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My Carbery Connections

By Michael W. Caughey

Olive Carbery married Patrick Morgan, my brother in law. Her father and his brother were men's hairdressers on the Springfield Road, Belfast.
The more important sept of this name was that of Clonlonan in Co. Westmeath where they were chiefs. They remained there in a leading position up to the end of the 17th century. A branch of it were erenaghs of Galloon in Co. Fermanagh. They were usually O'Cairbre in Irish, but Mac Cairbre was also used. The Carberys of Co. Waterford are distinct; they are Mac Cairbre; Ballymacarbery in that county locates them. The personal name Cairbre is said to have denoted 'charioteer', but this derivation is uncertain.
Hugh Carbery of Ballymore, Co. Westmeath, was outlawed for his activities on the side of James II, in whose army another of the family was an officer. At that period, however, the name Carbery was much more numerous in Co. Waterford, but it is probable that the people there were of different stock and that in Irish they were Mac Cairbre not O'Cairbre; the existence of the place Ballymacarbry in Co. Waterford corroborates this.
In fact MacCarbery occurs more often in the earlier records than O'Carbery, but such references relate to places so widely scatteredas to be of little use as a guide to location.
For example the Four Masters mention, inter alios, Dermot MacCarbry, an Ultonian harper in 1490; while Aneas MacCarbery of the Clogher diocese appears in Archbishop Swain's Register in 1427 both as Mac and O. In the next century the Fiants record many MacCarberys in counties Monaghan and Longford as well in the parts of the country in which we would expect to find them. In the Fiants the O'Carberys, much fewer in number, are all in the midland area around Co. Westmeath; but in 1659 some families were found in Co. Armagh.
Finally it should be mentioned that a Norman family deriving its name from the place Carbury, i.e. the parish of Carbury in the barony of Carbury, appears in early records, e.g., as a tenant of the manor of Cloncurry, Co. Kildare, in 1304, i.e. the parish of Carbury in the barony of Carbury, Co. Kildare.
There is also a barony of Carbury in Co. Sligo and of Carbery in Co. Cork, while in Co. Meath near Trim, there is a Carberrystown.
At the present time the name is a scattered one, but it is safe to say that it is found most often in Dublin, north Leinster and south Ulster and seldom in Connacht.
(Sources 'The Surnames of Ireland' and 'More Irish Families').
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