My Lord,

Desirous, in common with my countrymen, of paying a well-merited tribute of respect to the Earl of Carnarvon on his retirement, in January, 1886, from the Irish Viceroyalty, I requested his Lordship's acceptance of the Dedication of the enlarged Edition [1] of my Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland, which I was then preparing for the press; for, during Lord Carnarvon's short sojourn in Ireland, his Lordship governed this country with that mild sway which endeared him and his amiable Countess to the Irish people, irrespective of Class or Creed. With his uniform courtesy, Lord Carnarvon kindly accepted the Dedication. That Work, however, is so laborious, that, in my scanty leisure time, I cannot possibly have even the first volume of it ready for the press sooner than two or three years more.

Meantime, the Third Edition of my "Irish Pedigrees" being exhausted, there was such a demand for a Fourth Edition of the Work, that I had at once to engage in its preparation; and thus postpone the compilation of the enlarged Edition of my Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell came.

Satisfied that, no matter how humble the tribute, your Lordship would not look with indifference on any work which treats of the sad story of my suffering country since its annexation to England; I respectfully asked your Lordship, on your retirement in June, 1886, from the Irish Vice-royalty, to accept the Dedication of this Edition of my Irish Pedigrees. In accepting the Dedication, your Lordship has but given a proof of the kind and conciliating spirit which also characterised your Administration, during the pleasing sojourn in Ireland of your Lordship and the amiable Countess of Aberdeen.

In this Edition are given the "Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation;" the Genealogies of the Irish families which branched from that Stem; and the Names of the families of Danish, Anglo-Norman, English, Welsh, Scottish, Huguenot, and Palatine extraction which, from time to time, settled in Ireland. It is needless to say that, to make room for each migration of these foreign families into this country, many of the "Mere Irishrie" were, by the English Authorities of those times in Ireland, cruelly deprived of their patrimonies. But the greatest ruin sustained by the Irish people was in the Commonwealth period, when the Protestant Irish landlords who sympathised with King Charles I., and the Catholic Irish landlords of that period who escaped Strafford's spoliation, were reduced to the ranks of the peasantry!

Of the ruin which the English connection has produced in Ireland, my own family, my Lord, is a sad instance. At the time of the English invasion of Ireland, one of my ancestors, who is No. 106 on my family pedigree (see p. 672, infra), was the Prince of Tara; and Murcha O'Melaghlin was King of the ancient Kingdom of Meath. In the Chapter headed "The English Invasion of Ireland," pp. 792-799, infra, it will be seen that the names of the last King of Meath and the last Prince of Tara were not amongst the signatures of the States (Ordines), Monarch, Kings, and Princes of Ireland, which were sent to Rome, A.D. 1172 (Chartis subsignatis oraditis, ad Romam transmissis); notifying Pope Adrian IV., under their Signs Manual, of their assent to his transfer of their respective sovereignties to King Henry II. of England, and of all their Authority (Imperium) and Power. But, while second to none in their veneration for the Supreme Pontiff, the King of Meath and his Nobles could not recognise in Pope Adrian IV. any authority to transfer to King Henry II., of England, or to any foreign Potentates, the sovereignty of their Kingdom, and, with their sovereignty, the power of dispossessing themselves and their people of their ancient patrimonies!

But Henry II. had his revenge: one of his first public acts in Ireland was (contrary to his solemn promise that he desired only the annexation of the country to England, but in no instance to disturb or dispossess any of the Irish Kings, Princes, Chiefs, or people,) to depose the King of Meath,[2] and confer his Kingdom on Hugh de Lacy, as a nucleus for the first English Plantation of Ireland:

No more to chiefs and ladies bright

The harp of Tara swells;

The chord alone that breaks at night

Its tale of ruin tells.

Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,

The only throb she gives

Is when some heart indignant breaks,

To show that still she lives.

