Ealathach was a personal name in frequent use among the Ui Echach of Munster (see 0'
MATHGHAMHNA). The Annals of Inisfallen record that Eladach son of Dunlang was killed in a
battle in Muskerry in 828.
According to the genealogies he was of the kingly line of
the U' Echach, one branch of whom was known as Clann tSealbhaigh, being descended from
Sealbhach. According to Duan Cathain, Sealbhach had four sons, one of whom was Cochlan and
Since Ua Selbhaigh and Ua Cochlain were names prominently
associated with the see of Cork, it is likely that the Ui Ealathaigh were of the same
group, especially since they too functioned as a hereditary ecclesiastical family later on
- though in the diocese of Cloyne.
The parish of Donaghmore or Donoughmore (Domhnach M6r),
whose patron is Laichtin, lies on the southern slopes of the Boggeragh mountains. It is
now partly in East Muskerry and partly in Barretts barony, in the former Muscraighe
Much of the land in Donoughmore belonged to the church,
having, apparently, been donated by the Ui Ealathaigh. They, in turn, were entitled to be
airchinnigh or erenaghs of the church, i.e. laymen who cultivated the church lands as
freeholders and who were responsible for the upkeep of Laichtin's church.
In 1301 Thomas Ohellethi was vicar of Donoughmore while
John Ohellethi and Nicholas Ohellechi were clerics also in the diocese in Cloyne.
A royal pardon granted in 1317 to Dermot Mac Carthy,
chief of the Irish of Desmond, included the names of Thomas (deacon), Gilbert and Gregory
Around 1366, according to the Pipe Roll of Cloyne, Master
Gilbert Ohelghy, Patrick Ohelghy, Malachy Ohelghy, Philip Ohelghy, Nicholas Ohelghy,
Matthew Ohelghy, John Ohelghy and four others were the tenants of the Lord Bishop of
Cloyne at Donoughmore.
They swore on oath that they were 'true men of the
Blessed Colman of Cloyne and that so were their ancestors, and that they cannot be moved
from the land of the church itself without leave of the Bishop. The preponderance of
Norman personal names is probably due to the influence of such families as the Cogans, the
overlords of Muskerry in the 13th century.
Master Gilbert Ohelghy (who was probably vicar of the
parish) also held half a carcucate in Balytayg near Donaghmore while Cornelius Ohellohy
held one messuage, five acres, near the church. Not unexpectedly there were many clerics
of the name in the diocese of Cloyne. Philip 0 Haylle was one in 1406, and in 1414 Thomas
O Healghy was a canon of Cloyne.
A petition by Maurice Yhelayd, cleric of Cloyne, in 1461
stated that a canonry with the prebend of Domnachmore was vacant by the resignation of the
former canon, Thomas Yhelayd. But whether Thomas had resigned or had been forced out is
In 1473 Thomas Ohelay, clerk, got a mandate to have a
canonry of Cloyne and the prebend of Donaghmore, detained for fifteen or twenty years by
Maurice Ohelay, clerk. Possession seems to have been nine points of the law, as eight
years later Thomas Ohelahy got another mandate to be put in possession of Donaglimore, now
being held by Donatus Ohelahy, priest, 'from fear of whose power the said Thomas cannot
safely meet him in the city or diocese of Cloyne.
In 1492 Johannes Ihellahyg was a canon of Cloyne diocese
and occupied the prebend of Donaghmore - a prebend which seems to have been exclusive to
After the Mac Carthys became lords of Muskerry in the
14th century the 0 Healys were forced to pay them a head-rent. A list of the lord of
Muskerry's lands in 1600 included four 'countries in Muskrye' - 0 healiey, 0 herliey, 0
longe, 0 cromin - all apparently with ecclesiastical connections. The 0 Healys are
recorded as holding 12 ploughlands. When an 0 Healy chief was inaugurated, he had to pay
£4-9s to Mac Carthy.
In the Elizabethan Fiants are recorded pardons granted to
numerous 0 Healys of Donoughmore, usually as followers of the Mac Carthys of Blarney or of
Carraig na Muc (Dripsey).
In 1601, for example, Sir Cormac Mac Dermod's followers
included Thomas oge 0 Hialihie, alias 0 Hialihie, of Donoughmore - apparently the then
chief of the sept. Along with him were pardoned Denis, Donnell, Morrice, John, Philip,
John oge', William, Dermod and Donogh 0 Hiallihie, all of Donoughmore and all described as
'gentlemen'. Later in the year, it was reported that Donnough 0 Healey was in the army of
Followers of Callaghan mac Teig of Carraig na Muc in the
same year included Donell mac Morrish 0 Hialeigh of Donoughmore, John mac Thomas oge 0
Haleighie of Kilcullen (par. Donoughinore; he was probably a son of the chief; Dermod mac
Thomas oge 0 Hyalyhy of Ballycunningham was pardoned in 1577), Morris mac Shane mac
Thomas, of same, Morris mac Shane 0 Hialaii of Carhoo (par. Magourney), John oge beg 0
Hallihey of same, and John oge 0 Hallihie entarmyn of Donoughmore.
