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CHAPTER 5

EVENTS IN MILLSTREETf S HISTORY

Rinnucini:

The castle of Droumsicane,1 6 across the Blackwater, witnessed a most colourful cavalcade in Irish History in 1645 with the arrival at the end of October of John Baptist Rinnucini, Prince Archbishop of Fermo and Nuncio apostolic to Ireland from His Holiness, Pope Urban VIII. He had landed at Kenmare on October 22nd. and had narrowly escaped capture by a British man-of-war. After resting for four days in Macroom, the seat of Viscount Muskerry, in the company of the Bishops of Ardfert and Ross, he arrived at Droumsicane on the northern bank of the Blackwater across the river from Drishane and at the time belonging to Dermot McCarthy, scion of a junior branch of the house.1 7 He had 26 Italians in his retinue as well as several regular and secular priests. He brought with him 2000 swords, 500 cases of petronels, a large consignment of gunpowder and several trunks of Spanish gold.

Before coming to Macroom, the Nuncio had been entertained at Ardtully Castle by Donogh McCarthy. He spent a night in Ballyvourney and came to Macroom via Clondrohid. At Droumsicane he met Boetius McEgan, later (1648) Bishop of Ross who was hanged by Broghil at Carrigadrohid (1650).

O'Sullivan Beare:

Of Sullivan Beare left Dunboy on Dec. 31st., 1601, (leaving his baby son with a foster mother in the mountains) with 1,000 followers. He spent the first night camped at Ahacross (Teampall Eachair) in Uibh Laoghaire. He was hospitably received by Ua Laoghaire and stayed one night with O'Herlihy in Ballyvourney. All made the rounds at St. Gobnait's well next day.

1 6 Droumsicane Castle is a rectangular fortification, formerly the property of the O'Keeffes. Length, 41 yards; Breadth, 31 yards; walls 23 feet high and 4 feet of thickness. It is flanked by a circular tower at each corner. The N.E. tower has been completely demolished. The remaining towers are two-storied having an internal diameter of 17 feet 7 inches. Each tower is pierced in each story with holes, evidently for the use of hand-guns. In the centre of the Rectangular Enclosure was a lofty square tower demolished about 150 years ago.

The Castle is locally known as ' T h e Boing' (Ath Buaine), i.e. the fort of the everlasting (river) - in this case the Blackwater. Dr. Joyce in Irish Names of Places remarks that the Irish seem to have the custom of applying the word 'buan' (lasting) to rivers.

17This item is uncertain. Droumsicane was an O'Keeffe Castle - also Dromagh and Duarrigle - under the headship of the McCarthies. (In Canon Costello's copybook there was a newspaper article by "Bill Cody" headed: "Dromagh Castle, a stronghold of a Fighting clan". It describes the O'Keeffes as: "a fearless tribe who brooked no interference by the neighbouring clans or anybody else". It says: "Their chief stronghold was Dromagh Castle, which was built in 1601. Others of their castles were Dromsickane and Duaragil, still in a fair stage of preservation, between Cullen and Millstreet." The name of the newspaper and its date are not given.

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