Barony of BARRETTS

GrenaghCounty Cork

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Baróidigh aka Barretts is a barony in northwest County Cork (just south of Mallow). It derived its name from the Barretts who came to Ireland as part of the Cambro-Norman invasion. (Baronies were administrative divisions of a county, created after the Norman Invasion of Ireland in the 12th century). The Barretts were undeniably the most influential family in Co. Cork and were in possession of an extensive estate in the centre of Co. Cork for over 400 years. 

  • The earliest known castle to be built by the Barrett Welshmen in Ireland was Glandore Castle aka Cloghtrad-Bally. 
  • By 1317 they had a secondary estate at Grenagh north of Blarney. 
  • They intermarried with the locals and became totally Gaelicized.

The chief of the name was known as ‘Barrett of Barrett’s Country’. Within this Barrett lordship there became established many junior lines of the family, as was the Irish way. During the 1580s, the chieftainship of the Barretts was disputed between two lines of Barrett and a settlement was reached giving the bulk of the land and Castlemore (Castle Barrett) to one line and Ballincollig Castle and a few surrounding townlands to the other. And it was at these two castles that the chiefs of the family appear to have resided towards the end of the lordship

The "Barrett's Country" or "Nation of Barretts" estate was significantly larger than the Barony of Barretts we know today. Shaped like a giant “S”, it extended in a lengthy tract from 4 miles north of Mallow (winding through Muskerry) to 6 miles south-west of Cork City. This 26,280 acre estate included:

Up until the early 17th century, the Castlemore Barretts seem to have had the above in their possession. They lost some of their lands during the English settlements of the 17th century.

  • In  1645 Castlemore was damaged in 1645 by a force of Cromwell’s army and the Barretts Barony at Castlemore was said to be Protestant and the land was retained by the Barretts (1652).
  • In 1690 Col. John Barrett, raised a Jacobite infantry and fought on the side of the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne.
  • Finding themselves on the losing side, the Barrett clan suffered genocide at the hands of the Williamites, and had to go into hiding.
  • Castlemore was destroyed and Barrett lost 12,000 acres of his land in 1691.
  • Many Barrets emigrated to America in the early 1700’s during the Great Irish Migration; others returned to England. 

The “Barony of Barretts” as we know it today, was created by the English following these land confiscations of the 17th Century. It extends into 5 civil parishes:

While baronies continue to be officially defined units, they have been administratively obsolete since 1898. 


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