The Geoghegans - A Family History
to the genealogists, the MacEochagáins or Geoghegans are
descended from Fiacha, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. See under "Ancient
Genealogy" for the traditional lines of descent. But while
other septs in the area, such as the Foxes and especially the
O'Melaghlins figure frequently in the Annals from the 6th century
onwards, some 25 generations of Fiacha's Mac Eochagáin
posterity pass unnoticed and unrecorded. In fact the group which were
destined to become Geoghegans were probably relatively small during
this period and confined to an area around Durrow on the Westmeath
Offaly border. They certainly were chiefs of this area, but not
anything like as powerful as their neighbours - O'Melaghlin, Molloy,
Kearney (Fox), Brennan (who occupied the area around
CastletownGeoghegan), and so on. The descendants of Fiacha, which of
course included other families in addition to the Geoghegans, were
collectively known as Cenel Fhiachaigh, anglicised as Kenaleagh or
Kenalea and by this name the Geoghegan territory was known until
Elizabethan times, when it was made into the Barony of Moycashel.
Even the name Moycashel was taken from one of the principal castles
of the Geoghegans, since disappeared.
In 1373 the Geoghegan territory was described as "MacGeoghegan country called Kinaliaghe contained in length twelve miles and in breadth seven miles. It lyeth midway between the ffort of Faly and Athlone, five miles distant from either of them and also five miles distant from Mullingar which lyeth north of it. The said MacGeoghegans' country is in the county of Westmeath situated in the upper end thereof, tending to the south part of said county and on the other side southward of it is O Moloyes' country. And on the southeast of it lyeth Offaley; and on the east side joineth Terrells' country, alias Ffertullagh. On the north side lyeth Daltons' country; and O Melaghlyns' country on the west side between it and Athlone where a corner of it joineth with Dillons' country." The "miles" were probably Irish miles that are somewhat longer than the modern mile. This would explain why some of the figures don't add up; for example, Athlone and Mullingar are thirty miles apart, yet a twelve-mile stretch is described as five miles from each of them.
The O Molloys (described above as O Moloyes) were of the same kindred as the Geoghegans, being descended from Fiacha through another of his sons. Likewise the O Melaghlins (the name has now been totally superseded by MacLoughlin) the royal family of Meath and the Foxes of Kilcoursey, one time princes of Tethbha, traced their ancestry to two of Fiacha's brothers. All these families together make up what is known as the southern Uí Neill (the southern descendants of Niall).
The Geoghegan territory described in 1373 is much larger in area than the original territory, so what happened in the intervening period? In a phrase, the Norman invasion. The Normans conquered Britain in 1066. By the mid 1100's they were well established and in control there. In 1169, Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster invited the Anglo-Normans into Ireland to assist him in seizing the High Kingship. In 1169-1170 a huge Norman force under Strongbow (de Clare) invaded Ireland. Such was the fragmentation among the Irish chieftains that they were easily defeated. Following the invasion, Henry II, the Norman King of England richly rewarded his knights. One Hugh (or Hugo) de Lacy, one of Strongbow's generals was made Viceroy of Ireland, Governer of Ireland and Lord of Meath. He was "granted" the kingdom of Meath which had previously been the domain of the O'Melaghlins (descendants of Malachy) and included the Geoghegan territory. In total the area covered 800,000 acres. The wording of the grant was as follows
"Henry by the grace of God King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitain, and the Earl of Anjoy, to the Archbishops, Abbots, Earls, Barons, Justices, and all his ministers and faithful subjects, French, English, Irish, of all his Dominions, greeting: Know ye that I have given and granted and by this my charter confirmed unto Hugh de Lacy, in consideration of his services, the land of Meath with its appurtenances, to have and to hold of me my heirs, to him and his heirs by the service of fifty knights, in as full and ample a manner as Muirchard Hu-Melaghlin held it or any other person before or after him: and as an addition I give all the fees that he owes or shall owe me above Dublin while he is my baliff, to do me servcies in my city of Dublin. Wherefore I will strickly command that the said Hugh and his heirs shall enjoy the said land and shall hold all the liberties and free customs which I have or may have therein by the aforesaid service from me and my heirs, well and peacefully, freely, quitely, and honourably, in wood and plain, in meadow and pasture, in water and mills, in warren and ponds, in fishing and hunting, in ways and paths, in seaports and all other places appertaining to the said land, with all liberties which I have therein or can grant or confirm to him by this my charter."
about building a whole series of castles in "his" new
territory, including the magnificent Trim Castle which can still be
seen today. All this time, the Geoghegans, who were on the south
western fringe of the Kingdom of Meath, were relatively unscathed and
probably watched developments with little more than a modicum of
interest. They certainly seem to have reatined the use, if
technically not the possession, of their lands. However, Hugh de Lacy
made a couple of fatal blunders. First he married an Irish woman,
Rose, daughter of Roderick O'Connor, King of Connaught. That,
combined with his furious castle building, made King Henry suspect
that he was attempting to set up a seperate kingdom and perhaps even
planning an assault on the throne of England. The cause of his
demise, however, was not the King's anger, but the Geoghegans. Hugh
needed a castle to protect the soutwestern borders of his territory
and decided to build this in Durrow - smack in the middle of
Geoghegan country. To accomplish this task he demolished the abbey at
Durrow to create space and provide building material. This was more
than the Geoghegans could bear and, their patience at an end, the
chopped of his head in 1186. The man who killed de Lacy fled with his
accomplices to the wood of Clair or "Clara". However, the
rest of the Geoghegans, their blood up, attacked and put to the sword
the English retinue at the castle of Durrow, and that having got de
Lacy's body into their possession, they concealed it nearly ten
years, until A.D. 1195, it was interred with great pomp in the abbey
of Bective, in Meath; Mathew O'Henry, archibishop of Cashel, and John
Comyn, archibishop of Dublin, attending the ceremony.
Hugh was succeeded by his eldest son, Walter and he also had a second son, also Hugh. These with Meyler FitzHenry, set themselevs up at Horseleap, Killare and elsewhere in modern Westmeath. However, they had two problems. Firstly, the Geoghegans continue to oppose and attack them and secondly they were now totally out of favour with the English crown and there was constant war between them and the king's troops. Eventually, the de Lacys were officially expelled from Meath by King Henry and they fled to Scotland. Hugh managed to return to Ireland some years later where he joined forces with O'Neill in Ulster, but the de Lacys were never a force in the midlands again.
With the de Lacys gone, the Geoghegans took advantage of the situation and took over large tracts of the vacated land. And that is how they acquired the land described above in 1373.
The first person recorded as having used the surname was Congalach Mór Mageoghegan who died lord of Kenaleagh in 1291 leaving a son Murtagh Mór who succeeded his father and was killed in 1311. Murtagh left many sons including William Gallda or "foreign" William. This was probably a nickname and seems unexplained. It was during his lordship in 1329 that the Geoghegans defeated the English near Mullingar. The English retaliated the next year by bringing a large army under the leadership of the Earls of Ulster and Ormonde into Keneleagh and in turn defeated the Geoghegans. These were sizeable engagements and not mere skirmishes as were some of our Irish "battles". William Gallda died in 1332 and was succeeded by his brother Johnock who died in 1334. Supposedly, the Geoghegans of Cumminstown (near Kilbeggan) were descended from William and those of Clone from Johnock. Johnock's son Ruaidhri (Rory) was described as "the hawk of nobility and the prowess of his tribe and the most hospitable man from Dublin to Athlone" when he died in 1368.
Diarmuid (Dermot) MacGeoghegan, Lord of Kenaleagh, grandson of Murtagh Mór, was ancestor of the Moycashel branch of the family who were known as Sliocht Hugh Boy in 1627. A brother (or half brother) of Diarmuid was Fearghal Rua (Red Haired Fergal) who was killed by the O Molloys at Killmona east of Rahugh in 1382. He was Lord of Kenaleagh and supposed ancestor to the Geoghegans of Newtown, whose castle was destroyed by the O'Connors of Offaly in 1474. His son and namesake, Fearghal Rua, was perhaps the most illustrious of all the Geoghegans. He was elected Lord of Kenaleagh in 1409, in which office he was ably assisted by his son Fearghal Rua Óg (óg means "young"). His wife was a daughter of the Earl of Gabhrain (Ormonde). In 1414 they joined with O'Connor Faly in defeating a large army of English near Oldcastle, Co. Meath, where among the slain was the Baron of Slane. This was a decisive battle and many years of peace and quiet ensued in this part of Westmeath.
Towards the end of Fearghal Rua's long reign, a cousin named Aedh Buí (known as Hugh Boy in English but more correctly Yellow Hugh - he was probably blond) began to contend for the lordship. This came to a head in 1444 when Fearghal plundered and burned the castle of Cluain Mael Bhealtaine which belonged to Aedh Buí. Aedh retaliated by attacking the town of Kilbeggan where Fearghal was wounded by Aedh's son, Connla. The next year, 1445, Fearghal Rua accompanied the celebrated Margaret O'Carroll (she was a lady of culture and wife of O'Connor Faly) on a pilgrimage to the City of St. James (Compostella in Spain). Taking advantage of his absence, the O'Melaghlins and the O'Farrells came into Kenaleagh and burned the castles of Moycashel and Rooskagh. Fearghal's son immediately avenged the attack by plundering Domhnall O'Seery's place at Dunard on the banks of the Camath which was a stream in Moycashel barony. Evidently, O'Seery was a party to the earlier raid. Next the son attacked and defeated the Tuites at Muine Liath (now called Knockdrin) and raided the town of Mullingar. He then turned his forces against the O'Melaghlins and defeated them at Dromore in the present district of Rosemount. Soon afterward, Fearghal Rua returned from Spain and was captured by the English. He was freed through the influence of Margaret O'Carroll.