The soubriquet an tearmainn means 'of the termon', i.e.
church lands of sanctuary. This maybe the John 0 Hiallihie of Donoughmore who in 1588 sent
a petition to the Privy Council seeking pardon for the 'poor and ignorant offenders in
those parts' for their share in the rebellion of the late Earl of Desmond.
A John 0 Healy, 'one of Cormac's old thieves', was also
mentioned in connection with Cormac Mac Carthy, lord of Muskerry, who was imprisoned at
Cork in I602. John was appointed to go to England in order to bring home Cormac's eldest
son from Oxford.
Carew got wind of the plot and 0 Healy was captured on
board ship before leaving Cork - but not before he had thrown all his letters and money
overboard. Because he would not confess as to the letters and money, he too was lodged in
Cork gaol. When Cormac was eventually pardoned in March 1603, his loyal follower 'John
Hialihy, of Blarney, gentleman', was pardoned along with him.
Inquisitions of the early 17th century show us that the 0
Healys were still flourishing in Donoughmore at that period. One was taken in 1625 into
the lands of Donald 0 Healehie of Ballycunningham, Kilcullen and Coolmona, who died in
1619. John was his son and heir.
The lands were held of Cormac og Mac Carthy (late of
Oxford). Donald 0 Healehie of Kilcullen and Oliverius 0 Healy of Fornaght laid claim to
the lands. (Donald may have been the Donell 0 Healehy of Fornaght pardoned in 1591 while
Oliverius was probably the Oliver Healy, gentleman, mentioned in the marriage settlement
of Cormac og's daughter and Sir Valentine Browne).
Another inquisition, dated 1638, dealt with the lands of
Thomas mac Meater 0 Healyhy and Johanna ny Meater 0 Healyhy, alienated to Viscount
Muskerry, and one in the following year dealt with lands which Thomas 0 Healihy of Gowlane
alienated to William 0 Riordan of Clodagh.
Certain difficulties arose with regard to former church
lands after the reformation period. A document in Brady's Records describes Donaghmore as
the most considerable episcopal demesne in the diocese - excepting Cloyne itself. It was
one of the see's earliest possessions and was let on lease as a fee farm to the 0 Helihies
(now Helys) at 6s.8d per plowland, who tenanted part and let out the rest to the chiefs or
heads of clans 'in that part of the country which comprehends the Bogra mountains, the
wildest and most uncivilized district in the county of Cork'.
Bishop Lyon (1583-1617) instituted a suit against its
possessors but nothing came of the negotiations. Bishop Synge (1638 - 1652) renewed the
suit against the tenants of the whole eighteen ploughlands. The bishop's plea was that the
Pipe Roll of Cloyne reckoned Donaghmore expressly as the bishop's manor and that Bishop
Bennet soon after 1500 lived in the manor house there; that as the English were lords in
chief, the 0 Helihies who were hibernici could only have been tenants at will or villani.
The Helys on the other hand contended that their land was
freehold and had continued in their family for 500 years, that they owed suit and service
not to the church but to Lord Muskerry, and that they paid composition to the king which
no church land ever did.
This was in 1639 and eventually one of the 0 Healys
agreed to take a lease from the see, delivering up to the bishop the celebrated shrine of
St. Laichtin's arm which was the symbol of power in the manor. (This is now in the
National Museum, Dublin.)
The 1641 rebellion, however, put an end to further suits
and Lord Muskerry retained his overlordship. At least one of the family, William Healy,
became a Protestant clergyman (though a MS of 1615 says of him: 'William 0 Hialyhy noe
graduate; his wife and children goe to Masse'). He became chancellor of Cork diocese from
1610 to 1632 and resided at Athnowen (Ovens).
His example was not followed by Patrick 0 Healihy, a
priest, who with six others in 1628 attacked and beat Edmund Murphy or Murfield, servant
to the Protestant bishop, who was endeavouring to collect tithes at Dunisky in Muskerry. 0
Healihy called him 'a devilish heretical churl and the servant of the devil'!
A John Hialihy was sworn a freeman of Cork in 1631 -
perhaps a son of the Thomas O Hyalliyhie who had a house in Cork in 1582.
The Civil Survey gives us full details of the 0 Healy
lands in Donoughmore parish in 1641. Thomas mac Daniel Healihy, Irish papist, of Gowlane,
held Gowlane, Lackanbane and Ballygirriha, 880 acres in all, but mortgaged to Lord
Muskerry for £400.
