have been a lonely man towards
the end of his life, his mind filled with memories of the
past. Thomas Darcy McGee sketches the situation
in a pathetic ballad, from which I take the following
verses : —
All alone — all alone, where the gladsome vine is growing —
All alone by the bank of the Tagus darkly flowing ;
No morning brings a hope for him, nor any evening cheer,
To O'Sullivan Beare through the seasons of the year.
He is thinking — ever thinking of the hour he left Dunbuidhe,
His father's staff fell from his hand, his mother wild was she ;
His brave young brother hid his face, his lovely sisters twain,
How they wrung their maiden hands to see him sail away
One sister is a black-veiled nun of St. "Ursula in Spain ;
And one sleeps coldly far beneath the troubled Irish main. —
'Tis Helen bright, who ventured to the arms of her true lover ;
But Cleena's stormy waves now roll the radiant girl over.
34 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
All alone — all alone, where the gladsome vine is growing —
All alone by the banks of the Tagus darkly flowing ;
No morning brings a hope for him, nor any evening cheer,
To O' Sullivan Beare through the seasons of the year.
McGee gives to those pathetic verses the title of " The
Last O'Sullivan Beare"; and Mr. Standish O'Grady,
in a note to his edition of the Pacata Hibernia, bestows
on Donal the same appellation. From the point of
view of the chieftaincy it is quite correct, but not other-
wise. It may be that there is not now a lineal descendant
of the hero of Dunboy in the world ; but his relatives
were a numerous group, and in the O'Sullivan line were
entitled to keep the affix to their names if they so pleased
— as many of their descendants did up to recently and
some do still. The kinsmen of Prince Donal did not
all quit the country after his overthrow ; they were not
all killed ; what happened was that they were robbed
despoiled, disinherited ; poverty and servitude were
made the lot of men who had previously owned the fields
they tilled, the pastures on which they grazed, their cattle,
the vessels with which they fished the seas and traded
with foreign countries. Some few members of the stock
attorning to the new conditions, managed to retain
portions of their former property, not indeed as chiefs,
or proprietors, but rather as middlemen or small land-
lords. But, however broken their fortunes, they were
still O'Sullivans Beare, and as such their names are
written in various State papers and legal documents
for more than a hundred years after the time of Donal
As time went on adverse circumstances told upon
them all. The loyalty of the Irish gentlemen to their
legitimate king, James II., their fidelity to the Catholic
faith, their resistance to the infamous penal laws,
wrought their ruin. The insatiable greed, the intolerable
arrogance, the exasperating insults of their new masters,
broke the hearts of the best men of the old race. They
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 35
sank in the social scale at home, or left to live under
happier conditions and seek fame and fortune in other
lands. Of those disinherited and expatriated Irishmen
it can truly be said that evidence of their fine natural
qualities is supplied by the fact that many of them
achieved distinction and won high honours in their
Sir Bernard Burke, in his most interesting work on
" The Vicissitudes of Families," thus sympathetically
writes on the subject: —
" An Irish ' Peerage ' gives a very inadequate account of
the royal and noble blood of Ireland. But few of the Milesian
races have found their way into the peerage, though some still
inherit a portion of their ancient possessions ; and it is in the
Austrian, French, or Spanish service, among the middle classes
or perhaps in the mud-walled cabins of the Irish peasants, that
search should be made for the real representatives of the ancient
reguli. . . . Many of the descendants of the minor dynasts
could probably be discovered under the frieze coats of the
peasants ; and a genealogical enquirer might trace in the sun-
burnt mendicant the representative of the O'Rorkes, the
O'Reillys, the O'Ryans, or the O'Sullivans, who were of fame
' Ere the emerald gem of the western world
Was set in the crown of a stranger.' "
36 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
AFTER each of the great Irish confiscations —
those of Elizabeth, James I., Cromwell, and
William of Orange — many of the new lords of the
soil sought in a variety of ways to supplant and crush
out the native race. Not only did they seek to surround
themselves with an exclusively Protestant tenantry, but
even with regard to industrial occupations, they gave
special encouragement to Protestant craftsmen to
come in groups and little colonies from foreign countries,
settle down and ply their trades in Ireland. There was
much religious ferment and disturbance throughout
Europe in those days ; the " Reformation " was fighting
its way and being fought, and some of those who had
adopted the new doctrines, finding that life had become
unpleasant for them in their own countries, moved
away to lands the rulers of which were more tolerant
of their opinions. Naturally a number of them sought
shelter in England, and many located in parts of Ireland
where conditions were specially favourable to them.
The majority of those immigrants were Dutch and
French Protestants, and their special industries were
the weaving of linen and silks. They worked with
improved machinery and on new methods. It is true
that the manufacture of " silks " as they were called,
of fine linen, of beautiful woollens, and of artistically
wrought articles of gold and silver was carried on in
Ireland long before " Norman foot had dared pollute
her independent shore," but in later times, while the
Irish people were fighting for their lives, a great advance
in all the industrial arts was taking place in countries
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 37
more happily circumstanced, and Ireland was left in
the rear. The introduction of those foreign artificers
would have been a good thing had the scheme been
devised and worked in a friendly, or even merely com-
mercial spirit ; but in point of fact it was made part
of a war against the native race.
The chief promoter of that policy, in his time, was
Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, who had been
appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland by King Claries II.
Strafford was an able man with large ideas and despotic
notions. He thought he could mould Ireland as if it
were potter's clay in his hands, and fancied he could shape
it into an image and likeness of England. One of the
instruments he relied on for that purpose was, curiously
enough — the linen trade ; but with the manufacture
kept exclusively in Protestant hands. He had in his
favour an Act of the so-called Irish Parliament entitled,
" An Act for encouraging Protestant strangers and
others to inhabit Ireland," which had been passed some
years before his appointment. The promoter of this
measure was the Duke of Ormond ; under its provisions
he and Strafford — who seemed to be quite in love with
the scheme — were able to set up a number of those
un-Irish — and it may fairly be said, anti-Irish — settlements
in various parts of the country. But inspired by such an
un-national and unnatural spirit the project did not
work very well. Enmities, arising from a variety
of causes, against King Charles and all his friends, were
gathering force in England ; a revolt against the despotic
power of the crown was being concerted by men who
have ever since been regarded as the fathers of English
liberty ; and when they commenced operations for the
ruin of the king, one of their first blows was struck at
his handy-man and favourite, his Lord Deputy for
Ireland, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. They
managed to bring him to trial for many high crimes
and misdemeanours, the chief of which was an alleged
38 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
design to raise in Ireland, an army for the service of the
king which His Majesty might import and employ
against his rebellious subjects in England. He was
brought to trial, and had his head cut off on Tower
Hill, on the 12th of May, 1641. He was a brave man,
and died courageously. Mindful of the fact that his
royal master, whom he had served with only too much
zeal, had made little or no endeavour to save his life,
he pathetically quoted as he mounted the steps of the
scaffold the scriptural injunction — " Put not your trust
One of those anti-Irish settlements was at Bandon
in the County of Cork ; and the temper of the dwellers
therein may be judged from the inscription set up on
the gates of the town : —
Turk, Jew, or Atheist
May enter here, but not a Papist.
A proud proclamation, no doubt ; but its somewhat
too confident authors were not able to live up to it.
Early in the course of the Williamite war (in 1689) a
Jacobite force entered and held possession of the town.
What ensued is thus told in the Cork Remembrancer :
The Bandonians having heard that the Earl of Clancarty
was marching with six companies to reinforce the troop of horse
and the two companies of foot then in their town, commanded
by Captain Daniel O'Neill, disarmed the garrison, killed some
soldiers, took possession of their horses and arms, and would have
done much more if they had been assisted. They then shut their
gates, and generously refused to gve up any of their leaders ;
but in the end they purchased their pardon for £1,000, with the
demolition of their walls, which were razed to the ground, and
never since rebuilt.
An endeavour was made to establish a community
of those un-Irish people at Berehaven ; but it was on
a minor scale, and did not last long. The organiser of the
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 39
project was an adventurous Frenchman, one of the
Huguenot refugees, named Fontaine. This gentleman
was the son of a French Protestant minister. Having
fled from France, he lived for some years in England,
where he managed to support himself by carrying on
some small industries ; he then adopted his father's
profession ; became a Protestant clergyman, and in
the year 1694 crossed over to Ireland to minister to
a small Huguenot congregation in the city of Cork. After
having served in that capacity for some time he took
the idea that he could do better for himself by engaging
in the fishery business at Berehaven. He rented some
land there as a basis of operations, took houses and
farms for a number of workpeople, got up a fishing
company, and went to reside in the place himself. Had
he confined himself strictly to this business he probably
would have done very well, but he soon became a Govern-
ment tool and made himself odious to the people of
the locality. He was appointed Justice of the Peace,
and in that capacity busied himself about many things
having no relation to his commercial enterprise. He
was alert and active against that class of dispossessed
and desperate poor Irishmen who, living an unsettled
life, occasionally taking spoil from the enemy, and
ready for any anti-English adventure, were known by
the name of " tories," and he was a vigilant agent for
the detection and suppression of contraband operations
on the southern coast. Aware of the enmity with which
he was regarded, and having some knowledge of the
art of fortification, he set up around his residence a
line of earthworks meant to be serviceable in case any
attack should be made upon it.
And his foresight was soon justified, for his "Sod
Fort," as it was called, was more than once made an
object of attack by parties from some of the privateering
craft that were continually hovering round the coast.
Two of those affairs are described with some fulness
40 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
of detail in Smiles' History of the Huguenots in England
and Ireland, from which I quote the following
(abbreviated) passages : —
In June, 1704, a French privateer entered Bantry Bay and
proceeded to storm the Sod Fort ; when Fontaine, by the courage
and ability of his defence, showed himself a commander of no
mean skill . . . the engagement lasted from eight in the morning
until four in the afternoon, when the French decamped with
the loss of three killed and seven wounded. . . . When the
refugee's gallant exploit was reported to the government, he
was rewarded by a pension of five shillings a day for beating off
the privateer, and supplied with five guns, which he was authorised
to mount in his battery. . . .
In the year succeeding the above engagement, while Fontaine
himself was absent in London, a French ship entered Bantry Bay,
and cautiously approached Berehaven. Fontaine's wife was, how-
ever, on the look out, and detected the foreigner. She had the guns
loaded, and one of them fired off, to show that the little garrison
was on the alert. The Frenchman then veered off, and made foi
Bear Island, where a party of the crew landed, stole some cattle
which they put on board, and sailed away again.
A third and more serious attack was made on the
Sod Fort about two years later, with a different result.
We read : —
On the 7th of October, 1708, during the temporary absence of
Fontaine, a French privateer made his appearance in the haven
and hoisted English colours. The ensign residing in the fort at
the time, deceived by the stratagem, went on board, when he
was immediately made prisoner. He was plied with drink, and
became intoxicated, when he revealed the fact that there was
no officer in command of the fort. The crew of the privateer
were principally Irish, and they determined to attack the place
at midnight, for which purpose a part}'- of them landed. Fontaine
had by this time returned, and was on the alert. He hailed the
advancing party through a speaking-trumpet, and, no answer
being returned, he ordered fire to be opened on them.
The siege that ensued was vigorously conducted
and lasted some hours. Its end was the surrender of
the fort and the capture of its garrison. Fontaine and
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 41
his two sons were taken on board the privateer. The
former was released on Madam Fontaine's undertaking
to pay £100 ransom for her husband and handing in
£30 as a first instalment. As security for the remainder
the French captain took away with him one of the boys,
but he too was released after some time without his
captors making any demand for the unpaid balance of
By this time Pastor Fontaine had got more than
enough of Berehaven, and he resolved to have done
with it. His fishing company had turned out a failure —
it could not possibly thrive under his management, and
in the midst of such conditions ; his Sod Fort was soon in
ruins, his little colony of foreigners scattered to the four
winds, and he himself, a broken man, but withal a
picturesque and interesting character, a traveller in quest
of employment. He came up to Dublin, got some
engagements as a teacher of languages, and ended his
days in peace.