The following year, 1446, Aedh Buí again gave trouble and Fearghal Rua took up arms against him. Aedh Buí was banished from Kenaleagh while some of his sons were killed and others imprisoned. In 1447, Fearghal plundered the O'Melaghlins at the Rubha (now Ballykillroe near Killare). In 1450, Feraghal Rua Óg took great spoils from the English having plundered and burned Rathwire, Killucan, Ballyportell, Kilbixy and other English settlements. At Ballymore he took two of the Daltons and an O'Farrell prisoner. Then came the English of Meath, the Duke of York and the King's colours to Mullingar. "Mageoghegan's son", presumably Fearghal Rua Óg, mustered a large army which included a body of cavalry and marched to Ballyglass near Mullingar where the two armies met. No battle took place as the leaders agreed to make peace and Mageoghegan was allowed to keep the spoils he had taken. He was treated with great respect on this occasion and when he returned home he is said to have boasted that he had "given peace to the king's lieutenant" (the Duke of York).
Two years later, in 1452, the O'Farrells aided by the O'Connors of Connacht and the English under the Baron of Delvin attempted to raid Ardnurcher. Fearghal Rua, however, caught up with the united forces at a place called Beal an Atha Soluis in Cenel Enda and put them to flight. One of the O'Connor leaders was so badly wounded that he died on his way home and was buried in Athlone. Later the same year, Mageoghegan attacked a great force of O'Farrells, Dillons and O'Melaghlins, who were convoying a body of English fish merchants from Athlone to Trim at the Leaccain of the Rubha (Ballykilroe). The convoy's horsemen galloped away to safety leaving the infantry and the merchants at the mercy of Mageoghegan. Numbers were slain including fourteen of O'Farrell's men. So many fish were scattered about that the defeat became known afterwards as Maidhm an Eisg - the defeat of the fish.
In 1454, the old man, Fearghal Rua, resigned the lordship, as he had become blind. Soon after he retired to the monastery of Durrow, where he died in 1458. Maeleachlain na nUrsgeal Ó hUiginn (Higgins) addressed a poem of many verses to Fearghal Rua urging him against his enemies. Here is a translation of two of the verses (translation by Paul Walsh)
the English settlers from Uisneach
Let Fearghal not leave his lands to foreigners
By right he owns everything
Between the Inneion and Lough Ainnin
If the plain of Midhe of the bright hills
Was all under Fearghal's sway
He would make unjust exaction of no man
He would spend him and defend him
Inneion is the Anvil River in Tang parish near Ballymahon and Lough
Ainnin is Lough Ennel).
Buí, who had previously been banished, was captured in 1448 by
Fearghal Rua Óg and died in captivity. He was son or grandson
of Diarmaid and therefore a first or second cousin of Fearghal
Óg. It was through Aedh Buí that the main line of
Geoghegan's was carried on and not through Fearghal Óg. The
latter was captured by the English in 1452 and beheaded at a place
called Cruach Abhall, said to be in the parish of Churchtown. The
head was taken to Dublin for exhibition buy was afterwards buried in
Durrow. He left a son named Aedh who killed the Lord of Kenaleagh in
1474. As a result, O'Connor Faly invaded the territory, defeated
Aedh, burned the castle at Newtown and banished Aedh and his
followers. Aedh left two sons. Melaghlin became Lord of Kenaleagh but
was murdered in his sleep in 1478 in the castle of Laragh (near
Rosemount) by two of his servants, for which crime they were
subsequently burned alive. The other son was Murtagh who was killed
by his own people around 1508. After this, this line of the
Geoghegans seems to have fallen into insignificance.
Aedh Buí left many sons, the most important of whom was Connla, Lord of Kenaleagh, who was killed in 1470 at Achadh Buí at Tigh Bhride, which was a small chapel in Ardnurcher townland near Horseleap. He was killed by Art Mac Conn Ó Melaghlin and the Cholmain (Coleman) Clan because Geoghegan had killed O'Melaghlin's father some time before. Connla's son James died Lord of Kenaleagh in 1493 and was succeeded by another son named Laighnech.
His grandson was another Connla, Lord of Kenaleagh, who made the celebrated agreement with An Sionnach (Fox) of Muintir Tadhain by which the latter put himself, his people and his territory under Geoghegan protection. This agreement was drawn up on 20th August 1566 in MacGeoghegan's castle of Syonan and the original document is now in the library of Trinity College Dublin. Geoghegan's overlordship was freely agreed to by Fox and his people and there was no question of pressure. The tokens of overlordship consisted of a gniomh (about ten acres) of land free from every impost and a hog out of every other gniomh which paid "chiefry" to Fox. Whatever cess Geoghegan might have to pay to the King's deputy, the Fox was to pay his share for his territory and likewise in the case of the deputy cessing Fox, Geoghegan was to pay his proportion. The Fox and his chiefs were to attend the All Hallows or May meeting held by Geoghegan in Ardnurcher or Corrnasgean. In return Geoghegan undertook to protect Fox and his people, but they were to submit to the judgements of Murtagh Mac Egan, the Chief of Geoghegan's judges in all litigation. Geoghegan was to try to ensure that Fox's territory would not be infringed upon and if he failed to do this (after not trying his best endeavour) the agreement ceased to be binding. The witnesses included: Mageoghegan himself; his wife, Marcella (daughter of Christopher Nugent); Thomas Buí O'Brennan of Creeve (near Streamstown); the parson Cuchrichi O Seanchain; Eoghan O Cionga (King) and Murtagh O Cionga (the chief poet of both areas). On behalf of Fox: Fox himself (Breasal Mac Eoghain Mac Cairbre); Murtagh and Felim sons of Edmond Fox; Breasal and Cuchrichi sons of Brian Fox and Murtagh O Noire (chief poet to Fox). The document was drafted by James O Cionga (King).
Despite all the fuss over the agreement, Connla submitted to the English government the very next year and took a lordship from the Crown. This in effect was a step down from Irish Chieftain to mere gentleman. He represented Kenaleagh in Perrot's parliament in 1585 and died, much lamented, in 1588. He married three times and doubtless had many children. Three important sons were Ross, Brian and Aedh Buí, each of whom had a different mother.
Ross was Connla's son by his wife Amalin Fox. He took the government side at an early date. He was rumoured to be born out of wedlock but the government satisfied itself that he parents' marriage took place in the Church of Kilbride (Clara) and that Ross was their lawful child. On 17th May 1570 the Queen wrote to her Lord Deputy Sydney directing him to ensure that Ross succeeded his father Connla in the Lordship of Kenaleagh as he was "a good subject". However, Ross was killed by his half brother Brian in 1580. A rumour was put about that the boys' father was party to the murder and Connla was arrested by the Lord Justice. Nothing ever came of it however, and he was soon released. In June 1582, Brian's lands, already forfeit for the murder of his brother, were granted to Ross's widow, Iiles and in the same month, certain lands previously surrendered to the government by Connla were granted to his grandson Niall, the son of Ross. Earlier, in February 1582, Lord Deputy Grey had written to the Privy Council in favour of Niall, who himself, a month later, petitioned the Council that he might have the captaincy of Kenaleagh. His petition was not disregarded and when Connla died, Niall became the Queen's Captain of Kenaleagh, a position he held until his death in 1596.
He left a son, Ross (named after his grandfather), who had a livery of his father's lands on 8th February 1604 for a fine of £14 17s. 3d. (fourteen pounds, seventeen shillings and three pence). In this grant Niall was described as "late of Moecashell in County Westmeath". On 5th October, James I, the King, wrote to Sir Arthur Chichester in favour of Ross, so that he must have been well regarded by the government or had the ear of the court. In 1640 he was proprietor of 1200 acres in Ardnurcher parish, 1100 acres in Rahugh parish, 500 acres in Newtown parish and lessor amounts elsewhere. All of this was confiscated under Cromwell's act of settlement.
Niall was also father to Connall the Historian. Conall lived at Lismoyney, near Kilbeggan, but worked in the castle of Leamonoghan, in Co. Offaly, where he translated some of the Irish Annals into English. This translation is now known as the Annals of Clonmacnoise. Copies of his manuscript are preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin and in the British Museum. O'Donovan says: "This work is of great value, as it contains exact versions in English of all the peculiar idioms and phrases which occur in the various Irish Annals". O'Curry observes: "The translation is written in the quaint style of the Elizabethan period, but by a man who seems to have well understood the value of the original Gaedhlic phraseology, and rendered it every justice, as far as we can determine in the absence of the original". It is thought that this translation was prompted by James Usher, bishop of Meath and later bishop of Armagh. Among his other works were the succession of the Kings and genealogies of the saints compiled at Killinure, near Glasson in 1630, both certified by O'Clery. Conall was still living in 1644 and may have lived for a while at Kilmaleady House near Horseleap. The ReimRioghraidhe (Rem-Ree-riah), or Succession of the Kings of Ireland, a historical work compiled by Brother Michael O'Clery, one of the Four Masters, was commenced in the house of Conall Mageoghegan, was carried on under the patronage of Turlogh Mac Coghlan, and finished in the Franciscan Friary of Athlone, on the 4th November, 1630. In the Preface, the learned and humble author commences thus "In nomine Dei. Amen. On the third day of the month of September, Anno Christi 1644, this book was commenced to be written, in the house of Conall, son of Niall, son of Rossa Mageoghegan, of Lismoyny, in Cenel Fhiachach, one by whom are prized and preserved the ancient monuments of our ancestors; one who is the industrious collecting bee of everything that belongs to the honour and history of the descendants of Milesius and of Lugaidh, son of Ith, both lay and ecclesiastical, as far as he could find them."
