Cornelius (Mac) Gillereagh
The name Cornelius Gillereagh is closely associated with the McMahon
family and occurs frequently in deeds etc relating to the family in the
first half of the 18th century. The Mac Gillereaghs (Mac Gilla Riabhaigh,
anglicé Gallery) were an ancient family in East Corca Baiscinn.
In 1580 Conor Mac Gillereagh held the Castle of Cragbrien in Clondagad
parish. By 1589 he had been forced to transfer his castle and lands to
Donough O'Brien, 4th Earl of Thomond who was intent on expanding his
landholdings by every available means, often at the expense of families
who were traditionally been followers of the O'Brien51.
In 1626 Donogh Mac Gillareagh was owner of Cloondrinagh and Clonboyerna.
He died on
the 1st March, 1615, leaving as his heir his son Richard, then aged eighteen
years. In 1634 Rickard Mac Gillareagh, late of Cloondrinagh, was owner
likewise of Cloonborna; he died on the 1st August, 1634, leaving Mahone
his son and heir, then aged nine years, and leaving his widow, Johanna
Considine, surviving him52. In 1641 Cloonboyerna was held by Dermot Mac
Gillareagh of Cloonboyerna and Mahone Mac Gillareagh of Cloondrinagh.
Cornelius Gillereagh was in all probability either a son or a grandson
of Mahone. The MacGillereaghs lost these lands in 1652. In 1708 Cornelius
was still in the parish of Clondagad, this time at Decamade (Dehomad),
close to his family's ancestral lands.
In 1708 Nicholas Woulfe of Tyremaclaun in the county of Clare did give
grant bargain sell release and confirm unto Cornelius Gillereagh of Enis
lands of Tyrevaclane and Ballyveskill two plowlands and a half and Ballymacregane
one plowland situate in the county of Clare in as large and ample a manner
as were granted to Nicholas by Henry Earl of Thomond in 1684 under a lease
for lives renewable forever. Woulfe also transferred to Cornelius a large quantity
of lands in Co Limerick totalling 2,006 acres. These lands had been acquired
in trust for Woulfe by David Nihill late of Garruragh, Co Clare, deceased,
from Thomas Hackett in 1688 on a 31 year lease. Woulfe had obtained a decree
in 1708 against Hackett and full benefit thereof in the High Court of Chancery
in respect of these lands. There was a Deed of Defeazance to the Deed of Release
incorporated in the memorial in which Edmond Morony of Kilmacduane Esq was
In January 1709 Cornelius Gillereagh was 'of Enis' (sic) when he granted
a 31 year lease to Capt Thady McNemara of Ranna of the lands of Clouintinee,
88 acres profitable land in the Parish and Barony of Tulla for the use of John
McNemara also of Ranna54
By July 1711 Cornelius was 'of Moirieske' (Moyreisk) when he acquired
in trust and for the use of James Creagh of the City of Limerick Merchant
plantation measur of profitable land at Coonagh in the City of Limerick from
Connor O'Brien of Cloughur, Co Clare Gent and his mother Catherine, widow of
Mahon O'Brien of Coonagh. Thady MacNemara of Ranna was a witness55.
In November 1711 Cornelius was still at Moyreisk when he acquired a lease
for thirty one years from Garret Gough of Bealdorogie ( Ballyduvroga?),
of the lands of Breffa North seventy nine acres and Clouindrinagh seventy six
acres, in the Barony of Islands, the lease to commence in March 171656.
Before his death in 1711 Mortogh McMahon had appointed Cornelius Gillereagh
as guardian to his elsest son Thomas. We have already seen that Cornelius acquired
a 99 year lease of the lands of Clonina in 1707 from Lady Henrietta O'Brien
and the following year he granted a 31 year lease of the same lands to Captain
Mortogh McMahon. Following Mortogh's death, Cornelius arranged for Michael
Comyn to acquire a new lease of these lands in 1712 from the Earl of Thomond
in trust for Thomas McMahon. This lease seems to have superseded the 1707 lease
of Clonina which Cornelius had held from Lady O'Brien and was probably necessitated
by the Penal Laws which had then come into force regarding the ownership or
holding long leases of land by Catholics.
In 1712 the Earl of Thomond granted leases to Thos Drew of Dublin Gent of the
lands of Athlonghurte (Athlunkard) and Shanakeele (Shannakyle) situate in the
Parish of Killquan (Cill Chuáin, now St Patrick's), Barony of Bunratty,
and the lands of Drisane (Derryshaan) situate in the Parish of Killfidan, Barony
of Clondalaw. The deed goes on to say that 'the said leases specifyed ... were
taken in trust only for Cornelius Gillereagh then of Athlonghurte ... who is
in the actual seizen and possession of all the premises ...'. In 1716 Cornelius
borrowed £150 from Zachary Ormsby, Doctor of Law, and executed a Deed
of Assignment in his favour of the three leases subject to a provision or condition
By 1721 Cornelius had not repaid the £150 and had borrowed a further £50
from Zachary Ormsby of Ballygrenane in the North Liberties of the City of Limerick58.
As security for the extra £50, Cornelius executed a Bond of Warranty
in favour of Ormsby secured on the rental income from the lands of Castlequarter
and Knockanroe, part of the plowland of Trough in the Parish of Killaloe. These
lands were let to Patrick Bourke of Knockalisseen under a lease for 31 years
from 1720 at the yearly rent of £16. 7s. 6d59.
In 1737 Cornelius was involved in a complex tripartite indenture and
deed, Gillereagh & Others to Barclay60.
Apart from Cornelius the parties involved were Arthur Drew of Mogherbegg
in the county of Clare Gent, brother and
heir of Thomas Drew late of the City of Dublin Gent Decd, the Rev Arthur
of Ballygrenan in the City of Limerick the eldest son and heir of Zachary
Ormsby late of Ballygrenan Doctor of Laws Decd, and Mary Ormsby Widow
Morgan O'Meara of Lissenisky Esq, Eltonhead Meara of Ballyanraghand (both
county of Tipperary), Thomas Esq and Dennis McMahon Gent of Cloninagh.
recites that Cornelius Gillereagh Arthur Drew Arthur Ormsby & Mary Ormsby
with consent and approbation of Morgan O'Meara Eltonhed Meara Thomas and Denis
McMahon granted bargained sold released & confirmed to David Barclay
of Ballyerney, county of Clare, the Towns and Lands of Drishane containing
208 acres as granted in fee farm to Thomas Drew. It appears that, in return,
Barclay assumed responsibility for, and repaid the debt owed by Cornelius
to the Ormsbys as they released to Cornelius all their right title and
interest in the said Town and Lands of Athlonghart and Shanakiel and the
Trough. Among the witnesses were Mortagh McMahon of Cloninagh Gent, one
of the Attorneys of the Exchequer in Ireland, and Percival Harte of Lissofin61.
Cornelius was still at Aloncard (sic) in 1740 when he was party to a
quadrapartite deed of lease and release in which he, his wife, Mortogh
McMahon of Dublin
(the attorney) and Thomas McMahon of Cloninagh were involved62. Mortogh
McMahon was already in possession by way of lease from Cornelius of the
Aloncard containing two hundred acres, the lands of Shanakeile containing
and the lands of Trough containing two hundred and fifty acres, and Cornelius
sold released and confirmed these lands to Mortogh. Cornelius had drawn
up a will in which he had appointed Thomas McMahon as his sole executor.
memorial records that Cornelius was entitled to several sums of money
due to him in
right of his first wife who was the widow of Nicholas Rice Esq which
became due to her out of Plantations which Nicholas was possessed of
in the Island
of Barbadoes. In his will Cornelius conveyed his rights and claims to
these sums of money to Thomas McMahon.
This deed tells us that Cornelius's first wife was the widow of Nicholas
Rice who was 'of Lissofin' in 1704 when he was guarantor for the parish
Tulla. He was 'of Alonghard' when he died in 171063. According to a summary
of his will, which was proved in July 1710, Nicholas was then of the
Tulla but late of the Parish of St Philip in Barbadoes and the will was
dated January 169964. The summary gives his wife's name as Mary alias Aylmer,
his brother was Lieut Col John Rice. Cornelius's second wife is named
in the deed
as Ann Meara who was presumably sister of Morgan O'Meara and Eltonhead
Meara of the 1737 Deed65. It is certain that Cornelius had no children.