42 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
FOR some years after the death of Queen Elizabeth
the condition of South Munster continued
to be what it has been pictured in the foregoing
pages. It was a ravaged and wasted land, in which
some remnant of the native race still managed to eke
out an existence. There came, in fact, in the earlier
part of the reign of her successor, James I., a period of
comparative quiet ; things were settling down some-
what, and the new and the old occupants of the soil were
learning to tolerate each other, when a fresh trouble came
on, and Irish affairs were again thrown into the melting
pot — if indeed they can be said ever to have been out of it.
In the reign of Charles I., son of James I., a section
of his English and Scotch subjects, after much wrangling,
complaining, and protesting, revolted against his rule,
and went into armed rebellion. This was the outcome of
religious and political contentions, too complicated to
be dealt with here. Ireland was inevitably drawn into
the strife ; her chivalrous people took the side of their
legitimate king and co-religionist, though neither in the
field of religion or politics had he shown them any favour.
They promptly organised what might be called a national
government — the Confederation of Kilkenny — and raised
an army to fight for the royal cause in Ireland. But both
in Ireland and in England the King's enemies, under the
leadership of Oliver Cromwell, proved victorious, and
then it was, indeed, for the Irish people a case of " woe
to the conquered."
The lands of all the Irish who had loyally stood by
the cause of the late King Charles (beheaded on the
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 43
30th of January, 1649) were now declared forfeited, and
were divided into portions for a great auction and
lottery to defray the arrears of pay due to the Crom-
wellian soldiery, and square accounts with classes of
persons called " adventurers " and " undertakers "
who had raised troops or advanced money for the
prosecution of the war. Those operations, of course,
took some years to work out ; the applotments were
made by commissioners appointed for the task, and
hungry claimants swarmed forth to clutch the portions
of the wreck available for them. The soldiers had to
draw lots for theirs, and were often greatly dissatisfied
with what fortune brought them — some acres of rugged
ground in many cases, and of little value. The better
lands were bought up, at a small figure, by English
companies and persons of means, who could look
forward to, and wait for, improvement in the value
of their property. In this manner the lands of the
O'Sullivans in Cork and Kerry passed away from them.
On the southern or Bantry side of the Beara range
of mountains a great tract of territory came into the
possession of a family named White, of whom the follow-
ing account is given in a standard work entitled British
Family Antiquity, by William Playfair, Esq., published
in London in 1810 : —
The original founder of this noble family was Sir Thomas
White, of Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, who was Lord Mayor
of London in 1655 '< founder of St. John's College in Oxford, and
brother of John White, Lord Bishop of Winchester in 1657.
On the restoration of King Charles II., Sir Thomas White settled
in the South of Ireland, where he became a purchaser of some
of the land debentures granted by Oliver Cromwell to the officers
of his army during the civil wars, and had a son, Richard, who
resided at Bantry until his death in 1730 ; having previously
married a Miss Hamilton of Scotland, by whom he had an only
son, Richard, who was bred to the law and called to the English
Bar, but never practised. He married, 10th of December, 1734,
Martha, daughter of the Rev. Dean Davis, of Davistown, in the
County of Cork, and had issue by her, one son and one daughter,
44 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
viz., Simon, born 8th of May, 1739, an( i Margaret, born in 1738,
who married, 8th of November, 1756, Richard, Viscount Longue-
ville, by whom she had no issue.
Simon married, in August, 1766, Frances- Jane, daughter of
Richard Hedges Eyre, of Mount Hedges and Macroom Castle in
the County of Cork, Esq. (by Helena, the daughter of Thomas
Herbert, of Muckross, in the County of Kerry, by the Hon. M.
Browne, daughter of Lord Viscount Kenmare), and dying in
1776, left issue, Richard, the present Viscount Bantry, who was
born 6th of August, 1767, and married, 10th of November, 1799,
Margaret- Anne Hare, eldest daughter of Lord Ennismore, by
whom he has had issue, Richard, born 16th of November, 1800 ;
William Hare, born 10th of November, 1801 ; Maria, born 10th
of November, 1805 ; and Simon, born 10th of March, 1807.
This spirited nobleman became entitled to and received the
honour of the peerage, in being created a Baron, 31st March,
1797, and a Viscount, 29th of December, 1800, by the best of all
possible claims, intrepid and unshrinking services in defence of
his native land. When the French appeared in Bantry Bay, in
January, 1797 . . . his lordship's determined activity and
loyalty were so singularly exerted as not only to compel the
departure of the enemy's fleet, but most probably save Ireland
from serious disasters, torn asunder as she then was by intestine
Considering that it was a storm of adverse wind that
broke up the French naval expedition and blew their
ships out of Bantry Bay, it is rather too much of this
obliging biographer to ask his readers to believe that
Mr. Richard White was the organiser of the whole thing,
the elements only doing his bidding. What this gentle-
man did was to send all the information he could collect
to the authorities in Cork, and to co-operate to the
utmost of his ability with their somewhat belated action
after the departure of the French ships. His house
became a sort of headquarters for English officers and
officials of all kinds, he kept a sharp look out for any
symptoms of disturbance in that part of the country,
and took part in a skirmish against a number of peasants
who had assembled to bar the way of a tithe-collecting
expedition in the pass of Keimineagh. For these services
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 45
the loyalists of Cork presented him with a gold medal,
and the Government conferred on him the titles above
The White family spread, and several of its members
got on to handsome properties in south-west Cork.
But there were only four Lords Bantry. The first,
above mentioned, married Lady Margaret Anne Hare,
daughter of the first Earl of Listowel ; the second was
their son Richard, who married a daughter of the
Marquis of Thomond, and died childless ; the third
was a brother of his, named William Henry Hare White ;
the fourth was another William Henry Hare White, son
of the foregoing ; he died without issue, and the titles
became extinct. The second daughter of the third
earl, Lady Olivia Charlotte White — married, in February,
1871, Arthur Edward, Baron Ardilaun (the famous Dub-
lin brewer). The present possessor of the estates is the
Hon. Egerton Leigh White, who took on the family
name and arms of White by royal license, in July, 1897.
A female descendant of those Hares-Eyres-Hedges-
Whites, married in 1885, Major Charles William Bowlby
of the Connaught Rangers. Their family reside in the
new " Dunboy Castle," built — not far from the ruin of
the old one — by one of the Puxleys, a relative of him
who was shot by Morty Oge.
BOSTON COLLEGE LIBRARY
CHESTNUT HILL, MASS.
46 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
IN the great period of grabbing and gambling for
Irish lands which followed the Cromwellian
conquest, when Ireland came nearer to the
condition of " a corpse on the dissecting table " than
ever she did before or since, a Welsh adventurer
named Puxley acquired a tract of land at the mouth of
Berehaven Harbour, in which were situated the ruins
of Donal O'Sullivan's old Castle of Dunboy. He built
himself a residence in the locality, and for some years
managed to get along tolerably well in his Gaelic environ-
ment. On his demise a near relative who had previously
given the benefit of his presence to the County Galway,
succeeded to his property in Berehaven, and, with
encouragement and aid from the Government, set
himself up to be a high exemplar of British law and
order, a propagator of true religion, an apostle of modern
civilisation, a shining light to the benighted heathen.
Forthwith he applied himself to the suppression of
popular illegalities, the chief of which was the smuggling
business, then in a very lively condition, between Ireland
and France. The export of Irish wool to any country
but England being prohibited by English law, and
France being a much better market than England for
the commodity, a contraband trade naturally and
inevitably sprang up. Fast sailing craft, with the
forbidden goods ingeniously stowed away, plied between
the two countries, taking out Irish wool and " wild
geese " (recruits for the French armies), and bringing
back wines and brandies, and other articles liable to duty,
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 47
without letting England's revenue officers have any
knowledge of their existence. The local gentry winked
at this state of things, and were glad to keep their cellars
stocked with such excellent vintage at so small a cost.
They did not cordially co-operate with Puxley, whom
they regarded as making himself entirely too busy in
these matters. Thus he came to be at once out of touch
with those loyal gentlemen and detested by the peasantry.
But Puxley was a man with a double dose of " unctuous
rectitude ; " he stood for English " law and order," and
was either unobservant or contemptuous of the signs
of coming trouble he might have seen gathering round
One of the most skilful and daring of those free traders,
as they might be called, was Morty Oge (young Morty)
O'Sullivan. A member of the dispossessed family, by
right one of the chiefs of his sept and inheritors of its
property, thrown landless and poor upon the world, his
possessions being a clever brain, an adventurous spirit,
and a store of bitter memories, he became in turn soldier,
sailor, " smuggler," and avenger, and ultimately fell in
a fight for his life with the agents of British law. In 1742
he served in the army of Maria Theresa, the brave
Austrian queen then fighting for her crown and dominions
against a group of the European powers, and was
honoured by her majesty by the presentation of a
handsome sword. In May, 1745, he was at the Battle
of Fontenoy — one can imagine with what delight he
bore a part in the winning of that important and brilliant
victory. In April, 1746, he was with the Stuart Prince
Charles Edward, the so-called " Pretender," who suffered
irretrievable defeat at Culloden. His military career
being thus ended, he returned to his old favourite, the
sea, and still fought " against the government " by
operations greatly to the detriment of the British ex-
chequer. Being a skilful seaman, knowing every creek
and cranny of the coast of south-west Munster, and
48 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
beloved by his kith and kin in those parts, he was able
to carry on his risky, but enjoyable and profitable,
business for years without falling into the clutches of
the authorities, though Puxley was on the watch for
him all the time.
As to the smuggling trade, under the circumstances,
it could not rightly be called unpatriotic, immoral, or
dishonourable. It was a very natural endeavour to
evade and defeat English laws made for the ruin of Irish
industries, the pauperising of Irish manufacturers and
merchants, and the transfer of their business to English
rivals. James Anthony Froude, a writer who had caught
up — or it may be inherited — the Cromwellian antipathy
to the Irish race, but who sometimes could blurt out
candid sayings and show a sort of contemptuous com-
passion for the cruelly oppressed natives of Ireland,
gives a good sketch of England's war against Irish trade
in his novel, The Two Chiefs of Dunboy. Picturing one
Patrick Blake, a prosperous Franco-Irish merchant and
ship-owner of Nantes — an imaginary character, perhaps,
but typical — he says : —
His patriotism was as ardent as his father's ; but his eye was
keen, and he discerned that there were ways of assisting Ireland's
cause in which he could combine his country's interest with his
own. He became the agent of the Irish Brigade. He set on
foot the organisation for recruiting the young Catholics who
were impatient of English rule, collecting them under the name
of wild-geese, and bringing them over into the French service
to learn their trade as soldiers. . . . While thus engaged, he
discerned in the unfortunate policy which destroyed the Irish
woollen manufactures an opportunity for disorganising the Irish
administration, of combining all classes and all creeds there,
peasant and landlord, Catholic and Protestant, in a league to
defeat an unjust law, and, while filling the pockets of his country-
men, to build up his own fortune at the same time. Irish wool,
at the opening of the last century, was supposed to be the most
excellent in the world, and commanded the highest prices in the
natural market. The English woollen manufacturers, afraid of
being beaten out of the field if the Irish were permitted to
compete with them, persuaded the Parliament to lay prohibitory
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 49
duties on Irish blankets and broadcloth, which crushed the
production of those articles. Not contented with preventing
the Irish from working up their fleeces at home, they insisted
that the Irish fleeces should be sold m England only, and at such
a price as would be convenient to themselves. The natural
price, which the French were willing to pay, was three or four
times higher, and the effect was a premium upon smuggling,
which no human nature, least of all Irish human nature, could
be expected to resist. . . . Before the century had half run its
course, four-fifths of the Irish fleeces were carried underhand
into France, in spite of English laws and English cruisers. Irish
lawlessness for once had justice on its side, and flourished like a
green bay tree.