Thus deprived of his family patrimony in the Kingdom of Meath by Henry II., the last Prince of Tara received from the then Prince of Tirconnell [3] a territory in North Sligo, where, up to the Viceroyalty of the Earl of Strafford, temp. Charles I., my family ranked as Chieftains. There, at Ardtarmon,[4] and at Ballinfull (anciently called Dun Fuil), near Lisadill, the seat of Sir Henry William Gore Booth, Bart., are the ancient remains of the O'Hart castles in the county Sligo. But in the beginning of the 17th century the Castle of mBotuinn (corruptly anglicised "Newtown"), on the shore of Lough Gill, near Dromahair, was (see under No. 116, on our family pedigree, pp. 673-675) built in the Tudor style, by Aodh (or Hugh) Mór O'Hart; another, by his brother Brian O'Hart, on the site of the family old castle at Ardtarmon; and a third, by another brother Teige O'Hart, at North Grange or Drumcliffe. The remains of these once splendid castles at Ardtarmon and Newtown are in tolerable preservation; but, it is worthy of remark that, the stone which was imbedded in the front wall immediately over the entrance to the Newtown Castle has been removed therefrom, and, strange to say, is said to have been "buried in Mr. Wynne's garden at Hazlewood," near the town of Sligo, and (see pp. 674-675) thence removed to Lisadill by the Gore-Booth family, who were, in the female line, the lineal descendants of the Captain Robert Parke, who, according to the Civil Survey, was the recognised owner of Newtown, A.D. 1641. But why the said stone was removed from its place over the Newtown Castle entrance, or by whose orders it was taken away, I have not ascertained. Possibly the Family Arms of the person who built said Castle, and the date of its erection, have been engraved on said stone. If so, it would explain, perhaps, why the said stone has been so mysteriously removed.

The last of my ancestors who lived in the Castle of Newtown, above mentioned, was (see Note "Newtown Castle," pp. 676-677) Donoch (or Donogh) O'Hart, who (see the same pages) is No. 120 on my family pedigree; this Donoch was, under the Cromwellian Settlement, dispossessed on the 3rd of June, 1652.

Up to the time of the Earl of Strafford, who was the Irish Viceroy temp. Charles I., my family held their estates in the county Sligo; but that Viceroy ruthlessly dispossessed (particularly in the Province of Connaught) almost all the Catholic Proprietors, especially the Proprietors of the old Irish race, in his time in Ireland.

Of Strafford's Government we read in Darcy M'Gee's History of Ireland, Book VIII., p. 93:

"The plantation of Connaught, delayed by the late King's (James I.) death and abandoned among the new King's 'Graces,' was resumed. The proprietary of Connaught had in the 13th year of the late reign paid £3,000 into the Record Office, Dublin, for the registration of their Deeds; but the entries not being made by the Clerk employed (for that purpose), the title to every western county, five in number, was now called in question. The Commissioners to inquire into defective Titles were let loose on the devoted Province, with the noted Sir William Parsons at their head; and the King's title to the whole of Mayo, Sligo, and Roscommon was found by packed, bribed, and intimidated Juries. The Grand Jury of Galway refused to find a similar verdict, and were in consequence summoned to the Court of Castle-Chamber, and sentenced to pay a fine of £4,000, each, to the Crown. The Sheriff who empanelled them was sentenced to pay a fine of £1,000; even the Lawyers who pleaded for the actual proprietors were stripped of their gowns; the Sheriff Darcy died in prison; and the work of spoliation proceeded."

The latest member of my family who held landed property in the county Sligo, was Charles O'Hart, who, up to about A.D. 1735, owned Cloonamahon Beg and Cloonamahon Mór, thereout of which he paid ten shillings per annum to the King; but, like the rest of the barony of Tirerill, Cloonamahon belonged in the Middle Ages to the MacDonoughs, and up to the close of the 16th century. In 1641, O'Connor Sligo [5] was the owner of Cloonamahon; but, under the Cromwellian Settlement, it had fallen by lot to Robert Brown, a Cromwellian dragoon, from whom Cornet Cooper bought it as a debenture; but the Cornet had to relinquish it in favour of the then Earl of Strafford, who claimed and obtained it from the Commissioners for executing the Act of Settlement. On the 2nd July, 1666, Charles II. made grants, under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, of most of the county Sligo, including Cloonamahon, to William, Earl of Strafford, and Thomas Radcliffe, Esq. And in the Tripartite Deed of Partition of the County Sligo, made on the 21st July, 1687, the third year of James II., between William, Earl of Strafford, first part; Rev. John Leslie, D.D., second part; and Joshua Wilson, of the City of Dublin, third part, we read that Clooonamahon Beg and Cloonamahon Mór were then owned by Charles O'Hart (or Hart) above mentioned.

