The surname McCarthy (also Carthy/McCarty) is one of the most popular among our readers. But what are it’s origins? Where does it comes from?
The surname McCarthy comes from the Irish “Mac Cárthaigh”. Carthach was a King of Munster who died in early 11th century. His son assumed the surname “Mac Carthach” in honour of his father and that has become the surname of this leading family of the Eoghanacht tribe ever since. McCarthy is one of the most numerous Mac names in Ireland at present.
The Surname McCarthy is associated with the province of Munster in the south of Ireland down through the centuries. Cashel in Tipperary would have been the original power centre of the McCarthys – and seat of the Kings of Munster. However, following power struggles with the Dal gCais (and the O’Briens) since the 10th centuries – the McCarthys moved further south into Munster – and Munster was divided in Thomond (North Munster) – ruled by the O’Briens, and Desmond (South Munster) rules by the McCarthys.
I have mentioned the main seats of the branches of the McCarthys above. In addition – there are about 26 castles built by the various branches throughout Cork and Kerry. Some are in full working order (almost!) – like Blarney Castle and Kilcoe Castle in West Cork (the seat of the actor, Jeremy Irons) – while some are just piles of rubble at this point.
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