Administration of the will of Cornelius Gillereagh of Aloncard Gent was
granted to his
James on 4th July 174166. The lands of Trough were still in the possession
of the McMahons of Clonina in 1781 when the Hill of Trugh (sic), 172
advertised to let by Thomas McMahon's son Mortogh and grandson Thomas67.
Cornelius Gillereagh and Thomas McMahon were connected by marriage. Anne
Meara née Meade, the second wife of Cornelius, was a niece of
Andrew Meade whose daughter Elizabeth married Thomas McMahon. But it
was an earlier and closer relationship between Cornelius and Thomas,
and it is possible that Cornelius may have been a brother of Captain
Dennis McMahon of Kilbaha and Carrigaholt
As we have seen above, Dennis, son of Captain Mortogh McMahon, was
granted a lease for lives by his eldest brother Thomas in 1726 of the
lands of Kilbaghagh and part of Fodry. In 1735 Charles Smith of Derry
demised granted sett and to farm let to Dennis McMahon of Kilbaghagh
Gent the lands of Fodry already in his posession for the natural lives
of sd Dennis McMahon Mort McMahon brother of the sd Dennis McMahon & Mort
McMahon Jun son and heir of Thomas McMahon of Clonina68 .
In 1738 the same Charles Smith granted demised set and to farm let unto
the sd Dennis McMahon of Kilebaha his heirs etc the lands of Moneen in
of Moyfarta to have and to hold during the natural lives of the said Dennis
McMahon Mort McMahon brother of the sd Dennis and Mort McMahon eldest son to
Thomas McMahon of Cloninagh brother to said Dennis69. Mort McMahon of the City
of Dublin Gent, was a witness. This Mortogh was a brother of Dennis.
In 1734 Edward Burton of the City of London Esq gave granted demised set
and to farm let to Mortagh McMahon of the City of Dublin Esq the Farm and
of Rinemacinderagh als Carrigiholt Rahonys East & West Kilcredane & Clonconeen
being 1170 acres in the Parish of Moyarta for the lives of sd Edward Burton
Elizabeth the wife of Thomas McMahon of Cloneenagh Mortogh McMahon and Andrew
McMahon first & second sons of the sd Thomas70.
These were the same lands which Thomas McMahon had acquired in 1720
(Memorial No 18218 Vanhuggardin to McMahon). The original 1708 lease
from Burton to
Vanhuggardin must have run out, necessitating the new lease.
Mortagh McMahon of Dublin was Mortagh, then an Attorney and a Protestant,
brother of Dennis and Thomas (and not his nephew Mortogh of Clonina, son
Mortagh the Attorney must have transferred these lands to his nephew Mortough
of Clonina as witnessed by a 1749 Indenture of Lease between Mortough McMahon
of Clonena and Dennis McMahon of Killbehagh71.
Mortough McMahon demised unto the sd Dennis McMahon ... the lands of Cluonconeen
now in the possession
of the sd Dennis ... and also such parcels of the towns and lands of
Rinemacdirrig and Rahona each as they are now in the possession of the
sd Dennis ...
Barony of Moyarta. Excepting unto the sd Mortough McMahon all that part
of the edifice that Thos McMahon late of Clonena ... erected adjoyning
Castle on sd premises ... for and during the natural lives of the sd
Dennis McMahon and Andrew McMahon brother to the sd Mort McMahon yeilding
paying yearly ... unto the sd Mort McMahon ... the yearly rent of thirty
Witnesses Andw McMahon of the City of Limerick Gent and Gilbert O'Dea
of Creigh in the County of Clare farmer. Witnesses to Memorial 1st Nov
aged upwards of fifty years and John Burke of the City of Dublin Gent72.
Thus 'the said Mortough McMahon' the lessor was a brother of Andrew,
both sons of Thomas, and both nephews of Dennis. This seems to be an
of a Protestant
member of a family using his religious status to circumvent the Penal
Laws on behalf of a Catholic relative.
There is a memorandum in the Studdert Papers in the National Library
of Ireland which states that on 8th May 1731 Luke Hickman of Fenloe
demised Rehey Park
to Dennis McMahon of Clonina for the term of three lives to be named
Dennis, with a clause of renewal forever. On the death of Dennis these
to his nephew, Mortogh McMahon of Clonina,.
Dennis McMahon died in April 1772. Administration of the will of Denis
McMahon Gent of Carrigaholt, Co Clare was granted on 18 May 1772. In
his will Dennis named Mortagh McMahon as his nephew (Betham Genealogical
Abstracts)73. A note in the Studdert Papers in the National Library states
that Dennis died unmarried, intestate and without issue. Certainly Dennis
did make a will, but it will be noted that there is no mention of a wife
or children in Betham's summary of the will. Dennis seems to have died
at Carrigaholt although in earlier deeds he is referred to as 'of Kilbaha'.
It is possible that he had by then moved to the house attached to Carrigaholt
Castle which had been built by his father Thomas.
William Shaw Mason in his 'Statistical Survey of Ireland', written in
1816, says that Mortogh McMahon of Clonina requested the Burtons, who
were the head
landlords of the lands of Carrigaholt etc, to allow the names of his two sons
and his daughter to be substituted on the lease in place of his own name and
those of his brother Andrew and his sister Mrs England. The Burtons agreed
to the substitution but Mortogh's three children all died before their father,
their uncle and their aunt and thus the lease lapsed. The Burtons subsequently
re-let the lands at the advanced rent of £800 per annum.
Mortogh McMahon of Clonina, Dublin, and Dromore
Mortogh, son of Captain Mortogh McMahon of Clonina, converted to Protestantism
in Dublin in 1731. It is likely that this was to qualify for admission
to Kings Inns where he studied Law. In 1734 he was admitted as an Attorney
of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, one of the senior courts of common
law in Ireland74.
In 1739 Thomas Amory of the City of Dublin Esq and Mort McMahon of the
same Gent executed the following Indented Deed: In consideration of £51
5s Amory covenanted and agreed that if in case the said Thos Amory shall
Thomas McMahon of Clonina he the said Thos Amory shall make a lease for and
during his natural life of the lands of Knockmore als Killtimicus als Kilthumper
in the Barony of Clonderala as the same are now held by the said Thomas McMahon
unto the sd Mort McMahon in trust and for the use of the heirs of said Thomas
McMahon. Witnesses John Morony of Dunaha Co Clare Gent and Ignatius Terry of
City of Dublin Merchant75. Lucy, sister of the above Thomas Amory, was the wife
of Terence McMahon of Ballykilty who died in October 1737, and it seems that
there was a connection between the McMahons of Clonina and the McMahons of
Mortogh McMahon married a widow, Jane Burke/Bourke née Stacpoole.
Her first husband was William Bourke who is said to have been 'of Galway'76.
Jane was daughter of William Stacpoole of Annagh, Kilmurry Ibrickan,
and his wife Elinor Foster of Co Galway. Jane's eldest brother William
Stacpoole was apparently admitted as an attorney of the Court of Exchequer
in 1734, the same year as Mortogh McMahon was admitted. Jane had a son
John Burke by her first husband. It is certain that she had no children
by her second husband.
Mortogh and Jane lived at Dromore in the Parish of Ruan, Barony of Inchiquin.
The ruin of the house in which they lived is still visible, close to the Castle
of Dromore77. It does not appear that this house had been previously held by
Jane and William Burke prior to William's death. Dromore was part of the
forfeited estates of Daniel O'Brien, Viscount Clare, and was subsequently
the McDonnells of Kilkee and later of Newhall, from whom Mortagh McMahon
held a leasehold interest in a substantial quantity of land. Mortogh
made his will
on 1st August 1752 and died at Dromore soon afterwards78.
