Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2000-11 > 0973983624

From: "Sean J Murphy" <>
Subject: Re: College of Arms Searches
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 23:00:24 -0000

Chris & Tom Tinney, Sr. <> wrote in message
> Tim Powys-Lybbe wrote:
> "Finally, even if one could access the College
> of Arms records, what could one say of their
> veracity?" Additionally, what could one say
> of the access or quality of various records in
> other national depositories? EXAMPLE:
> Dr. Edward MacLysaght, staff member of
> the National Library of Ireland; creator of
> the Genealogical Office, is noted as saying
> he was "an amateur in genealogy and an
> ignoramus in heraldry". [Charles Lysaght,
> Edward MacLysaght 1887-1986, National
> Library of Ireland, 1988, p. 20.]. This is
> just one of the quotes in Erin's Blood Royal,
> The Gaelic Noble Dynasties of Ireland,
> by Peter Berresford Ellis, Constable and
> Company Limited, London; Copyright 1999.
> He further mentions that "the Genealogical
> Office . . . with one notable exception, none
> of the Chief Heralds appointed since 1943
> has been qualified in heraldry, genealogy or
> international nobiliary law - let alone
> the Brehon law of dynastic succession."
> In a generally very unfavorable "Review of
> Peter Berresford Ellis, Erin's Blood Royal",
> Sean Murphy MA, Centre for Irish
> Genealogical and Local Studies,
> 18 September 1999, states:
> "The earlier sections of Berresford Ellis's
> work give a summary account of Gaelic
> dynastic laws of succession under the
> Brehon Code, and describe how in the
> sixteenth century the Tudors set out to
> destroy Gaelic society and utterly abolish
> Gaelic titles. These chapters seem
> reasonably well done and significantly are
> based substantially on the work of serious
> scholars." . . .
(Large snip)

Of course MacLysaght was engaging in humorous self-deprecation when he
described himself as 'an amateur in genealogy and an ignoramus in heraldry'.
While MacLysaght was not without flaws, no more than any man, as a scholar
he stood head and shoulders above most of his successors as Chief Herald of
Ireland. As we now know, one of these successors in particular abandoned
MacLysaght's standards and recognised Terence MacCarthy as MacCarthy Mr, as
well as several other bogus Gaelic Chiefs. TM was very fond of quoting
MacLysaght's self-deprecatory remark above, the better to put across his own
utterly fraudulent concept of Chiefly succession by Tanistry, based on a
half-baked and distorted reading of Brehon Law. Peter Berresford Ellis not
only supported MacCarthy's preposterous claims, but also allowed him to
write a foreword to 'Erin's Blood Royal', and while he has now renounced his
former champion, he has not as far as I can establish detached himself from
pseudo-Tanistry. For a brief account of the myth of the sons of King
Milesius, who stand at the head of most Gaelic pedigrees, and link back to
Old Testament figures, see Finally, as
my Chiefs website has become rather unwieldy and is being reconstructed, I
have put up a more compact account of the MacCarthy Mr Hoax at

Sean Murphy

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