Said Charles O'Hart was brother of the Right Rev. John O'Hart, Bishop of Achonry, who lived in Cloonamahon till he and his brother were, in the reign of George II., deprived of their property, about the year 1735,[6] in a way that illustrates the iniquity of those times:

"The brothers Charles and Bishop O'Hart having refused to take the oath of supremacy, they had to look about for some Protestant friend to serve secretly as Trustee of the estate for them—a service which kind-hearted and high-minded Protestants frequently performed at the time for Catholic owners of property, to enable them to evade the Penal Laws! There lived then on the townland of Cartron, which adjoins Cloonamahon, a Protestant gentleman named Laurence Betteridge, with whom Dr. O'Hart and his brother were on terms of constant social intercourse and the closest friendship; and this man they pitched upon to act for them. On being applied to, the obliging neighbour was only too happy, he said, to be able to do a good turn for friends whom he so loved; but, having received all the powers and papers from the O'Harts, Betteridge proceeded to Dublin Castle and there treacherously took the property to himself, in reality as well as in form. The wretch was not proof against the temptation of robbing friends by due form of law; and, when taunted with the villany, coolly replied that he himself had a son, for whom he felt more love and concern than for the children or the brother of Charles O'Hart. But neither father nor son was anything the better for the ill-gotten estate. On the contrary, the acquisition seemed only to bring them bad luck; for, in a very short time, they quarrelled with one another, and old Betteridge, in order to spite the son, and get himself away from a place where he was detested and despised, resolved to dispose of the property. With this view he offered it privately for sale to a Mr. Thomas Rutledge, who then kept a shop in Collooney, and who, not having money enough to make the purchase, borrowed from Joshua Cooper, of Markrea Castle, what was wanted; giving that gentleman, in return, a lien on the property of 4s. 6d. per acre, a burden which it still bears.

"The three daughters of the said Thomas Rutledge were respectively married—one to Mr. Meredith, another to Mr. Phibbs, and another to Mr. Ormsby, and received as their marriage portions the Cloonamahon estate, which included Lisaneena, Ballinabull, and Knockmullen: to Mr. Meredith his wife brought Lisaneena; to Mr. Phibbs his wife brought Ballinabull; and Mr. Ormsby, as his portion, received Knockmullen, which he soon afterwards sold.

"At that period, in Ireland, Catholic owners of landed property frequently held their estates in the names of Protestant trustees, who honourably fulfilled all the conditions of the trust. O'Connell used to tell of an humble, but high-spirited tailor who acted as trustee for half the Catholic gentlemen of Munster. Betteridge, in his legalized robbery, probably proceeded under a law of 1709, which enacted:

'That all leases or purchases in trust for Papists should belong to the first Protestant discoverer; and that no plea or demurrer should be allowed to any bill of discovery, relative to such trusts, but that such bills should be answered at large.'

"The Catholics regarded the encouragement given to discoverers and informers as an intolerable grievance, and, in an Address and Petition (written by the immortal Edmund Burke) to George III., refer to it thus:

'Whilst the endeavours of our industry are thus discouraged (no less, we humbly apprehend, to the detriment of the national prosperity, and the diminution of your Majesty's revenue, than to our particular ruin,) there are a set of men, who, instead of exercising any honest occupation in the commonwealth, make it their employment to pry into our miserable property; to drag us into the courts; and to compel us to confess on our oaths, and under the penalties of perjury, whether we have, in any instance, acquired a property in the smallest degree exceeding what the rigour of the law has admitted; and in such case the informers, without any other merit than that of their discovery, are invested (to the daily ruin of several innocent, industrious families), not only with the surplus in which the law is exceeded, but in the whole body of the estate and interest so discovered; and it is our grief that this evil is likely to continue and increase, as informers have, in this country, almost worn off the infamy which in all ages, and in all other countries, has attended their character, and have grown into some repute by the frequency and success of their practices.'

"In the reign of Queen Anne, the Irish House of Commons passed a Resolution:

'That the prosecuting and informing against Papists was an honourable service thus endeavouring to exalt a class of men from whom common humanity recoils with loathing, and who have found no apologist in history except the infamous and inhuman Tiberius Nero; even his vile senate, as Tacitus implies, evincing a reluctance to descend with him so low:

"Ibaturque," says the historian, "in eam sententiam, ni durius contraque morem suum, palam pro accusatoribus, Caesar irritas leges, rempublicam in praecipiti conquestus esset: subverterent potius jura quam custodes eorum amoverent. Sic delatores genus hominum publico exitio repertum et poenis quidem nunquam satis coercitum, per premia eliciabantur."—Tacitus, Annal., lib. IV., c. 30.

"The good Bishop O'Hart, before his eviction from Cloonamahon, was famous for hospitality. Turlough O'Carolan, the last of the eminent Irish Bards,[7] often visited the O'Harts, and showed his admiration of the Bishop's genial nature and many virtues, by composing two songs in his honour, only one of which has been preserved, and is given in Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy, Vol. I., p. 28, with an English translation by Thomas Furlong, of which the following is a stanza:

'In this hour of my joy, let me turn to the road,

To the pious one's home let me steer;

Aye! my steps shall instinctively seek that abode,

Where plenty and pleasure appear.