In his will Mortogh left to his wife Jane his Farm and Lands of Dromore,
twenty cows and a bull, three horses, his jewels and plate and household
To his stepson John Burke and to his nephew Joseph England Esq, he left all
and every the rest and residue of all his Lands Tenements Hereditaments Leasehold
and Freehold Interests Estate Goods Chattles and Effects real and personal
... . Burke and England were to pay yearly to Jane during her natural life
the Rent Annuity or Sum of Sixty Pounds Stg. To his niece Margaret wife of
said Joseph England he left the sum of One Hundred Pounds Stg. To his servant
John Murphy he left all his cloaths shirts and apparel and also the lease
and interest that he had taken in trust for him of part of the lands of Bealacorrigg
... . John Burke and Joseph England were to fully pay off and discharge all
and every Mortogh's just debts legacies funeral expenses etc. A year after
they had discharged all his instructions, debts etc, Mortogh stipulated that
'John Burke and Joseph England ... shall convey unto the said Mortogh McMahon
his heirs and assigns for his and their own use and behoof the said rest
residue of my estate and effects that shall remain after the bequests aforesaid
so devised to them but in case the said Mortogh McMahon my nephew or his
representatives or agent shall do cause procure to be done made or commenced
or shall prosecute
any suite trouble molestation or expense to all or any of my exors or representatives
or to the said Jane my wife for or on account of any debts dues claim or
demand he may have or pretend to have to me then again in every such case
is and I order and bequeath that the said John Burke and Joseph England ...
shall not convey as aforesaid to Mortogh McMahon and that the said Mortogh
McMahon shall not have any benefit or share of my fortune real or personal
but and I will and bequeath that the said John Burke and Joseph England ...
shall convey and make over unto the said Jane my wife her heirs etc ... the
said rest and residue of all my Estates and assets and fortune intended otherwise
to be given to my said nephew Mortogh McMahon ...' . As witness my hand and
seal this First Day of August One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Two .
Signed; Mortogh McMahon.
Mortogh of Dromore clearly did not trust his nephew Mortogh of Clonina. The
latter Mortogh must have satisfied the conditions of his uncle's will as
he was in possession of Dromore when he obtained a new lease in 1765 of the
from Charles McDonnell of Newhall. Charles and Mortogh were brothers in law,
Mortagh being married to Charles's sister Mary Ellen. Charles McDonnell 'for
consideration therein and of the yearly rent of £110 and a yearly quit
rent of £6.13s.4d
... had granted demised and sold unto the said Mortough McMahon in his actual
possession ... the Mansion house and Lands of Dromore called and known by
the name of the Town and Lands of Tuermore Boulacloneen Dromnagorrnan and
Carrowmanagh Carrowdrehid and Island being a parcell in Common and Killmakin
containing as by a survey annexed ... (blank) acres ... in as large and ample
a manner as they been heretofore held and enjoyed by the said Mortough McMahon
situate lying and being in the barony of Inchiquin'79.
In 1764 John Damer of Shronehill, Co Tipperary, executed an Indented
Deed in which he assigned to the Right Honourable Joseph Lord Milton
a long list of lands which included the Town Lands Tenements & Hereditaments
of Dromore and its named constituent denominations80. However the assignment
was 'subject to a provision or condition mentioned in two deeds of mortgage
in said Indenture mentioned ...'. Neither the details or the dates of
the two deeds of mortgage are given, or the name of the mortgagor. It
is obvious however that the mortgagor was Charles McDonnell (or his father,
Charles, who died in 1743, or possibly even his uncle Randal who died
in 1726). It seems certain that the McDonnells defaulted on the loan
against which the lands were mortgaged to Damer, and the McDonnells lost
posession of the Dromore estate soon after 176681.
The Dublin Evening Post of 8 July 1783 carried an advertisement for the
sale of part of the estates of the Right Hon Lord Milton including the
and lands of Dromore which Mortogh McMahon held under a lease. Also included
were adjacent lands held under lease by Mortogh McMahon's brother in law Joseph
England. The Dublin Evening Post of 18 July 1789 carried a similar advertisement.
The Dromore estate was purchased by Thomas Crowe of Ennis from Lord Milton
in 1791 for the sum of £5,554.15s. Mortogh McMahon had apparently acquired
a new lease of Dromore from Milton as the memorial of the deed of sale refers
to a 'Certain Indenture of Lease made of the said Premises by the said Joseph
Lord Milton to Murtogh McMahon Esq. that is to say the Castle Park New Orchard
Kussagathera Boulacloneena the Orchard the Stable Park the Millers Park The
Connaught Avenue Munster Avenue Holly Island two other Islands Rabbit Island
Castle Island Kilmacky and the wood now in the Tenure and Occupation of Terence
McMahon Esq Containing three hundred and eight acres one rood and six perches'82.
It seems certain that Jane Stacpoole Burke McMahon had continued to live
at Dromore until her death which probably occurred shortly before her
law Mortogh McMahon acquired the new lease from Charles McDonnell in 1765.
It appears that after Jane's death her nephew in law Mortogh leased the house
and lands of Dromore to Terence McMahon. This seems to be the Terence McMahon
who was at Ballykinnacorra in the parish of Rath in 176683.
In 1780 Terence McMahon of Dromore purchased the lands of Carhucore otherwise
Port, the lands of Ross, and the lands of Monygatan & Clonygilleon
being one fifth of Tarmon Killinaboy, Inchiquin Barony, already in his
Terence still held Dromore as a tenant of Mortogh McMahon in 1791, and
it seems that he continued to hold the lands of Dromore under the Crowes85.
may have had to give up the mansion house as he was at Cappahard when
he died aged 60 on 1st December 1796 and was buried at Coad86.
Terence McMahon of Dromore is believed to have been a younger son of
Terence McMahon who in 1708 married Joane, daughter of John Cusack
and his wife Elizabeth Jones, daughter of the Protestant Bishop of
who had no sons, granted a lease of Cloondanagh in the parish of
Tulla to Terence on his marriage. Cusack was High Sheriff of Clare
in 170088. His eldest
Catherine married in 1701 Michael, brother of Sir Arthur Cole,
later Lord Ranelagh. His other daughter Mabel married Arthus Gore of
eldest son Bryan married in 1748 Susanna, youngest daughter of
Percival Harte of Lisofin89. Bryan's brothers are named as Terence and
in a deed of
174590. Percival Harte of Lisofin was a witness in 1737 to a
Deed of Lease made between
Cors Gillereagh of Athlonghart in the county of Clare Gent
and others, subscribing witnesses thereto Thomas McMahon (of Clonina)
brother Denis McMahon
(of Carrigaholt) in presence of their other brother Mortogh
McMahon (the Attorney, later of Dromore)91. This suggests that there
may have been a
between the McMahons of Cloondanagh and the McMahons of
Terence McMahon married Elizabeth Hogan and had six sons and two daughters92.
One of the daughters married John McNamara Esq, Attorney at Law, in 179293.
Nothing is known of the other daughter. The eldest son was Andrew to
whom his father bequeathed an annuity of 25 guineas in his will. Andrew
survived his father by less than a year, dying on 3rd November 1797
aged 36, and was buried in the churchyard at Coad. The second son Terence
married Anne Ryan in 1796 but had no children. Terence died in Dublin
on 2nd March 1813. His widow died at Brompton, Kent, on 20th March
The third son, Hugh, married but had no children when he died on
16th December 1804 aged 31. He too was buried at Coad. The fourth son
Timothy (Teigue) was 'of Corofin' when he married Elizabeth, daughter
of Richard Hickman of Newpark, in the Church of Ireland, Ennis on
20th August 180095. (The Hickman estates included Cappahard in the parish
of Templemaley, adjoining Ennis). The marriage produced two daughters.
died on 5th May 1804 aged 27 and was buried at Coad. The fifth
son was Murtagh (Mortimer) who joined the 8th (The King's) Regiment of
the British Army as an Ensign in 1804. His regiment was sent to
in 1808 and from there to the West Indies before returning to Canada.
Mortimer fought in the War of 1812 against the Americans, was wounded
in action and was captured and held prisoner until the war ended
in late 1814. He was a Captain when his battalion was disbanded after
of the war. He returned to Ireland in 1815 and assumed ownership
of the lands which his father had acquired in 1780. Captain Mort M'Mahon
gravestones installed in the churchyard in Coad in memory of his
and his brothers who were buried there. On 9th June 1820 Mortimer
married Catherine, eldest daughter of Ralph Morony Esq at Miltown Malbay96.
her claim for an officer's widow's pension Catherine MacMahon
of Miltown Malbay said that her husband Mortimer MacMahon, late a Captain
pay of the 8th Regiment of Foot died at Limerick on 2nd March
aged 60. The sixth son was Donagh (Donatus, Donat) who entered
as an apprentice Attorney in 1803. He was then 'of Cappahard'.