Returning to Brian, son of Connla, we find him living at Castletown (Castletown-Geoghegan) in January 1600 when Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone came to the midlands seeking assistance in his campaign against the English government and to punish his avowed enemies. Many of the Geoghegans were already in rebellion, but the leaders of the sept, like Brian and his half brother Aedh Buí, still help aloof and were courting crown favour. O'Neill, having punished the Dillons, came to the house of William Magawly (McAuley) at Carne near Mount Temple on the last Friday in January 1600 and encamped over the weekend. The government had a spy named Kinkey in O'Neill's camp and he reported that O'Neill had "made an O'Melaghlin" and "offered to make Brian MacGeoghegan chief of his name". Brian refused the offer. His half brother, Aedh Buí, wrote to his cousin, the Baron of Delvin on the Saturday night (26th January) suggesting that the time was ripe to attack O'Neill. Within a few days the Baron of Delvin had assembled his troops with help from Brian and Hugh (Aedh) Geoghegan, Captain Lyster and James Fitzgerald, to oppose O'Neill. The latter, however, never entered Kenaleagh, but turn southward in the King's County.
After the murder of Ross, Brian fled to England where he appears to have spent much time and apparently improved his relationship with the government. When his father Connla died in 1588, his will appears to have favoured Brian (Ross had the backing of the government, as mentioned earlier). Therefore, Brian attempted to oust his nephew, Niall (Ross's son) from the lordship. In this he didn't succeed, but we find him drawing a government pension up to the time of his death when he was proprietor of Donore (which castle, although a ruin, may still be seen near Horseleap). He made his will on 4th August 1627 and died on 2nd September 1628. His son and heir was Kedagh who apparently died before 1640, when his son (or possibly Aedh Buí's son - see below) Connla or Conley was proprietor of the lands and castle of Donore. However, the main line of the Geoghegans of Castletown was carried on through Aedh Buí (Hugh) and his descendants. But before moving on to them let us close up some loose ends on this current line.
was killed by Brian in 1580 and whose son Niall became the Queens'
Captain) had three other sons: Richard, James and Ross.
Ross (junior) also known as Roch was born about 1579 and his mother was Gyles (Sile, Sheila) daughter of O'Dempsey of Clonygowan, in King's County. Ross joined the Dominican order in Spain, became provincial of the Irish Province and restored the house of his order in Mullingar about 1622. He became "saintly and enterprising" Bishop of Kildare in 1629. He died in 1644 and is buried at Multyfarnham.
Richard was the gallant defender of Dunboy Castle in West Cork at the end of the O'Neill war. He has been described as "the impersonation of chivalrous fidelity, the very soul of truth, honour and bravery". With 142 companions he held Dunboy for eleven days against Carew and his army of 4000 men and finally died staggering wounded, firebrand in hand, attempting to explode the powder casks in the castle vaults. That was on 17th June 1602. He apparently left no issue.
Little is known of James. He lived at the castle of Balraha near Ballinagore and apparently took part in the rebellion with his brother Richard. On 20th January in the first year of James I, his castle of Balraha was granted to one William Taaffe at a rent of half a crown Irish. He may have died in the rebellion, but at the very least his lands were confiscated as a result of his anti-government activities.
Returning to Aedh Buí (Hugh Boy), son of Connla and half brother to Ross and Brian, he married Ellen daughter of Walter Tyrrell of Clonmoyle, near Mullingar and died on 10th June 1622. His son Art succeeded him at Castletown. Aedh had at least six other sons and a daughter Mary who became wife of Breasal Fox of Kilcoursey (died 7th April 1639). The other sons were Connla (Conly), Brian (Bryan), Barnaby, Thomas and two others whose names are unknown. A contradictory line suggests that the Connla in question was son of Kedagh and grandson of Brian (half brother to Aedh). Regardless of his lineage, Connla inherited the castle and lands at Donore where he was in possession at the time of the Confederate and Cromwellian wars. Although Cromwell's forces took Donore, Connla managed to be absent at the time. James, son of Niall Geoghegan, held the castle for Connla and when it was taken by General John Reynolds, James along with up to fifty men, women and children were slaughtered by the Cromwellian forces. Under the Cromwell's settlement, Connla was transplanted to Connacht, possibly to Leitrim, on 20th June 1656. His sympathies lay with the exiled King Charles and after his restoration Connla, who must have been an old man by then, was especially included in the Declaration of royal gratitude of the Act of Settlement which restored him to his principal seat of Donore and 2000 acres of land. This was rather exceptional as Connla lived and died an "Irish Papist".
Connla was father to Kedagh Geoghegan (note the dropped "Mac" or "Ma" which is typical of de-gaelicisation of that oppressive time). Kedagh married Margaret Fitzgerald of Laccah, Co. Kildare and was father to Colonel Bryan Geoghegan of Donore and Charles Geoghegan of Carne.
Colonel Bryan Geoghegan served in the army of James II for which he was outlawed in 1690. He represented the Borough of Kilbeggan in James' parliament in 1689. He was later adjudged within the Articles of Limerick and was living in 1704 when he was one of the nine Westmeath catholic gentlemen licensed to keep and carry firearms. He married late in life and had one son, David who succeeded to Donore, and two daughters, one of whom married O'Kelly of Aughrim and the other, Elizabeth, married Kedagh Geoghegan of Jamestown. David died unmarried on 29th June 1778 and willed his property in trust to Roger Shiel of Clarmont, Co. Mayo and Owen Mooney of the Doon for his grand nephews Kedagh and John Geoghegan of Carne, his great-grand-nephew Richard Nagle of Jamestown and his nephew John O'Kelly. He is buried in Castletown churchyard. He apparently conformed to the established church since he served on the grand jury for many years.
Charles Geoghegan of Carne (Colonel Bryan's brother) married Jane Hussey, daughter of the Baron of Galtrim, Co. Meath and had children including Kedagh, who married his cousin Mary, daughter of Edward Geoghegan of Castletown and had several daughters and two sons, Bryan and James.
Bryan (Charles' son) succeeded to Carne and married Elizabeth Geoghegan of Donore (according to another account her name was Mary and died in 1723 aged 33). Bryan died in 1744 and his will was proven in 1776 when he was styled of Jamestown. It was probably he who built Jamestown Court, demolishing the castle at Carne to provide much of the stone required. He was father of Kedagh Geoghegan of Jamestown [pictured left] who married Anne, daughter of Sir John Brown of the Neale. They had four children: Kedagh who was beneficiary of his grand-uncle David's will and died unmarried; John (Jack the Buck) who also died unmarried; Arthur who married Marcellina daughter of Sir Thomas Barnwall and died childless; and Mary who married Thomas Nagle in 1763 and was mother to Sir Richard Nagle. Sir Richard, upon the death of Kedagh in 1783, under the will of his great-granduncle, David Geoghegan, inherited Donore and through his mother inherited Jamestown and Carne. So he became the representative of those three Geoghegan houses.
Sir Richard Nagle, whose family were from Mallow, Co Cork and who was second cousin once removed to the celebrated Nano Nagle, married twice. First he married Catherine Fitzgerald of Punchars Grave, Co. Kildare in February 1792 at Torquay in England. They had two daughters and a son who appears to have died young. Second he married, on 3rd September 1798, Mary Bridget Geoghegan sole heir to Owen Geoghegan of Rosemount and Ballybrickoge and whose mother was Mary Teresa daughter of Francis Magawly (McAuley) of Frankfort, King's County. They had two sons: Richard (junior) who succeeded to his father title and Joseph who was born at Rosemount on 13th November 1808 and died unmarried there on 22nd March 1943. Sir Richard (senior), first Baronet, died in 1827. His wife, Mary Bridget, survived him and lived out her days at Rosemount where she died on 1st October 1850. Her son, Sir Richard (junior) was born at Bath in England on 12th August 1800. He was elected MP for Westmeath in 1832, 1835 and 1837. He retired from parliament in 1841, having voted for Repeal of the Union. He died unmarried a Grenville St. in Dublin on 10th November 1850, five weeks after his mother.