This line of business had attractions for Morty Oge
from every point of view. It was adventurous, it was
exciting, it was anti-English. After his return trips he
loved to slip back quietly to old Befehaven, to see again
the places of his boyhood, to tread the soil that had been
the property of his fathers, and talk with some of the
old people over their altered fortunes. And much of
the news he heard from them was of a nature to set his
Puxley " of Dunboy " was now the great man of the
place, a magistrate, a revenue officer, a lay preacher, and
general adviser to a little colony of Welsh Protestants
whom he had brought over to be helpful to him and be
an English outpost in those parts. I make no doubt
that he was in his own estimation a very upright, impor-
tant, and excellent person ; but it was inevitable that
by the natives in that region he should be regarded
simply as an excrescence ; inevitable also that his zeal
and diligence in the enforcement of the revenue laws
should make for him a crowd of enemies, and ultimately
bring him into collision with Morty Oge.
Puxley and Morty caught sight of each other once
or twice — and probably each of them felt that they
should meet again. And meet they did. One Sunday
morning, as Puxley and a few of his co-religionists,
were proceeding to hold a service in a little conventicle
50 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
he had built for them, they fell in with Morty and some
of his friends on the way. Angry words were exchanged ;
a quarrel ensued, and, whether by accident or design,
Puxley was shot dead by Morty Oge. 1
This deplorable incident created a great sensation
throughout the country. The Government party took
prompt action. A military force was despatched from
Cork to seize the offender and return with his body alive
or dead. They made their way to Berehaven ; but when
they got there Morty was not to be found. He had gone
off to France. There he might have lived safely to the
end of his days had he been so minded ; but his native
place had a fascination for him, and he made several
trips to and fro —
Even as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first he flew.
— so would Morty pay furtive visits to his old home, to
see again his wife and child in his mountain cottage at
Eyries, and be welcomed and watchfully guarded by
kinsmen who loved him. But he was caught at last.
Information of his being in the place was conveyed to
the authorities ; another expedition — this time by sea
— was sent from Cork to Berehaven, with all the secrecy
possible under the circumstances ; the vessel reached
the shore on a dark, wet, and stormy night, without
attracting attention ; the soldiers at once disembarked,
and — guided presumably by someone who knew the
ground — crept stealthily up to the cottage of the outlaw.
1 Mr. J. A. Froude, in his "Two Chiefs of Dunboy," gives
a purely fanciful and very absurd account of this occurrence.
He frankly calls his work a " romance," but as it is written on
a historical basis and purports to present a picture of the
time, be should have given a less offensive tone and turn to
his inventions. His description of the scene in the forge where
u Colonel Goring," (i.e. Puxley) lost his life, and of the con-
trivance by which he and Morty Oge were brought to meet
there, is worthy only of a " penny dreadful."
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 51
The noise of the rainstorm prevented the occupants
from hearing the approaching footsteps ; but the keener
ears of O'Sullivan's watch-dog caught the sounds, and
the animal gave the alarm by loud barking. Morty
grasped the situation at once ; he had been in bed, and
his friends in the house were sleeping or drowsing after
the day's toil, but all were immediately on their feet
and preparing to offer what resistance they could to the
foe. The struggle that ensued is thus recorded in a
publication called The Cork Remembrancer, printed in
that city in 1783 : —
Sullivan and his party took the alarm directly. Sullivan
came to the door and opened it in his shirt, with a blunderbuss
in his hand ; at the same time they might have taken away his
life, but the commanding officer, choosing rather to take him
alive, did not fire at him. Sullivan and his men fired several
blunderbusses out of the house at the party, but finding them
too strong, he thought on a stratagem, by sending them out one
man at a time, thinking by that means the party would leave
the house to follow them, by which he may get off ; but he was
prevented by the officer, who only fired at the men as they went
off. At length Sullivan's wife, with her child and nurse, came
out and asked for quarter, which was granted. The officer asked
her who was in the house ; she answered no one but her husband
and some of his men ; upon which he ordered the house to be set
on fire, which they were a long time doing, the men's arms being-
rendered quite useless from the heavy rains ; but the house
being at last set on fire, they were obliged to come out. Sullivan
behaved with great bravery, as did his men; he stood and snapped
his blunderbuss twice at the party, and missed fire ; likewise
the party snapped at him twice and missed fire, and cocking the
third time, shot him through the heart dead.
The soldiers brought away with them the dead body
of Morty Oge, and two prisoners named Sullivan and
Connell. Morty's body they lashed to the stern of their
vessel, and so towed it from Berehaven to Cork, where
its head was cut off and spiked over the South Gaol. A
like fate befel the gallant fellows Sullivan and Connell ;
their heads were similarly displayed for the edification
of his majesty's subjects, loyal and disloyal.
52 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
Tradition has it that the giver of the information
which brought the soldiery upon O'Sullivan's house was
a servant of his named Scully, but there is no reliable
record to that effect ; doubts have been thrown upon
the story, and as the statement can neither be proved
nor disproved, I think it would be only fair to pass in
this case the Scotch verdict of " Not Proven." It was,
however, made the subject of a vigorous ballad by the
Cork poet, J. J. Callanan, a rendering of a Gaelic lamen-
tation for her beloved master supposed to have been
uttered by the old nurse of the family. I here quote it
in part : —
The sun on I vera
No longer shines brightly;
The voice of her music
No longer is sprightly ;
No more to her maidens
The light dance is dear,
Since the death of our darling
Had he died calmly
I would not deplore him ;
Or if the wild strife
Of the sea-war closed o'er him ;
But with ropes round his white limbs
Through ocean to trail him,
Like a fish after slaughter,
'Tis therefore I wail him.
In the hole which the vile hands
Of soldiers had made thee,
And headless they laid thee ;
No sigh to regret thee,
No eye to rain o'er thee,
No dirge to lament thee,
No friend to deplore thee ;
THE O'SULLIVAN SEPT 63
Dear head of my darling,
How gory and pale
These aged eyes see thee
High spiked on their jail ;
That cheek in the summer sun
Ne'er shall grow warm,
Nor that eye e'er catch light
But the light of the storm.
A curse, blessed ocean,
Is on thy green water,
From the harbour of Cork
To I vera of slaughter,
Since thy billows were dyed
With the red wounds of fear,
Of Muiertach Oge,
Our O' Sullivan Beare.
It is obvious to anyone having even a slight acquain-
tance with our olden tongue that the poem from which
I have quoted is founded on a Gaelic original. The
verses of imprecation, which I omit, are further evidence
in that direction, for, as regards both curses and prayers,
the swing, fervour, and force of the Irish language are
unequalled. But a more beautiful and touching lamen-
tation is that of O'SulhVan's faithful follower and brave
comrade Connell, written in Cork Gaol on the night
before his execution. It is thus given in the Rev. Mr.
Gibson's History of the City and County of Cork, published
in 1861 : —
Morty, my dear and loved master, you carried the sway for
strength and generosity. It is my endless grief and sorrow —
sorrow that admits of no comfort — that your fair head should be
gazed at as a show upon a spike, and that your noble frame is
without life. I have travelled with you, my dear and much
loved master, in foreign lands. You moved with kings in the
royal prince's army ; but it is through the means of Puxley I am
left in grief and confinement in Cork, locked in heavy irons
without hopes of relief. The great God is good and merciful ;
I ask his pardon and support, for I am to be hanged at the gallows
to-morrow, without doubt. The rope will squeeze my neck, and
54 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
thousands will lament my fate. May the Lord have mercy on my
Kerryonians, pray for us. Sweet and melodious is your voice.
My blessing I give you, but you will never see me again among
you alive. Our heads will be put upon a spike for a show ; and
under the cold snow of night, and the burning sun of summer.
Oh, that I was ever born ; Oh, that I ever returned to Bere-
haven ; Mine was the best of masters that Ireland could produce,
May our souls be floating to-morrow in the rays of endless glory ;
The lady his wife : Heavy is her grief, and who may wonder
at that, were her eyes made of green stone, when he, her dear
husband was shot by that ball. Had he retreated, our grief
would be lighter ; but the brave man, for the pride of his country,
could not retreat.
He has been in King's palaces. In Spain he got a pension.
Lady Clare gave him robes bound with gold lace, as a token of
remembrance. He was a captain on the coast of France, but he
should return to Ireland for us to lose him.
THE 0* SULLIVAN SEPT 65
AFTER Donal of Beara and his cousin, Don Philip
of Spain, I think the most illustrious man of the
name was General John Sullivan, one of the
heroes of the American War of Independence. Not
only did he serve with distinction during the war,
but, in point of fact, he may be said to have " opened
the ball." Trouble had for some time been impending
between the colonies and the " mother country," a
conflict became inevitable ; but, without waiting for a
formal rupture, Sullivan, with a small band of patriot
followers, took action and forced the fighting. He
captured the first fort and the first cannon taken during
the war. One of his biographers, his kinsman, Mr.
Thomas C. Amory, relates the incident as follows : —
In the spring of 1774 he was a member of the Provincial
Assembly of New Hampshire, and in September of the same year
was sent to Philadelphia as one of the New Hampshire delegation
to the Provincial Congress. . . . Soon after his return home he
planned with Thomas Pickering and John Langdon an attack
upon Fort William and Mary at Newcastle, in Ports-mouth
Harbour — one of the earliest acts of hostility against the Mother
Country ; and, by the aid of a portion of a force he had been for
some months engaged in drilling in their military exercises, in
preparation for the anticipated conflict, carried ninety-seven
kegs of powder and a quantity of small arms in gondolas to
Durham, where they were concealed, in part under the pulpit of
its meeting-house. Soon after the battles of Lexington and
Concord, in April, had aroused the people to a realising sense
that they were actually engaged in hostilities, these much-needed
supplies, or a portion of them, were brought by him to the lines
at Cambridge, where he marched with his company, and were uged
at the Battle of Bunker Hill."
56 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
General Sullivan was a trusted officer and personal
friend of George Washington, Commander-in-chief of
the American army and liberator of his country. In the
siege of Boston by the American patriots — June 1775
to March '76 — the town being then held by an English
army under General Gage, supported by an English
fleet in the harbour, Sullivan rendered invaluable service
to the investing force, and was accorded a signal mark
of honour — a compliment at once to himself and to his
nation — by Washington, who issued the following
" Order of the Day," dated for the 17th of March : —
Special Order of the
Headquarters ; March 17
Countersign — St. Patrick.
The regiments under marching
Brigadier of the Day — General Si
That was, indeed, a memorable St. Patrick's Day !
For on that date, after having withstood a siege of nine
months' duration (so protracted because the investing
force was comparatively small), the English evacuated
the city of Boston, and got away in their ships. One
can easily imagine the feelings with which General
Sullivan led his regiments into the city and hurried
forward the retreating foe !
More than a hundred years before that time the chiefs
of his sept had been hunted out of their patrimony by
an English army ; here was he now engaged in the
congenial operation of hunting an English army from
one of their strongholds on American soil, and so con-
tributing to the wresting of a whole continent from the
crown and government of England.
THE 0> SULLIVAN SEPT 57
Boston was not a bad balance for Berehaven.
The writer of one of the valuable historical articles
that appear occasionally in the New York Irish World,
at the close of a memoir of General Sullivan, gives the
following brief outline of his military services : —
It was well for Sullivan the Revolution broke out so soon, or
he and his brave comrades would be hanged like dogs by the
followers of King George. But soon afterward the patriot drum-
taps resounded, calling upon every American to arm in defence
of the principles espoused by Sullivan, and the first to respond
to the call and rally round the patriot flag was he who committed
the first hostile act and captured the first gun. He was present
at Bunker Hill, and took command of the patriot army after the
patriots were driven from their intrenchments. At Long Island,
in the desperate and terrible retreat through the Jerseys, at
Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Valley Forge, wherever the
enemy were to be met, wherever a breach was to be stormed or
a battery to be carried, Sullivan never shrank from the duty,
never faltered, but followed the flag until at last he saw it planted
over the ramparts of Yorktown.
The surrender of Lord Cornwallis and the British
army at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, gloriously ended
the American War of Independence. But General
Sullivan's services to the newly-made nation in a political
capacity extended over many subsequent years. His
brother James, also — a man of considerable ability —
gave good service to his country, and was twice elected
Governor of Massachusetts.