Donat died unmarried at Corofin on 24th December 1816 aged 34 and was
Mortogh McMahon of Clonina.
Thomas McMahon and Elizabeth Meade had two sons, Mortogh and Andrew,
and a daughter Margaret. We know from the deeds and documents relating
to the marriage of Thomas McMahon and Elizabeth Meade that their eldest
son Mortogh was born in late 1726 or early 1727. When his father Thomas
died in 1740 Mortogh was still a minor and only inherited his father's
estates when he reached the age of 21.
Mortogh McMahon of Clonina married on 10th Aug 1750, Mary Ellen, daughter
of the late Charles (Sorley) James McDonnell of Kilkee and his wife Isobel
daughter of Christopher O'Brien of Ennistymon. Brian O'Looney, writing a century
later, said that they married privately but Mortogh 'carried her off from Kilkee
against her mother's consent on the 6th September 1750'. Mary Ellen was known
as Máire Bán or Fair Mary. The McDonnells were noted patrons
of the Gaelic poets and Fair Mary's father Charles McDonnell had brought a
poet named Seán de Hóra from Co Cork to work for him as a blacksmith
at Kilkee. Charles died in 1743 and after Mortogh McMahon's marriage to Mary
McDonnell, de Hóra moved to Clonina to work for Mortogh and remained
there until after Mary's death in 1778. As well as other poems about the McDonnells
and the McMahons, de Hóra wrote two poems in Irish in honour of Mary
and Mortogh, 'Ar Phósadh Mháire Nic Dhomhnaill Chill Chaoi Muircheartach
Mac Mathghamhna na Cluainíneach', and 'Ar Mhuircheartach Mac Mathghamhna
na Cluainíneach agus ar Mháire, a Bhean'. These are contained
in an anthology entitled 'Seán de hÓra' written by Brian Mac
Cumhghaill, who says that although Mortagh was 'a hard man' (fear cruaidh),
he had a great regard for de hÓra. Mac Cumhghaill says that Mary kept
an open house at Clonina for the Irish poets of Corca Baiscinn and quotes Eoghan Ó Comhraidhe
(Eugene O'Curry) in relation to 'Fair Mary' that "she was a very liberal
patroness of the Munster bards"98.
In the mid 19th century Major W E McDonnell of Newhall, a descendant
of the McDonnells of Kilkee, commissioned the eminent Irish scholar Brian Ó Luanaigh
(O'Looney) to compile a collection of poems in Irish by the poets of Clare
relating to the McDonnells. This, with English translations by O'Looney, was
published in 1863 under the title "Dánta Chlainne Domhnaill, A
collection of poems written on different occasions by the Clare bards in honour
of the MacDonnells of Kilkee and Killone in the county of Clare"99. Several
of these poems relate to 'Fair Mary' McDonnell and Mortogh McMahon and their
In her book ''The Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade, Count O'Connell
and Old Irish Life at Home and Abroad 1745 – 1833'' (published in 1892), Mrs
Morgan John O'Connell writing about Mary Ellen McMahon née McDonnell
says that "No stone of either the ancient castle or more modern house
of Clonina where she dwelt, is now to be seen but the most vivid tradition
of 'Fair Mary' still exists in West Clare. ... She was the daughter of important
people — Charles McDonnell of Kilkee, and Isabel O'Brien of the great
house of Ennistymon. Tiege (recte Mortogh) McMahon, of Clonina, who loved her,
had only a long pedigree, a dismantled castle, and an impoverished estate.
She was a famous rider, and he once saved her life out hunting when her horse
bungled at a great leap; and soon after discovered his love to her. Her parents
refused his suit; the lovers eloped, and not only lived happily evermore, like
lovers in a story, but Fair Mary was renowned for her piety, charity, and noble
Mary died at relatively young age at Cahircalla in August 1778. Her
death was reported in the Dublin Evening Post of 29th August 1778: 'In
Cahircalla, near Ennis, the wife of Morti M'Mahon Esq, of Clonina'. The
Hibernian Journal of 31st August 1778 also reported her death: 'At Cahircalla,
near Ennis, Mrs M'Mahon, wife of Morris (sic) M'Mahon Esq of Clonina,
and only sister of the late Charles McDonnell of Newhall Esq'.
When Mary died no fewer than three poets composed laments in Irish on
her passing. They were Seán Lúid (Lloyd) who wrote 'Ar
Bhán Ní Mhic Domhnaill; bean-phósda Mhuircheartaigh Uí Mhathghamhna,
Chluain-an-fhíona' , Tomás Ó Miodhcháin and Séamus
Mac Consaidín. Ó Miodhcháin's poem was written in reply
to Lúid's lament, and O'Looney translates the introduction to Ó Miodhcháin's
poem as "on receiving the foregoing elegy from his beloved friend
... John Lloyd". There is no record of any poem written by Seán de
on the occasion of Mary's death. Possibly this was because he himself may have
ill at the time as he died about two years later.
The 1778 will of Mary's brother Charles McDonnell named Thomas, Charles
and Murtogh McMahon as the first, second and third sons of his sister
Mary Ellen, wife of Murtogh McMahon. We also know that Mortogh and Mary
had one daughter named Margaret.
Burkes Landed Gentry of Ireland says that Daniel O'Donoghue, The O'Donoghue
of the Glens in Co Kerry, married in 1773 Margaret (died November 1788), only
surviving child of Murtogh McMahon of Clonina, Co Clare by Mary McDonnell his
wife. The Ennis Chronicle of 8th December 1788 reported the death on the 28th
ult (November) at Killarney of the lady of O'Donoghue, only daughter of Mortaugh
M'Mahon of Clonena in this county and niece of the late Charles McDonnell.
Seán de hÓra composed a poem 'Do Ó Donnchadha na Fleisce'
on the occasion of Margaret's marriage, which tells us that the marriage took
place in Carrigaholt. He also composed a poem 'A Shéarlais Óig,
a Ghrádh Uí Donnchadha' on the occasion of the birth of the couple's
After Mortogh and Mary married, Mortogh and his brother Andrew executed
a deed in 1752 which recited that their father Thomas, in his deed dated
the 5th of April 1729, had made a charge of £2000 on the lands
which his eldest son was to inherit100.
The charge was to provide for the payment of £1000 each to his younger children. Mortagh and Andrew
agreed that sufficient of the lands could be sold or mortgaged to provide
for the payment of the several debts owed by Thomas or which Mortagh
still owed, plus £1000 due to Joseph England who had lately married
their only sister Margaret, plus £1000 to which Andrew was entitled.
The deed went on to recite that Mortagh was entitled to settle any reasonable
jointure on his wife and also to charge the lands with a sum not exceeding £3000
in respect of any younger children. In the event that Mortogh had no
(living) male issue the lands were to devolve to Andrew for his lifetime
and thereafter to the use of the first and every other son of Andrew.
Unlike his father, Mortogh did not embark on any further land acquisitions
but in 1754 he surrendered the lease which he held on most of the lands of
Kiltumper and agreed a new lease for lives, renewable forever, with John Westropp
of Lismeehan (sic)101.
There is no evidence that Mortogh was extravagant in his lifestyle but
he seems to have had severe financial difficulties in the 1780s, probably
in part due
to having inherited large debts. By this time his wife was dead. His third
son Mortogh junior seems to have died at a very young age but his other sons
Thomas and Charles were now grown men and perhaps they were not as prudent
in their financial affairs as their father. A document in the Studdert Papers
dated 1784 tells us that Mortogh and his eldest son Thomas were in debt to
John and James Woulfe of Cahirush in Kilmurry Ibrickan102.
They both executed joint bonds and warranties each in the sum of £400
in favour of the Woulfes. Mortogh's nephew D Arthur England was a witness to
By 1787 Mortogh was in further difficulties according to a Legal Notice in
Saunder's News-Letter of 10th October 1787:
'Stephen Roche John, Assignee of William Ford & John Connor, Administrators
of Patrick Flynn, deceased, Custodee, Plaintiff. Murtagh McMahon Esq Defendant.