Before we leave this branch of the family, we must pause to talk about John Geoghegan (Jack the Buck), son of Kedagh Geoghegan and his wife Anne Brown. John may well be the most famous Geoghegan of us all - he is certainly the most colourful. He never married, preferring a gentleman bachelor life of enjoyment and adventure. His nickname (the Buck) equates to "the toff", "the gent" or "the dandy" and on a portrait of him, he is referred to as "John - Lord of Moycashel". Though he was catholic, he and his brother, Kedagh, often dined with the grand jurors at the time of the Assizes in Mullingar. It was usual for the Geoghegans to drive into town in a grand coach and four and John regarded himself as no man's inferior. So it happened at the Summer Assizes of 1768, one of the jurors, a certain George Stepney of Durrow, offered John £20 for his four fine horses. Under the penal statutes of the time, any "Irish Papist" was considered unfit to own a horse and if he was fortunate enough to have one was obliged to sell it to any member of the established church for £5. So the offer was in line with the law even though the beasts would have been worth considerably more than that sum. John excused himself and retired to the inn stables where the horses were housed. Drawing his pistols, he shot the four of them dead, then returning to Stepney, informed him that he could have them for nothing. Thereafter, it is said, whenever Geoghegan came to town, his coach was drawn by the four finest oxen in Ireland. Another story tells of Jack the Buck's arrival at an Inn where a Jack St. Ledger, a friend of Stepney's, was drinking with his comrades (possibly including Stepney). In an attempt to vex Geoghegan, St. Ledger gave a shilling to the piper and told him to play some tune in praise of the King. The piper, aware of Jack the Buck's reputation was hesitant and the tension mounted. Jack then tossed the piper a guinea and said "we'll have Geoghegan's Vagary" and the piper complied. (Incidentally, the tune mentioned is unknown to me. If any reader has the music for it I would be delighted to get a copy). St. Ledger was so incensed that he challenged Geoghegan to a duel. The duel was fought with pistols on the steps of Stepney's house in Durrow, by candlelight. St. Ledger badly underestimated his opponent, as Jack the Buck was accomplished with both pistol and sword. As the candles flickered in the darkness, Geoghegan's aim was straight and true and he hit his man in the heart. There was continued bad blood between Stepney and Geoghegan and it wasn't long before Jack found an excuse to engage him in another duel. One account tells that the duel took place on the bridge of Lismoyney and that Stepney was badly, though not fatally, wounded. A second account states that Stepney never showed up for the duel, presumably because he feared Geoghegan's prowess which he had witnessed first hand. Jack is also reputed to have been responsible for giving the town of Horseleap its current name. As well as being a duellist and general hail-fellow-well-met, he was also fond of gambling and was a keen card player. The story goes that he was playing cards one evening with a group of English soldiers, part of a garrison that was on a round of the country. Jack was winning well and the soldiers were easily relieved of their money. Naturally, they were not pleased and plotted to kill him and recoup their losses, with interest. Geoghegan was wise to their plotting and slipped out the back door before they could pounce. He was spotted, however, and the soldiers gave chase. Jack mounted his steed and sped away with the soldiers in pursuit. When they upon a river (the name of which I can't remember), Jack the Buck urged his horse on and cleared it in a single bound. The soldiers, either through fear or the lack of decent mounts were unable to clear the river and Geoghegan disappeared into the night. The story of the events of that night fell into local folklore and the area around the river became known as Horseleap as a result. Another gambling story relates how Jack, while playing cards in Bath, in England, noticed that one of the players, Du Barry, was cheating. The Buck bided his time, but at an appropriate moment, picked up a serving fork and transfixed Du Barry's hand to the table. While Du Barry, his hand impaled to the table and unable to move, was writhing in pain, Geoghegan announced "Sir, if that is not the Ace of Clubs under your hand, I'll be begging your pardon". Many more adventures are attributed to John - Jack the Buck - Geoghegan. The final one took place in London and involved Jack, a Frenchman and an actress to whom both men were paying attention. Jack, never one to shirk a fight, and the Frenchman agreed to a duel in order to sort out the issue of which of them was the better man to court the actress. The duel was fought with swords and although Geoghegan was an excellent swordsman, his weapon broke and he was run though. His injuries were not fatal at the time, but Jack the Buck never fully recovered and died soon afterwards in 1776.
With the death of the second Sir Richard Nagle, three main lines of the Geoghegans came to an end - at least as far as is known. Therefore, we now return to the other sons of Aedh Buí (died 1622) and his wife Ellen Tyrrell.
Taking the younger sons first, Bryan served as lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army of Owen Roe O'Neill and was killed at the siege of Bunratty Castle in 1649. Barnaby was a captain in the same army. At the outbreak of the rebellion in October 1641 he was one of the Westmeath gentlemen supplied with arms from Dublin by the Lord Justices with the object of quelling disturbances. Of course the plan backfired and the arms were channelled to the Confederates. Barnaby had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel when he was killed in a skirmish near Limerick in 1645 and was buried in the Franciscan monastery there. It is unknown if either Barnaby or his brother Bryan were ever married. All that is known about Thomas, another brother, is that he was seated at Ballintubber (Rosemount) and that his son and heir, Thomas Óg, was killed in the battle fought near Loughrea, Co. Galway on 20th June 1652 between a Cromwellian force and the forces of the Catholic Association under Colonel Richard Grace, afterwards defender of Athlone. As mentioned, there are two other unidentified sons whose history appears to be lost. And so we come to the eldest son Art or Arthur through whom the senior line of the Geoghegans was carried on in Castletown.
Art was born about 1589 and was married at the time of his father's death in 1622. It appears that his father (Aedh Buí or Hugh Boy &ldots; just so you don't get too confused) was in possession of the manor, castle and lands of Castletown, Rathne, Winchin, Durahin, Parke, Rahinlyne, Cregan, Agharunen, Garyduff, Lissakilly, Aghabrack, Tirrecrive, Balrath, Tullaghmackrossan, Dromore, Gnive and numerous other townlands, all of which, it may be safely assumed, were inherited by Art. Then came the rebellion of 1641. Like his brother Barnaby, Art was supplied with firearms to quell the rebellion, the government wrongly assuming the Geoghegans to be loyal subjects. In truth, Art held the rank of captain in the Confederate army and took part in many engagements. He was killed along with his brother Bryan at the attack on Bunratty Castle in 1649 and he was buried in Limerick where Barnaby had been interred four years beforehand.
Under the Act of Settlement, all of Art's lands, amounting to about 3000 acres were confiscated. The principal grantees under the Act were: William Low, George Low, Duke of York (and later James II), George Peyton and Grace Cooper. In 1663, Art's second son, Edward Geoghegan, was restored to a considerable amount of his father's forfeited estates - some 900 acres. Through influence in high places, Art's eldest son, Hugh Geoghegan, managed to retain a large part of his father's estate. Art had married a daughter of McCoughlan of Garrycastle, King's County and it is said that because this lady gave protection to certain of Cromwell's officers who might otherwise have been killed, his second son Edward (the same one mentioned above) was granted Bunowen castle in Co. Galway. This may just be family tradition as Edward never lived in Bunowen. However, his son, (another) Art, settled there, married and started the Galway branch of the Geoghegans. During the reign of George IV, the head of that family changed his name to O'Neill, so many O'Neills of Galway are really Geoghegans. Art (the one that that died in 1649) and his McCoughlan wife also had other children apart from Edward and Hugh, including Charles, Thomas and possibly others. Charles served in Preston's army and later was a major in Owen Roe O'Neill's army. He was educated on the Continent (Europe) and was a distinguished soldier, having served in the Low Countries, possibly with O'Neill. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Linch-hill near Monasterevan in August 1647 but was released as part of a captive exchange the following year. He was killed in an attack on Carrick-on-Suir in about 1649 and is buried in Kilkenny. Thomas was a captain in the same army and was killed in Drogheda the same year.
As for Hugh, Art's eldest son (if he was the eldest, which is not certain), little is known about him. He was styled of Castletown, gentleman, and was known to be still living in 1703. It appears that he left no successors.
Edward, Art's second son, was also known to be living in 1703 and was also styled of Castletown. He left at least two sons, Art, who founded the Bunowen (or Benown) branch in Galway and Hugh who succeeded his father at Castletown. Hugh was married to Clara (surname unknown) and they had several children: Arthur, Maria, Ann, Ignatius, Jane and Thomas all of whom were minors when their father died, sometime before 19th December 1722, having made no will. Administration of his estate was granted to his wife, Clara, on the date mentioned. What is known of the children is as follows:
Arthur married, in September 1728, Susanna, daughter and co-heir of William Stafford of Blatherwick in Northamptonshire (England) who was widow of Henry O'Brien of Stonehall, Co. Clare. Arthur Geoghegan abandoned his surname and adopted that of his wife. Therefore his descendants are Staffords. He either died early or abandoned his rights to Castletown for he never succeeded there. Perhaps he married sufficiently well and was content with the Stafford fortune.
Ignatius, the second son, succeeded to Castletown sometime before June 1757. But he was not content to stay there and in June 1757 he sold the estate, which at that time amounted to a mere 390 acres, and moved to London where he was a well known society figure and lived at Soho Square. He was married to Antonia, one of the five daughters of John Corbet, of Higham Place, London and previously of Salop. They had one son, also Ignatius who was endowed with uncommon musical talents. It was said that he could master any musical instrument in half the time it took the average musical performer. He suffered from a delicate constitution and spent much of his time in Switzerland for his health. On 2nd November 1785 he married Bridget, daughter of James McDonnell, timber merchant of 96, The Upper Coombe, Dublin the marriage taking place in St. Nicholas's Catholic Church in Dublin and performed by Rev. John Gerard. Ignatius was described in the marriage record as "I. Geoghegan junior of Villiers St., St. Martins's in the Fields, London - now of Dublin, Esq.". To say that Ignatius senior was upset at his son's marriage to a Dublin tradesman's daughter would be the height of understatement. From the outset he determined to do everything in his power to break the couple up. Even after his son's death which occurred on Christmas Eve 1792 in Winchester (where there is a monument to his memory) he tried to deprived the young widow and her son (his own grandson, also named Ignatius) of all financial support. In fairness, it must be said that she had received a marriage settlement of £400 - a tidy enough some at that time. It was though that Ignatius had died intestate, so the administration of his estate was granted to his widow, Bridget, in 1793. Some time later, however, a will bearing Ignatius's signature was produced by his doctor (Dr. Pack of Canterbury) to whom it had been given for safekeeping. The will read "I do hereby leave all my property to my son Ignatius G. and desire that he be placed under the guardianship of Mr. Robert Barnewall of London, merchant, and educated in the Roman Catholic religion, willing at the same time that £30 a year be paid to my wife Bridget Geoghegan out of my estate, and $5 a year to my nurse Anastasia Fanning, and that after my father's decease £160 a year be paid to my wife out of three shares of the Bourn Hop ground which were the property of my mother. From the commencement thereof the aforesaid £30 a year are to cease." Dated 5th September 1791, Ignatius Geoghegan. Witnesses: John Charles Beckingham, Louisa Beckingham and Elizabeth Varden.