Dear Harte, with the learned thou art gentle and kind;

With the bard thou art open and free,

And the smiling and sad, in each mood of the mind,

Find a brother's fond spirit in thee.'

"The celebrated Owen (or Eugene) O'Hart, Bishop of Achonry, was not only present at the Council of Trent, but took a leading part in the deliberations of that august assembly. This distinguished Bishop was consecrated in 1562, died in 1603 at the great age of 100, and was buried in his own cathedral at Achonry. He received special faculties from the Pope in 1575, for the whole ecclesiastical province of Tuam; signed in 1585 the Indenture of Composition between Sir John Perrott and the Chieftains of the County Sligo, temp. Queen Elizabeth;[8] took part in the Provincial Synod that assembled in Ulster, in that year, to promulgate the decrees of the Council of Trent, and enjoyed all through life the confidence and favour of the Holy See. The consummate prudence with which this Prelate steered his course through the difficult times in which he lived, was on a par with his great learning. "[9]

In October, 1873, it was permitted me, through the courtesy of Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King-of-Arms, to compare my Genealogical Notes with O'Farrell's Linea Antiqua, preserved in the Office of Arms, Dublin Castle: to see if the pedigrees which I had collected from O'Clery's and MacFirbis's ancient Irish and Anglo-Irish Genealogies, agreed with those recorded in the Linea Antiqua. With that flowing courtesy for which he is proverbial, Sir Bernard not only granted me that permission, but also the permission to inspect Sir William Betham's enlarged edition of the Linea Antiqua, and any other record in the Office of Arms bearing on my subject.

In the Linea Antiqua I found that the "O'Hart" pedigree agreed with the family genealogy as I had traced it, down to Donoch O'Hart, who (see p. 676, infra) is No. 120 on my family pedigree; and who held possession of the family castle at Newtown, on the shore of Lough Gill, up to the 3rd of June, 1652. And it was from the Linea Antiqua that I carefully compiled the earlier portion of "The Lineal Descent of the Royal Family of England" (see pp. 37-41, infra), and ascertained the strange fact that the ancient Irish Monarch Art, who is No. 81 on that lineal descent, was the ancestor of my family:

Thus shall memory often, in dreams sublime,

Catch a glimpse of the days that are over;

Thus, sighing, look through the waves of time

For the long-faded glories they cover.

With great respect, I am, My Lord,

Your very faithful servant,


Ringsend School,

Ringsend, Dublin,

December, 1887.


[1] Edition: To include the names of all the Irish landed gentry, in every county in Ireland, whose estates had been confiscated under the Cromwellian Settlement; and the names of the persons to whom, respectively, those estates were then in whole, or in part, conveyed.

[2] Meath: The Kingdom of Meath afterwards formed the principal portion of the English Pale.

[3] Tirconnell: At that period the northern portion of the present county Sligo belonged to the Principality of Tirconnell.

[4] Ardtarmon: Or, more properly, "Art-tarmon:" Art being the root or name a quo the sirname "O'Hart;" and tarmon being the Irish for "sanctuary" or "protection," and sometimes meaning "church-lands."

[5] O'Connor Sligo: "The O'Harts," says Archdeacon O'Rorke, in his very interesting volume, Ballysadare and Kilvarnet, "were always loyal to the O'Connors, by whom they were singularly trusted and favoured. Most probably it was while O'Connor Sligo owned Cloonamahon that the ancestor of Bishop O'Hart came to live there." In support of this opinion it may be observed that, as the name Charles does not, before that period, appear among those mentioned in the "O'Hart" pedigree, it is reasonable to suppose that said Charles O'Hart was, through gratitude, so called after Charles O'Connor, who was The O'Connor Sligo at that period.

[6] 1735: In Dr. W. Maziere Brady's Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland, and Ireland, Vol. II., p. 191, we read—"1735: John O'Harte, succeeded by Brief, dated September 30th, 1735. He died before May, 1739."

[7] Bards: According to Walker's Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards (Dublin, 1818), Turlough O'Carolan (or Carolan) died in March, 1738, in the sixty-eighth year of his age; and was buried in Kilronan, in the county of Roscommon.

[8] Elizabeth: See the names to that Indenture, in Note "Ardtarmon," p. 673, under No. 116 on the "O'Hart" (No. 1) pedigree.

[9] Learning: For further valuable information respecting Sligo families, see History of the Parishes of Ballysadare and Kilvarnet, by the Venerable Archdeacon O'Rorke, D.D., P.P. (Dublin : James Duffy and Sons, 1878).