Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

29/9/2004

County Cork

Cork is in the province of Munster and is the largest county in Ireland.

Its major towns are Bandon, Cohb, Cork, Fermoy, Kinsale, Mallow, Skibbereen, and Youghal. Cork was one of the worst affected areas in the Great Famine of 1845-47, losing 200,000 persons (one-quarter of the total population) between 1841 and 1851. Of these, 150,000 died and 50,000 emigrated.

This Munster county is the largest in Ireland. The major towns in the county are Cork city, Mallow, Mitchelstown, youghal, Kanturk, Cobh, Fermoy, Knsale, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry, and Bandon.
Before the establishment of the county system, the area of the present county was divided between the territories of Desmond, Muskerry, and Corca Laoidhe. The major Gaelic families in the county were McCarthy, O’Keefe, Murphy, O’Mahony, O’Callaghan, O’Donovan, O’Driscoll, and O’Riordan.

The city of Cork itself was founded in the sixth century by the establishment of a monastery and school on the site by St. Finbarr. In the early ninth century the Norse Vikings raided and later settledi n the town, establishing it as a trading post.

In the twelfth century the county was granted to the Norman knights Fitzstephen and De Cogan. They brought over other Anglo-Norman settlers and built near the present city of Cork. Like the Norsemen, the Normans in the county gradually merged with the native Irish and adopted the Irish way of life. The main names of Norman extraction in the county are Barry, Roche, Cogan and Nagle.

The power of Norman and Gaelic families was broken after the unsuccessful revolt of the Earl of Desmond in the late sixteenth century. Many families lost their holdings and their land in 1583 to English advertureres. during what is known as the Plantation of Munster, around 15,000 people were brought over and settled in Cork an nearby counties. Most of them left during Hugh O’Neill’s war with the English in 1598. Some returned again after his defeat but the plantation was largely a failure. Further English settlers came in the 1650’s following the defeat of the 1641 rebellion, and many left and emigrated to Canada, Australia and the Americas.

In the Great famine of 1845-47, County Cork was one of the most severely affected areas. The population which peaked at 854,000 in 1841 had fallen to 650,000 in 1851. Almost 150,000 peple died between 1845 and 1850 and thousands emigrated. The population is currently about 404,000.

The most common names in Cork now are O’Sullivan, Murphy, McCarthy, Mahoney, O’Donovan, Walsh, O’Brien, O’Callaghan, O’Leary, Crowley, Collins, O’Driscoll, O’Connell, Barry, Cronin, Buckley, Daly, Sheehy, O’Riordan and Kelliher.

For more information go to the link on the rhs

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