As soon as Ignatius senior got to know of the will and its contents, he set to work to convince Robert Barnewall, who was his kinsman from Co. Meath, that Ignatius junior was of unsound mind when he signed the will - and finally managed to convince Barnewall to contest its validity. Following testimony from Rev. John Charles Beckingham (stated to be a first cousin of Ignatius junior and in whose house the will was made) and Louisa Beckingham (wife of John Charles), the Court of Canterbury upheld the will on 4th July 1795.
The third Ignatius was, and still more or less is, the mystery Geoghegan. Like his father any many of his kinsmen, he is said to have shown extraordinary genius for music at an early age. (This musical ability was also seen in the Bunowen branch of the Geoghegans / O'Neills. Miss Julia O'Neill, daughter of Augustus - one time owner of Bunowen - relinquished her position as teacher of music at London Polytechnic in 1936 at the age of 80). What happened to Ignatius III (born in Dublin in 1786) is unclear. It has been speculated that he is the ancestor of Richard M. Geoghegan, American linguist and scholar. However, Richard's grandfather was Henry Geoghegan who appears to have been born in 1790 when young Ignatius was only four years old. What is true is that if Ignatius did leave progeny, his descendants would be the senior representatives of the Geoghegan's of Kenaleagh.
Now we must jump back in time to pick up another line - the Geoghegans of Syonan Castle. At the end of the 16th century, the senior member of this family was Conn. Exactly where he fits into the family tree is uncertain, but he may have been a grandson or possibly a son of Connla who made the agreement with the Fox in the same castle. Conn of Syonan died on 18th March 1600 leaving a son and heir, then a minor, named Callagh (properly Calbhach and often anglicised as Charles). Callagh was born about 1585 and in 1640 was known to be the proprietor of 853 acres in Ardnurcher and 55 acres Rahugh parish all of which was confiscated by Cromwell's Act of Settlement. Callagh is probably the same Charles Geoghegan who served with Grace's army formed under the Catholic Association in May 1652. His son or grandson was Charles Geoghegan of Syonan who was living in 1703 and who had represented Kilbeggan in King James's Parliament in 1689. He and three of his kinsmen (brothers or sons) named James, Conn and Anthony were outlawed in 1690. James, Conn and Anthony all died in the Jacobite War. Charles (Callagh's son) seems to have been the father of another Charles Geoghegan who left Ireland in 1691 for France where he became an officer in Berwick's regiment. His son, Alexander, followed his father into the same regiment. Alexander fought at Kehl in 1733, Philipsburg in 1734 and in the war of the Austrian Succession at Dettingen in 1743, after which he was transferred to Count Lally's regiment. He was at the victory of Fontenoy in 1745 and accompanied Prince Charles Edward to Scotland where he took part in the battle of Falkirk and was taken prisoner at Culloden. He was apparently freed, for he returned to France where he was created a chevalier of St Louis. He accompanied General Count Lally to India on which expedition two of his brothers died. He commanded the French forces at the battle of Wandewash and scored a brilliant victory over the English, which temporarily maintained French power in India. He retired with the rank of Colonel in 1774 full of honours and died soon afterwards abroad.
Syonan (the elder who is mentioned above as living in 1703) had an
eldest son named Conly or Connla who was also an officer in James's
army. He was killed in February 1690 near Cavan when the Duke of
Berwick was sent to disperse a group of Williamites whose numbers
proved to be more than reported. Conly had studied the military art
in France and was regarded as an excellent officer, so that his death
was considered a big loss to his superiors.
A kinsman of this family was Rory Oge Geoghegan who lived a Gageborough and who served in the Jacobite army in all the principal engagements from the Boyne to Limerick. Unlike most the rest of the family, he seemed to have a knack for survival, and after the Jacobite army was finally routed, he returned to Westmeath where he lived as a "raparee" until he and his foster brother, Jack Kinsella, were forced to take ship for France in November 1692.
And that is about as much as is know about the Geoghegan of Syonan. Once again we leap backward in time to look at the Geoghegans at Rosemount.
During the reign of Elizabeth I, there were three or four different families at Knockast or Cnoc Aiste otherwise Clonacosta at Rosemount (between Horseleap and Castletown-Geoghegan). The heads of these families (who were not brothers) received Crown pardons on different dates during her reign. It is reasonable to assume that the various Geoghegan families of the 17th and 18th century at Coolatore, Derryhall, Ballintubber, Laragh, Ballinagreenagh, Curragh and Ballybrickoage (Rosemount) are their descendants (with the possible exception of the last two mentioned). Indeed, most of those bearing the name in this part of the country today are probably their descendants also.
Murtagh Geoghegan of Coolatore died in 1629 leaving a son, Art, who succeeded his father at the age of 30. It appears that Art died on 20th December 1635 and was succeeded by a brother or cousin named Kedagh.
Richard Geoghegan of Derryhall was in possession of lands at Derryhall, Ballinloghan, Atilemore and Ballintubber when he died in 1638. His son, Art (yet another) succeeded his father but lost his land to the Cromwellian Act of Settlement.
Connla Buí Geoghegan was said to be the last occupant of Laragh Castle. Tradition has it that Connla sold the Castle and 300 acres for leather money, whose circulation was soon after suppressed and so Geoghegan's money became worthless. Connla (whose father's name was Kedagh) was married to Mary, daughter of Thomas Fitzgerald of Creevagh or Newcastle near Ballymahon and left a son, Bryan. We know that a Richard Geoghegan of Laragh was dispossessed of 377 acres in 1666. This Richard and his wife, Katherine, who were transplanted to Connacht in 1656 may have been Connla's grandparents.
Donogh Geoghegan of Ballinagreena was father of Barnaby Geoghegan who was a lieutenant in the Confederate army and was the commander of Lince Castle near Trim when it was attacked at the end of 1641. All its defenders were put to the sword. The proprietors of Ballinagreena in 1640 were Hugh and Conly Geoghegan, probably Barnaby's brothers.
The Ballybrickoge or Rosemount family was one of the principal Geoghegan houses during the 18th century. However its origin is not clear. Owen Geoghegan of Ballybrickoge fought for King James and left Ireland after the battle of Limerick. He was afterwards outlawed for treason "in parts beyond the seas". He seems to have been brother of Richard Geoghegan of Ballybrickoge who was living there in 1703. Richard was either father or grandfather to another Richard whose will was proved in 1763. This latter Richard appears to have left children among whom were Owen, Bryan, Francis and Eleanor. Wills have been proved for Francis and Bryan and Eleanor appears not to have ever married. Owen Geoghegan of Ballybrickoge married Teresa, daughter of Magawley of Frankford (Kilcormac), King's County in October 1772. His wife was sister of Patrick Awley afterwards Count Magawley. Owen left an only daughter and sole heiress, Mary Bridget who became the second wife of the first Sir Richard Nagle of Jamestown. (See way above for details.) Owen's wife, Teresa, seems to have survived longer than her husband because, as his widow she married Bryan Geoghegan (her late husband's brother) and had a daughter, also named Teresa. The younger Teresa married, in 1798, Edmond Nugent - Count of the Holy Roman Empire (through his mother, Elizabeth Dalton) - whose seat was at Ballinacor. Their third son, Gilbert Nugent married Mary Banon in 1856. She was his second cousin being the second daughter of James Banon of Irishtown House near Kilcormac and his wife Mary Bridget, daughter of Count Patrick Awley Magawly of Frankford and hence niece of Teresa Magawly, wife, in turn of the brothers Owen and Bryan Geoghegan of Ballybrickoge. (whew) Gilbert Nugent lived at Jamestown House (a Geoghegan house) from about 1855 and died there on 30th April 1873, leaving an only son from whom the present Nugents of the area are presumably descended.
Bryan Geoghegan of Ballymaclevy and Castle, whose ancestry is unknown, married Mary Jane, daughter of Count Patrick Awley Magawly. They had an only daughter, Jane or Gianina. She in turn married her cousin Valerio, the fourth Count Magawly. Her father-in-law was Count Francis Philip Magawley, the noted linguist and diplomat who acted as ambassador from Pope Pius VII to Napoleon. What happened to Bryan Geoghegan is unknown and to muddy the waters even more, he is referred to as Andrew Geoghegan (known to be living in 1813) in some sources, including Burke's Peerage. Jane or Gianina lived to see her husband assassinated by her side on the streets of Parma on the evening of 4th March 1856 as they returned from the theatre. She survived him by forty years and died on 7th December 1895.
The Geoghegans of Ballybrickoge were buried in the graveyard of Kill near Rosemount. Kill is really Kilcumreragh which was the old name for Rosemount. Some remains of the Geoghegan mortuary chapel still remain at Kill.
And finally, there were other Geoghegans of note not mentioned already.
Arthur Geoghegan of Comminstown near Kilbeggan died in August 1602 leaving a son Thomas then aged 17. He may have been the same person that is noted to have had some 550 acres in Kilcumreragh parish confiscated in the Cromwellian Settlement. Records show that a Thomas Geoghegan recovered some of this land by decree in 1663.
Also at this time the heir to the Moycashel estates was a Captain Richard Geoghegan who was killed at the defeat of Rathmines in 1649. He is probably the same person who was Governor of the town of Naas, Co. Kildare in 1647.
In later times there are some other Geoghegans of note.