Both the brothers were lawyers by profession, and,
as such, were regarded in their early years with rather
unfriendly feelings by the unsophisticated people of
Durham (New Hampshire), where they resided. How
they made good their footing amongst them is thus told
in a Life of James Sullivan, quoted by Mr. Amory : —
At the time of John's first settlement at Durham, a town rich
in fertile farms, its inhabitants were devoted to the peaceable
pursuits of rural life. There prevailed among them a strong
58 BAN TRY, BEREHAVEN AND
prejudice against lawyers. It was believed that they were a
class not required in the community ; that they fomented litiga-
tion for their own purposes, and craftily devoured the substance
of their neighbours. Resolved, if possible, to secure their village
from the presence of all such promoters of discord, some energetic
young men gave the newly-settled counsellor notice to quit
Durham, threatening personal coercion if this peremptory order
were not speedily obeyed. Nothing daunted by this open and
decided show of hostility, John Sullivan informed them that he
should not think of it ; and, if they cared to resort to force, they
would always find him ready. The people of the town became
greatly excited, and took different sides in the quarrel ; collisions
occurred between the parties, and in the progress of the dispute
one of the assailants was severely, though not dangerously,
wounded by an over-zealous adherent of Mr. Sullivan. The
affair already wore a serious aspect, when a truce was called, and
it was finally determined to settle the question by a personal
conflict with any combatant the assailants should select. Their
chosen champion not being considered a fair match for the elder
brother, who possessed great physical strength, James, at his
own request, was substituted to do battle for the law. The
encounter took place at the time appointed, and James came off
the victor. The people acquiescing in the result of this ordeal,
ever after placed the greatest confidence in John Sullivan ; and
he soon became, and continued through life, their most beloved
and popular citizen.
In old times many controversies were decided by the
ordeal of single combat ; but this was probably the first
occasion on which the right of a young lawyer to practice
his profession in a country village was thus tried out
and established. Those Durhamites must have been a
fair-minded lot of young fellows ; they did not mob the
referee (for I suppose they had one) ; and in all likelihood
they appreciated alike the chivalry of the elder brother
and the prowess of the younger.
There were four of those Sullivan boys, and they all
took the American side in the war. Their father was
an emigrant from Limerick, where he had filled the
position of school teacher. His son John, when he had
risen to fame and high honour, got the old patriarch to
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 59
write for him a short account of his ancestry — from
which I copy the following record : —
I am the son of Major Philip O'Sullivan, of Ardea, in the County
of Kerry. His father was Owen O'Sullivan, original descendant
from the second son of Daniel O'Sullivan, called Lord of Bear-
haven. He married Mary, daughter of Colonel Owen M'Sweeney,
of Musgery, and sister to Captain Edmond M'Sweeney, a man
noted for anecdotes and witty sayings. . . . My father died of
an ulcer raised in his breast, occasioned by a wound he received
in France, in a duel with a French officer. . . . My mother's
name was Joan M'Carthy, daughter of Dermod M'Carthy, of
Killowen. Her mother's name I forget, but she was a daughter
to M'Carthy Reagh, of Carbery. Her eldest brother, Colonel
Florence, alias M'Finnen, and his two brothers, Captain Charles
and Captain Owen, went in defence of the nation against Orange.
Owen was killed in the Battle of Aughrim. . . . Charles I just
remember. He left two sons, Darby and Owen. Darby married
with Elena Sullivan, of the Sullivans of Banaune. Her brother
Owen married Honora Mahony, daughter of Denis Mahony, of
Dromore, in the barony of Dunkerron. . . . My mother's sister
was married to Dermod, eldest son of Daniel O'Sullivan, Lord of
Dunkerron. Her son Cornelius, as I understand, was with the
Pretender in ScotlaDd in the year 1745.
The family name figures largely not only in the history,
but also in the topography of the United States. There
are counties called Sullivan in each of the following
Indiana, New Hampshire, New York, Mobile, Pensylvania
The capital town of Sullivan County in Indiana is also
called Sullivan. Then there are townships and villages
bearing the name in : —
Aurora County, Dacota ; Livingston Co., Illinois ; Jackson
Co., Kansas; Hancock Co., Maine; Polk Co., Minnesota;
Laurens Co., South Carolina ; Jackson Co., Wisconsin.
And there are some others. Whether all these places
were so called in honour of General Sullivan, or whether
some of them got their designations from other settlers
60 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
of the name, is more than I can tell ; but there they
are at all events.
Several members of the Sullivan sept, as well as the
above-mentioned Cornelius, were " with the Pretender
in Scotland in the year 1745." John Sullivan, a native
of Kerry, was one of the most distinguished, important
and influential men of the whole enterprise. He was a
trusted friend and counsellor of the Prince — called by
his English enemies " the young Pretender," and by
his Scottish and Irish adherents " Bonnie Prince
Charlie," " The Young Chevalier," and other endearing
names — when he made his bold dash to recover the
throne of his ancestors. The campaign, in the course
of which some brilliant successes were achieved by the
Scots, was closed by their disastrous defeat at Culloden.
Colonel Sullivan was Adjutant-General on that fatefu
day, and placed the Prince's troops in position before
the battle. When all was lost, it was he who ensurec
the personal safety of his beloved chief by seizing his
horse's bridle-rein and leading him off the field — as
Napoleon's marshals did with the Emperor after Water-
loo, exclaiming " Sire, we have lost enough already."
THE O'SULLIVAN SEPT 81
THE Bantry and Bearhaven people, largely owing
to their location and environment, v/ere a sea-
going race. They had to do with boats and
oars and sails almost from their childhood. Most
of the time of the younger men was spent in fishing in
the bay, which for a long period was the resort of great
shoals of herrings, mackerel, and pilchards, while the
elder folk were engaged in such farming operations as
were possible on a rugged soil, wind-swept and drenched
with the salt mists and sprays of the Atlantic. Trading
vessels calling in to the harbour to land goods or procure
provisions often took away with them some fine
strapping youths, who, in a short time, became as
expert and daring seamen as could be found in the
world. English warships, on their occasional visits,
enticed many of them to enter the naval service, in
which a notable number of them or their descendants
rose to high rank. In the Dictionary of National Bio-
graphy, vol. 55, we read of the following : —
Rear-Admiral Thomas Ball Sulivan, who had a dis-
Admiral Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan, eldest son
of the foregoing.
Admiral George Lydiard Sulivan, another son of
Admiral Thomas Ball Sulivan.
Sir Charles Sulivan, Admiral of the Blue.*
* Those naval officers spelled their surname with one " 1,"
which is not at all a new departure, as it is so spelled in ancient
Gaelic writings ; the more usual form, however, in Gaelic as well
as in English, gives the "11." In the Pacata Hibemia the name
62 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
A remarkable run of Admirals in one family ! The
second on the foregoing list rendered important service
to the Admiralty in the matter of mappings, soundings
and surveyings of coasts, creeks, and harbours in various
parts of the world, but was especially useful to them
by his work of that kind in the Baltic at the opening
of the Crimean War in 1854. He was then Captain
Sullivan, in command of the Lightning. He participated
in the attack made by the combined French and English
fleets on the Russian fortress of Sweaborg in 1855, an( i
after their fire had silenced the forts and set fire to some
naval yards, stores, and private dwellings, the joyful
news was telegraphed to Paris and London that Swea-
borg was " destroyed." Scarcely had the guns of the
Lightning cooled when Sullivan wrote a gushing letter
to his family in England relating the good news, and
in a fit of confessedly unaccustomed piety giving thanks
to a higher power for the same. He said : —
Sweaborg is in ruins after two days' bombardment, and not a
scratch on our side. ... It is almost enough to excite my pride
to hear what they all say about my work. . . . When all was
finished at last, and I went below — having just been told what
the admiral said — the conflicting feelings of gratitude and
pleasure were such that when I went on my knees to offer thanks
to that God who still so wonderfully aids me above my deserts,
and in spite of my neglect of Him, I could only burst into tears.
Another man of the name distinguished himself in the
same war, and is worthy of mention in a record such
as this. He was a native of Bantry, and as brave a man
is always spelled "Osulevan ;" but that work is no authority
as regards die orthography of the names of Irish persons or
places. O'Rourke, for instance, is written " Orwrke," O'Daly,
" Odalie," and so on. Its copies of letters, apparently authentic,
from the chieftain of Dunboy to the King of Spain, would indi-
cate that his own spelling of his name was O'Sulevan. A fac-
simile of his signature which I have seen gives the spelling as
O'Sulyvan ; but the pronunciation in all cases is the same.
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 63
— to say the least of it — as any of the admirals. An
interesting sketch of his career, from the pen of a fellow-
countryman and friend, Mr. Michael P. Barry, appeared
in The Catholic Fireside (Liverpool), in October, 1S80,
from which I take the following passages : —
Most visitors to the great naval dockyard at Portsmouth,
while being shown the many objects of interest, have their
attention drawn by the attendant policeman to a tall well-built
man, with a typical Irish face, who in all weathers is to be seen
modestly and unostentatiously performing his arduous duties.
This is Mr. John Sullivan, V.C., chief boatswain of the yard, a
hero whose gallant breast has been decorated with the most
coveted decorations of England and France.
Those acquainted with the district (Bantry) may remember
the old house at the foot of Ardnabrahair, on the left of the
" boreen " leading to the graveyard. Here, in April, 183 1, John
Sullivan was born in the home of his fathers. As he grew in years
he attended a school in the neighbourhood presided over by
an estimable lady, whose son, " Sandy " Sullivan (afterwards
A. M. Sullivan, M.P.), was his school-fellow and friend. Little
thought those two boys as they conned their lessons, wrote their
copies, or alternately fought and revelled in their hot youth that
one would live to be the learned and eloquent Member for
Meath, and the other to wear the most coveted military decora-
tions on his breast. . . .
On the declaration of war against Russia in 1854 John Sullivan
was a chief petty officer — boatswain's mate — on board H.M.S.
Rodney, which was at once ordered to the Black Sea, with other
" wooden walls," to commence operations. A naval brigade for
duty on shore was organised, composed of picked men, and in
this brigade our boatswain's mate was present at the Battle of
Inkermann. After this battle the brigade settled down before
Sebastopol, and the siege began in right good earnest. Young
Sullivan was " captain " of one of the guns in No. 5 Battery, and
on him devolved the honour of making the first breach in the
Malakoff Tower, and blowing up its magazine at the commence-
ment of the siege. From this achievement he won distinction
as a crack shot, and his fame reached even to the ears of the
Admiral and the Commander-in-chief, Lord Raglan. Admirals
Lyons, Stewart, and Boxer, attracted by his reputation, went
to No. 5 Battery to see the young Irishman's practice against the
64 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
enemy, and had the satisfaction of seeing him dismount one of
the heavy guns in the Russian redoubt, that being the third gun
his battery had that day disabled. . . .
On the morning of the ioth of April, 1855, a concealed Russian
battery suddenly opened fire on the advanced works of the allied
forces, and in a short time did terrible execution. The allies were
dismayed. Their gunners could take no aim at this hidden foe..
whose missiles were decimating their men and destroying then
batteries. What was to be done ? Some guide must be given
to direct the answering fire. Suddenly a volunteer is called for
to plant a flagstaff on a small mound midway between the
opposing batteries. But who will risk it ? A deathly silence
ensues, broken only by the terrible boom of those unerring guns,
and the moans, the shrieks, and groans of wounded and dying.
A few seconds, which seem an age, pass, and then out steps the
young Corkman and volunteers for the awful mission. He takes
the flag, and, leaping the breastwork, runs steadily towards the
mound, exposed the while to a galling fire from the Russian
sharpshooters. " When he gained the mound," says an eye
witness, " he was cool and collected enough to take observations
right and left to satisfy himself that he was in an exact
line between the Russian battery and the British guns. Then,
kneeling down, he scraped with his hands a hole for the flagstaff,
and made it secure with stones and clods of earth he collected
there. He then returned to the battery, miraculously unhurt^
to receive the applause and congratulations his heroism deserved.
The writer proceeds to relate some other brilliant
actions of Sullivan during the siege, including one
whereby the soldiers of one of the French posts were
saved from almost certain annihilation, and he thus
continues : —
The French were so grateful for this timely assistance that
hundreds of them came to see their rescuer and to shake his hand.
