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According to George Carew, the Lord President of Munster in the late 1590s, election and the approval of an overlord (‘giving of the rod’) were equally important in the succession of a chieftain, ‘the rod avails nothing except he be chosen by the followers, not yet the election without the rod’[11] Similarly, Florence would later deny the importance of the intervention of Hugh O’Neill in making him Mac Carthy Mór, saying that it was a title that, ‘the O’Sullivans and the rest of the gentlemen, freeholders and followers of the country laid on me’[12] On the other hand, O’Neill’s approval was of enough significance for Florence to go great lengths to get him to switch his backing from Florence’s half brother in law Donal to Florence himself.Moreover, the succession of the Mc Carthy Reagh lordship in Florence’s lifetime was decided by negotiation within the ruling kindred, with a hierarchy of seniority being decided in advance of the death of a chieftain, without any reference to the inhabitants of Carberry.A Gaelic aristocrat like Florence Mac Carthy could therefore aspire to authority over a very wide kin group as well as over his dependants and tenants.Throughout Florence’s life, this extended hierarchical kin group was to be a mixed blessing.In any case, the provincial aristocracy intermarried frequently, and thus Florence was related not only to members of the Carberry Mac Carthys, but also to those of Muskerry, and on his mother’s side to the (Hiberno-Norman) Fitzmaurice Fitzgeralds, and the Roche family[10].Before their destruction in the second Desmond rebellion, the Fitzgerald Earls of Desmond dominated Munster, claiming tribute off the Mac Carthys.Such infighting was typical in all the Gaelic lordships of Ireland, the only unusual feature of the Mac Carthy situation being that it was not resolved by actual violence.For this reason, the English described ‘tanistry’ as a barbarous method of succession and attempted to impose primogeniture inheritance.

Florence’s importance as a historical figure lies in the part he played in this transition.Desmond, (not to be confused with the Fitzgerald Earldom to the north) was the largest of the three, located in the mountainous region of west Cork and southern Kerry and was, as Florence would later write, ‘the back and strength of Munster’ because of its rugged terrain that made it difficult to subdue[6].George Carew would call it, ‘that rough and mountainous land…unfit for honest men to dwell on’.[7] The lord of this territory was the Mac Carthy Mór, with authority not only over the dependent septs within Desmond, such as the O’Sullivans, but also superiority over all the Mac Carthys in Munster.It would be a mistake to think that everyone living within (Mac Carthy) Desmond, Carberry and Muskerry was a Mac Carthy, because they owed their allegiance to Clan Carthy.The Mac Carthys were a ruling sept, believing themselves to be descended from the pre-conquest kings of Munster.

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  1. Building a family has changed everything for him, as Cumberbatch told When he's not portraying Sam Wilson/Falcon in the MCU, Anthony Mackie lives a quiet, reserved wife with his wife, Sheletta Chapital, and their three children. Both Mackie and Chapital are from New Orleans and have known each other since they were seven years old. This past how many months we've had to do press tours together.