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Nagle Genealogy and Nagle Family History Information

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About the Nagle surname

The Nagle family in Ireland

The Name was introduced into Ireland during the Anglo-Norman Invasion of the 12th Century. According to Extracts from the Life of Nano Nagle by William Hutch, Nagle is one of the most ancient Anglo-Norman families in Ireland. Gilbert d'Angulo, knight to Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, entered Ireland in 1172 with his two sons, Jocelyn and Honestia. In 1174 Henry II granted the kingdom of Meath, to Sir Hugh de Lacy

The Nagles of County Cork

the Nagles, were one of the greatest surviving Catholic families in eighteenth-century Ireland, having managed to escape the confiscation of property after the fall of the Stuarts at the Battle of the Boyne. Four branches of Nagles were settled in the Blackwater Valley of North Cork, an area still known as ‘Nagle Country’, and the leadership of the region’s Gaelic Catholic interest remained in their hands for the first half of the eighteenth century. The survival, indeed the prosperity of minor Catholic families in the area, such as the Hennessys, depended on the security of the Nagles, who leased land to them on advantageous terms. The security of this Catholic enclave was strengthened by marriages to the Tipperary Catholic gentry. There was no other region in Munster or Leinster that had a comparable network of Catholic and nominally apostate, crypto-Catholic landowners.

In the 1750s the Nagles married into this affluent Galway society and into the Catholic gentry of the Pale, achieving a position of influence and connection unequaled by any other Catholic family in Ireland.

Paradoxically, the Nagles were surrounded by the largest Protestant gentry presence in the country. Breandán Ó Buachalla aptly describes the extended Nagle stronghold in the Blackwater as ‘an island of Catholic hegemony in a sea of Protestant ascendancy.’ The heart of the Blackwater Valley is about six miles from Mallow, which was a large centre of English settlement in the eighteenth century, with sporting attractions and spa waters which drew many visitors. Within five miles of Mallow there were some fifty seats, including the large estates of the Brodericks and the Kings. Perhaps inevitably, the Nagles attracted the wrath of the ruling Protestants of the area and the bitter sectarian politics of Cork, which flared in the 1730s, 1750s and 1760s, were focused on the Nagles and their dependents. Joseph Nagle, who had been a lawyer before the 1704 proscription on Catholics entering the profession, was most astute in defending and maintaining both the local hegemony of the Nagle family and even in making interventions on behalf of the landed Catholic interest on a national scale.