Whereas by order made in this Cause, dated the 10th day of July instant,
the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer is required to set by public Cant to the
highest & fairest
Bidder the House and Demesne Lands of Clonina in the County of Clare, the
Estate of the Defendant, and granted in Custodium to the Plaintiff for three
from the first day of May last, if Plaintiff's Interest shall so long continue.
... Dated this tenth day of July 1787'. Mortogh seems to have been able to
discharge the debt in time to prevent the sale.
At this time Mortogh was in debt to William Rice of Ennis and his son Stephen
in the amount of £400 plus a large sum in intersts and costs. Mortogh's
kinsman Christopher O'Brien of Ennistymon was guarantor for the loan and
in this capacity was sued for the debt. On 1st December 1782 Mortogh, in
to indemnify O'Brien, executed an indenture in which he transferred ownership
to O'Brien of all 'the timber, woods and underwoods standing and growing
in and upon the Town and Lands of Clonina and Clonwhite'. The agreement was
until 1st May 1790 and allowed O'Brien's workmen and servants to enter the
lands with horses and carts and carriages and to erect sheds or conveniences
necessary to cut and carry away the timber. O'Brien was to utilise the money
realised from the sale of the timber, less the costs involved, to discharge
the debt, and any surplus was to revert to Mortogh103.
All three sons of Mortogh McMahon and his wife Mary Ellen died young
and unmarried. The only mention of Mortogh Junior, the youngest, is
in the 1767
will of his
maternal uncle Charles McDonnell. In his will written in 1795 Mortogh Snr
mentioned his late sons Thomas and Charles but not Mortogh Jnr, which might
the latter had died in childhood many years earlier.
The will of Charles McMahon of Cloning (sic) with the date 1790 is listed
in the Silles Kelly Abstracts/490, Index to Irish Wills 1484/1858104.
Ennis Chronicle Monday 2 April 1792: 'Died on Friday last (30 March)
after a lingering illness, Thomas M'Mahon Esq, only son of Mort M'Mahon
Esq.' Obviously Thomas was the last surviving son of Mortogh and Mary.
Following the death of the last of his three sons, Mortogh McMahon
transferred his lands to his brother Andrew's eldest son Thomas as per
the following deed which is preserved in the Studdert Papers in the NLI:
This Indenture made the 5th day of April 1792 between Mortagh McMahon of Clonina
in the County of Clare Esq of the one part Andrew McMahon of the City of Limerick
Esq of the second part and Thomas McMahon late of the City of Bath in the United
Kingdom of Great Britain but now of the City of Limerick and eldest son and
heir at law of the said Andrew of the third part.
Whereas the said Mortogh McMahon now stands seized and possessed of and entitled
unto, for and during the term of his natural life with remainder to the said
Andrew McMahon and his heirs of and in all that and those te towns and lands
of Clonina, Clonwhite, Clonwhiterue, Creagh, Leytrim, Shayn, Killtumper, Cragg,
Cloinegoulane, Deer island, Ballintlea, Fodry, Ballyasshie, and Cloughanemore,
together with their several subdenomitations and appurtenances, situate lying
and being in the county of Clare aforesaid, which lands and premises are lyable
to and chargeable with several debts and incumbrances due of the said Mortagh
McMahon. And whereas the said Mortagh McMahon and Andrew McMahon have mutually
agreed to grant assign transfer and convey the several towns lands premises
and tenements and all the estates as they or either of them have or are entitled
to therein unto the said Thomas McMahon for the consideration hereinafter mentioned.
Now this Indenture witnesseth that the said Mortagh McMahon and Andrew McMahon
for and in consideration of Five Shillings apiece to them respectively in hand
paid by the said Thomas McMahon, the receipt thereof they hereby respectively
acknowledge and thereof and of every part thereof do hereby and respectively
acquit release and discharge the said Thomas McMahon his heirs and assigns
respectively forever by these presents and for divers other causes and considerations
them the said Mortagh McMahon and Andrew McMahon thereunto moving have and
each of them respectively hath granted bargained sold released and confirmed
And by these presents do and each of them doth respectively grant bargain sell
release and confirm unto the said Thomas McMahon all that and those the aforesaid
towns and lands of Clonina, Clonwhite, Clonwhiterue, Creagh, Leytrim, Shayn,
Killtumper, Cragg, Cloinegoulane, Deer island, Ballintlea, Fodry, Ballyasshie,
and Cloughanemore, with their several subdenominations and appurtenances situate
lying and being in the county of Clare aforesaid all which said lands tenements
and premises are now in the possession of the said Thomas McMahon by virtue
of a bargain and sale to him thereof made by the said Mortagh McMahon and Andrew
McMahon for the term of a whole year by Indenture bearing date the day next
before the day of the date of these presents and by force and virtue of the
Statute for transferring use into possession and to his heirs and assigns and
the reversion and reversions remainder and remainders yearly and other rents
issues and profits thereof and all the Estate, right title interest use property
claim and demand whatsoever both at law and in Equity of them the said Mortagh
McMahon and Andrew McMahon in to or out of the said lands and tenements and
premises to have and to hold the said towns lands tenements and premises hereinbefore
mentioned ... and the said Thomas McMahon doth hereby for himself his heirs
and assigns for the consideration aforesaid, covenant promise and agree and
with the said Mortagh McMahon that he the said Thomas McMahon shall and will
yearly and every year during the therm of the natural life of the said Mortagh
McMahon pay one annuity yearly rent or sum of One Hundred and Seventy Pounds
Stg in two half yearly payments.
The quantities of land involved in the transfer were very substantial. Most
were located in the parishes of Kilmacduane and Kilmihil and other lands were
located in the parishes of Kilchreest, Kilfintinan, Kilballyowen and Kilnamona.
Mortogh McMahon executed four wills dated 1795, 1797, 1803 and 1808,
copies of which are in the National Library of Ireland, although these
are quite badly damaged105.
We know from them that Mortogh was in poor health for many years and
that he had been faithfully
served for the fifteen
years prior to 1795 by a woman called Honora Learhinan (or Lernihan)
who, he said, had often saved his life, and who continued to look after
him up to the time of his death thirteen years later. On 18th July 1793
at Mortogh's instigation, his nephew Thomas had demised and set to Honora
Learanan part of Rinebane being part of Clonina for the term of 99 years
from the date of Mortogh's death at a yearly rent of 5 shillings during
her lifetime106. In further
recognition of her services, in each of the first two wills he bequeathed
to her a
farm at Rehy from the letting
of which she was to derive the profits. He also bequeathed her all the
furniture and fixtures in his house. Mortogh was good to his word, as
a note in the Studdert Papers in the National Library of Ireland tells
us that on 25th June 1803 Mortogh McMahon of Clonina made an indenture
whereby he demised Rehy Park to Honora Learhinane for three lives and
after the longest liver of them for ninety nine years at a rent of £10
In the 1795 will Mortogh stipulated that he wished his body to be deposited
in his family vault at Kilmichael and that the remains of his dearly beloved
wife Mary McDonnell, his sons Thomas and Charles McMahon, Joseph England, and
his sister and mother should be exhumed and put into the vault on its being
opened for his interment. Although the page is badly damaged, the 1795 will
appears to be signed and sealed. In his second will in 1797 he did not mention
his sister and his mother but added that the remains of his late brother Andrew
should also be reinterred in the vault. It is difficult to be certain if this
will was signed and sealed as the bottom of the page is much damaged and illegible.
Strangely no trace is now to be found of a McMahon vault in the old graveyard
in Kilmihil. It seems certain that Mortogh's wife and sons would have been
interred in the vault had it been built at the time of their deaths, likewise
his brother in law Joseph England and Mortogh's brother Andrew who died in
1796. This raises the possibility that Mortogh had intended having a vault
constructed for his family but that it was never built.
