The History of the name ClancyThe Clancys / Glancys (in Irish MagFhlannchadha) were part of the old Gaelic aristocracy whose history goes back more than a thousand years in Dartry, an area in West Breifne, which is partly located today in the counties of Sligo and Leitrim in north west Ireland. They are not connected to the Munster sept of the same name which evolved separately from the forename Flann before surnames came into common usage.
Flann, from whom the family name of MagFhlannchadha derives, is first recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters in 1114, and later variously written in the State Papers as MaGlannagh, McGlanthie, MacGlanagh, McGlanchy, Glanaghy, but now anglicised to Glancy and Clancy.
The Clancys of Dartry are most fortunate and immensely indebted to a survivor of the Spanish Armada, one Don Francisco de Cuellar, who left a written account of his stay with them in 1588. This document, dated 4 October, 1589, lay undiscovered for three centuries in the archives of the Academia de la Historia in Madrid. Don Francisco stayed at Rosclogher, Clancy's principal residence by the shores of Lough Melvin.
In 1659, Pender's Census shows William McGlanchy as the proprietor of numerous townlands in the ancestral territory of Rosclogher Barony, and also mentions that amongst the principal Irish names and their number in the same barony were: O Rourke 24 and McGlanchy 12. Anyone of the name Glancy/Clancy who can trace their descent from Sligo, Leitrim and surrounding counties can link up with a clan whose origins are lost in the mists of antiquity.
Dartry - end of an era
The first decade of the twenty first century brought great change to the ancestral district of the clan - memory of their reign is slowly fading. Signposts that once directed visitors to the ruins of both Duncarbry and Rosclogher castles have gone. Duncarbry Lodge, built circa early 1800s by the Dickson family in the grounds of the former Manor of the name, beside the site of the towerhouse/castle, was demolished about the year 2000 and urban style houses built in its place. Sadly, there were no Clancys or Glancys in the immediate area to call a halt or to initiate an archaeological dig in such a historical location. A golden opportunity was lost forever - MacClancy's castle had been built on the site of the ancient fort of Cairbre - only part of the mound on which the castle stood is still intact.
Now is the time for descendants of the clan to honour their family's heritage by either taking a trip to the ancestral territory or at least passing on a sense of place to the next generation. After all, there is not much point in knowing who you are if you don't know where you have come from.
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