In Kilbeggan we find records of Owen Geoghegan whose son died a minor in Athlone in 1797; Thomas Geoghegan whose will proved in 1802; William Geoghegan, described as a "gentleman" lived there in 1824; and James Geoghegan owned considerable property there in 1830. In Kilcatherine, near Moate lived Matthew Geoghegan who in 1818 had a farm of 62 acres. In Rosemount Garret, Denis and John Geoghegan were all occupiers of good-sized farms in 1830. In the middle of the 18th century Bryan Geoghegan and his father Charles of Ballinagore retired to live in Co. Kildare, near the town of Naas. In Dublin lived Edward Geoghegan, one of the most eminent surgeons of his time. In 1800 he published a medical work on venereal disease and in 1810 "a commentary on the treatment of rupture". Also born in Dublin, on 1st June 1810, was Arthur Gerald Geoghegan. He entered the civil service and was stationed in many parts of Ireland and England. He was a poet of some ability and an ardent antiquarian. He was one of the earliest members of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. His collection of Irish antiquities was exhibited in London where he settled in 1869 and died in 1889. He was father of Gerald Geoghegan a noted solicitor and Mary Geoghegan, poet. William Geoghegan an Irish American poet and journalist was born in Ballymahon about 1827 and emigrated to the United States in 1844. A tragic figure was Usher Geoghegan (or Gahagan as he was known in England), born in Westmeath and studied law at Trinity College Dublin. He became a catholic and therefore could not take his degree. He was a brilliant classical scholar who translated some of Pope's works into Latin and edited the works of many of the Latin and Greek poets. He married a rich heiress but they separated because of his cruelty. Then he went to London and it was there that he was charged with "issuing false money". On 20th February 1749, along with a brother poet, Terence O'Connor, he was hanged at Tyburn. A more complete version of his story, from the Newgate Calendar, follows . . .
Gahagan (Geoghegan) and Terence Conner (O'Connor) were natives of
Ireland. The former received his education in Trinity College,
Dublin, and was intended for the honourable profession of the law, in
which several of his relations had become eminent. He had been
instructed by his parents in the Protestant religion, but falling
into company with some priests of the Romish persuasion they
converted him to their faith, which was a principal obstacle to his
future advancement ,in life; for as no gentleman can be admitted a
counsellor-at-law without taking the Oaths of Supremacy and Faith
prevented his complying with these terms, he declined any further
prosecution of his legal studies. His parents and other relations
were greatly offended with his conduct; and those who had
particularly engaged themselves for the advancement of his fortune
forbade him to visit them, through indignation at the impropriety of
his behaviour. Thus reduced to an incapacity of supporting himself,
he sought to relieve his circumstances by a matrimonial scheme; and
having addressed the daughter of a gentleman, he obtained her in
marriage, and received a good fortune with her; but, treating her
with undeserved severity, she was compelled to return to the
protection of her relations.
Geoghegans have also provided many religious men to the Catholic
Church. Ross (Roch), who became Bishop of Kildare is discussed above,
but there are others.
Fr. Arthur Geoghegan studied in Spain. On his return journey to Ireland he was arrested and imprisoned in London. He was charged with high treason and executed in 1633.
Fr. Cornelius or Conn Geoghegan was prior of Mullingar in 1654.
Fr. Anthony Geoghegan, a Franciscan and Vicar General of Meath, was one of the last and most influential opponents of the Cromwell regime in Ireland. He held a diocesan synod Clonmacnois on 10th May 1649 for the enactment of ecclesiastical regulation. Fr. Anthony died in 1665 and is commemorated on a stone still legible outside the Franciscan Friary in Athlone.
James MacGeoghegan was born at Uisneach (one of the claimants to the
title of the centre of Ireland) in 1702 and was of the Rahugh branch
of the family. He was educated and ordained in France where he spent
all his priestly life. He wrote several books including a history of
Ireland in French. "Histoire de Irlande" was written in
three volumes, the first two published in Paris and the third in
Amsterdam. The book is dedicated to the soldiers of the Irish Brigade
to which the author was chaplain for some time. He died in Paris in 1764.
I am again grateful to Noel Rice of Chicgao for the following information relating to Abbé James ...
at Uisneach, Westmeath, Ireland, 1702; died at Paris, 1763. He came
of a long family long settled in Westmeath and long holding a high
position among the Leinster chiefs, and was related to that
MacGeoghegan who so heroically defended the Castle of Dunboy against
Carew, and also to Connell MacGeoghegan, who translated the Annals of
Clonmacnoise. Early in the eighteenth century, the penal laws were
enacted and enforced against the Irish Catholics, and education,
except in Protestant schools and colleges, was rigorously proscribed.
Young MacGeoghegan, therefore, went abroad, and received his
education at the Irish (then the Lombard) College in Parish, and in
due course was ordained priest. Then for five years he filled the
position of vicar in the parish of Possy, in the Diocese of Chartres,
"attending in choir, hearing confessions and administering
sacraments in a laudable and edifying manner". In 1734 he was
elected one of the provisors of the Lombard College, and subsequently
was attached to the church of St-Merri in Paris. He was also for some
time chaplain to the Irish troops in the service of France; and
during these years he wrote a "History of Ireland". It was
written in French and published at Parish in 1758. It was dedicated
by the author to the Irish Brigade, and he is responsible for the
interesting statement that for the fifty years following the Treaty
of Limerick (1691) no less than 450,000 Irish soldiers died in the
service of France.
Eugene or Owen Geoghegan was born in the neighbourhood of Tubber in 1706 and belonged to the old race of Moycashel. We know very little of his early history, other than that he studied on the Continent, was a very eminent man, became parish priest of Tubber, and lived in his parish on a little farm of ten acres, on the townland of Ballybeg. There are two chalices, one in Horseleap and the other in Tubber, which he got made in 1770 and presented to each parish. On the pedestal of each is inscribed, "R.D. Eugenius Geoghegan me fieri fecit an. 1770, ad usum parochia de Kill (on the other, Horseleap) eatn conditione ut utentes annuatim offerant duo sacrificia pro ejus anima". A third chalice made for him in 1760 was in the possession of Edward Magawly Banon at the time of his death in 1944 in Florida. When Dr Chevers was becoming invalided, he petitioned the Holy See for a coadjutor in the person of Rev. Eugene Geoghegan, and the Holy See, after due preliminaries, granted his request. Accordingly, in 1771, he was consecrated Bishop of Madura in partibus infidelium, and coadjutor of Meath, and continued still as pastor of Tubber. The days of his episcopacy were, however, short, and his death was accelerated by an accident for which he was not responsible, but which naturally enough gave him a shock from which he never afterwards recovered. It appears that Dr Geoghegan, after a lengthened absence, performing the visitation of the diocese, had returned to his home at Ballybeg. A gang of highwaymen, who then infested the country resolved to break into his house, rob him and, in case of resistance, take his life. Everything favoured their plans, for the curate, on the bishop's return, got leave of absence to visit his friends, and no one slept in the house except Dr Geoghegan and an aged housekeeper. On the night fixed for the robbery, the leader of the gang, who had arranged all details, but who resolved not to be present, was drinking in a house at Rathconrath, several miles distant, and in order to have witnesses to prove an alibi, should the vengeance of the law or wrath of the people descend on him, he took out his watch and said ominously to those around him, "Mind, it is now twelve o'clock". He next mounted his horse and rode off to see how fared it with his associates. In the meantime the robbers met, and, having blackened their faces, cast lots to decide who would break through the window and open the house to the rest. The lot fell on a notorious ruffian named Mick Allard (pronounced by the people Ollard), from the Hill of Rathconrath, County Westmeath, whom they set half drunk in order to encourage him. A stone flung through the window, which hit the post of the bed on which Dr. Geoghegan was sleeping, awoke him; and, when he rose to ascertain the cause, he saw a robber with a hatchet in his hand attempting to force his way through the window. When the bishop asked him what brought him there, the ruffian, who was supported on the shoulders of his companions, averted his face, took more drink, and continued to force himself through the window. The bishop remonstrated with him, threatened, but all to no purpose. Now, in the room there was an old rusty gun, which Dr Geoghegan had in his hands that day while walking through his little farm, and in which there was an old charge which he endeavoured frequently, but in vain, to fire off. When remonstrance failed with the robber, the bishop took the old gun in his hands and presented it at the intruder. More drink was now supplied to Allard, and he persevered, hatchet in hand, forcing himself in the window. Dr Geoghegan never adverting to consequences, never imagining the gun would fire, in order to frighten the robber, put his finger on the trigger, and pulled it. The charge went off, the robber reeled, his companions ran away, and Allard fell from the window to the ground, a corpse. Dr Geoghegan never recovered from this accident. He fretted and pined away at the thought of having been instrumental in sending a soul to hell. Fortified by the sacraments, he departed this life on 26th May 1778 and was buried with his friends in the old church of Kilcumreragh near his predecessor as parish priest of Tubber, another Fr. Geoghegan. A headstone has the following inscription:
lyeth the body
Of the late Rev. Doctor
Owen Geoghegan, who
Dep. this life ye 26th
May, 1778, aged 72 years.
May the Lord have mercy
On his soul, and on the souls
Of his family, who are
Also interred here.