... At the conclusion of the war Commander Kennedy, of the
Naval Brigade, recommended Sullivan for the Victoria Cross.
This decoration " for valor " was conferred on him on the 25th
of July, 1857. On the 16th of June in the previous year the
Emperor of the French had created him a Knight of the Legion
of Honour for his services to the French. In addition to these
honours, so gallantly won, our hero received a medal for con-
spicuous gallantry, the Sardinian medal, the Turkish medal, and
the Crimean medal, with clasps for Inkermann and Sebastopoi
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 65
He was also the recipient of the silver medal of the
Royal Humane Society for saving, by swimming, the
life of a drowning man, in the night time, in a sea
infested with sharks. The memoir from which I have
quoted thus concludes : —
With all his honours he remains a simple, straightforward
civil man ; one to whom all are instinctively drawn by a naive
artlesness and geniality, and an uncommon amount of common
sense. Long may he live to wear his laurels and to gladden his
I am not aware whether this brave son of old Bantry
is still living, or whether he has passed to that better
land where Victoria Crosses are of no account.
Many members of the O'Sullivan stock have been
notable otherwise than as soldiers and sailors. In the
domains of law, literature, and art they have given
distinguished men to their country. Don Philip, the
historian and controversial writer, has been previously
mentioned ; it would be unpardonable to omit the
names of the Gaelic poets, Owen Roe O'Sullivan, born
in Kerry, in or about the year 1748, and Tadhg Gaolach
(Irish Thade) O'Sullivan, a native of Cork County, born
somewhat about the same time. No sweeter lyrics than
those of the first-mentioned bard were ever penned in
the melodious Irish tongue. For a due appreciation of
the poetry of Owen Roe I would refer the reader to
the critical study by the Rev. Patrick O'Dinneen, pre-
fixed to his admirable edition of the poet's works. I
quote from it but a few sentences : —
Our poet has solved the problem of the connection between
words and melody more successful^ than it has ever been solved
before ; and in this respect he has no rival in literature, ancient
or modern. ... As a lyric poet he stands in the first rank. His
pathos is unsurpassed. He seizes on the most tangled and
difficult metrical system and builds his poem on it as if he
66 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
were writing prose. His ear is perfect. There is never a flaw
in his metre. . . . Eoghan Ruad is entitled to a supremacy in
Irish literature from which he cannot be dislodged. Lyric poetry
never flowed with such life and motion as from his pen. The
characteristic vehemence of the Irish Celt — his enthusiasm, his
warmth of nature, his tenderness of heart — have in his songs
found their highest expression.
Owen was for some time a soldier-sailor on board an
English warship, and fought in the engagement between
the fleet under Lord Rodney and that commanded by
the French admiral, De Grasse, off the coast of Dominica,
in the West Indies. He even wrote a poem in honour
of Rodney's victory, but it was a poor thing, being in
the English tongue, of which he was not a master. When
asked what token of approbation he would like to receive
from the commander, he replied that what he wished
was to be allowed to return home — a wish that was not
granted to him. He was an Irishman all through, a lover
of his country, a sympathiser with his suffering race.
His entry into his majesty's service was not a deliberate
act — it was really more a matter of accident than of
design. When he got clear of the army and navy, he
devoted his bardic powers to singing the sorrows, the
hopes, and the future glories of his country. Owing to
the decline of the Irish as a spoken language, the poems
of Owen Roe O' Sullivan are no longer common know-
ledge in their native place ; but in their time they
helped to nourish that spirit of Irish nationality which
has come down unbroken to our days ; and in view of
the Gaelic revival, now happily spreading over the land,
may we not believe that before many years shall have
passed away the old speech will again be heard and
the old songs sung on the rugged soil of Bere and Bantry,
on the slopes of the Kerry Mountains, and midst the
" lakes and fells " of ever fair Killarney.
Tadhg Gaolach O'Sullivan was not so consummate a
master of the bardic art as was his contemporary Owen
Roe. But he was verily a " poet born, not made." He, too,
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 67
gave to his people a body of compositions which should
not be allowed to die. Some of his youthful effusions
were not of an edifying character ; he was fond of an
idle and roystering life, and he put the spirit of it into
some of his verses:; but that phase passed ; he became
a man of profound and sincere piety. It is related that
his " conversion " came about in this way : — He and a
party of young companions were playing cards one
Sunday in the neighbourhood of their parish church
when they should have been at Mass. As soon as the
service was over, the good P.P. hastened to the place,
routed the boys, and gave Tadhg a lecture that made a
deep impression on his mind. From that day forward,
with an awakened conscience, he " turned over a new
leaf." He made his poetry a vehicle for prayer and
adoration, for the inculcation of virtue and the advocacy
of pious practices. His devotional poems became
immensely popular throughout Munster. Often were
they repeated by workmen in the fields, by fishers in
their boats at sea, around their hearths at night by
peasant families., who loved them next to the Rosary of
the Blessed Virgin.
Of this honoured bard, who died while at his devotions
in Waterford Cathedral, in April, 1795, Father O'Dinneen
has written : — " Tadhg Gaolach is undoubtedly the
first of Irish religious poets, and whatever place may be
assigned him among the poets of the world who chose
devotional subjects for poetic treatment, it is certain
that no history of religious poetry would be complete
without an account of his works.''
68 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
IN proceeding to give a brief sketch of the condition
of the inhabitants of the O'Sullivan territory
in Cork and Kerry in our own time, it becomes
necessary that I refer once again to the periods
of the three great confiscations — the Elizabethan,
the Cromwellian, and the Williamite. For some years
after the death of Elizabeth there was little doing
in those regions. The country had been devastated ;
the old chiefs were gone ; the Gaelic tribal and social
order was in ruins, and the foreign grabbers had not
yet settled down securely on the lands. But ere her
majesty passed away she had made large grants
of the despoiled and almost depopulated country to
certain of her servants, flatterers, and favourites,
civil and military ; and thus it was that rapacious
Englishmen came into possession of great tracts oi
the lands of the O'Sullivans, O'Driscolls, MacSwineys,
O'Donoghues, and other native families in Cork and
It was not till some years later, after the Cromwellian
tornado had swept over the country, that the most
voracious land-shark of his time — an English apothecary
named Petty — managed to make himself the legal
owner of an immense expanse of country on the Kerry
side of the Berehaven mountains. Petty was a man
of remarkable ability, the possessor of varied talents ;
in character cunning, covetous, ambitious and un-
scrupulous. He saw in the welter of Irish affairs
a grand opportunity for advancing his fortunes, and
he made skilful use of it. In 1652 he was physician
THE O'SULLIVAN SEPT 69
to the army in Ireland ; (he had obtained the degree
of M.D. in 1649, an d was then, according to his own
account, the proud possessor of £60 in the world) ;
his medical practice added to his income ; then he
got other employments, one of his posts being that
of secretary to Henry Cromwell, Lord-Lieutenant
of Ireland. But his great work — great for its magnitude,
its importance, and its effects on his own fortune —
was that known as the " Down Survey " — a survey,
admeasurement, and mapping down of the lands
confiscated in consequence of the " Rebellion " of
1 641. For the execution of this work Petty was
rewarded with large grants of land ; but it was alleged
against him — probably by grabbers less lucky or clever
than himself — that he had so juggled with his maps,
plans and figures as to secure to himself greater ad-
vantages both in the way of acreage and of cash than
he was entitled to. One Colonel Sir Jerome Sankey
formulated against him an indictment of no fewer
than nine articles, in which he was accused of " High
Misdemeanours, Breaches of Trust, and severall other
Crimes." Sankey appears to have done his best to
bring this impeachment to trial before the Council ;
but, even in our own day, " the law's delay " — especially
in a case of any magnitude — is proverbial ; and some-
how the Sankey case would seem to have fizzled out —
probably from want of means to prosecute the suit.
The upshot of the whole matter was that Petty became
the legal owner of a princely domain in one of the
most picturesque and historically interesting parts of
Ireland. Standing on the top of the majestic Mangerton
mountain, if he could not say " I am monarch of all
I survey " he could at all events proudly feel that by
the exercise of his wits he had made himself lord of
an extensive territory, beautiful beyond all description
and bound to be very profitable in the coming years.
"I am not certain," wrote Mr. Francis Prendergast
70 BAN TRY, BEREHAVEN AND
(brother of the historian John P.), in the Nation news-
paper, " that even in our own days of rapid acquisition
of wealth, anyone has exceeded the Hampshire apothe-
cary of the 16th century, who, from being the owner of
no more than sixty pounds sterling, found himself in less
than seven years the proprietor in fee of all he could
view from the summit of Mangerton." This notable
man carried on his career of success to the end of his
life. In the reign of Charles II. he was made Surveyor
General of Ireland, and received from that monarch
" the honour of knighthood." Additional honours and
titles were acquired by his posterity. John, 1st Earl
of Shelbourne, succeeded to the Petty estates on the
death of his maternal uncle in 175 1, and William, the
second of that title, became the first Marquess of
A curious fortune befel the maps of Petty's Down
Survey. Some of them were consumed in a fire which
took place in a Government office in Dublin ; others
were shipped in a Government vessel for London, there
to be engraved. But in those days there were special
risks upon the sea, for, France and England being at
war, French privateers were doing a lively business
around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. One
of those craft fell in with the ship that carried Petty's
maps, attacked and captured her, and took her off to
the French port of St. Malo.
Probably the French Government were glad to get
hold of Petty's maps ; they gave them a place in the
Royal Library, but there they were so badly shelved
and so little regarded that in a few years the librarians
had lost all knowledge of them. Meantime, English
officials who knew their importance as documentary
evidence in relation to Irish landed property, were
questing for them in every direction. How they were
discovered is thus told in an official letter, bearing
date Jan. 27th, 1786, from Colonel Charles Vallancey
THE 0> SULLIVAN SEPT 71
to the Duke of Rutland, then Lord Lieutenant of
Many fruitless searches have been made to recover these
Surveys. Lord Harcourt made every enquiry possible for them
in France. ; Lord Shelborn did the same ; the Catalogues of the
French Libraries were turned to in vain ; no such maps appearing
in the Catalogues under the words Cartes or MSS., the librarians
never gave themselves further trouble. I have experienced
the same both at Oxford and Cambridge.
My pursuits this day in the French King's Catalogue were
for old copies of the Bible, and consequently turned to the
volume entitled " Theology," curious to know in what manner
the collection was made. I perused the Preface, and to my
great astonishment at page 50 found the enclosed account of
the original Survey of Ireland, by Sir William Petty, on the
large scale, and I suppose complete.
Colonel Vallancey goes on to say that if the French
Government would not consent to restore those maps to
the English he believed that permission to make copies
of them would be granted on the application of a British
minister to the French Ambassador.
The permission was asked for and accorded. Val-
lancey made the copies ; in recent years the British
Government got them engraved, printed and published,
and they are now on sale to the public at a moderate
price. The map of the Baronies of Beare and Bantry
included in the appendix to this work is copied from one
of them, but on a reduced scale. The size of the original
is 2 ft. 8 by 1 ft. 4J ins.
