Lohort Castle (East/North View)
By 1179, the tide of Norman conquest had rolled through Cork and Kerry and lapped to the foot of Mount Bandon on the western seaboard. To secure these conquered territories in County Cork, from 1185 onwards the Normans began to build a line of major fortifications from Kilbrittan on the south coast through Ballynamona, Lohort, Subulter, Kilbolane, Liscarrol and Buttevant and through to Castletown, then on the Cork/Limerick border. This line opposed the reduced Gaelic kingdom of Desmond comprising most of the ancient clans of Limerick, Cork and Kerry under the kingship of the McCarthy Mor, chief of the powerful McCarthy overlords.

By 1400, the colonial legal linkage that bound the Normans in Ireland to their ancestral origins in England were weakening and, though still bitterly opposed to the Gaelic interests, the 'Grey Foreigners' were well on their way to becoming 'more Irish than the Irish themselves'. Since the Norman disaster of Callan in 1261, Gaelic resurgence had pushed them back to this line and their very castles and land were coming under Gaelic control. The recovery was helped in no small measure by a persistent failure of the English government in Ireland to provide men, arms or money to garrison and upkeep the fortifications. By 1460, Donagh Og McDonagh McCarthy, 5th Lord of Duhallow, had over-run the marshes of Lord Barrymor in Eastern Duhallow and in Orrery and Kilmore and placed a black rent on Norman towns west of Mallow town. Included in the lands were the preceptory of Subulter and the castles of Lohort, Castlecor and Kilbolane. At that time the Subulter stronghold was abandoned and in ruin.

Lohort castle had only Lord Barrymor's Ward Captain and 8-10 men and even they had to abandon their charge due to want for food and arms. Donagh Og's men moved in, reduced the castle to final ruin and diverted the tenancy fees to McDonagh McCarthy. To pacify and stabilise these critical English marshes, in 1468, Thomas Earl of Desmond brought an army before the McDonagh McCarthy castle at Curra in Kanturk. He summoned Donagh Og and his Gaelic captains to meet Lord Barrymor, Lord Roche, Maurice Fitzgerald, Governor of Mallow and other senior Norman landholders in the disputed marshes area. Thomas decreed that Donagh Og would retain the castles of Lohort, Kilbolane and Knock Temple and to buy or lease Castlecor from Lord Barrymor, Donagh Og to cede the rest of the marshes to the Norman lordships and remove his black rent from Norman lands. In accepting these decrees, Donagh Og McDonagh McCarthy secured his Lohort sword-land with good English title to castle and demesne.

Donagh Og rebuilt Lohort to its present unique and elegant form around 1496. The keep was raised to 90 feet, and the 12 foot curtain wall enclosed 2 acres. It had an attractive gatehouse and was skirted by a deep water filled moat. Donagh Og gave the first occupancy of the new castle to Eoghan An Preachain, his younger son by Honora daughter of Cormac Laidir McCarthy Mor. Through the subsequent fratricidal successions of the McDonagh McCarthy Lordship (1501-1560) the occupancy of the castle in not clear but it seems that the younger sons of McDonagh McCarthys close to the Lordship moved between Lohort, Knock Temple and Kilbolane as records of the period mention them variously as being these locations. In the mid 1560's the steward of the castle was an Englishman called White, a former chief tenant of Lord Barrymor. The Whites were of a social status in 1581 for their daughter Priscilla White 'of Lohort Castle' to marry Tadgh McCarthy of Knock Temple, nephew of Donagh an Bhothair Lord of Duhallow. The succession of the White family in Lohort is noted through the Munster Rebellion of 1599 and into the last century when they were chief tenants of the estate.

