My name is Stephen Finlay Archer and this is my first blog in my new website. Welcome.
If you are reading this then you are in my website stephenfinlayarcher.com and you know that I am an historical fiction author writing a four novel saga about the Irish revolutionary period of 1915-1923. This was a brutal and deadly time in Ireland, yet a crucial period of restoration for the Gaelic way of life, returning Ireland to its rightful people.
So why is this post titled McCarthy Gold? And why is it in a category of my blog called Myths, Mysteries and Mayhem? My fictional tale is integrated with the events and historical characters of the Rising, the Revolution and the Civil War, yet it is also a tale of historical adventure in Ireland and Scotland in the hunt for the buried wealth of two once-mighty Irish Clans. This journey is interwoven with existing and mythological events and relics, some dating back to the time of the early Clans and before. It is therefore my intent to post intriguing articles regarding these matters from time to time to show you, dear readers, that these adventures are plausible in the context of what remains of the Irish heritage. I truly hope that you enjoy this exciting journey which we will take together.
One of the two Clans featured in my novels is the Clan MacCarthy Mor, or MacCarthaigh Reagh. These two septs of the Clan McCarthy ruled over Munster in the south west of Ireland from around 1000 to 1650 AD. They were among the last Clans to be overpowered by the British from the reign of Elizabeth I through the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell in the late 1640s. The Battle of Kinsale in January 1602 was the death knell for the Gaelic Clans. We will talk of this momentous event later on this blog.
All wars since that event in Ireland have been rebellions against the British oppressor. One such campaign is called the Confederate Wars of 1641- 1653, ref 1. This occurred during the period where England was embroiled in its own civil war with Oliver Cromwell overseeing its government. His forces were ruthless in putting down the rebellion in Ireland and much of the remaining historical heritage was destroyed in the process.
The last holdout in southern Ireland was Donagh MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry, the MacCarthy Mor, whose home base was Blarney Castle just north of Cork. In 1646, while MacCarthy was away leading the fight against the British, Roger Boyle, named Lord Broghill a commander of Cromwell’s parliamentary forces, lay siege to Blarney Castle.
When he entered the castle keep after breaking down the walls he found that the main garrison had fled through underground Badgers Caves situated below the battlements. Only two old retainers remained. All others were gone with the ‘reputed gold plate’.
Years later Sir James St. John Jefferyes, then Governor of Cork, acquired the estate and spent a fortune in vain draining a nearby lake searching for the gold, ref 2.
It has never been found…or has it?
There, you see. There are many myths, mysteries and much mayhem in Ireland and we will explore a lot of it together.
Check out the Stephen’s Saga section of this blog to see how I’m doing with my project.
1. Irish confederate wars at Wikipedia.org
2. URL blarneycastle.ie, tab ‘history’.