The present representative of the Petty family is
Henry Charles Keith Fitzmaurice, fifth Marquess of
Lansdowne, and bearer of many other titles, who has
held various high offices under the Crown. All his
predecessors in title were — as far as Ireland is concerned
— absentee landlords, and his lordship carries on the
tradition. In the period of the Great Famine — 1847-49
— and many of the subsequent years, the management
of the Lansdowne property in Kerry was such as to
72 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
make its name notorious to the ends of the earth. For
this it is not easy to say whether the chief responsibility
rested on the " noble marquess " of that time — the
fourth in succession — or on his agent, Mr. William
Stewart Trench. The latter, I should think, was the
inventor of the depopulating policy then carried out on
the estate, but if so, the former was the assentor to it
without whose sanction the scheme could not have
been worked. Their plan was to deport to America
hundreds of their starving tenantry, and then to enforce
on the estate such rules and regulations as would prevent
the re-growth of what they regarded as a " surplus
population " on the property. This proceeding they
represented as a benevolent and generous mode of
dealing with these poor creatures. In reality the
scheme had its economic and sordid side. At home
those destitute and enfeebled persons would become
entitled to relief under the poor law ; food, clothing
and medical treatment would have to be provided for
them ; when they would die, the cost of their burial
would have to be defrayed by the union. In other
words, the charges for all these things would fall on
the noble landlord and such of his tenants as were not
yet pauperised — thereby weakening their rent-paying
capacity. Obviously it would be cheaper for his lord-
ship to pay the passage money for some hundreds of
those undesirables, dump them on the shores of America,
and so clear his estate of them for ever. A painfully
significant circumstance was that so numerous became
the admissions of exiles from his lordship's property to
one of the New York hospitals that a ward in the build-
ing came to be popularly known as " The Lansdowne
For such of the tenantry as were able still to keep a
hold upon their lands, Trench formulated a set of
" Rules of the Estate," subjecting them to a despotism
unparalleled in the dominions of Czar or Sultan. His
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 73
great object — next to the getting in of a stiff rent —
was to prevent the dwelling of what he regarded as too
great a number of persons on the estate. With this
view he forbade the heads of families to make arrange-
ments whereby any of their younger members might —
even without any sub-letting — get a share of their farms
or dwelling-houses ; he exercised a strict surveillance
over marriages : to marry without his permission in-
volved being speedily turned off the property ; and it
was perilous for a tenant to harbour, even for a day or
two, any friend, but especially any relative of his
family ; a smart fine was the lightest penalty for such
An appeal to Dublin Castle against these exactions
was at one time made on behalf of the tenantry ; the
reply of the Lords Justices, sent by Sir Thomas Larcom,
on the 29th of December, 1857, was to the effect that
they saw no grounds for interference, inasmuch as Mr.
Trench in these cases did not act in a magisterial
capacity, " the arrangements in question being part of
the private regulation of the estate." So there was no
redress to be had from that quarter.
Several illustrative instances are recorded in the
newspapers of the time. Thus the special reporter of
the Cork Examiner, writing from Kenmare on De-
cember 30th, 1857, "tells °* f ne daughter and the son
of two tenants who, wishing to become united in
matrimony, eloped from their parents' homes — probably
with the intention of saving the old people from any
responsibility for their union — and got married in
another part of the country. The correspondent
says : —
The " happy pair " returned to the house of the bridegroom's
father, and remained there until the circumstances came to the
ears of his lordship's driver. A warning was at once given to
the tenant that the young people should remain with him no
longer, and he was accordingly compelled to drive his son and
74 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
his son's wife out the doors, to get a shelter wherever they
could. This they sought in the house of the girl's father, and
for a few days obtained it, until the terrible " warning " again
came, and again the unfortunate pair had to tramp. I believe
they eventually made their way to America, where the young
man since died. But the two fathers-in-law were not merely
warned ; they were punished for harbouring their son and
daughter, by a fine of a gale of rent.
This was but a specimen case ; there were many
others reported at the time ; they were not contra-
dicted ; they could not be denied. The special corres-
pondent already quoted says in another letter that in a
conversation he had with a number of the tenants, one
poor fellow dolefully said : "I gave a month's lodgings
to my brother-in-law, and I was fined two gales for it."
Another was punished for having given housing to a
labourer on his farm. Such was the landlordism of
the Petty-Shelburne-Lansdowne-Fitzmaurice family on
the splendid domains they had acquired so easily ; such
was their treatment of the plundered remnant of the
native race whose fathers had owned, lived and prospered
on those lands for centuries before the foreign spoilers
came upon them.
A series of letters published in the Dublin Nation,
from the pen of Mr. Edmund Fitzmaurice Donnelly, of
Kenmare, in the winter of 1857 and the early months
of the following year, first drew the attention of the
whole country to this scandalous state of things. Amaze-
ment and indignation filled the popular mind. The
Nation set to work courageously to expose and denounce
the audacious pretensions and proceedings of this
Bashaw Trench, and the Cork Examiner rendered
splendid service by sending a special correspondent to
report on the situation. The facts thus placed before
the public would now seem almost incredible. I doubt
not that the following excerpts from the evidence will
be found interesting.
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 76
From a letter of Mr. Donnelly's to the Nation of
December 12th, 1857, I ta ^e the following passages : —
Why should the poor tenant do more than barely sow and
reap ? Why should he fence, drain, irrigate, and cultivate his
master's farm ? Why should he work the very flesh off his
bones and the very blood out of his veins in improving a farm
of which he would be deprived if he dared to give his son or
daughter in holy wedlock without leave from the lay " Vicar-
General," alias Mr. Trench ? Perhaps you will laugh at this
ludicrous title — you would perhaps also laugh if you were to
see a poor " glinster " all the way (fifteen miles from Colerns
or Glenmore) running np to the lodge to catch his " reverence "
before he would leave home, to get his permission to marry.
And its the " V.-G.'s" (Trench's) trick to leave here just at the
critical time, or not to come here until the last fortnight or
so of Shrovetide. What was the poor glinster to do then ?
Why I should say he was at liberty to adopt either of three courses
— marry without Mr. Trench's leave and get "mopped out";
wait until he could catch Mr. Trench in the course of a half
year or so ; or — no, sir, I need not say it. Please God, Irishmen
or Irishwomen will never adopt the fashion of certain neighbouring
countries, that of " living together " as the police reports in
the English papers phrase it.
For any violation of the " Rules of the Estate "
heavy penalties were inflicted. As regards Trench's
marriage laws, we read in one of the letters of the Cork
Examiner's special reporter (John Francis Maguire,
A poor widow, whose cabin I entered, had the temerity to
get her daughter married without the necessary permission
from the " office," and an ejectment was the immediate con-
sequence, withdrawn only on the payment of three gales of
rent, raised by the sacrifice of the little produce at her disposal.
. . . One man of whom I made an enquiry as to how he
had escaped, told me, with the utmost simplicity, that he had
got his wife " just before Mr. Trench's laws came into force."
It is only a wonder that this great law maker did not go
on a little further and prescribe a limit to the number of
children that he would allow to be born into each family.
76 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
At and about this period Irish landlordism had
reached what was perhaps its highest pitch of rapacity
and cruelty. It was legalised tyranny, robbery and
murder. In some parts of the country — in Mayo and
Donegal, for instance — its work was carried on more
brutally than in Cork and Kerry — that is to say, with
less affectation of rectitude and of regard for high
social and moral considerations. In later years, when
some awakening of the public conscience to the iniquity
of this system and the impolicy of allowing it to go on
unchecked took place in England, the doings of the
Lansdowne estate supplied to tenant-righters, popular
orators, and liberal-minded statesmen some of their
most piquant illustrations of the urgent need for a
large measure of land-law reform. A young Irish
lawyer, Mr. Charles Russell, Q.C., M.P. (afterwards Lord
Killowen and Lord Chief Justice of England), visited
the place when engaged in the writing of a series of
articles entitled " New Views on Ireland ; or, Irish
Land Grievances and Remedies " (published in book
form by Macmillan in 1880), and gave an account of
what he had seen and heard, in language unimpassioned,
but all the more weighty because of its obviously scrupu-
lous regard for the verities of the case. The publication
drew from Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, brother of the
noble Marquess, a letter in which an endeavour was
made to contradict and discredit the statements of Mr.
Russell. Lord Edmond disliked especially the recru-
descence of the story of the " Lansdowne Ward," and
appeared to think he had disposed of it when he wrote
that it was " an old calumny," and that a friend of his
whom he had asked to look into this matter during a
visit to New York, had told him on his return that
" he believed the whole story was an impudent in-
vention got up by Irish politicians for their own pur-
poses." But the incredulity of Lord Edmond's friend
was no disproof of the statement, and evidence of its
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 77
truth was soon forthcoming in the following letter from
a gentleman who had seen the controversy in the Press,
and who had personal knowledge of the matter in
dispute : —
3 3 Curzon Street,
South Circular Road, Dublin.
Nov. 20, 1880.
Dear Sir. — The information that Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice
received from his charitable " friend " as to the non-existence
(at present) of the Landsowne Ward in New York Hospital is
quite correct. The New York Hospital stood in Duane Street,
and was pulled down to make room for an extensive dry goods
house twelve years ago. But this much I can assert from
personal knowledge, that there was sl ward known by the
name of the Lansdowne in the hospital, which was as well
known to New Yorkers as Lansdowne Road is to Dubliners
to-day, If you think this communication of any value you
may publish it.
P.S. — I may add that I am a New Yorker by birth, and any
old resident of there can bear out my statement.
Before I part with the " noble Marquess " and his
agent it is only fair to say that in the opinion of the
local people and of persons who went to the district to
investigate and report on the facts, the blame for this
unhappy state of things lay not so much with the
Marquess as with his trusted manager and adviser, Mr.
Trench. It was pointed out that the Marquess was
an old man, an absentee who never saw his tenants, and
took no personal part in the management of his property,
and who therefore had to depend upon others for his
ideas of the situation and the part he should play therein.
But such a plea could not exonerate him from a fearful
responsibility in this matter. It was his business in
such a crisis to visit his property, see and speak to his
tenants, consult with their friends lay, and clerical, and
consider with them what had best be done under the
terrible circumstances. Instead of so doing, he re-
78 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
mained away in his English home, took no heed of the
clamour that arose in Cork and Kerry, and contented
himself with sending to his agent a considerable sum of
money for the expatriation of the half famished and
broken down people to America.
The Petty family are still in possession of the spoils
they got hold of in the Cromwellian period. Sir William,
the father of the tribe, died in 1687 ; his widow, in
consideration of his services to the State, was created
Baroness Shelbourne for life. Their eldest son, Charles,
died in 1696, and was succeeded by his brother Henry,
who obtained the title of Earl of Shelbourne. On his
death in 1752 the title lapsed, but only to be revived
after a short interval. Henry had willed his estate to
his nephew, the Hon. John Fitzmaurice, on condition
that he should adopt the name and bear the arms of
Petty. On his compliance therewith " his Majesty hath
been pleased to advance him to the dignities of Baron
of Dunkerron and Viscount Fitzmaurice by privy seal
. . . And his lordship hath been created Earl of Shel-
bourne by privy seal, dated at Kensington 30th May,
and by letters patent 26th June, 1753."
The present Marquess of Lansdowne (a.d. 1908) is the
fifth bearer of the title. Like his distinguished pro-
genitor, Petty, he is a very accomplished gentleman,
and moreover a trained diplomat, qualified and em-
ployed by England to take care of her interests in
dealings with the sharpest intellects of foreign nations.
He can buy his gloves in seven languages. The list of
his titles, appointments and decorations is an affair of
" linked sweetness long drawn out." He has many tail-
feathers to his name. But to Ireland he is " no good " ;
he is an opponent to her right to self government ; he
is no friend to popular interests at home or abroad,
and he is no favourite with his Irish tenantry.
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 79
THE landlordism of the White family, on the
southern side of the Bera promontory, was of
a milder type than that of Lord Lans-
downe and his man Trench on the Kerry side. The
Whites resided on their property. The first Lord
Bantry— he of the French fleet business — was a genial
person, understood and could speak some Irish, and
was not infrequently asked for advice by some of his
tenantry on personal and even family matters. He
kept a pack of hounds at Glengarriffe, and gave the local
gentry and farmers many a day's sport. The tastes of
his son, the second lord, who resided at Bantry house,
were quite different ; he would not mount a hunter for
any consideration, or even keep a little yacht on the
bright waters of the beautiful harbour that lapped the
edges of his domain. But he had a taste for art, and
loved to decorate his house and grounds with Italian
paintings and statuary. Their lands were highly rented,
but the management of the property was not very
rigorous, and there were but few evictions. In the
time of the third Lord Bantry a portion of the Bere-
haven property was put up for sale in the Incumbered
Estates Court, and purchased by an Englishman, Lord
Charles Pelham Clinton. Trouble arose out of the
transaction. Lord Charles bought the lands without
being made aware that there existed arrears of rent on
the property, which Lord Bantry would, at his own
convenience, proceed to recover from Lord Clinton's
tenants. How Lord Bantry managed to " keep it
dark," and how Lord Clinton omitted to look to this
80 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
question of arrears before bidding for the property is
indeed surprising, but so it happened. The situation
and some of the ensuing scenes are graphically described
by Mr. John P. Prendergast (Lord Clinton's newly-
appointed agent) in a letter of protest addressed to
Lord Bantry and published in pamphlet form in October,
1854. I quote a few passages : —
My Lord. — You are already aware that the business that
brought me to Berehaven was the seizing of Bere Island by
your bailiffs on the morning of the 8th September in execution
of near 200 civil bill decrees, obtained by your lordship against
your late tenants, the islanders, at the Bantry Quarter Sessions
in January last, for sums amounting in the whole to £1,800,
found to be due to your lordship for rent and arrears of rent
to Michaelmas Day, 1853.