In his will of 1803 Mortogh stated that he desired 'to make reparation to my
well beloved Grandson Charles O'Donoghue of (blank) Esq for having
from the Imbarrassed (sic) situation of my affairs & misrepresentation
at the time made to me some acts to the prejudice of my sd Grandson ...'. Mortogh
on to say that 'Being Seized & Possessed of all that & those the Town
and Lands of Clonina, Creigh, Clonwhite with all and singular the several subdenominations
thereunto belonging, Shyans, Leitrim, Cloongoulane, The Craggs, Ballyashea & Ballintlea
with all and singular the several and respective subdenominations to them belonging,
the Farm and Lands of Killtumper ... and not conveyed or introduced (in) my
marriage settlement all which lands & premises & every (page torn,
word missing) thereof I leave (illegible) & bequeath unto
my sd well (beloved
Grands) on Charles O'Donoghue & to his heirs & assigns (page
torn, several words missing) subject nevertheless to one Annuity or yearly sum (of)
Pounds to be issuing and payable out of all & (illegible) the sd several
Lands & premises and payable unto Honora Learnan for and during the Term
of her natural life ...'. There are no witnesses signature to this document
and there is a note underneath saying: 'A part a copy of my will in the hands
of Charles O'Donoghue Esq of Summerhill, County Kerry'.
The bequest to Charles O'Donoghue is quite puzzling as Mortogh had transferred
ownership of all these lands to his nephew Col Thomas McMahon in 1792.
Mortagh's last will was dated 12th May 1808. It is very brief, and in it Mortagh
bequeathed three guineas to Bridget Hoare and he stipulated that John Ryan
was to get a reasonable allowance for his service108. As in his previous wills,
he again stated his gratitude to Honora Learnan/Lernihan for her attendance
and care and bequeathed to her the entire of his furniture and any part that
remains or appears due of his annuity. This document was signed by Mortogh
and was witnessed by Patk Kelly Mathw Madigan Michl Learhan.
Mortogh died at Clonina on 30th May 1808. He was aged 81. The Ennis Chronicle of 4th June reported his death.
Margaret, daughter of Thomas McMahon and Elizabeth Meade, was 'lately
married' to Joseph England in 1752 when her brothers Mortogh and Andrew
executed a deed in connection with their inheritance. Joseph was entitled
to £1000 which his wife was to receive under the terms of the deed
which was executed by her father in 1729 following his marriage.
The Englands were originally Catholic but had converted to Protestantism. Joseph
England of Cahircalla, Ennis, was High Sheriff of Clare in 1752. In the same
year his wife's uncle Mortogh McMahon of Dromore appointed him as one of the
executors of his will. Joseph later held lands adjoining Mortogh's at Dromore.
We know of three children of Joseph and Margaret. Their son David Arthur England
was High Sheriff of Clare in 1817. Their daughter Elizabeth married William
Johnson of Fort William, Co Limerick, at Cahircalla in 1771109.
Joseph England died in January 1779110.
Margaret died at Cahircalla on 15th November 1807111.
Andrew McMahon of Clonina and Limerick
We know that Andrew was the younger and only brother of Mortogh who
married Mary Ellen McDonnell in 1750. We also know that he was 'of Limerick'
in 1749 (Memorial No 100689 McMahon to McMahon).
In 1755 Stanislaus McMahon of Clenagh Esq did demise set and to farm let to
Andrew McMahon of the City of Limerick Gent the Lands of Crossderry in the
Parish of Killdisart Barony of Clonderla for a term of ninety nine years112.
Andrew had at least one daughter named Mary who died on 23rd March 1773
at Cahircalla, Ennis, the home of Andrew's sister Margaret, wife of Joseph
We also know that Andrew had a son named Thomas.
Lucas's Directory of 1788 lists Andrew McMahon Esq as Surveyor in the Pool,
Limerick. This was a Revenue position and it was probably necessary for the
holder to be a Protestant. The name Andrew McMahon appears in the Catholic
Qualification & Convert Rolls with the date 1788. His place of residence
is not recorded and therefore it is not certain if this was Andrew of Limerick.
The Catholic Relief Acts from 1778 onwards removed many obstacles facing
Catholics provided they took an oath of allegiance to the Crown but, on balance,
more likely that Andrew was a convert to Protestantism.
On 17th March 1796 the Ennis Chronicle reported the death near Kilrush of
Andrew M'Mahon Esq, formerly Surveyor of Limerick114.
There is no record in any of the
Limerick City Church of Ireland parishes of the baptisms of any children
of Andrew. This may suggest that his children were born at Crossderry and
possible that Andrew lived there for some years before returning to Limerick.
It is not known for how long prior to 1788 that Andrew held the position
of Surveyor in Limerick. It is also possible that the location where he
Kilrush' was actually Crossderry near Kildysart, although it is more likely
to have been at his brother's house at Clonina.
Colonel Thomas McMahon and his Family
Thomas is the only son of Andrew McMahon of Limerick of whom we know.
It seems certain that he was reared as a Protestant115.
Thomas joined the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot. This regiment
was formed in 1689
and a century later the rank and file were mainly Catholic Irish but
the officers were exclusively Protestant. The London Gazette noted the
announcement by the War Office of the promotion on 10th July 1800 by
Brevet of Captain Thomas MacMahon of the 27th Foot to be Major in the
Army. Promotions by Brevet were unusual and were normally only made as
a reward for gallantry or meritorious conduct. Shortly afterwards he
was promoted again as The Royal & Imperial Calendar of 1801 lists
Thomas M'Mahon as a Lt Colonel of the 27th Foot. We know little about
Thomas's military career but the 27th were involved in many theatres
during the Napoleonic Wars including the West Indies, Egypt, Portugal
and Spain, and it must be assumed that Thomas saw much action at this
As would be expected of a serving officer in the British Army, Thomas
was constantly on the move. He was 'late of the City of Bath ... but
now of the City of Limerick'
in April 1792 when his uncle Mortogh McMahon transferred ownership of most
of his estates to him.
Captain Thomas McMahon of Limerick married Miss Mary Scott of Clifton, Gloucestershire,
at Hotwells, Bristol, on 9th Nov 1792. Clifton is a suburb of Bristol and is
only 13 miles from Bath. In later life Mary referred to herself as Maria.
Thomas McMahon held a house for a number of years at Moatfield, Co Kildare,
possibly because of its relative proximity to the Curragh military base116.
He was 'of Moatfield' in 1795 when he executed a deed of lease for lives to
James McNamara of Lispuccane of the lands of Ballintlea in the Barony
already in his possession117.
A few weeks later Thomas executed a deed of mortgage in favour of Thomas
Brew of Teigrouge, Co Clare,
in respect of the sum
charged on the farm and lands of Ballintlea. A month later he executed
a deed of annuity or rent charge in the sum of £74 per annum in
favour of Thomas Brew against the lands of Ballintlea for as long as
plus interest remained unpaid118.
Moatfield was attacked by the rebels during the Rising of 1798. Captain
Thomas McMahon was 'of Southampton' when he claimed the sum of £500
in respect of damage and loss to the house, furniture and corn.
Thomas was resident at Newcourt, Bray, Co Wicklow by 1802 when the Ennis
Chronicle of 4th November reported the birth of his son. Edward, son of
Col Thomas McMahon
of Old Connough (sic) was baptised on 27th Oct 1802 in the Church of Ireland
(St Paul's), Bray. The entry in the parish records states that Edward was
the fourth son of Lt Col McMahon of the 27th Regt.
The Clare Journal of 7th September 1809 reported the 'Birth: Last Wednesday
in Cork street at the house of MN Keating Esq, the lady of Lt Colonel McMahon
of a daughter'.
It appears that by around 1815 Col Thomas McMahon was under considerable
financial pressure and the Clonina estate was heavily encumbered by debt.
This was an era when many of the Irish landed gentry lived well beyond
their means and it seems that the Colonel needed to raise substantial
sums of money to fund his lifestyle and to discharge the debts charged
against the estate. On 1st May 1816 a Bill was filed in the Court of
Exchequer in Dublin by Jane Ormsby O'Beirne against the Colonel, his
wife Maria and their eldest son Thomas. The knowledge that this Bill
was about to be filed against him seems to have caused the Colonel to
embark on a series of legal manouevres to stabilise his financial position
and also to lease out a substantial portion of the Clonina estate to
On 15th August 1815 an Indented Deed was executed between Thomas McMahon
the elder of New Court, his eldest son Thomas McMahon the younger of
part, John Scott of Newry, Co Down and Charles Benson Barrister at Law of Dublin
City of the second part, and David Arthur England of Cahircalla Co Clare and
Wm Richards of Co Wexford of the third part119.
