Carriganass and ‘The Flight of the Earls’

After defeat at the Battle of Kinsale (1601-2), Donal Cam‘s forces retreated to his castle at Dunboy, just west of Castletownbere, to fortify it against attack.

Dunboy Castle, renovated

Dunboy Castle, renovated.
Image by Joachim S. Mueller, via Creative Commons

Donal Cam himself was in the north of the country at the time, and was not present when the crown’s forces launched their attack on June 6th. Dunboy Castle was not able to withstand their advances, and after 11 days of bombardment the castle fell with no survivors on the Beara side. Then began the epic march from West Cork to Leitrim which would form part of the legendary ‘Flight of the Earls’.

Donal Cam set out on his journey from Beara accompanied by an entourage of about one thousand people. It would be mid-January 1603 before their journey to meet up with the O’Rourke clan was completed, and at this stage only 35 of the original group remained, many others having settled for a new life somewhere on the arduous route Donal Cam had taken through 10 of Ireland’s 32 counties.

To find out more about West Cork’s role in the Flight of the Earls, see the Beara Historical Society website.