It does not concern your lordship to hear by what accidents
Lord Charles Clinton was prevented from seeing, personally
or by deputy, to the condition of his new purchases, until the
month of August last, when his lordship, in company with his
newly appointed agent, visited them, and was received by their
inhabitants with a warmth that indicated fully as much joy
at getting rid of the old landlord as at becoming the tenants
of a new one.
It was during the hurry of this three days visit that your
Lordship caused Lord Charles Clinton to be informed, verbally,
that you had claims against the lately purchased properties
amounting, roughly, in the case of Bere Island, to over £1,000,
and in the case of the mainland estate to near £600 — rather
a shock to one who thought he had bought free of incumbrance
— but which your lordship was good enough to inform him
you would give him time to collect for you by instalments,
adding, however, significantly, that if you were not settled
with you could break every tenant on the island . . .
On the very day that Lord Clinton was leaving this country
for England — a short week afterwards — he received the news
that your lordship's bailiffs were ravaging the island, driving
all the cows to the pound, and threatening to carry off every-
thing that was not too hot or too heavy. . . .
On the night of the 9th of September last, the second day
after their descent, a large armed force of police, summoned
in from the neighbouring outposts, rendezvoused at midnight
THE O' SULLIVAN SEPT 81
at a wooded point that juts into the sound, and embarked
hastily for the island. They were, however, unable to overtake
a boat that started immediately to apprise the unfortunate
islanders of the approach of these ill-timed visitors. This
invading military force reached the island almost at the same
moment as the friendly warners, but these last, being better
acquainted with the short cuts to the hamlet, had time (and
only time) to summon the terrified inhabitants from their beds,
when they, for the most part aged and respectable women,
fled, half naked, up the telegraph hill, where, like a frightened
herd, they stood at gaze in the shadow of the building,
watching the scene below. For seven days and nights they
lay out on the hills, often on the point of giving in, through
aching bones, swollen faces, and shivering limbs.
One of the skirmishes which took place in the course
of the distraint of the cattle of the poor tenants Mr.
Prendergast thus describes : —
One, Thady Harrington's wife (Thady was at sea) stopped
a cow of her husband's that had been seized by one of your
bailiffs in mistake for one belonging to her mother-in-law,
decreed to be in debt to your lordship. Her women friends
collected arouud, calling the bailiffs and your lordship ugly
names — as women will. No stones were thrown, no blow was
struck, but the cow got off. The fact is that the women gathered
in a crowd at the cross and barred the way to the pound,
leaving open the road leading up to the mountain where the cow
used to graze — a hint she was not slow to take ; for, shaking off
her mistress who had hold of one horn, and your bailiff, who
grasped the other, she released herself from the hold of " Sooty
Denis " (a wretched creature who acts as spy for your lordship)
who was hanging by her tail, and, raising it high in the air,
out of his ugly clutch, she bolted to the mountain.
The process of " driving " the seized cattle to the
pound and " canting " them to the highest bidder is
thus pictured : —
Now let me recall the familiar features of your lawless Irish
" driving." Let us suppose some sudden call of your lordship
for money: instantly your drivers scour the country, aided
by a flying troop of boys, hired at fourpence to sixpence a day.
82 BANTRY, BEREHAVEN AND
The boys, wild with delight, beat the cows out of the fields
with sticks and stones, over hedges and ditches, down to the
pound. The owners follow, i.e., such as can find a friend to
bail their beasts out until the cant day ; but the poor man's
cow often remains in the pound till nearly dead of hardship.
On the cant day, towards the hour of canting, the pound be-
comes choked, and then comes the scene of the strong cows
beating down and goring the weak. Often one strong cow will
drive the others flying in a whirl round the pound. Meantime
the top of the great pound wall is thronged with the owners
of the impounded beasts, each watching his own with anxious
fear, lest they should suffer damage, and men will often descend
among the maddened herd and endeavour to save their cows
from the injuries inflicted by the stronger upon the weaker
ones on those occasions.
Of one of those scenes, in November, 1854, Mr. Prender-
gast says :—
This last driving of your lordships' so overcrowded the great
circular pound of Rossmacowen that the place was a pool of
gore ; and the bellowings of the tortured cows could be heard
at the top of Hungry Hill.
In later times, long after the property had passed
from the hands of the Lords Bantry, there were some
troubles between the Berehaven tenantry and their
landlord — at this time a Mr. Clinton, son of the Lord
Clinton in whose interest Mr. Prendergast wrote so
vigorously. In May, 1905, and the July of the following
year, decrees were obtained and notices of eviction
served for arrears of rent — but this was in the era of
Land Acts and Land Courts, and rent reductions, and
settlements were arrived at without any serious difficulty.
A good many of the tenants have bought their holdings
under the Purchase Act, and are now their own land-
lords, having such a grip on the soil of Beara as their
fathers had not since the days of Queen Elizabeth.
THE 0' SULLIVAN SEPT 83
IT may be that no violent reversal of the great events
of Irish history can now be effected ; but there
is plenty of scope in various ways for bettering
the condition of the Irish people. All men, no
matter of what racial origin, who desire to take part
in that good work should get a friendly welcome to the
national ranks. As for those who may prefer to stand
sullenly aloof, unwilling to share in the upraising of a
long-oppressed nation, looking with frowning eyes on
the increase of popular power and public right, let them
have it so ; foreigners let them remain. Ireland will
regard them simply with pitying contempt ; and they
will have no business looking for sympathy to England,
for they will get none. No people in the world will
have a good word to say for a class so worthless, so
heartless, so unpatriotic. It will quietly disappear from
the face of the earth, " unwept, unhonoured, and
The fortunes of the historic regions of which I have
written have somewhat brightened of late years. Recent
legislation — the Local Government Act and the Land
Acts — are being happily availed of by the people of
Bantry and Berehaven, and by their kinsmen on the
Kerry side of the mountains. Whatever may happen
in the future, those districts have proud possessions
that can never be taken from them — " the charms that
Nature gave them, ,, and heroic memories the glory of
which will last till time shall be no more.
Sir George Carew and the Pacata Hibernia : —
To these the references throughout the earlier chapters of this
volume are, of necessity numerous. Sir George, Queen Elizabeth's
"Lord President of Minister, " was the chief organiser of the con-
quest and spoliation of that province. The Pacata is his account of
the operations. One Thomas Stafford edited the papers, prepared
them for the Press, wrote a dedication of the work to Elizabeth's
successor, King James, and got it published in 1636, some
years after the death of Carew. Of Carew and Stafford the
Rev. C. B. Gibson, M.R.I. A., in his History of the County and
City of Cork, gives the following appreciation : —
" So cool and cruel, so cunning and unknightly a ruler (as
Carew) never came to Ireland. We have his effigy in the Pacata
Hibernia — a book written by a man who worshipped him as his
Magnus Apollo — and a more sinister countenance we never
beheld. We have no objection to adopt the former part of the
circumscription — for the words go round the picture — Talis erat
vultu, sed lingua, mente, manu."
The Reign of Queen Elizabeth, p. 9 : —
The following account of the characteristics of the O'Sullivan
people is given in the Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, published
in 1846 by A. Fullerton and Co., Dublin, London, and Edinburgh :
" The Sept of the O'Sullivans anciently inhabited most of what
now constitutes the baronies of Beare and Bantry. They were
inveterate opponents of the English interest and the Protestant
Reformation, and acted a zealous and self-ruining part in the
great rebellion of Munster, towards the close of the reign of
Tyrell, one of O'Sulli van's most trusted Captains (p. 17) :
" While some of his (Tyrell's) men were prisoners in the hands
of the besiegers, the President propounded a " stratagem " to
the captain — some accomplished piece of devilment, no doubt —
by the doing of which he and his men were to get their lives and
liberties. He replied : "I will ransom my men with money, if
that be accepted, but to be. false to the King of Spain, my master,
or to betray the Catholic cause, I will never." — Gibson's History
Don Philip O'Sullivan Beare, p. 32 : —
This eminent patriot and litterateur, author of the Historic
CatoliccB IbernicB, is referred to by some writers as a nephew of
Donal of Dunboy. Judge Madden, in his recently published
work, entitled Some Passages in the Early History oj Classical
Learning in Ireland, so speaks of him ; others call him a cousin,
which T take to be the correct designation, as his father was not
a brother, but a first cousin of Prince Donal. Philip's age was
about ten years when Donal, after having evicted the Spanish
soldiers from Dunboy, sent him, with his own son, as a pledge
of fealty to the King of Spain. Young Philip as he advanced
in years developed a high degree of literary talent, and wrote
several works in the Latin tongue, all in defence of his religion
and his country. Mr. Matthew J. Byrne, of Listowel, Co.
Kerry, has rendered valuable service to Ireland by translating
into English and getting published (Sealy, Bryers & Walker),
a most interesting portion of O'Sullivan's " Compendium of the
Catholic History of Ireland " — the section relating to the Eliza-
bethan war. I may add that a good deal of Don Philip's lite-
rary work was done on board ship while he held a command in
the Spanish Navy.
Robbed, despoiled, and disinherited, p. 34 : —
In the valuable work entitled Illustrations, Historical and
Genealogical, oj King James's Irish Army List (1689), by John
D' Alton, Esq., B.L., published in Dublin in 1855, is given, at
considerable length, a record of notable members of " this noble
Sept." I can here give but a couple of short extracts from the
work, indicating how they were harried, despoiled and hunted
down : —
" In the Attainders of 1642 were Donell O'Sullivan Beare, of
Berehaven ; Philip O'Sullivan, of Loughandy ; Owen of Inchi-
clough and Drumdivane, Donell Mac Owen, of Drnmgarvan ;
John Mac Dermody, of Derryne ; Gillicuddy O' Sullivan, of
Traghprashy ; Connor O'Sullivan, of Loughane, and Owen
Neagh O'Sullivan, of Drumgowlane, all in the County of Cork.
— This Sept was represented at the Supreme Council of Kilkenny
by O'Sullivan More of Dunkeiran and Daniel O'Sullivan of
Culmagort ; while the Declaration of Royal Gratitude, in the
Act of Settlement, preserves the names of Captain Dermot
O'Sullivan of Kilmeloe, Lieutenant O'Sullivan of Fermoyle, and
Ensign Owen O'Sullivan, all in the County of Cork.
Of those outlawed in 1691 were Daniel O'Sullivan of Rosma-
cone, McDermot Cnogher Sullivan and Cornelius Sullivan of
Shiskeen ; Owen Mac Murtough Sullivan of Berehaven, John
Mac Murtough Sullivan of Lanlaurence, Thady Sullivan of
Killiebane, Clerk, all of the County of Cork, with Dermot Mac
Donell Soolevane of Litton, and Florence Soolevane of Nodden
in the County of Kerry."
The place-names in the foregoing extracts were printed by
Mr. D'Alton as they stood in old documents. In more recent
orthography " Nodden " is Nedeen, a former name of the town
of Kenmare ; " Lanlaurence " is Clanlaurence ; " Rosmacone "
is Rosmacowen ; " Derryne " is Derreen, and " Traghprashy "
Smugglers and privateers, p. 46 : —
Privateers were a class of vessels owned by private persons
or companies, and employed both for trading and warlike
purposes. Their chief business was preying on the commerce
of the enemy in war time. They were the highwaymen of the
sea, but carried " letters of marque " — a sort of licence from
their own government to cover their capturing and plundering
operations, without which they would be pirates, entitled to no
mercy should they fall into the hands of their enemies. The
disorganization of trade and commerce caused by vessels of
this class became so great that modifications of the system were
agreed to by the European governments from time to time,
until in March, 1856, the Plenipotentiaries of the Great Powers,
in Conference at Paris, arrived at a resolution that : —
" Privateering is and remains abolished."