The deed referred to the marriage settlement dated 8th November 1792 of Thomas
McMahon the elder
and Mary McMahon
his present wife120. The settlement
involved all of Thomas's lands in Co Clare other than the lands of Ballintlea,
Clonegolin, Cragg, Kiltumper,
Leytrim, Shyan, Creugh and Ballyashea. The settlement provided for a jointure
of £300 per year in favour of Mary. The children of Thomas and Mary
were named as Thomas the younger who was the firstborn, Robert Andrew the
William Warburton the third, Edward the fourth and John the fifth son.
Their only daughter was named as Maria. Thomas McMahon the elder and Thomas
the younger conveyed the lands of Clonina, Clonegalin, Cragg, Kiltumper,
Leitrim, Creigh and none other to John Scott and Charles Benson in trust
to Thomas McMahon
the elder for life with remainder to Thomas the younger for life and to
his male issue and in default of such to the younger brothers and their
issue and in default of such issue to their sister Maria and her heirs.
deed the lands were vested in David Arthur England and Wm Richards their
heirs etc for a term of 500 years. Thomas the elder and Thomas the younger
the power to raise up to £5000 to be secured against the lands to
provide for the younger children. By the same deed it was agreed that the
Shyan and Ballyashea were to be conveyed for natural considerations to
Cornelius O'Callaghan of Dublin, his heirs and assigns. This agreement
was put into
effect in February 1816.
On 19th February 1816 Revd Thos Smyth of the City of Dublin, Thos McMahon
the elder heretofore of Clonina but now of New Court and Maria McMahon
his wife, Thos McMahon the younger, John McDonnell of New Hall, Cornelius
O'Brien of the City of Dublin and Cornelius O'Callaghan of Ballinahinch,
Co Clare were
among nine parties to an indented deed in which was recited a Decree of
the Court of Exchequer wherein Thos Smyth was the Petitioner and Thos McMahon,
his wife, his eldest son and others were the Defendants, and by which decree
Thos McMahon the elder and Thos McMahon the younger for the consideration
therein mentioned did grant and convey to Cornelius O'Callaghan his heirs
forever the lands of Shyan, Ballyashea, and further the said Thos Smyth
by this deed and with the desire and request of Thos McMahon the elder
and the younger and of Cornelius O'Callaghan assign and convey to Cornelius
the said Decree and money thereby decreed to be paid to Thos Smyth as trustee
of Thos McMahon the elder, the better to protect the said Cornelius O'Callaghan
his heirs and assigns in the quiet enjoyment of the said purchased lands
of Shyan and Ballyashea121.
On 3rd May 1753 Mortough McMahon of Clonina executed a deed of mortgage
to Mrs Mary Burton secured against the lands of Shyan, Creigh, Clonina,
Leitrim, Cragclonborney, Ballyashea, Trough and other lands, with a condition
of redemption. The deed was registered on 26th Jan 1758. On 6th September
1766 Mary Burton assigned the mortgage to Charles McDonnell; this deed
on 17th November. The mortgage subsequently became vested in John McDonnell,
grandson of Charles. In an Indented Deed dated 12th March 1816, John, by
and with the consent and connivance of Thomas McMahon of Clonina but now
Court and Cornelius O'Callaghan of Ballinahinch Co Clare did for the consideration
therein mentioned assign and convey the said mortgage ... to the said Cornelius
O'Brien of Dublin City'122.
It will be noted that Thomas had conveyed the lands of Shyan and Ballyashea
to O'Callaghan the previous August.
On 6th October 1815 Thomas McMahon the Elder of Newcourt, Co Wicklow
and Thomas McMahon the Younger his son, Lieutenant in His Majesties Wicklow
Militia, executed two indented deeds of lease in favour of the Revd Patrick
O'Kelly of Clonreddan, Co Clare123.
In the first the McMahons for the consideration mentioned in the deed,
demised granted and confirmed to Fr O'Kelly his
heirs and assigns forever, the farm and lands of West Creigh part of
of Clonina in the Parish of Kilmacduane containing by estimation 300
are now in the occupation and possession of said Patrick O'Kelly. In
the second deed the McMahons demised released and confirmed to Fr O'Kelly
assigns forever, the Deerpark and Orchard of Leitrim containing by estimation
40 acres then in the occupation and possession of said Patrick O'Kelly
and also three other denominations of land totalling 110 acres, also
the lands of Leitrim, which had been occupied by three tenants. The leases
subject to the payments of the agreed rents124.
From these deeds it appears that Fr O'Kelly had occupied the demesne
lands of Clonina for some time
as a tenant
of Thomas McMahon, probably from soon after the death of Thomas the Elder's
uncle Mortogh McMahon in 1808.
In a third lease dated 6th July 1816 Thomas McMahon the elder of New
Court, Co Wicklow Esq and his son Thomas McMahon the younger Esq, late
in His Majesty's Wicklow Regiment of Militia executed an Indenture of
Lease to the Revd Patrick O'Kelly of Clonreddan, whereby the McMahons
consideration therein mentioned 'did demise grant set and to farm let
unto the said Patrick
O'Kelly his heirs and assigns in his actual possession then being by
virtue of a Lease therein recited ... all that and those the farm and
Glanmore and Tourene Thomas, part of the lands of Kiltumper in the parish
... containing by estimation twelve hundred acres ... forever ... the
said Patrick O'Kelly paying therefore and thereout yearly ... the sum
Hundred Pounds'. The excution of the memorial of the deed was witnessed
McMahon Snr's uncle in law David Arthur England of Ennis125.
The 'consideration therein
mentioned' is not specified. In a booklet written between 1941 and 1949,
'Kilmihil Parish, Its Origin and Scraps of its History' by Rev Patrick
Gaynor PP, the
author quotes an old man in the area as saying that the Priest Kelly
bought Cloneenagh from McMahon, who gambled and drank, for £400126.
Certainly the sum of £400 was a gross understatement and it is
likely that Fr O'Kelly paid several multiples of this to acquire the
lands. There is
that the Colonel ever lived permanently at Clonina and, while he probably
from time to time, it seems that he did not have any real affinity with
Death: In Clonmel, Colonel M'Mahon of Clonina, County Clare, and Newcourt,
Co Wicklow, late of the 27th, and Barrack Master of that Town. (Saunder's
Newsletter 18th August 1818, and Ennis Chronicle 19 Aug 1818). The
Globe (London) reported on 20 Aug 1818: 'Death: On Sunday se'nnight, at Clonmel,
Lieutenant Colonel McMahon, of Clonina, county Clare, and Newcourt, county
Wicklow, late of the 27th Regiment. His remains were attended to the
grave by his three younger sons, chief mourners, and all the respectable
gentlemen of Clonmel'.
We know that Thomas had five sons and it seems likely that Thomas, the
eldest, who died two months after his father, was too ill to attend his
father's funeral. William Warburton, the third son, seems to have predeceased
Notice to Creditors: All persons having Charges or Encumbrances affecting the
Estates and Property of Colonel M'Mahon of Clonina in the County of Clare,
and New Court, Bray; and Thomas M'Mahon Esq his eldest son, are required to
furnish a Statement of the nature and amount of such claims to Richard Scott
Esq, Attorney for said Thomas M'Mahon. Dublin, Sept 23, 1818. (Dublin Evening
Post 10th October 1818).
Ennis Chronicle Wednesday 28th October 1818: 'Died last Monday morning at Cahircalla,
the seat of David Arthur England Esq, Thomas M'Mahon Esq of the 82nd Regt,
eldest son of the late Colonel McMahon of Clonena, in the 23rd year of his
age. He had been in a rapid decline for some time and but lately returned from
The 82th Regiment sailed from Ramsgate for Ireland on board the Boadicea in
January 1816 and she and two other transports were all wrecked off the Waterford
and Cork coasts. The 82nd lost 280 men plus women and children drowned. The
82nd spent the next two years in Ireland. It seems that Thomas only joined
the 82nd after the regiment arrived in Ireland.
Clare Journal 26th April 1819: 'Death, at the seat of his brother, Newcourt,
Bray, in his 22nd year Robert Andrew M'Mahon Esq of the 80th Regt, son of the
late Col M'Mahon of Clonina'. The will of Robt Andrew McMahon, Clonina, with
the date 1827 is listed in the Prerogative Wills 1811-1858. The 80th Regiment
had only returned to England in 1817 after a long period in India so it appears
that Robert Andrew only joined the army then or soon after.
Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier 9th January 1827: 'Death, at
Kilrush on Tuesday last (2nd Jan), in the bloom of life, Edmond McMahon Esq
of Clonina, whose open and generous heart possessed all the hereditary virtues
of his ancient family'. This was Edward, the fourth son, who was baptised in
Bray in October 1802. The will of Edmond McMahon of Newcourt, Co Dublin, is
listed in the Diocesan And Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes
In Michaelmas Term 1825 Michael Studdert obtained a judgement in the Court
of Common Pleas against Edward McMahon of Clonina for the sum of £200.
The debt was not discharged before Edward's death and subsequently Michael
Studdert of Rehy Park became entitled to payment of the principal plus interest
following the sale of the freehold of the McMahon lands in 1843127.
The third of the four sons of Col Thomas McMahon who was alive at the
time of his father's death was John. On the 27th October 1827 John McMahon
Esq of Newcourt, Co Wicklow, executed a deed in which he is described
as the 'eldest son and heir at law of Thomas McMahon Esq deceased, and
also eldest brother now surviving and heir at law of Thomas McMahon and
Edward McMahon Esquires also deceased both late of Newcourt'128.
Whoever drafted the memorial of the deed seems to have been rather careless
John should have been described as the only surviving son of Thomas McMahon
The memorial refers to the deed dated 6th October 1815 whereby Thomas
McMahon Snr and his son Thomas McMahon Jnr executed a deed of lease to
O'Kelly, Parish Priest of Kilmacduane, his heirs and assigns forever, of the
lands of Creigh under the yearly rent of One Hundred and Eighty Pounds Stg.
The memorial goes on to say that John McMahon agreed to reduce and abate the
rent to One Hundred and Ten Pounds Fifteen Shillings and Four Pence Halfpenny
with effect from 1st May 1827. The reason for the reduction is noted as 'the
great decrease in the value of land' since the date of the original lease,
and that 'the said yearly rent ... was too high ... and more than the value
thereof'. This dramatic fall in land values reflected the collapse of the price
of agricultural products following the ending of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.
The witnesses to the deed were John McMahon's granduncle in law David Arthur
England of Ennis and Fr O'Kelly's brother in law, Thomas Gibson of Ballyvoe129.
Richard Scott of Ennis was a witness to the memorial. Scott was an attorney
who had offices in Dublin and who was to be found 'in Ennis during vacation'130.
John Scott of Newry was a party to a deed executed by Thomas McMahon in
August 1815. It will be noted that Thomas McMahon Snr's wife Mary/Maria
John McMahon must have died sometime between October 1827 and June 1832
as he was not mentioned in a court action in which his mother was named
latter year. He may be the John McMahon of Sackville street, Dublin,whose
will dated 1830 is listed in the Ireland Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations
The Bill which Jane Ormsby O'Beirne had filed in the Court of Exchequer
in 1816 eventually resulted in a Decree to Account being pronounced on
7th June 1832 in which the Chief Remembrancer was charged with investigating
the totality of the encumbrances against the lands. By this time Maria
was the only defendant still alive. The Remembrancer found that Maria
was entitled to two charges against the lands, one for £2000 and
a second for £1000 with interest from the death of her late husband.
On 18th June 1835 this totalled £5566.3s.1 3/4d present currency
and a final decree for this sum was granted to Maria out of the sale
of the lands directed to be sold. A further report by the Court Remembrancer
found that Maria was also due in respect of her jointure and arrears
the sum of £1251. 16s 11d, and on the 24th June 1835 the Court
gave an order for the payment of this amount to Maria. On 3rd April 1837
Maria executed a deed of assignment of this amount to William Cullen,
solicitor for Jane Ormsby O'Beirne, in settlement of all the latter's
Maria proceeded to borrow the sum of £200 at 6% interest from
Robert Studdert late of Mount Rivers Co Clare and then of Strokestown
Co Roscommon, Lieutenant in the Revenue Police. On 4th October 1838 Maria
executed a deed of assignment in favour of Robert Studdert in which the
loan was secured against part of the moneys due to Maria out of the sale
of the Clonina estate133.
An order was made by the Court on 14th June 1837 for the sale of the
lands of Clonina alias Clonwhite alias Clonwhiterue, Clonigallen, Cragg
Leitrim, Creagh alias Clonetragh, and Kiltumper. The sale was arranged for
18th November 1837 and advertisements were placed in the newspapers134.
However the sale was postponed on a number of occasions and the auction eventually
took place on 29th May 1843135.
The purchase of the freehold of the lands was completed by John Vandeleur
Stewart on 10th June
1843 and he then became
entitled to the head rents payable under the terms of the leases. Stewart's
aunt was the wife of John Ormsby Vandeleur of Kilrush. Stewart paid the
sum of £17,500 for the freehold of the lands. This was more than
sufficient to cover all the encumbrances and charges on the property.
By a conveyance of lease and release dated 29th November 1843 Maria McMahon
of New Court for the consideration of six hundred pounds transferred to
John O'Kelly the ownership of that part of the lands of Clonina known as
then in the possession of Michael Studdert and Honoria his wife plus an
adjoining area of bog already in the possession of John O'Kelly, subject
to a yearly
rent of 5 shillings136.
The deed states that Maria held these lands from the Earl of Thomond and
they obviously were not included in the 1843 sale
freehold title to the other lands of the Clonina estate. Michael Studdert
lived at Rehy Park near Carrigaholt which he seems to have acquired from
of Honora Learnanan to whom Mortogh McMahon had demised the property
in 1803. Studdert seems to also have acquired the lands of Rinebane which
nephew Thomas demised to Honora Learnanan in 1793. The lands of Rehy
had been acquired by Dennis McMahon from Luke Hickman of Fenloe in 1731
of a lease of three lives renewable forever.
Died: At New Court, Wicklow, Maria, relict of Colonel Thomas M'Mahon,
of Clonina, Clare, aged 78. (The Globe, London, 20th August 1847). Thus
Maria was born c 1769 which suggests that she may have been rather younger
than her husband. The deed of 15th August 1815 refers to Mary (Maria)
as Thomas's present wife which may suggest that Thomas had been married
previously. The Dublin Evening Mail of 3rd December 1847 advertised the
sale by auction at Newcourt, Bray, of the furniture and household effects
of the late Mrs Colonel McMahon.
Fr Patrick O'Kelly, eldest son of Michael Kelly and Margaret McMahon,
was born c1757 at Cloghaunbeg West, near Cree. His paternal grandparents
'Tadgh an Óir' O'Kelly and Honora Mahon. 'Tadgh an Óir' was said
to be a very wealthy man. Honora's sister married Timothy Kelly of Craggaknock
whose father Captain Patrick O'Kelly was slain at the Battle of Aughrim in
1691137. Both O'Kelly families
originated in Co Galway and were possibly already related. It is said that
Capt Patrick O'Kelly's first wife was a sister in
law of Daniel O'Brien, Lord Clare, who introduced this branch of the Kelly
family into Clare. Timothy Kelly of Craggaknock was a son of Capt O'Kelly
by his second wife, Elizabeth Reid.
Patrick O'Kelly was educated at the Irish College in Paris and left France
at the beginning of the French Revolution and returned to his native Clare.
For forty years he was the parish priest of the combined parishes of Kilmacduane
(Cooraclare) and Kilmihil. He was known as 'The Priest' Kelly, An Sagart
He inherited much of his grandfather's wealth and lands and had the financial
wherewithal to acquire the McMahon lands when they became available. When he
died on 31st January 1830 he was buried in the new church at Cree which he
had recently built at his own expense. After his death his estate was valued
at £6,750, a truly remarkable sum for a priest in pre-emancipation