On the lands was 'an old decay'd House, with a ruinous
grist mill' wliich perhaps indicates the site of a former 0 Healy castle. Fornaght was
held by Oliver Healihy but West Kilclogh (par. Matehy) had been purchased from John
Healihy fitz Philip by Zachariah Travers of Cork. Lower Kilmartin belonged to Maurice mac
Thomas Healihy and Upper Kilmartin to Dermod 0 Healihy, deceased. Donogh mac Thomas
Healihy held Ballykervick and Monataggart while Thomas mac Meater held Barrahaurin.
Coolmona ('both Coolmonys'), Killeenleigh, Ballycunningham and Kilcullen all belonged to
Daniel mac Shane Healihy. In every case a chief rent was payable to the lord of Muskerry.
All of these 0 Healys must have joined Lord Muskerry in
the 1641 rebellion since the entire group (described as 'gentlemen') were declared outlaws
in 1643, together with John of Castlemore, Thomas of Mashanaglass and Donogh 0 Hialighy of
Ballyburden (near Ballincollig), 'a doctor of Physic'.
At the end of the war an allegation was made that Dr.
Healy was involved in the deaths of English settlers who formed part of a convoy from
Macroom to Cork in 1642. Even after the rebellion had ended and the plantations were
completed, a contemporary account listed 'all the Hialihyes and their children, brethren
and followers' among those who were 'plotting for troubles'. They were given as 'in
carbry' - possibly in error for Muskerry.
As we might expect, the 0 Healy lands were declared to be
forfeited during the Cromwellian period but when Charles II was restored in 1660 Lord
Muskerry (now Earl of Clancarty) had his estate restored, with a proviso enabling him to
grant leases at low rents to the representatives of those freeholders who had 'gone out'
with him in 1641.
Thus leases were granted to Morris Healihy (Kilmartin
Upper), Daniel Healehye (Kilcullen) and to Dermot and Donnogh Healihy (Coollicka).
However, the confiscation to the crown of the Clancarty estates after the Williamite wars
set aside these leases.
In 1697 the Protestant bishop of Cloyne again laid claim
to the lands of Donoughmore but to no avail.
Finally, in 1703, Bishop Crowe purchased the lands for
£4,020 and leased them to suitable tenants.
One of these was Mathias Earbery of Ballincollig who took
a lease of Gowlane. His daughter, Prudence, in 1719 married Francis Healy of Gertrough -
perhaps Gortroe in the neighbouring parish of Kilshannig. Francis seems to have conformed
to the established religion.
Their son, John Healy or Hely, a barrister, in 1751
married the grandniece and heiress of Richard Hutchinson of Knocklofty, near Clonmel, and
changed his name to Hely-Hutchinson.
He was M.P. for Cork from 1761 to 1790 and became
Secretary of State for Ireland. His eldest son and heir, Richard Hely-Hutchinson supported
the Act of Union and was created Earl of Donoughmore.
In the House of Lords the Earl supported Catholic
Emancipation while his brother, Christopher, championed the Catholic cause in the House of
Commons. It was a later Earl of Donoughmore who moved the ratification of the Irish treaty
of 1921 in the House of Lords.
The rest of the now landless clan scattered to various
parts, many Joining the Wild Geese abroad. John Healy, born in Donoughmore, was in 1690 in
0 Mahony's Dragoons and later a Major-General in the Spanish army. A Captain Healy of the
Irish Brigade was wounded at Fontenoy and a Lieutenant Healy wounded at Laffeldt. Don
Francisco Haly was a sub-lieutenant in the regiment of Ultonia in Spain in 1718 while Don
Tomas (1725) and Don Guillermo Healy (1759) were cadets in the same regiment.
Among the Co.Cork gentlemen outlawed in 1691 for 'treason
beyond the seas' (i.e. adherence to King James) were: Daniel Heally, Kilneally, called
heir of land of Kilcullen; Thomas Mac Morris Healy, Kilmartin, called heir of land of
Upper Kilmartin; John mac Thomas Healy, Barrahaurin; William and Maurice Healy,
Ballygirriha; John Hely, Fornaght; William and John mac Oliver Healy of Gortacrohig (par.
A Thomas Healy of Muskerry in the 19th century settled in
Bantry where he taught Greek and Latin. He also taught his children that their family had
been despoiled under the Penal Laws and that the bronze reliquary of St. Laichtin's hand
had been in the guardianship of his people.
His grandsons, Tim and Maurice Healy were noted Irish
members of the Westminster parliament around the turn of the century and Tim Healy was
chosen to be the first Governor-General of the Irish Free State in 1922.