The proportion of Irish Protestant on the island has fluctuated between 20-25%, the actual figure taking a broad definition is higher as many Catholics have a Protestant background and visa versa. There are a number of home grown protestant churches, The Plymouth Brethren in Dublin, the Coonyites and Blairites in Cavan/Fermanagh and numerous others. From surviving genealogies of say the Arnopp, Limrick family of Mizen, Eddy outside Clonakilty and the descendants of Father/Reverend Daniel McCarthy and Sarah Blair it is clear that there was probably always significant intermarriage.  Apart from religious difference Irish people share a broad common culture. DNA testing is now suggesting that it was far more extensive than previously thought, a reasonable presumption given the lack or destruction of documentary records.

Pre famine, West Cork from Bandon to the Baronies of Carbery and Bantry had one of the most densely populated rural areas in the world, comparable to China, Indian and Haiti. This was enabled by the land tenure system, potatoes, the availability of sea sand, sea weed and the proximity of the expanding Cork markets.  The area is unusual in an Irish context in having a significant Protestant population many of whom are small farmers and formerly labourers and artisans, a trait share by the Ulster counties.  Apart from the present local population there is an enormous diaspora reflected in the fact that the vast majority of readers of this blog emanate from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and  the UK.

Some Burial Records Church of Ireland and Methodist Schull District.  These records have been compiled from the gravestones of Altar (Teampal na mBocht), old Schull, family histories, military records and the online registration records of Schull registration district, free:

Census Records:


There are close familial links between those named here and communities in Durrus and Skibbereen.

There has been significant emigration to Rochester, New York, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Ottawa Valley in Canada since the late 1810s and local researches have identified many from the Schull area who died there.  In time it is hoped to include these records.

When the details of those born in the 1820s onwards are cross checked in the 1901 and 1910 census a significant number speak Irish.  The area would have been bilingual in their youth.  This is confirmed in the census records for Canada where many report themselves as Irish speaking.

Background to some of the surnames

Pre Celtic



Daly, probably related to the Kilcohane Dalys in area since 13th century when they arrived as ‘Rhymers’ to the McCarthys and O’Mahonys

Donovan/O’Donovan, they with the O’Sullivans, O’Mahonys were displaced by the Norman from Tipperary and Limerick.  Local people probably assumed their surname accounting for the multiple septs.  Due to cultural subjugation the ‘O’ and  ‘Mac’ was abandoned in the 18th century and in the 21st century almost universally restored.  Interestingly from the early 18th century various Protestant branches of the O’Donovan family claimed the Chieftainship which entitled the holder to be known as ‘The’ O’Donovan and they invariably retained the ‘O’ prefix.

Hegarty/Haggerty.  DNA evidence places the family in Donegal/Derry probably one of a cluster of West Cork names O’Neill, O’Donnell, Ward, Gallagher coming down as soldiers 1601 for the Battle of Kinsale remaining and marrying locally.







Weaving Background

Many of the same names common in Co. Armagh and Down. Often very small holdings as in Durrus.  In famine related records they are often in the category as struggling or in poor circumstances. Some of the names appear as discharged soldiers late 18th early 19th century.

Allen, Antrim, Down

Cole, also Creagh, Inane,  moved to Coolculaghta in Durrus as master weavers.

Croston, possibly from Croston, Lankashire also in Durrus.

Johnson, Antrim, Down

King, Antrim, Down.

Love, Antrim, Down.

Melvin, Antrim, Down.

Shannon, Antrim, Down.

Whitley, Antrim

Williamson, Antrim, Armagh,

Willis, Antrim, Armagh, Down.



Connell (Quesnel)





Swanton, a local Minister early 18th century apparently stated the Swantons hailed from Scotland.  The general view was the family originated in Norfolk. What may support his contention is a small Scots Plantation in Castlehaven c 1690 which may account for the names Anderson, Hamilton in the area but Hamilton may be a Gaelic variation.


Becher, once had enormous estate taking in most of peninsula and island.  Much sub let to middle men such as Swantons, O’Driscoll late 18th century.  Estimated at the time 1850s of the forced sale before Landed Estates court rental only one quarter of going rate, the rest going to middle men.

Coughlan, formerly vassals to the O’Mahonys.  The senior Carrigmanus line converted to the Church of Ireland c 1600 closely aligned to Hulls and Boyles.  Family were clergymen in the Church of Ireland.  Small estate at Carrigaline outside Cork.  Jeremiah (Jeremy) of the family an attorney 1690s and Seneschal of Dungarvan,  joint manager of West Waterford Devonshire Estate with Andrew Crotty a Catholic. Intermarried with Durrus Evansons.

Hungerford, main line at The Island, Rosscarbery

Sweetnam, agents on Becher estate, middlemen.

Cole family has destroyed Census:

Arnopp Genealogy:

Limrick Genealogy:

Sweetnam Genealogy:



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