Henry ‘Bacach’ Mac Diarmada Rua (c. 1645-1715) and his wife, Mary Fitzgerald (c. 1660-1739) of Alderford are famous as the principal patrons of Ireland’s most renowned composer, Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738). O’Carolan, a blind harpist, adapted his beautiful Irish folk melodies to the baroque style of his day (LISTEN). He was crucial to the preservation of the Gaelic musical tradition during the harshest days of English colonialism exemplified by the Penal Laws.
Through Henry Bacach we can trace our McDermottroe lineage back to the first “Diarmad Rua” (aka Diarmuid Dall) who was Biatach General for the Kingdom of Connaught (circa1320) and a descendant of the very first “Diarmuid”, King of Moylurg (1124-1159). This pedigree can be traced all the way back to the first kings of Ireland, Heremon and Heber, 2,000 B.C.
Henry Bacach (meaning lame) MacDermot Roe and his grandfather Conor successfully navigated their family through the tumultuous mid-17th century in Ireland. In 1667 (following Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland) young Henry Baccach received confirmation of his estates from King Charles II of England under a “Declaration of Innocence” which preserved part of the original 1607 land grant. (The Declaration was issued on proof that Henry had not participated in the Irish rebellions against England during the English Civil War).
We know quite a bit about Henry Baccach’s family through biographical notes on O’Carolan’s career from its beginning, with the help of the MacDermots Roe, to his final days at Alderford. (see the Mundey-O’Reilly manuscript and/or Donal O’Sullivan’s definitive biography of O’Carolan which includes a chapter on the MacDermots Roe). O’Carolan immortalized their contribution in such compositions as “Mrs. MacDermot Roe”, “Henry MacDermot Roe” and “The Princess Royal”. This historic role is a continuing source of MacDermot Roe family pride.
In 1680, Henry Baccach married Mary Fitzgerald (daughter of John Fitgerald of Turlough, Co Mayo) and they resided at the family seat at Alderford. They had five sons:
(1) Henry McDermottroe Jr. of Greyfield, who married Anne O’Donnell and had one daughter who died without issue,
(2) John McDermottroe (aka John the Counselor) of Alderford who married Julia French and was succeeded by his son Thomas,
(3) Thomas McDermottroe, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ardagh,
(4) Matthew McDermottroe, a doctor, who married a Miss MacDermot of Ballinvilla (and who had a son Charles, also a doctor, who died in Jamaica) and
(5) Charles of Alderford who married Eleanor O’Conor of Bealanagare (sister of the historian Charles O’Conor) see SCREGG
LINKS TO KILLUKIN
The McDermotroes of Scregg are decended from his son, Charles of Alderford, who settled there.
LINKS TO KILLUMMOD
1690 12 December: Charles McDermott, the last chief of the Rock, (when Viscount Dillon was “Lord Lieutenant” of Co Roscommon), had an official order as in virtue of King James’ Commission, for the re-delivery to him of “the castle of Carrick-mac-Dermot, and the castle, or strong house of Canbo, and of all other the castles and strongholds upon the said Charles’ estate and ancient inheritance.