Book Review: Historical Essays on the Kingdom of Munster

4 Jun

Historical Essays was compiled and written largely by Terence Francis McCarthy. Although Terrance’s misdeeds has made him a pariah, and have done much damage to the state of Gaelic nobility in Ireland, there is still good to be gleaned from his research. So I think it is sufficient to say that this book is still relevant and worth a read.

The book opens with an introduction from Peter Berresford Ellis. His introduction sets the theme for the essays in discussing the little known aspects of Irish history. These include the unique aspects of the way an Irish monarch was chosen (Brehon election system) as apposed to an English monarch, the uniqueness of the Irish monarchy system, and the longevity that it held in the rule of Ireland.  His introduction could be construed in a way as to be supportive of the Gaelic monarchy of the past and so Peter does side himself with the republican traditions so common in many western governments today.  He very much so makes an attempt to address those republicans that are so anti-monarchist that they refuse to even hear the history of a system that ruled Ireland for over 2000 years put in a good light.  His ascertains are correct, no matter your view of the monarchy. History is history, and there is much to be learned from it even if it is a history one despises.

The rest of the book is broken into twelve essays, an epilogue and two appendices.

The essays deal with matters concerning coronation ceremonies, rites and a mention of the “Divine Right of Kings” (a little understood Right that I shall write an article on soon). They also deal with prominent historical events in MacCarthy history  such as the clash with the Dal GCais (Brian Boru), Henry II, Richard the II and Elizabeth I of England.  One essay covers the order of the Niadh Nask, and one the lineage of the medieval Crown of Desmond. In the later it is pointed out that although Brehon law allows for an election, and dynastic succession is not performed based on primogeniture, it appears that primogeniture is actually what was occurring in the MacCarthy Mor sept.

There is an essay on the “False MacCarthy Mor, Florence and his successors”. This is a very interesting essay in light of the revelations of Terrance’s own misdeeds in falsifying is own genealogy.  The light of truth reveals that Florence would  indeed have a more legitimate claim to title of MacCarthy Mor than Terrance…

The essay on the “Royal House of MacCarthy Mor, International Law, and the Irish constitution” is one of the more important essays for understanding not only the MacCarthy Royal septs familial rights, but all rights of the Gaelic nobility.  As mentioned in the essay, “The mere fact that the existence of the Irish royal houses is not well know does not in any way alter their rights or prerogatives. They are entitled to the same courtesies normally extended to any other non-regent sovereign houses. Such rights are not merely allowed as a matter of good manners but unconditionally guaranteed under International Law.”

The Epilogue, “The Greening of Irish History” deals with several aspects of Irish history that have been abused and distorted. It deals with why Gaelic Ireland collapsed, the role of the Protestant church and the role of the Catholic church in destroying the influence of the Irish church. It also deals with the usurping of Gaelic heritage to further the republican cause by the present Irish government.

The Appendices are also of note in this volume.  The first appendix shows the lineage of the Eughanacht Kings of Munster and Desmond, whom the MacCarthys are the head of.  It starts with Conall Corc who established the line of Cashel kings in 379 A.D.  At  a latter time I will write an article showing the line all the way back to Zerah, the son of Judah. This will tie in well with the article on the Divine Right of Kings.

The last appendix deals with several ancient prophecies concerning the Eoghanachta and the Princedom of Tara.  These are interesting but need to be put into their historical context so it is understand why they were made. Essentially, Ireland was composed of two ruling families, The Eoghanachta and the Ui Neills. These branches originated out of the two sons of King Milesius, Heber and Heremon.  Heber’s descendants composed the Eoghanachta in the South and Heremon the Ui Neills in the North.  The Princedom of Tara was dominated mostly by the Ui Neills, although the Eoghanachta made some attempts at it.  Lining these prophecies up with history one would see there will be yet another successful attempt by a Eoghanacht king to obtain this seemingly extinct Princedom of Tara…but then again, who believes ancient prophecies…

This book can be obtained on Amazon and other book sellers.

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One Response to “Book Review: Historical Essays on the Kingdom of Munster”

  1. Bill McCarthy June 5, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    Thanks for the commentary. Irony seems to be prevelant but the main point would be that Terrance still has a great sense of what he believes to be true.

    Bill McCarthy Fredericksburg, VA

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