An Tiarna na Barúntacht na Caisleángearr

Motto: "Brisfid tú me ac ní luabfaid tú me"
"You may break me, but shall not bend me"

"Castleshort's March"
Composed by
Patrick Michael O'Shea

The Lordship of Castleshort is a baronial level fief of the Lordship of Kerslawny (Chois Leammhna - along the banks of the River Laune). This was created as a lordship by King Tadgh II, The MacCarthy Mór circa 1390 AD, for his second son Prince Cormac MacCarthy. The annals of Loch Cé record Cormac's death in 1473 AD styling him Tanist of Desmond, which translates as Crown Prince. Following the extinction of the elder line of the Royal House of MacCarthy in 1596 with the death of King Donal IX, the chiefship of the Dynasty became invested in the Lords of Kerslawny of the line of Cormac. Castleshort lies in Srugreana (Srubh Gréine - River of Gravel) near Cahersiveen (Cathair Sabháin - City of Safety) in County Kerry. Locally it is referred to as Srugreana castle and was built by the Sliocht Cormac Dunguile branch of the Royal House according to Butler (1925). The castle was destroyed during the Cromwellian Wars of the mid 17th century and a raised platform 18m E-W and 14m N-S is all that is left of the original tower house fortification. The area in which it lies is currently called An Ghléib or Glebe.

The site of the castle is on the lower slopes of Coomduff mountain. Close to the castle site is the old graveyard of Killinane enclosing the ruined Church of St Lonan. Stones from Castleshort were used to build the wall of the graveyard. Just over 200 metres beyond the site is the Holy Well of St Gobnet. The Castle appears as a fortified tower house in Carew's map of 1598 AD (published 1600) which is now held in Lambeth Palace Library. It is labelled as lying in the townlands of Srugreana.

A later map, the Ordnance Survey of 1842 (published in 1845) shows the Castle (translated from the Gaeilge as Short Castle) as a ruin lying close (less than half a mile) to Srugreana Abbey. The Abbey was the home of the Lords of Kerslawny. The Abbey, in existence from 1608 as a home, was seized from The MacCarthys during the Cromwellian settlement but leased back to them in 1697. Butler in his book of 1925 "Gleanings from Irish History - The Lordship of the MacCarthy Mór" mistakenly confuses the Abbey with the Castle when he states ".. There was a castle named Srugreena in this district." The Castle is surveyed in the Cork University Press tome, "The Iveragh Peninsula - an Archaeological Survey of South Kerry" by Ann O'Sullivan and John Sheehan (1996). Three other Castleshorts (Caisleangeárr) are identified with the Royal House of MacCarthy. In Cork City, outside the former Norman city walls, a castle of this name was held by the Roches for some time according to John Windele, an historian of the 19th century.

It is seen in Hardiman's map of Cork circa 1600  (click HERE for whole image) as a small square tower in what became Shandon Castle Lane, later Dominic Street. In a survey of Cork in 1654 it is referred to as an "old ivy castle owned by John Roche and measuring 15 feet by 15 feet" and situated south of Shandon Castle. Then there is Castleshort (Caisleángearr) at Ballinadee built for The MacCarthy Reagh and standing in Peafield townland on the estuary of the Bandon River, 2 miles from Ballinadee. It stood on a cliff and was seized by the English after Finghin MacOwen MacCarthy of Enniskeane had been killed. In September 1603 it was granted as castle and lands to David Barry, Lord Viscount Buttevant. In May 1604 it was leased to his cousin Garrett Fitzjames Barry, but later to transferred to Lord Cork. The MacCarthy's pursued Lord Cork for the return of the Castle and lands and Lord Cork settled their claim in 1631. Other maps showing the region may be seen HERE (Petty map of 1683) and HERE (outline map based on Carew).

The fourth Caisleangearr is in Mallow. The original gaelic castle was partly demolished in 1612 and the stones used to build a new one when Mallow became an English free borough. However, a commentary from 1581 by Sir John of Desmond states "The Shorte Castell, otherwise Castlegarre, a great town in which there are two castles, one called Castle Garre and the other Frier's Castle." In 1615, by a patent of James I, "the Castle, manor and town of Mallow and Short Castle, alias Castle Garr" were passed to Dame Elizabeth Jephson and her heirs. In 1642 it was garrisoned by Lieutenant Richard Williamson when the Irish Confederate Forces attacked and breached the walls. The Castle was set alight by Lord Roche. The Castle was surrendered to Sergeant Major Purcell of the Irish Confederate Forces.

