Muintir Bháire is the ancient name for the Sheep’s Head peninsula. Bháire was a descendant of Fodhradh Canaan of the Corca Luighe or the race of the Lughaidh, who settled in this country in the pre-Christian era.
Muintir Bháire are “the people of Bháire”. The land holds many reminders of the early inhabitants – lioses or dúns, promontory forts, earthen caishils and stone alignments. Cill Chrochain – Kilcrohane – means the Church of Crochan. Little is known about Saint Crochan, but he is believed to have lived about the time of Saint Patrick in the mid-fifth century. Tradition has it that he came from Catherdaniel in County Kerry (where there are two ruined churches called after him and a village, also called Kilcrohane) and erected a church or cell. This church is most probably on the site of the ruined church that stands in the centre of the cemetery in Kilcrohane.
The history of the earliest settlers, the Bardic School and the clans of O’Mahony’s, O’Daly’s, MacCarthy’s and O’Donovan’s is well researched and documented in “The Story of Kilcrohane” by Frank O’Mahony, published in October 2000, and available in book stores in Bantry and the general grocery store in Kilcrohane.
There is also a paper entitled “An Irish Rural Parish – Past and Present – Muintir Bháire” by T. J. Walsh who was a parish priest in Muintir Bháire in the late 1960’s. It was published in the Capuchin Annual of 1972 and is available in the reference section at Bantry library.