This Declaration was not pleasing to everybody ; there are
even now people who hold that after the outbreak of war the
speediest way of arriving at a peace is to make the continuance
of hostilities as inconvenient and hurtful as possible to one or
other or all the belligerent nations. This view is cleverly
advocated in a work by Thomas Gibson Bowles, M.P., published
in London in 1900.
At Fontenoy, p. 47 : —
Morty O'Sullivan was not the only warrior of his name at the
battle of Fontenoy. In the French official return of the killed
and wounded of the Irish regiments in that engagement, we read
the names of " Lieutenant Timothy Sullivan, — contused leg,"
and " Lieutenant Florence Sullivan, — gunshot in leg." A copy
of the list will be found in the admirable paper on " The Irish
Brigade at Fontenoy," by the Very Rev. P. Boyle, CM., of the
Irish College, Paris, published in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record,
for May, 1905. It would be well if this most interesting and
valuable paper, with its excellent map of the positions of the
opposing forces, were reprinted and issued as a separate tract.
A more recent association of the family name with that historic
field is supplied by the patriotic action of the Hon. Frank J.
Sullivan, of San Francisco, who recently got fixed on the outer
wall of the neighbouring cemetery a white marble tablet bearing
the following inscription : —
In Memory of the Heroic Irish Soldiers
Who changed Defeat into Victory
May iith, 1745.
Erected by Frank J. Sullivan,
of San Francisco, U.S.A.
A handsome memorial cross was set up on the site of the
battle by the Irish Literary Society of London in August, 1907.
Prince Charles Edward " The Pretender," p. 47 : —
Several executions for the crime of enlisting recruits for the
service of the Scottish Prince, and of France, are recorded in the
publications of the time. Thus we read in " The Cork Remem-
brancer, by John Fitzgerald, printed by J. Sullivan, near the
Exchange, 1783." — On April 18th, 1772, Captains Henry Ward
and Francis Fitzgerald were hanged and quartered at Gallows-
Green for enlisting men for the Pretender.
W. Stewart Trench, pp. 72 et seq. : —
When or how Mr. Trench's agency over the Lansdowne estates
came to an end I do not exactly know ; but subsequently he
boomed himself largely in the newspapers in connection with
the pill and ointment business. " Trench's Remedies " he
proclaimed to be cures for many of the ills that flesh is heir to.
I can say nothing for or against them, not having tried them ;
but, if indeed they were health restorers, I think it a pity they
were not invented early enough to be serviceable to the ex-
patriated Kenmare tenantry in the Lansdowne ward of a New
The Bantry and Berehaven men stood in with every national
movement of their time. Within my own recollection they were
Repealers with Daniel O'Connell, " Young Irelanders " with
Smith O'Brien, Phoenix men and Fenians with O'Donovan
Rossa and James Stephens, and Land Leaguers with Parnell.
Of the Bantry men prosecuted in connection with the Phoenix
conspiracy in 1858, no fewer than eight were Sullivans. In the
ccnstitutional movement Bere and Bantry gave a remarkably
large contingent to the Irish Parliamentary Party. They
were : —
A. M. Sullivan.
T. D. Sullivan.
T. M. Healy.
Thomas J. Healy.
William M. Murphy.
The Messrs. Harrington (who were Berehaveners) " went
Parnellite " at the time of the historic " Split," and so differed
from the rest of the above-named group, to whom was then
humourously or sarcastically applied the name of " the Bantry
Band." In reference to this designation a gifted young member
of the Parliamentary Party, Mr. John McCarthy, of Roscrea,
Member for Mid-Tipperary, published the following verses : —
" The Bantry band ! " " The Bantry band 1 "
Who blushes for the " Bantry band ? "
Are truer men in all the land,
Revilers ! than " the Bantry band ? "
Not theirs in these or darker days
To tune their harps to tyrants' praise
Not theirs to gather venal bays
Where Honour warps and Truth decays !
Not theirs the part of sneering slave,
When good men leagued the land to save ;
But theirs the grit that foiled the knave,
And theirs the cry that cheered the brave !
Though cradled not in halls built high
With rackrents wrung from misery —
Mere Irish, just as you and I —
We cheer them yet with fearless cry.
For love of Erin fires their hearts,
And spite of foes and traitor arts,
Fell Faction reels beneath their darts,
And still the whipped oppressor smarts.
Could every town in Ireland show
Such Spartan bands to face the foe,
Not long we'd wait his overthrow,
Not long we'd wail our country's woe !
Then, blessings on you, " Ban try band ! "
Speed on, speed on, brave " Bantry band,"
Till Freedom crowns your native land,
And ends your labours, " Bantry band ! "
Mention should here be made of the distinguished musician
Sir Arthur Sullivan, who has but recently passed away. His
compositions in various styles and forms of his art acquired
great popularity, especially his work in what are known as the
" Gilbert and Sullivan " operas. He was born in London in May,
t 842, but his family, as we learn from the lately published work of
his relative, Mr. B. W. Findon, was Irish from both sides. " His
grandfather was a native of Kerry, and his grandmother (whose
maiden name was also Sullivan) was born in Bandon, in the
adjoining county of Cork." His father was Thomas Sullivan, a
military bandmaster., and his mother's name was Mary
Clementina Coghlan. See Sir Arthur Sullivan and His Operas,
by B. W. Findon. Sislevs, publishers, London.
Portrait of Donal O'Sullivan Beare : —
To the patriotism of the late Right Rev. Monsignor James
O'Laverty, of Belfast, we owe it that an authentic portrait of
Donal O' Sullivan Beare is now to be found in many Irish publica-
tions. The reverend gentleman had learned that there was such
a portrait in the Irish College at Salamanca, and he at once
commissioned a reverend friend to have a copy of it painted for
him by a competent artist. On receipt of this work, which was
well executed, Father O'Laverty was good enough to allow
copies of it to be made for use in various historical books and
papers. One of those reproductions — a coloured lithograph —
is hung in Room III. of our National Gallery of Science and Art,
Leinster Lawn, Dublin. It is a small picture, no larger than the
engraving prefixed to this volume (the size of the original
painting I do not know), and is thus described in the official
catalogue : —
" A small full-length figure, in trunk hose, armour, and large
ruff. He wears the badge of the order of St. James of Compostela,
of which he was made a Knight by Philip III. In upper portion
of picture is the inscription : — Osullevaniis Bearrus Bearrce et
Beantvics Comes cstatis slice LIU. Ckristi vero Domini MDCXIII.
Anno, and a shield of arms."
This shows that the picture was painted in 1613, when
O'Sullivan's age was fifty-three, five years before his assassination
by Bath at Madrid.
The " Obstinate and Prolonged Defence " of Dunboy,
There was, however, one of the heads of the sept who stood
out against his patriotic kinsmen and gave what aid and
encouragement he could to their enemies. This was Sir Owen
O'Sullivan, known in those days as " the Queen's O'Sullivan."
He was a claimant to the chieftaincy, and to Donal O'Sullivan's
Berehaven territory. Their dispute was taken for trial before
the high courts in England, where Sir Owen lost his case, after
which he became a bitter enemy of his successful relative, and
took part with the English in their operations against Dunboy
Castle and on Dursey Island. After the overthrow of Donal and
his followers Sir Owen got possession of Carriganass Castle, and
members of his family continued there and thereabout for some
time. The castle is now a picturesque ruin on the banks of the
Ovane river, within a few miles of Bantry.
In her admirable work entitled " The Making of Ireland and
its Undoing," basing her statements on historic records, Mrs.
Alice Stopford Green says : — " The coasts of Ireland were famous
for their fisheries — a trade carried on both by the Irish and by
foreigners. O' Sullivan, prince of Bear and Bantry, ruled over
a people who lived by fishing, and had his native fleet : when
an English ship seized a Spanish fishing vessel off the coast he
manned a small squadron, brought both ships to Berehaven,
hanged the English captain and set the other free."
Hungry Hill, p. 82. — Some residents in the locality believe
that its earlier name was " Angry Hill," and say that its present
title was given to it, jocosely, by a party of military engineers
who, in the years 1840 to '45, were hutted on its sides, engaged
on the new ordnance survey, and who often experienced some
difficulty in procuring food supplies. But the idea is utterly
erroneous. The mountain has borne its present name for at
least two centuries. Unquestionable evidence of that fact is
supplied by the Down Survey map of the Barony of Bere and
Bantry, a copy of which is included in this volume. The survey
was commenced in 1655 and completed in about three years;
the place-names were recorded on the resultant maps just as
they were known at that period, and doubtless had been for
many years before ; and the antiquity of the name " Hungry
Hill ' is therefore undeniable. It is indeed a magnificent moun-
tain, rising to a height of 2,249 feet above the level of the
sea. From a lake on its summit, down its precipitous side, a
splendid cascade, often referred to as the finest in the three
kingdoms, tumbles into Bantry Bay.
A legal friend has supplied me with the following note : —
" In the matter of John Mahony's estate in the Land Judges'
Court (Mr. Justice Ross) in 1903, on which estate the Gap of
Dunloe and other lands by the Lakes of Killarney are situate,
the root of title proved by the present owner was a grant in
Gaelic from The O' Sullivan Beare, written on parchment — in
size not much larger than an ordinary envelope."
I wrote some songs in praise of the grand old bay. I here
append two of them, and so close this little work.
BACK O' WHIDDY.
Off from Bantry pier we start
Sailing — or it may be rowing- -
Lads and lasses, light of heart,
On to fair Glengarriffe going.
Oh, the harbour's smooth enough,
But some heads get queerly giddy,
Once we dip in waters rough
Round the point and back o' Whiddy.
Then there's chaffing, back o' Whiddy ;
Joking, laughing, back o' Whiddy ;
Of sharks and whales
And huge sea-serpents, back o' Whiddy ■
Soon we've cause for tender cares
(Thanks, oh, thanks, sweet rolling ocean) 1
And we hear delightful pray'rs
Uttered with intense emotion ;
Sometimes, too, when waves and wind
Would try the temper of a " middy,"
Language of another kind
Is freely spoken back o' Whiddy.
But that's no harm — when back o' Whiddy
It has a charm — when back o' Wihddy —
At least I know
I judged it so,
Long, long ago — when back o' Whiddy.
Sing the beauties of Glandore —
They deserve such celebration ;
Say good things oi Baltimore —
A safe retreat, a pleasant station ;
Praise what bays and creeks there be
From Mizen Head to Ringaskiddy,
But after all, the trip for me
Is that which takes me back o' Whiddy I
Oh, the long waves back o' Whiddy 1
Oh, the strong waves back o' Whiddy !
Oh, the joys
That — girls and boys —
We knew when boating back o' Whiddy !
BANTRY BAY :
(A " Shanty " or Boat Song.)
Come help me, boys, to sing a song,
And lilt a lively roundelay ;
As fast and free we boom along,
And top the waves of Bantry Bay.
A fair wind fills our flowing sail —
But let it blow from where it may,
We'll woo the breeze or brave the gale
With joyful hearts on Bantry Bay.
Oh, there are harbours made with hands,
With sticks and stones, with mud and clay,
With piles and beams and iron bands —
We've no such things in Bantry Bay !
We've fair Glengariff's silvery tide,
We've grand Berehaven, where to-day
The fleets of half the world might ride,
With room to swing, in Bantry Bay.
Historic scenes come into view
As on we plough our watery way ;
For chieftains bold and clansmen true
Were long the lords of Bantry Bay.
And well we hope the world may see,
Ere many years have passed away,
The sons of patriot ancestry
Again hold sway by Bantry Bay.
So trim your sails, and ease your sheets,
And hoist your bunting bright and gay;
Our trip has been a bunch of sweets —
flip ! hip ! hurrah ! for Bantry Bay 1
Men and Maids.
By KATHARINE TYNAN.
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