MacCarthy (Mac Carthaig), Domnall Máel (d. 1327), lord of Cairbre (Carbery), was probably the youngest son of Domnall Got MacCarthy (qv), lord of Cairbre, a successful warlord who consolidated and expanded the gains of his father and brothers at the expense of his MacCarthy Mór overlords. Nothing is known of his mother. He seems to have assumed the lordship of Cairbre on the death of his brother Diarmait (1279) and comes to notice for the first time in 1280, when his overlord Domnall Ruad MacCarthy (qv) forced him and his rival Fedlimid MacCarthy to submit. By the terms of the peace, Domnall Ruad granted the territories south of the River Lee to Domnall Máel, while Fedlimid received the lands of Múscraige (Muskerry). With dynastic unity restored (albeit temporarily), the protagonists joined their overlord in an offensive on English settlements throughout Desmond. From 1285 Domnall Máel's desire to establish the independence of his territory became increasingly clearer as he was imprisoned for six months by Domnall Ruad. His ambitions remained unfulfilled for years because of Domnall Ruad's dominance over Desmond, but after the latter's death (1302) opportunities emerged. Domnall Ruad's son and successor Domnall Óc, described by the annalist as ‘one fitted to be king by reason of good sense, piety and purity’, was captured by Domnall Máel in 1306, and later beheaded (24 September 1306) in what was generally regarded as ‘a shocking deed’. Four years later Domnall Máel realigned with Domnall Óc's son Diarmait Óc MacCarthy (d. 1325), king of Desmond, to demolish the castle of Dún Meic Odmainn. In 1326 he is last recorded rebuilding that castle, and defeating Maurice FitzGerald (qv), later 1st earl of Desmond. He appears to have died shortly afterwards. The next important lord of Cairbre was Domnall Máel's great-grandson Domhnall Riabhach MacCarthy (c.1340–1414), who is first mentioned in 1366, when he treacherously killed his uncle and lord of Cairbre, Cormac Donn MacCarthy. His consolidation of his newly won power was far from smooth, as he faced considerable opposition from the latter's sons. In 1367 he captured Cormac Donn's son Diarmaid and delivered him to the English for execution. Little else is recorded of Domhnall Riabhach's career except that he became embroiled in a successful border war with the O'Sullivans (1398). He died in 1414 and was succeeded by his son, Domhnall Glas MacCarthy (qv).
A.FM, iii, 479, 585; iv, 817; Ann. Inisf., 373, 377, 383, 399, 435; MacCarthy's Book, 107; ALC, i, 31, 37, 85; AU, iii, 67; CJR, 1295–1303, 63; CDI, 1285–92, 371; 1293–1301, 129, 180, 248, 280; 1302–7, 36, 37