The end of the McDonagh McCarthy ownership of Lohort came in 1635, not through warfare or confiscation but through failure to redeem a mortgage. The stormy Dermod McOwen McDonagh McCarthy had disputed the ownership of the Lordship of the lands with his cousin Cormac. They agreed to divide the Lordship informally and Lohort went to Cormac, with Castlecor and most of Kilbrin parish. Dermod died in 1625. Arising from disputed ownership, in 1635 a Royal Inquisition into his estate found that most of the Lordship, including Lohort, had been mortgaged many years previously by Dermod to Sir Phillip Percival, apparently to finance the building of Dermod's elegant Old Court residence. Cormac disputed Percival's claim and remained associated with Lohort. In 1670 Percival was complaining to the King's Lord Lieutenant that his tenants were still paying rent to Cormac McCarthy. In 1689 Cormac's grandson, Colonel Charles McCarthy was again associated with Lohort castle in raising a regiment for the Jacobite side in the Great Revolution; he was Sheriff of Cork 1689-91. In 1691, before the Battle of Aughrim, he submitted to William at Clarecastle. He took his regiment to France and with him the last link between Lohort Castle and the McDonagh McCarthys, Lords of Duhallow.


Dermod (2nd son of Cormac Fionn McCarthy Mor)
Founded the Lordship of Duhallow at Caislean na Curra on the Allow river. Died 1242, succeeded by his son

Donagh from whom McDonagh McCarthy
Succeeded by his grandson

Succeeded by his son

Died 1380, succeeded by his son

Donagh Og
Succeeded by his son

Donagh Og
First married to Eleanor (daughter of the White Knight), a son Cormac.
Married secondly to Honora daughter of Cormac Laidir McCarthy Mor, a son Eoghan.
Died 1501 and succeeded by his elder son.

Killed by his half brother Eoghan an Preachain 1516 and succeeded by him

Married a daughter of Lord Barrymor, a son Donagh*, killed by Cormac Og a son of Cormac around 1520, and was succeeded by him

Cormac Og
Married Honora McAuliffe of Castle McAuliffe (Newmarket), a son Donagh.
Killed by Eoghan son of Donagh (above) around 1560, succeeded by

Donagh* McEoghan
His sons Eugene died 1581, Donagh an Bhothair, Eoghan died 1581

Donagh an Bhothair
Married Ellen daughter of McCarthy Mor, died 1584, succeeded by his cousin

Donagh McCormac Og (Married Joan, daughter of the White Knight, a son Cormac)


Recognised as Lord of Duhallow by Florence (Pretender) McCarthy Mor. Succession disputed by Dermod McEoghan McDonagh


On appeal to the English Royal Court, Donagh got possession of Caislean na Curra and inconclusive verdict on the Lordship.


Dermod McEoghan recognised as Lord of Duhallow by O'Neill Earl of Tyrone. Donagh was carried off a prisoner by O'Neill who "feared he might go against Dermod on the English side".


Donagh was killed in a skirmish with a force of English in O'Shaughnessy Country in south Galway in March. He was said to have been murdered by his guard, Dermod's henchman Donal Na Rasca O'Keefe, to prevent him from falling into English hands. Donagh was succeeded by his cousin.

Dermod McEoghan (Married Amy daughter of Lord Roche, a son Dermod Og)


Assumed Lordship of Duhallow and (Pretender) McCarthy Mor.


Imprisoned by the English before the arrival of the Spanish at Kinsale and his estates were confiscated.


He submitted to the crown and was released. Created Lord of Duhallow and his estates were restored.


The succession was opposed by Cormac McDonagh and they informally agreed to divide the estate between them (mentioned in the Inquisition of 1666)


Grant to Dermod of title and land confirmed by Royal Charter.


Dermod died succeeded by his son.

Dermod Og


Royal Inquisition found that his lands were mortgaged to Sir Phillip Percival for many years and fell to Percival's ownership through failure of redemption.


Killed in action at the battle of Dromagh


Decreed that the Equity of Redemption (of his father's mortgage) was "of no value due to his (Dermod Og's) engaging with the rebels". Sir Phillip Percival (a Junior) was decreed entitled to the Lordship of the Manor (lands).

Cormac McCormac
As Colonel McCarthy was Sheriff of Cork 1689-91 and raised a regiment for the Jacobite cause. Submitted to William at Clarecastle in April 1691 and went to France where he disappeared from history.