Hereditary Ecclesiastics, Daniel McCarthy (1761-c1830) Parish Priest of Durrus, West Cork, Minister Church of Ireland and his grandson Welbore McCarthy (1840-1925), Anglican Archbishop of Calcutta, India.

In olden Ireland it was common for certain families to provide clergy father to son in areas controlled by different local chieftains. Around the same time under the Brehon Law and in accordance with local religious customs various forms of marital relationships such as concupinage and divorce were allowed as well as wives in different degrees.

Father Daniel Mccarthy’s marriage in 1793 to his ward Miss Sarah Blair and leaving the priesthood caused a storm that reverbeated for years.

1793 Sarah Blair Rev. Daniel McCarthy (An tAthair Tadgh Na Muclagh), Bantry/Blair’s Cove Durus. He had been the parish priest of Durrus and reputedly the head of the ‘Muclaigh’ Sept of the McCarthys who built the Mccarthy Cool-na-Long Castle in Durrus early 1620s. Descendant include Anglican Archbishop of Calcutta family in UK still come to Durrus from time to time, MLB

Looking back it is interesting that he was the only person in the area who could speak French when the French were captured in 1796, he having studied in France. He was according to some accounts the Head of the Muclagh Sept of the McCarthys who until around 1660 were the major land owners in the area having moved their Castle from Scart to Cul-na-Long, Gearhameen around 1620 which still stands in reasonable repair. Accounts put him at over 6’4′, to harden his sons he insisted they swim in winter in Dunmanus Bay.

In the early 1820s he had fallen on hard times and was petitioning the Chief Secretary Office for finincial assistance, this is available on line and he quotes his loyalty and aid in translating the French.

McCarthy, Daniel, Rev. Donovan Street [now Red Abbey Street]

On the 11th instant, at his residence, Donovan-street, aged 70 years the Rev. Daniel

M‘Carthy.‘ Cork Constitution (13/12/1828)


The Grand Jury was making a payment of £20:






His wife Miss Sarah Blair’s mother was O’Donovan her father Richard Blair. The family had originated in the late 17th centurey in the Dunmanway area as did the Bantry Whites. Before that going on the name they may have originated in the North of Ireland or Scotland. The Blairs with the Whites, Fenwicks of Little Island Skibbereen and the Hedges and Davies of Macroom were haevily involved in the 1720s in acquiring escheated land from the Hollow Blade Sword Company when they ran into difficulty with the South Sea Bubble. The Blairs ere interrelated with the Bantry Whites and before moving to Blair’s Covein Durrus c 1775 lived in Blackrock Bantry between the present West Lodge and Maratime Hotels.

In a way the union between Daniel McCaarthy and Miss Sarah Blair was not as absurd as first appears. Incidentally the Blair Estate c 1,000 acres was put up for sale before the Landed estates Court in 1866. The family who ran Blair’s Chemist in Patrick St Cork are from the same line.

Landed Estates Sale:


Of the family of Daniel and Sarah Robert (a printer in 1841 Cork census) married in 1829 Mary Jane Agar, Co. Kildare probably from a Church of Ireland Landed and Clerical family. Their son Welbore became Archbishop of Calcutta. His descendants are still alive and from time to time come to Ireland. Another son John married Jane Carey and had a son Welbore.

Welbore McCarthy: