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The McMahons of Clonina by James M. Molohan



1 There are significant differences in the spelling of the names of persons as they occur at different times and in different documents. The same is true of placenames. The spellings of names and placenames in this paper are generally as they occur in the particular document or record in question.

2 James Frost, The History & Topography of the County of Clare, p67.

3 Ibid . This Inquisition also found that Mortagh Cam died on 10th January 1593. This conflicts with the date in the Annals. The MacGormans were related by marriage to the MacBrodys. See Frost p69.

4 O'Gillahinane was later anglicised as Shannon.

5 James Frost, Op cit, P505. Dermot Considine was most likely a close relative of Mortogh McMahon.

6 Donough//Donnchadh was son of Brian Dubh McMahon according to Twigge who says that the McMahons of Lack were of a different branch of the McMahon family.

7 Murtagh McMahon the Younger may have been the Murrough, son of Teige Roe MacMahon, owner of Derrycrossane, who died on the 20th of June, 1624, leaving as successor his son, Murrogh according to an Inquisition taken at Ennis on 7th August 1630.

8 See 'Lucht Scríofa Lámhscríbhinní i gContae an Chláir' by Eilís Ní Dheá, Dal gCais 1999, pp51-57. Ní Dheá attributes this story to an article by Mrs Morgan John O'Connell entitled 'The Last of the Shanachies' in The Irish Monthly 1886, p27. See also Béaloideas, Vol 30, 1962 (pp89-104), Thomas Wall, 'Teige Mac Mahon and Peter O'Connell Seanchaí and Scholar in Co.Clare',

9 National Library of Ireland, Collection List No 143, Inchiquin Papers, MS 45,314 /7.

10 This More seems to have been the first wife of Mortogh McMahon.

11 Frost, Op cit, P576/577. It seems that several generations of the McMahoms had wives named More (Máire). The Deed of 1621 tells us that More was the wife of the son of Murtagh, who was son of Thomas and grandson of Murtagh Cam. More, the wife of Murtagh the Petitioner of 1700 re the lease of 1668 was obviously a different More.

12 Sullivan, "Two Centuries of Irish History," pp 6, 19, quoted by Mrs Morgan John O'Connell in her book 'The Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade'.

13 Many different spellings of the name of the presentday townland of Cloneenagh in Kilmacduane parish were used in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Clonina being the most frequently used. In this paper the spellings used are generally as they appear in the relevant documents. The poet Micháel Coimín writing in 1741 gives Cluain Eidhneach as the original Irish version.

14 Decamade is Dehomad in the Parish of Clondagad.

15 The will of Mortogh McMahon of Clouninagh with the date 1711 is listed in the Killaloe & Kilfenora Wills (Phillimore & Thrift).

16 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 12320, Vol 22, p379, Westby to McMahon, 19th Sept 1713.

17 Originally Cragclonborny seems to have comprised both of the presentday townlands of Crag which immediately adjoin each other, the one (which also adjoins Knockalough) in Kilmihil parish, and the other in Kilfiddane parish. Garranereagh is presentday Greygrove in Kilmihil parish, immediately to the north of Knockalough.

18 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 6896, Vol 15, p101, (img 61) Ievers to Roe, and Memorial No 30798, Ievers to Harrison, Garranreagh alias Carranreagh alias Knockalogh.

19 Ibid, Memorial No 9480, Vol 17, p473, Ievers et al to McMahon. An Indenture of Lease dated 14 Oct and release dated 15 Oct 1716.

20 Ibid Memorial No 10985, Vol 20, p383 (img 204/205) Ievers to McMahon, 5 Nov 1717.

21 In 1725 Thomas Ievers disposed of a further large area of these lands to Robert Harrison of Fort Fergus: See Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 30798, Vol 48, p100 (img 64), Ievers to Harrison, 9 Jan 1725.

22 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 15879, Vol 26, P403 (Image 557), dated 28 Nov 1719, Amory to McMahon.

23 Ibid, Memorial No 12368, Vol 21, p525, (img 549), Burton to McMahon 27 June 1718.

24 Ibid, Memorial No18218, Vol 29, p431,Vanhuggardin to McMahon, 15th Feb 1720.

25 Ibid, Memorial No 25856, Vol 42, p119, Burton to McMahon, 4th Oct 1723.

26 Ibid, Memorial No 40523, Vol 61,p30, Smith to McMahon, 13 Jan 1726.

27 Ibid, Memorial No 40524, Vol 59, p287, McMahon to McMahon 15th Jan 1726.

28 Ibid, Memorial No 37729, Vol 57, p145, Comyn to McMahon, 19th May 1728.

29 Ibid, Memorial No 111420, Vol 166, p255, McMahon to McMahon, 30 Sept 1752.

30 Ibid, Memorial No 40526, Vol 61, p31 (img 22), McMahon to Burke, 4 April 1729.

31 Valentine's grandson Valentine Richard Quinn was created 1st Earl of Dunraven in 1822.

32 Thomas Morony and Mary Meade were the ancestors of the Moronys of Miltown Malbay. An unconfirmed source lists their daughter Jane as having married Edmond Comyn of Milford (sic), possibly a relative of the poet, Micheál Coimín. Coimín later lived at Carrowkeel (also known as Milford), and had a son named Edmond/Edmund. See 'Notes on the Poets of Clare' by Thomas F O'Reilly, Clare Library Online Publications.

33 Edmond Merony Gent was a Claimant in 1700 (Chichester House) re the lands of Dunnaha East & Dunnaha West quoting a deed of Aug 1683 (Frost). The Moronys appear as witnesses in many deeds involving the McMahons during the first half of the 18th century.

34 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 44134, Vol 63, p403, O'Brien to McMahon. 2nd Sept 1730.

35 Ibid, Memorial No 55557, Vol 80 p212 (img 398/399), Hamilton et al to McMahon, 13 & 14 July 1730.

36 Ibid, Memorial No 48145, Vol 66, p521, Hickman to McMahon, 8 April 1732.

37 Ibid, Memorial No 48146 Vol 68 p296 (img 443) Hickman to McMahan 8 April 1732.

38 Ibid, Memorial No 5059, Vol 72, p243 (img 430), Burton to McMahon.

39 Ibid, Memorial No 59289, Vol 85, p114, Creagh et al to McMahon, 14th August 1736. James Comyn was son of Michael Comyn who had held the lands of Clonina in trust for Thomas McMahon.

40 Crosslé Genealogical Abstracts. Bryan McMahon of City of Limerick was a witness in several deeds involving the McMahons of Clonina and also the McMahons of Leadmore and may well have been related to both . He was probably the Bryan McMahon, Attorney, who died at Limerick in 1767 (Faulkner's Dublin Journal 13 Jan 1767). Bryan may have been a brother of Henry whose son Bryan was admitted as an Attorney Exchequer Feb 1774, from Kings Bench.

41 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 100689, McMahon to McMahon, 10th June 1749.

42 Betham Genealogical Abstracts. Richard Nagle was named as brother in law of Mathew McMahon of Toureen, Doctor in Physick, in the will of the latter dated 17 May 1742. Nagle must have been married to a sister of Matthew who must have been a close relative of Thomas, although the details of this relationship have not been established.

43 See Brian Ó Dálaigh, 'Mícheál Coimín: Jacobite, Protestant and Gaelic Poet 1676-1760', Studia Hibernica (No 34), pp123-150, Liverpool University Press.

44 There is very little information available regarding the parents and siblings of Sir Michael. Brian ÓDálaigh, Op cit, quoting a pedigree compiled by Edmond, son of Michael Comyn, gives Elizabeth Creagh's father's name as Francis (Genealogical Office, GO Ms 162, ff. 34-5). Thus Francis Creagh and Sir Michael Creagh were brothers. A biography of Sir Michael by Éamonn ÓCiardha in the RIA Dictionary of Irish Biography (Cambridge University Press) gives Sir Michael's father's name as Christopher. Another online source names Sir Michael's father as Michael who was brother of Col John Creagh of Ballyvollane, Co Limerick, who was involved in the Confederate Wars of the 1640s.

45 See Burke's The Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1912 Pedigree of the Moronys of Odell Ville which lists Jane as the daughter of Thomas Morony. Other sources say that Jane was the daughter of Edmond

46 This according to Simone Cody of Queensland, Australia, email to the writer 2 Jan 2021.

47 See Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 92544, Vol , p106 (img 60), Fitzgerald to Morony 10 May 1745. Edmond Morony the lessee was 'of Miltoon' (sic). Edmond Comyn of Kilcorcoran but late of the City of Dublin and his brother James Comyn of Dublin Gents were witnesses to the deed. On 10th Aug 1745 the lease of Kilcorcoran and Cloghaunmore was transferred to James Comyn for his own life and the life of his father Michael and of Isabella Anderson who later married James, see Memorial No 85714, Vol 122, p225 (img134) Inchiquin & ors to Comyn.

48 Some authorities attribute this poem to Seán Chambers of Kilkee. For a commentary on this and a definitive overview on the life and poetry of Micheál Coinín, see Brian ÓDálaigh Op cit. Given the family ties between Micheál Coimín and Thomas McMahon it seems more likely that Coimín was the author.

49 English translation by this writer.

50 The original poem contains 24 verses. Nine verses, edited by Seán Ó hÓgáin, were published in The Irish Book Lover, Feb 1951, pp101, 102. Ó hÓgáin quotes the source as RIA MS 24 M 11 but according to Brian ÓDálaigh the correct reference is more likely MS 24 K 11. Peter Beirne of Clare Co Library brought this poem to the attention of Martin Breen who passed it on to me and for this I am grateful to both .

51 See 'A 1589 Deed between McGilleragh and the Earl of Thomond for Cragbrien' by Luke McInerney, The Other Clare, Vol 40, 2016, pp 73–82.

52 James Frost, Op cit. The likelihood that the McMahons, MacGillereaghs and the Considines were related to each other is reinforced by the fact that Dermot Considine occupied Ballynogun jointly with Mortogh McMahon in 1659. We have seen above that Joanna Considine was wife of Rikard MacGillereagh, owner of Cloondrinagh and Cloonborna who died in 1634.

53 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 303, Vol2, p98 (Img 450/451), 23 & 24 August 1708. Witnesses included Ignatius Casey of Ennis Merchant and Francis Casey of Knockanallaba Merchant. The Moronys regularly appear as witnesses in deeds involving the McMahons of Clonina in the first half of the 18th century.

54 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 1004, Vol 3, p319, (Img 302 & 305), 12 Jan 1709, and Memorial No 1003, Vol 4, (Img 180) 12 Jan 1709.

55 Ibid, Memorial No 2552, Vol 8, p189, (Img 112), O'Brien et al to Gillereagh, 25 July 1711.

56 Ibid, Memorial No 2551, Vol 8, p188 ((Img 111/112), Gough to Gillereagh 5 Nov 1711. There may possibly be an error in the name of the first mentioned townland. Breaffy North is in the Parish of Kilfarboy, Barony of Ibrickan and not the Barony of Islands. The correct townland may be Lavally (Leath Bhaile) North which, like Clondrinagh is in Clondagad parish. Perhaps Leath Bhaile had been abbreviated to Baile, anglicised Bally, which was then mistranscribed as Breffa. In 1641 Donogh Mac Gilla Riabadh held Lavally North and Mahone Mac Gilla Riabadh held Clondrinagh. Both townlands had been disposed of to Edward Gough.

57 Registry of Deeds, Memorandum No 19920 Vol 32, p345 (Img187/188), Gillereagh to Ormsby, 26 Sept 1712.

58 Probate of the will of Rev Zachary Ormsby LLD of Ballygrenan, Co Limerick, was granted in 1723(Phillimore & Thrift).

59 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 19924, Vol 31, p453 (Img 254255) Gilereagh to Ormsby, 23 Nov 1721.

60 Ibid, Memorial No 67540, Vol 94, p531 (Img 289/290); Gillereagh & others to Barclay 19th & 20th Oct 1737.

61 Percival Hart's daughter Susanna married Brian, son of Terence McMahon of Clondanagh in 1748. Brian's younger brother Terence later occupied Dromore as a tenant of Mortogh, nephew of Thomas, Denis and Mortogh (the attorney) McMahon of Clonina.

62 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 70219, Vol 100, p210 (Img119), 10 & 11 Nov 1740, Gillereagh to McMahon & Others.

63 Diocesan And Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes 1595-1858.

64 Betham's Genealogical Abstracts.

65 The will of Morgan O'Meara of Nenagh, deceased, was registered in 1739. His son Morgan married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Pennefather of Newpark in 1751. Eltonhead Meara Esq was of Greague, Queen's Co when he died in 1771 (Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland).

66 Betham Genealogical Abstracts.

67 Limerick Chronicle 9th April 1781

68 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 59760, Smith to McMahon,16th Jan 1735.

69 Ibid, Memorial No 66221 Smith to McMahon, 19th Aug 1738.

70 Ibid, Memorial No 55706 Burton et al to McMahon 25th Oct 1734.

71 Ibid, Memorial No 100689 McMahon to McMahon 10th June 1749..

72 John Burke the witness was the stepson of Mortogh McMahon the Attorney.

73 This was Mortagh, son of Thomas of Clonina & Eliza Meade.

74The Kings Inns Admission Papers 1607-1867 at

75 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 66751, Vol 94, p375 (Img 214), Amory to McMahon, 6th July 1739.

76 He may be the Will Burgh who was party to the marriage settlement of Thomas McMahon.

77 It seems certain that Jane continued to live at Dromore until her death. This was the same house which was later occupied by Terence McMahon who held it as a tenant of Mortogh McMahon from at least 1780, but most likely from around 1766. Mortogh and Terence may have been distantly related. Following the purchase of Dromore from Lord Milton by Thomas Crowe in 1791 Terence continued to live at Dromore until his death in late 1796.

78 The will of Mortogh McMahon of Dromore with the date 1752 is listed in the Diocesan & Prerogative Wills Index. A copy of the will is held in the Studdert Papers at the National Library of Ireland.

79 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 159965 Vol 243 p345 McDonnell to McMahon 1765. A Memorial of Indented Deed of Lease and Release bearing date respectively the first & second day of November 1765. The Memorial was registered on 30th April 1766.

80 Ibid, Memorial No 150487, Damer to Ld Milton, registered 11th May 1764.

81 John Damer of Shronehill (Shronell) inherited the assets of his uncle Joseph Damer in 1720. Joseph was a moneylender, a land agent and a dealer in mortgages. Joseph (Damer), Lord Milton, was Joseph Damer's grandnephew.

82 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 202504, Lord Milton to Crowe, Registered 1st June 1791.

83 Ibid, Memorial No 162807, Vol 251 P 437 (Img 229) dated 1766. Pierse Creagh of Dangan to Terence McMahon of Ballykinecora, the lands of Kilmoon West in the parish and Barony of Burren.

84 Ibid, Memorial No 226148, Vol 337, P229 (Img 81), Duke of Leinster & others to Mahon (sic) dated 18 & 19 Dec 1780.

85 The 1791 Deed of Sale of Dromore confirms that Terence then held the house and lands from Mortogh McMahon. It seems that the Crowes used the old Mansion House as a hunting lodge for a time before building their new Dromore House. See Weir, The Houses of Clare.

86 The gravestone erected by his son Capt Mort gives his date of death as 16 November 1796. However the date of his will as reported in the 1856 court case is 29 November. His death was reported 'this morning after a few days illness' in the Ennis Chronicle of 1 December 1796.

87 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 44536 Vol 65, p94, (Image 58/59), dated 4 May 1708, Cusacke to McMahon.

88 Daniel O'Callaghan of Mountallon, son of Donough decd, lodged an Exchequer Bill on 11 July 1724 seeking to recover the lands of Oughterrush West alias Cloncoole from Cusack's heirs. The defendants named were John Cole, George Purdon, Terence McMahon, Peter Cusack, Arthur Gore, Mabel his wife, Thos Studdert & Eliza his wife. In the Bill, O'Callaghan said that 'John Cusack was then a man of great authority and much feared in that county'. (Thrift Genealogical Abstracts).

89 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 91382, Vol 134, p378, (Image 211), dated 29 December 1748.

90 Ibid, Memorial No 87877, Vol 128, p527, (Img 284/285) dated 20 Aug 1745, Francis Gore of Derrymore to Bryan McMahon.

91 Ibid, Memorial No 67540, Vol 94, p531,Gillereagh & others to Barclay, dated 19th & 20th Oct 1737.

92 The record of their son Donat's entry to Kings Inns tells us that his mother's name was Elizabeth, sister of Edmund Hogan whose widow Catherine submitted Donat's entrance application.

93 Ennis Chronicle Thurs 18 Oct 1792.

94 Kentish Independent 25 March 1848.

95 Drumcliffe C of I parish records. See also The Oracle and Daily Advertiser, London, 4 September 1800 and Walker's Hibernian Magazine, September 1800.

96 Dublin Weekly Register 17 June 1820.

97 There was a court case heard in Ennis in 1856 in which Richard McMahon Roberts, grandson of Teigue/Timothy McMahon sought possession of the lands which Terence McMahon Snr had acquired in 1780 and which Anne, widow of Terence McMahon Jnr, had purported to dispose of in her will. The case was reported in the Clare Freeman of 1st March 1856 and the Clare Journal of 3 March 1856 and the reports contain much information on the family.

98 See 'Seán de hÓra' by Brian Mac Cumhghaill (1956). I am grateful to Brian Ó Dáiligh for providing me with a copy of this book.

99 There is a copy of O'Looney's book in the Local Studies Centre in Ennis and I am grateful to Peter Beirne for providing me with scans of the poems relating to 'Fair Mary' McDonnell and Mortogh McMahon.

100 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 111420, Vol 166 p255, McMahon to McMahon 30 Sept 1752.

101 Ibid, Memorial No 112525, Vol 165, p406, Westropp to McMahon 15th April 1754.

102 Studdert Papers, National Library Ms.20.637

103 Ibid

104 In May 2019 this could not be found in the National Archives although it is listed. (An archivist promised to look into the matter and perhaps it has subsequently been found)

105 Studdert Papers Op cit.

106 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 310351 Vol 478, p273 (Img 150) One of the witnesses to the deed was Michael Gillereagh of Clonina. The usual written version of the name Gillereagh had become Gallery long before this.

107 The lives named were Honor Learhinane, Patrick Learhinane son to Murto Learhinane of Leitrim and Thomas Browne son to John Browne of Cree.

108 It is possible that Bridget Hoare was the widow of the poet Seán de hÓra.

109 Limerick Chronicle 5 Aug 1771, and Waterford Chronicle of 16 Aug 1771.

110 Clare Journal 1 Feb 1779.

111 Ennis Chronicle 18 Nov 1807.

112 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 120626, Vol 182, p229, 19 Nov 1755, McMahon to McMahon. It is almost certain that Andrew must have converted to Protestantism prior to this in order to qualify to hold a lease for longer than 31 years.

113 Limerick Chronicle Thurs 1 April 1773.

114 Irish Newspaper Transcript Archive, Ffoliott Collection 1756-1850

115 It was not until 1793 that The Catholic Relief Act in Ireland allowed Catholics to hold commissioned rank in the army up to and including that of Colonel.

116 There were two houses named Moatfield in Co Kildare, one near Athy and the other near Clane. The former seems to have been continually by the Greene family at this time. It seems more likely that the house occupied by Thomas was the one near Clane.

117 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 318494, Vol 481 (Img 493) dated 5th Sept 1795. This was James McNamara of Fortville, Lispuckaun, Kilmaley.

118 Ibid, Memorial No 317290 Vol 497 (Img 13) dated 8th Sept 1795, and Memorial 317291 Vol 499 (Img 274) dated 8 Oct 1795.

119 Ibid, Memorial No 475501, Vol 692, p363 (Img 191) McMahon & ors to England & ors.

120 The deed erroneously gives the date of the marriage settlement as 8th Nov 1793. Thomas and Mary married on 9th November 1792, the day after the date of the marriage settlement.

121 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 481307, Vol 702, p210 (Img 111), Smyth & ors to O'Callaghan.

122 Ibid Memorial No 510367 Vol 750, p430 (Img 521/522) McDonnell & ors to O'Brien. This memorial contains all the details of the mortgage of the lands by Murtagh McMahon and the subsequent assignment of the mortgage.

123 Registry of Deeds, Memorials Nos 476470 & 476471, Vol 694, pp157& 158 (Imgs 84 & 85), McMahon to O'Kelly.

124 The 'consideration' involved in these leases was not specified in the memorials of the leases. This was quite usual.

125 Ibid, Memorial No 557882 Vol 829 p546 (Img340) McMahon to O'Kelly.

126 An online version of Fr Gaynor's booklet, prepared by Dónal de Barra, has been published by Oidhreacht an Chláir.

127 See Studdert Papers, Op cit

128 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 557373 Vol 829 p38 (Img 25) McMahon & ors to O'Kelly.

129 Thomas Gibson was descended from a Protestant Williamite officer, Captain Thomas Gibson, who fought at the Battle of the Boyne. In the early 18th c the family settled at Lisborneen in Kilmaley parish. They later moved to the Loop Head area where they held the townlands of Moneen, Fodera and half of Ross from the Westbys to whom they were related by marriage. The family had converted to Catholicism by around the time of Thomas Gibson's birth in the 1770s. Thomas married Fr Patrick O'Kelly's sister Bridget and moved to Ballyvoe in Kilmaley in 1818 where he held 365 acres. Thomas Gibson was later a longtime and active member of the Board of Guardians of the Ennis Poor Law Union. He died in 1863.

130 Scott had a house in Ennis, see Dublin Weekly Register 3 April 1819 and various other newspaper reports.

131Saunder's Newsletter of 22 Oct 1828 carried an advert for a dog which strayed from 50 Upr Sackville St with a brass collar with the name Mrs Colonel McMahon, Newcourt.

132 Registry of Deeds, Memorial No 292, 1837 9Img 204), McMahon to Cullen.

133 Ibid, Memorial No 114, 1838, Vol 19, p114 (Img 85), McMahon to Studdert.

134 See Dublin Evening Post 10th Oct 1837.

135 See inter alia the Clare Journal of 18th May 1843.

136 Registry of Deeds, 1843, Vol 18, Memorial No 59 (Img 42).

137 Captain Patrick O'Kelly's sword is still in the possession of the Kelly family of Carhue. I am grateful to Eoin Shanahan for this information.

138 Letters of Administration of the Estate of Rev Patrick O'Kelly who died on 31st Jan 1830 (left unadministered by the Executors John Kelly & Thomas Gibson) were granted on 7th Feb 1865 to Matthew Kelly, Woollen Draper, Kilrush, one of the Residuary Legatees.

139 Clare Journal 1st March 1855.

140 Anne Cullinan was the second wife of John O'Kelly. Clare Journal Thursday 9 Oct 1834: "Married this morning, by the Rev Daniel Lynch P.P. at Kilnacally John O'Kelly, Esq of Clonina to Anne, youngest daughter of the late Denis Cullinan Esq.". John's first wife was Grace O'Brien: Clare Journal Thursday 7 Jun 1832: "Married, yesterday morning, at Dromelihy, by the Rev. Mr. O'Kelly, P.P, John O'Kelly of Clonina Esq. to Grace, daughter and only child of James O'Brien Esq and niece of the late Chevalier O'Gorman". James O'Brien was Fr Lynch's landlord at Fairy Hill, Kilmaley. The Lynchs, Gibsons and Cullinans were related by marriage to each other.

141 Bridget Gibson, daughter of Thomas Gibson and Bridget O'Kelly, married her cousin Pat Mór O'Kelly.