A Note on the Seigniory of Tarbert

From Laois to Kerry (2016) is Michael Christopher Keane’s study of Patrick Crosbie’s early 17th century plan to transplant seven Septs, namely the Moores, Kellys, Dowlings, Lawlors, Dorans, Dees and McEvoys, into North Kerry:


In 1607, Patrick Crosbie persuaded the government to agree to a remarkable proposal that he be granted the 4,000 acre plantation of Tarbert, close to his North Kerry estates, at a nominal rent in return for transplanting to this remote place the troublesome seven Septs of Laoise to whom the Crosbie brothers were related through their wives, their grandmother and probably their mother.[1]


The seven Septs banished to Kerry, notably the O’Moore’s, had, by 1610, been almost effaced from their native place:


During a whole week, the governor and sheriff of Laois had been employed in destroying the people remaining there, in seizing their cattle and all they possessed, while a savage order had been issued to hang any of them found in their ancient principality.[2]


Keane presents an exhaustive examination of available records over a period of four hundred years to discover if the Sept names survived in Kerry, and suggests Crosbie’s project had limited success:


The somewhat limited numbers of Sept surnames in Tarbert and Kerry through the centuries may perhaps reflect a return to Laois by some of the original transplantees despite a sentence of death being imposed on those captured who dared to return.[3]


An ample proportion of Keane’s study is devoted to the life and times of Patrick Crosbie, who wound up with ownership of not only Tarbert in Kerry (which had been forfeited at the end of the Elizabethan-Desmond war by the O’Connors of Iraghticonnor) but also land grants in Duagh, Finuge, Rattoo, Kilmoyley, Ballyheigue, Abbeydorney and Galey, forfeited by the Fitzmaurices, Stacks and McElligotts in the same war.


Space is also given to Patrick Crosbie’s successor, Sir Pierce Crosbie[4] whose first wife was Sarah Barnewall, third daughter of Sir Patrick Barnewall of Turvey House, Co Dublin.[5]


Reference is also made to the Roper family.[6]  In 1609, the Castleisland estate was leased to Sir Thomas Roper, later 1st Viscount Baltinglass and Baron of Bantry, until 1640, when the lands reverted to Lord Herbert of Chirbury.[7]



[1] From Laois to Kerry (2016) by Michael Christopher Keane.  The idea of transplantation to Kerry appears to have been discussed by the O’Moores as early as 1584 (see p26).   The Seignory of Tarbert, comprising 4,422 acres, was initially allocated to a Sir John or Denziel Holly or Hollies (pp39-40).

[2] From Laois to Kerry, p33.

[3] From Laois to Kerry, p61.

[4] From Laois to Kerry, pp 71-130.  The lineage of Patrick Crosbie, whose younger brother John was the second Protestant Bishop of Ardfert and Aghadoe in 1601, is also referred to on p27.

[5] The Barnewalls were a prominent 'old English' Catholic family based mainly in counties Dublin and Meath. ‘The earlier family ancestry of the Barnewalls traces further back to the Normans and William the Conqueror who is reported to have granted extensive properties in England to a Roger de Barneville in 1078.  The history of the Barnewall family in Dublin has been elaborated on at length by D'Alton [History of the County of Dublin, published 1838] who states that the manor of Turvey, one of their many estates in the Dublin and Meath area, was granted to Sir Christopher Barnewall in 1556 when he was High Sheriff of Dublin’ (pp100-101).

The Counihan family was the last to occupy Turvey House before it was demolished in 1987.

[6] ‘Roper, who originally came to Ireland with Essex, had a leased estate in the Castleisland district in Kerry, where the Crosbies also had land.  Roper's cousin, Rebecca Roper in Derbyshire, married Sir William Villiers, the Earl of Buckingham's elder brother, thus providing Roper, and by extension Crosbie, his Kerry neighbour, with a direct link to the royal court’ (p95). 

[7] See Michael O’Donohoe reference IE MOD/58/58.25/58.25.1 for notes on Sir Thomas Roper 1609-1640.