The MacDermots Roe, one of Ireland's most distinguished families descend from Dermot Roe MacDermot, grandson of the King of Moylurg. Although blinded by Aedh, King of Connaught in 1266, Dermot Roe, later known as Dermot Dall (dall = blind), his descendants created a distinct sept of the MacDermot Clan which remained influential in Moylurg until the early 20th century. To distinguish themselves from other MacDermots, they attached the appellation Roe, meaning red, to the surname MacDermot.
The MacDermots Roe are known especially as the patrons of Ireland's most famous composer, Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). However, they were, also, renowned from the 1300's for their service as Biatach General for the Kingdom of Connaught, an area many times larger than Moylurg. In this position, the MacDermots Roe were responsible for the welfare of the poor and homeless for the provision of food and shelter to travelers.
The MacDermot Roe family could be found throughout Moylurg, a territory now included in northern County Roscommon and bordering areas in County Sligo. The highest concentration of MacDermots Roe was in Kilronan Civil Parish in northeastern Roscommon and the nearby townlands in Sligo.
Early 17th century documents show that approximately one-half of the MacDermots of Moylurg identified themselves as MacDermots Roe. However, in modern times members of the sept dropped the appellation Roe as many recordkeepers often mistakenly took the Roe to be a surname. As a result, less than 1 percent of the thousands of MacDermots living today who trace their ancestry to Moylurg are identifiable as MacDermots Roe.
One purpose of this website is to preserve the history of the MacDermots Roe especially the family's charitable tradition as Biatach. We have posted several articles relating to the family's history and hope that you find them of interest. Many of them previously appeared in Biatach, our family newsletter.
A second purpose of the site is to help MacDermots Roe reconnect with the sept. There are thousands of MacDermots around the world who are, in fact, MacDermot Roe descendants. If you are a descendant, please drop us a line. We would love to hear from you and introduce you to other MacDermot Roe cousins.
If you are a MacDermot descendant and think you might be a MacDermot Roe, we would, also, be happy to hear from you. Over the years, we have accumulated much genealogical information which could be of help to you in confirming your MacDermot Roe lineage.
Ken and Bonnie MacDermot Roe, Publishers
Biatach, Copyright 2014