There is a saint in the family! St. Aedh Mac Bricc or St. Hugh
of Rahugh (or Rahue), lived in the sixth century and was great,
great grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages. He would have been a
Geoghegan except that surnames were not generally adopted at the
time. Tradition tells us that the holy man came to his father's house
one day and foretold to a little maid that her mistress would soon
bear a son, and if he were born at daybreak, he would be great in the
sight of God and of man. The maid reported the prophecy to he
mistress, who, being a woman of determination, decided that the
necessary condition would be fulfilled. When her labour started she
sat on a large stone and decided that the child would not be born
until daybreak. On his birth, the baby's head hot the stone
presumably with some force due to his being held back for so long,
for it formed a hollow in it. The water that collects in the hollow
is said to contain a cure for many ailments. Indeed, if the head of a
person suffering from a headache is rested in the hollow, instant
relief ensues. The stone can still be seen to this day near the
ancient monastery of Rahugh and is known locally as the headache
stone. When he grew to manhood, Hugh entered the monastery of Ralihen
near Kilcormac where he studied theology and scripture. He then spent
some time in Munster, eventually returning to his native Rahugh,
where he founded a monastery, after being consecrated bishop. He
travelled extensively in Westmeath and converted many of his kinsmen
(something St. Patrick found next to impossible). He also established
monasteries at Muskerry in Cork, Slieve Liag in Donegal and may also
have founded the monastery at Killare. He died in 588 AD and is
buried at Rahugh. His crozier was in the possession of the family for
many generations. It passed to the Nagles of Jamestown House (see
above) but what happened to it after that family died, I don't know.
You may recall that I mentioned musical talent as being a notable Geoghegan trait. In my own family, my grandfather (Thomas Geoghegan) and uncle (Edward - Ned - Geoghegan) were fiddle players, while my father (Thomas - Sonny) was talented with the button accordian. My brother (Barry) I quite a banjo player. While I cannot claim any great talent, I have been know to strum the guitar at many a seisiún and mess about on the keyboards.
I am grateful to Noel Rice for the following items.
Gerald Geoghegan, who was born in Dublin on the 1st of June 1810
entered into the Civil Service on June 12th 1830. He wrote poems for
the 'Dublin Journal of Temperance'; 'Science and Literature'; the
'Irish Penny Journal'; the 'Dublin University Magazine'; the 'Irish
Monghtly' and in its early years The Nation. He normally signed his
poems with three asterisks and sometimes with the figure of a hand.
He wrote a ballad poem "The Monks of Kilcrea which appeared in
the Temperance Journal and this was published in book form a few
times. An ardent antiquary, he was one of the earliest members of the
Kilkenny Archaeological Society, and contributed to its journal. He
exhibited a collection of his own antiquities on one occasion in London.
Aughrim, By: Arthur Gerald Geoghegan
The following was written in praise of a famous harp. The owner may have been Diarmaid (Dermot), son of Donnchadh Mág Eochagáin, Lord of Cenél Fiachach, in Westmeath. Diarmaid, who died in 1392, succeeded his brother Fearghal in 1382. As the poet ... died in 1387, the last quatrain, referring to the owner by his official title, would point to a date 1382 to 1387. Cnoc Í Chosgair is no doubt the modern Knockycosker, in the barony of Mycashel (the ancient Cenél Fiachach). The poet identifies the harp with the famous instruments of ancient romance, recalling their names, for in old days musical instruments, weapons, etc. had proper names, as ships have now. The author is Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh, 'Ireland's arch-professor of poetry', who died in 1387. He was professional poet to the MacCarthys, to the Earls of Desmond, and to the O'Briens of Thomond.
chláirsioch Chnuic Í Chosgair
harp of Cnoc Í Chosgair (Knockycosker)
chlár buadha as bláith mínlearg,
choice instrument of the smooth, gentle curve,
bhrégadh eóin a healta
that lurest the bird from the flock,
leighios gach laoich ghonta,
healer of every wounded warrior,
bháthadh gacha croinn chiúil,
silencer of all instruments of music,
aoinleannán na n-eólach,
favourite of the learned,
sgatha binne boga,
sweet and gentle flowers!
chúala ceól mar do chronn,
have heard of no music like thy structure
fhúaim trágha ré toinn cciúin,
sound of the beach against the gentle wave,
núall ban sídhe a Síth Lir,
cry of fairy women (banshees) from the mound of Lear,
no as tú an Áisioch Fhalláin,
else thou are the Áisioch Fhalláin ("Healthful Ease'),
as tú do bhí ag Aonghus Óg
Young Angus had thee
Mhanannán tar muir mall
Manannán over the calm sea
Ballchaomh Bhuadha Bhuidhbh Dheirg,
was Bodhbh Dearg's magic Ball-chaomh ("Fair-limbed"),
Ilbhreic Easa Ruaidh,
Féithchiúin ("calm and still") of Ilbhreac
í an Téidbhinn th'ainm oile
other name will be the Téid-bhinn ("Sweet-stringed"),
ainm nua anosa
we shall give another name
Diarmait as dócha dhuit
Dermot's possession it is most likely
Í Chonchobhair chathrach Coinn,
of Conn's city!
eulogy of Colmcille,
Pheadair Phuirt Grég
shepherding of Peter of the Grecian Port
mhéid meadhreach a mhúir chuirr
great is the mirth in the smooth dwelling
1202: Meyler, the son of Meyler, took possession of Limerick by force; on account of which a great war broke out between the English of Meath and the English of Meyler, during which Cooley, the son of Cumee O'Laeghaghan, was slain by the race of Fiacha, the son of Niall i.e. the Mageoghegans, &.
1291: Congalagh Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, died.
1323: Maelmora Mageoghegan died.
1328: The English sustained a great defeat from Mageoghegan, three thousand five hundred of them being slain in the contest, together with some of the Daltons, and the son of the Proud Knight.
1331: Meyler Mageoghegan died.
1332: William Gallda, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, died.
1334: Donough Mac Consnava, Chief of Muintir-Kenny, and Johnock, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, died.
1337: Donough, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, was slain by the people of Offaly.
1342: Conor (i.e. Conor Roe) Mageoghegan, Lord of the Kinel-Fiachach, was slain by the English.
1342: Thomas O'Kinga, Maurice Mageoghegan and Simon, son of Conor, son of Simon Mac Gillaarraith, one of the chieftains of Leyny, died.
1350: Cucogry More Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, Hugh, the son of Auliffe Maguire, and Maurice Mac Donough, died.
1353: Brian, the son of Hugh More O'Neill; Cathal, the son of Niall O'Rourke; Geoffrey Mac Rannall; Geoffrey O'Reilly; Sitric Magauran; and Farrell Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, died.
1355: Farrell, the son of Farrell, son of Murtough More, son of Congalagh Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, died.
1362: Cucogry Mageoghegan, the son of Dermot Mageoghegan, and Maurice, the son of Murtough Mageoghegan, died.
1363: Bevin, the daughter of Mageoghegan, and wife of the Sinnach the Fox, died.
1368: Rory, the son of Johnock Mageoghegan, the hawk of the nobility and prowess of his tribe, and the most hospitable man from Dublin to Drogheda; and Tiernan, the son of Cathal O'Rourke, died.
1371: Farrell Mageoghegan died.
1372: Murtough Muimhneach, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, died, after the victory of penance.
1374: Cucogry Oge Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, was treacherously slain after he had gone to Athlone with the Bishop of Meath: it was the Sinnach Mac Mearain (one of William Dalton's people) that killed him, with one thrust of a lance; and he Mac Mearain himself was afterwards torn asunder, and his body was cut into small pieces, for this crime.
1380: Mortimer came to Ireland with great powers, as Lord Justice; whereupon the Irish nobility repaired to pay their court to him, and among others the Roydamna of Ireland, i.e. Niall O'Neill, O'Hanlon, O'Farrell, O'Reilly, O'Molloy, Mageoghegan, and the Sinnach Fox, with many other nobles.
1380: Cormac Oge Mac Carthy; Henry, son of Donnell O'Farrell; Hugh, son of Murtough Muimhneach Mageoghegan; and Donnell, son of David Mageoghegan, died.
1381: Hugh, son of Murtough Muimhneach Mageoghegan, was slain in a skirmish by Meyler, the son of Theobald O'Molloy, with the stroke of a javelin.
1382: Farrell Roe, son of Donough, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, was treacherously slain by the inhabitants of Fircall, at Cillmona, east of Rath-Aedha-mic-Bric. Farrell O'Molloy and the son of Theobald O'Molloy made the assault, and Meyler Maintin struck and slew him.
1386: Niall, the son of Cucogry Oge Mageoghegan, materies of a lord of his tribe, was slain by William Dalton and his son.
1386: Fineen, son of Rory Mageoghegan, was killed.
1392: Dermot Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, died.
1393: Maurice Cam, the son of Rory Mageoghegan; and Brian, the son of William Oge Mageoghegan, died.
1398: Maurice, son of Pierce Dalton, was slain by Murtough Oge Mageoghegan, and Brian, the son of O'Conor Faly.
1400: Hugh O'Molloy, Lord of Fircall; Laighneagh, the son of Farrell Roe, son of Donough Mageoghegan; Donough Sinnach Fox, Lord of Muintir-Tadhgain, and Chief of Teffia; and Dermot and Brian, two sons of Catharnach Mac an-t-Sinnaigh, died.
1409: Melaghlin More Mageoghegan was deprived of his chieftainship, and Farrell Roe, the son of Farrell Roe Mageoghegan, installed in his place.
1410: Melaghlin More, the son of Farrell, son of Farrell, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, died, after the victory of Extreme Unction and Penance.
1414: A great defeat, was given to the English of Meath by Murrough O'Conor, Lord of Offaly, and Farrell Roe Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach mic-Neill, at Cill-Eochain, where the Baron of Skreen, together with a great number of nobles and plebeians, were slain, and where the son of the Baron of Slane was taken prisoner, for whose ransom fourteen hundred marks were obtained. Dardis the Lawless was also taken prisoner, together with a number of others, for whose ransom twelve hundred marks were obtained, besides the usual fines called Luach-leasa and Luach-impidhe.
1415: Conor, the son of Brian, son of William Mageoghegan, was slain at Cill-Cuairsighe.