The family MacAngearr (Shortt or Short or MacGirr) were Galloglas (Gall Oglaigh) from the Western Scottish seaboard who settled initially in the Clogher Valley in South Tyrone and parts of Cavan and Monaghan. The MacAngearr were a sept that developed from the MacCathmaoil Clan, who in turn were a Galloglas family. Malachy (Maelechlainn Macanghearr MacCathmhaoil), it is recorded in gaelic annals, slew an O'Neill of Tir Eoghan in 1365 in battle. Malachy was son of Cu Uladh Mac Anghearr, who died in 1368 and is styled "cenn aicme a chinidh fein" - head of the family of his home tribe. The MacAngearr's of Munster were a branch of the Antrim sept. They settled in Desmond as Galloglas. After the destruction of the Gaelic Kingdom, they were to be found in Timoleague in west Cork, and then from the 18th century progressively in East Cork at Castlematyr and Carrigtoghil, and by the start of this century at Glenmore on Great Island.

Lieutenant Short(t) served in the Regiment of Grace of the Jacobite Irish Army, and was listed on strength by the French in October 1689. The Regiment of Grace was recruited from Munster. Colonel Richard Grace fought a bitter rearguard action during the Confederate Wars in the area of Cork. Colonel Grace waged a guerilla war on Cromwell's army till his surrender was forced in 1652. Grace and his Munster men then entered the service of the Spanish Army before moving to the French Army and returning to the Jacobite cause. Grace's Regiment successfully defended Athlone Castle during the first siege of the town. Lieutenant Shortt's name appears in the Jacobite Irish Army muster roll preserved in the British Museum and listed as MS 9763.

The present Lord of the Barony is James Shortt of Castleshort, receiving the title on the feast of St Peter & Paul in June 1995. James Gerard Richard Shortt (Séamus Géroid Rístead MacAngearr) was born in 1953 to Peter Henry Shortt (Péader MacAngearr) of Glenmore, County Cork and his wife Maura (Farrelly - née: Moire Anna O'faircheallaigh) of Glasleck. County Cavan. Peter's family were from Castlematyr (Co. Cork) and Cahersiveen (Co. Kerry). Members of the Shortt family prior to and during World War One served in The Munster Fusiliers, The Connaught Rangers (2nd Bn), The Cork Garrison Artillery and the London Irish Rifles. Three of the five brother being invalided out through wounds and injury following service on the Western Front and on the Balkan Front. Peter, (father) and James (uncle) Shortt both served in Fianna Eireann during the Irish War of Independence. James was privately educated in England and Ireland, before completing his secondary and tertiary education in Ireland. He studied initially for the Catholic priesthood for 5 years and entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order (Irish Province). In 1976, he left the Capuchin order and married Georgina Barrett of Malabar Hill, India. They have three children, Lucy (born 1979), Anthony, (born 1981) and Edward (born 1989, shown at left "in uniform"). Anthony is named as An Tánaiste na Caisleángear. The Baron & Baroness Castleshort are both members of the Niadh Nask in the 3rd Division (families noble after 1597). The Baron of Castleshort is the Director General of the International Bodyguard Association (established in Paris in December 1957 by Major Lucien Ott). James, a protégé of Major Ott, became Director General on Major Ott's death in 1990.

The Baron of Castleshort has an extensive and varied military background. From 1975 he was Director of Training for The Combat Training Team, with responsibility for training Regular & Reserve NATO forces in Combat skills (Close-Quarter-Battle, Combat Survival and Combat Medicine). Following service with elite military units he was contracted to train specialist units in both anti-terrorist and counter-terrorist skills, including training units of the United States Army and Air Force in 1980, 1983 - The Belgian Para-Commando Regiment, 1987/88 - NIFA Mujihadeen, 1988/89 The Swedish Defence Forces). From 1983-1987, James was Director of Projects for Special Training Services under Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Austin and fielded counter-terrorist projects in Algeria, Nigeria, Kuwait and The United States of America.

From 1989, The Baron of Castleshort fielded counter-terrorist projects in the Cameroons (at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel) and later in Pogera, Papua New Guinea. He pioneered specialist security, anti-terrorist and counter-terrorist training in Eastern Europe, being the first western military officer to visit the Soviet Airborne College at Ryazan in Russia in February 1989. Later that year he established the first training operations in Poland and Estonia. In 1990, he was honoured by the Polish Government in exile with the award of Knight Commander of Polonia Restituta (2nd division). He is also the recipient of The Gold Cross of Merit with Crossed Swords, The Cross of Independence & Freedom, The Medal of Independence & Freedom, and The Piludski and Sikorski medals. He holds the rank of Colonel with the Polish Reserve Independent Brigade (Polska Niezalezna Brygada Rezerwowa).

In 1990 he was responsible for the re-structuring of Estonian Police security units and the formation of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Government Bodyguard units and Counter-terrorist units. For this he has received the Estonian White Cross (3rd division) and Latvian Crimson Cross and was commissioned as a Major in the interior ministry forces.

In 1992, The Baron of Castleshort led a training team to Kabul at the urgent request of the Afghan Minister of Defence. With the rank of Colonel, he was involved in specialist counter-terrorist and anti-terrorist projects answerable directly to the Minister of Defence. Since 1991 he has worked in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakstan training Government bodyguard and counter-terrorist teams (Alpha, Sokol, Berkut, Grad, Titan, OMON, SOBR, etc.). In 1993, he was received into the Royal Yugoslavian Order of St John by Prince Karl-Wladimir Karageorgevitch (nephew of King Peter II). The Baron has awards, decorations and medals from Belgium, Poland, Estonia, and Latvia. He is currently the commander of "C" (Ceremonial) Squadron of the Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth, with special responsibilities for London duties. He holds the Long Service & Efficiency Medal of the Legion along with medals from Canada and New Zealand. He was honoured in Scotland by The McKerrell of Hillhouse, Chief of his clan, by being accepted as a "bondsman of the Chief" - an ancient Scottish tradition of manrent by which one swears to give assistance of the Clan Chief when called upon, in return for being accepted as a member of the clan with right to Tartan and Buckler.


(left-right) 1. In deep Jungle, Maip, Papua New Guinea on patrol with Chimbu tracker; 2. Khost, Afghanistan Jan 1988. Serving as an advisor to NIFA mujihadeen during the War against the Soviet invasion; 3. 1989, the First Western Officer to be received at the Soviet Airborne & Special Forces Academy, Ryazan. USSR; 4. Colonel The Baron of Castleshort, leading training team in Afghanistan against Taliban for Afghan Defence Ministry; 5. With Maximillian, tent pegging practice as Commander "C" (ceremonial) Squadron of the Legion of Frontiersmen; 6. Summers on the Family farm in Cavan were spent in the company of Michael O'Cinnain. Michael a relative, manufactured and played all types of pipes. Here he hold a set of Uillin pipes he has made in his farm workshop in Glasleck; 7. The Director General of the I.B.A. with author and former U.S. Navy Seal counter-terrorist Commander Richard Marcinko

The Baron of Castleshort is the commander of the Royal Galloglas Guard. He is a long term active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also Convenor-General of the Society of the Irish Brigade. Castleshort has authored 10 books and numerous newspaper and magazine articles and been the subject of a number of television documentaries. His pastimes and interests include horse-riding, mounted and dismounted skill-at-arms, course shooting and target shooting, amateur boxing and martial arts. The latter he commenced at the age of six, under his father, Peter. Castleshort holds the Gant d'Or (Golden Gloves) in French Savate and 8th dan black belt in traditional Japanese Ju Jutsu from the Dai Nihon Seibukan in Kyoto, Japan. The Baron of Castleshort is the Patron of the Great Britain B.F.-Savate Federation. He was Captain of the joint British-Irish Savate Team from 1980-84. He is also on the Register of Expert Witnesses. At right is The Baron of Castleshort with the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic, Bertie Ahern.

Clubs: The Irish Club (London), The Lansdowne (London)


letters: The Baron of Castleshort, c/o The Lansdowne Club, 9 FitzMaurice Place, Berkeley Square, London W1X 6JD

This page under constant construction.
Entire contents ©1998-9 Baron James Shortt of Castleshort