1430: Another great army was led by Owen O'Neill, with the chiefs of the province about him, into Annaly. He went first to Sean Longphort, and from thence to Caill-Salach, where he abode for some time. He afterwards went to Freamhainn, in Meath, to which place the Irish of the South, namely, O'Conor Faly, i.e. Calvagh, O'Molloy, O'Madden, Mageoghegan, and O'Melaghlin, came to meet him, and accept of stipends from him. The whole of West Meath, including Kilbixy, was burned by these forces, upon which the Baron of Delvin, the Plunketts, the Herberts, and the English of Westmeath in general, came to meet O'Neill, to pay him his demands for sparing their country. These they afterwards paid, and they made peace. Owen returned home after victory and triumph, bringing with him the son of O'Farrell, i.e. the son of Donnell Boy, to Dungannon, as a hostage for O'Farrell's lordship.
1439: Maguire was taken prisoner in his own town by Donnell Ballagh Maguire ; and Philip Maguire was on the same day set at liberty by Donnell; and the fetters with which Philip had been bound were made use of to bind Maguire himself, in his own house. As soon as Henry O'Neill heard that Maguire was a prisoner, he assembled his forces, and marched to Port-abhla-Faelain against Philip and Donnell, by whom Maguire was there held in detention. Maguire was then liberated; and in his stead hostages were delivered up, namely, his own son, Edmond Maguire, and the daughter of Mageoghegan, Maguire's wife, with others besides; and the castle of Enniskillen was given up to Donnell Ballagh Maguire on that occasion.
1445: Laighneach, son of Hugh Boy Mageoghegan, was slain at Coill-an-Chonaidh by the sons of Murtough Oge Mageoghegan.
1446: Donnell O'Coffey, a good captain, and his two sons, were slain on Cro-inis, an island on Loch-Ainninn-mic-Neimhidh, by the grandsons of Art O'Melagh- lin, and the grandsons of Fiacha Mageoghegan.
1447: Hugh, son of Murtough Oge Mageoghegan, helmsman of the valour of the Southern Hy-Nials, and heir to the lordship of all Kinel-Fiachach, died of a short fit of sickness.
1450: Great depredations were committed by the son of Mageoghegan upon the English. He plundered and burned Rath-Guaire, Cill-Lucain, Baile-Portel, Baile na n Gall-Oirghiallach, and Kilbixy. In the course of this war he made a prisoner of Carbry, the son of Laoiseach, son of Ross, and slew the two grand- sons of Theobald Mac Hobert. He also slew Brian, son of Laoiseach, who was son of Ross, at Eaile-Mor Locha-Semhdidhe. In fine, it would be impossible to enumerate all that were destroyed (by him) during that war. The English of Meath and the Duke of York came with the standard of the King of England to Mullingar; and the son of Mageoghegan went the next day, with a strong body of cavalry, to Bel-atha-glas-arnarach, to oppose them, whereupon the English, having held consultation, thought it advisable to make peace with him; and, in consideration of obtaining peace from him, they forgave him all the injuries he had done them.
1452: Teagh-Munna was plundered and burned by Farrell Mageoghegan.
1452: Farrell Roe Oge, the son of Farrell Roe, son of Farrell Roe, son of Donough, son of Murtough More Mageoghegan, a captain of great repute and celebrity, was killed and beheaded at Cruach-abhall, by the son of the Baron of Delvin, and the grandsons of Pierce Dalton. They carried his head to Trim, and from thence to Dublin, for exhibition; but it was (afterwards) brought back, and buried along with the body in Durrow-Coluim-Chille.
1454: Hugh, son of Niall O'Molloy, Lord of Fircall, died; and his son, Cucogry, assumed his place. Cucogry proceeded with his forces to the east of Fircall, to oppose Theobald O'Molloy, who was trying to obtain the chieftainship for him- self, and seized upon great spoils, Theobald having left his fastnesses and his cows to them. The army marched off with their spoils, and O'Molloy's son was left, attended only by a few, in the rear of the prey. Theobald, the sons of Hugh Boy Mageoghegan, and the Hy-Regan, followed in pursuit of the preys, and, overtaking O'Molloy's son on the borders of a bog, they slew him, and many others, on the spot. They took Teige O'Carroll prisoner. Theobald and the grandson of Cosnamhach O'Molloy were then set up as chiefs, in opposition to each other.
1454: Farrell Roe Mageoghegan resigned his lordship, and retired into the monas- tery of Durrow-Columbkille, having lost his sight; and Niall Mageoghegan assumed his place.
1458: Farrell Roe Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, died on the 17th of February.
1459: Conla Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, was slain by the sons of Art O'Melaghlin.
1461: Great depredations were committed by Mageoghegan on the Baron of Delvin. Great depredations were also committed by him on the Ledwiches, so that he plundered the country as far as the River Inny.
1464: Donnell O'Rourke; John, son of the Official, son of Murtough Oge O'Farrel; Melaghlin, the son of Brien, son of Murtough Oge O'Farrell, and his wife More, daughter of James O'Kennedy; and wife of Mageoghegan, with her daughter; and Murtough, the son of John O'Duigennan, all died of the same plague.
1466: Aine, the daughter of Mageoghegan, and wife of Maguire, died.
1467: Teige O'Conor, Mageoghegan, and Mac Feorais Bermingham, committed innumerable depredations in the plain of Teffia, and plundered the country from Imper to Baile-mic-William.
1468: Owney Mageoghegan was killed by one cast of a javelin in the castle of Cnoc-Ui-Chosgraigh Knockycosker..
1469: Owen, the son of Hugh Boy Mageoghegan, Tanist of Kinel-Fiachach, was slain by the Clann-Colmain.
1470: Connla, the son of Hugh Boy Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, was slain on Achadh-Buidhe, at Tigh-Bhrighde, in Baile-atha-an-Urchair, by the son of Art, son of Con O'Melaghlin, and the Clann-Colman, in revenge of his father, Art, who had been slain some time before by this Connla.
1471: A prey was carried off by the sons of O'Conor Faly from the Kinel- Fiachach, on which occasion Owney, the son of Mageoghegan, the son of Niall Mac-an-t-Sinnaigh, and many others, were slain by them.
1474: Mageoghegan, i.e. Cucogry, the son of Niall, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, was slain by Hugh, the son of Farrell Mageoghegan. The country was ravaged by O'Conor Faly, and he demolished the castle of Baile-nua, and expelled the descendants of Farrell Roe.
1474: Laighneach, the son of Neill Mageoghegan, died.
1478: Melaghlin, the son of Hugh Boy Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, was slain, while asleep in the castle of Leath-ratha, by two of his own people, who were afterwards burned for their crime.
1488: A plundering army was led by the Earl of Kildare into Kinel-Fiachach-mic-Neill; and he demolished the castle of Bile-ratha upon the sons of Murtough Mageoghegan, after having brought ordnance to it.
1493: O'Conor Faly (i. e Cahir, the son of Con, son of Calvach), was defeated by Mageoghegan (James, the son of Conla, son of Hugh Boy), and the son of Teige, the son of Cahir, son of Turlough Ballagh O'Conor, the son of Art O'Conor, and the two sons of O'Maenaigh, were taken prisoners in the conflict, and deprived of eighty horses.
1493: James Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach-mic-Neill, died; and Laighneach, his brother, assumed his place.
1508: Murtough, the son of Hugh, son of Farrell Oge, son of Farrell Roe Mageoghegan, was slain by his own kinsmen.
1527: Auliffe Oge Duv Magawley, Chief of Calry, fell by the Clann-Colman; but before his fall, he himself avenged himself, for he slew Fiacha Mageoghegan on the field of contest.
1542: O'Melaghlin (Felim Oge, the son of Felim, son of Con, son of Art, son of Con, son of Cormac Oge, son of Cormac Ballagh) was slain in the night, at Baile-Sgrigin, by the sons of Mageoghegan, namely, Conla and Kedagh Roe, and Edmond Roe Dillon. He was the lawful possessor of the chieftainship and principality of his ancestors.
1546: The Lord Justice came a second time into Offaly, and remained fifteen days in the country, plundering and spoiling it, burning churches and monasteries, and destroying crops and corn. He left a garrison in the town, to oppose O'Conor, namely, one hundred horsemen, one hundred armed with guns, one hundred with battle-axes, and one hundred soldiers, together with their common attendants; he left them a sufficiency of food, and all other necessaries, and then departed, and proceeded with his great army into Leix, whither the Earl of Desmond came with a numerous army to join him. They remained for fifteen days plundering that country; and they took Baile-Adam, a castle belonging to O'More, and left warders in it. After this the Lord Justice sent letters and writings to the chieftains of Offaly, inviting them to come into the territory, and abandon O'Conor, and that he would grant them pardon. They accordingly did return; but not long afterwards the English returned into the territory, and acted treacherously towards them, so that they deprived them of many thousands of cows. O'Conor and O'More were proclaimed traitors throughout Ireland, and their territories were transferred to the King. And O'Conor went into Connaught to look for forces; and the people of Fircall and Mageoghegan, at the request of the Lord Justice, turned upon O'Conor's people, and took many cows and prisoners from them. The Clann-Colman and Muintir-Tadhgain did the same; and scarcely had there been in modern times so much booty and spoil collected together. And thus was he expelled and banished, he who had been the head of the happiness and prosperity of that half of Ireland in which he lived, namely, Brian O'Conor. And he remained in Connaught until the following Christmas, after having been proclaimed a traitor by the English.
1580: The son of Mageoghegan (Rossa, the son of Conla, son of Conor, son of Laighne) was unfraternally killed by his brother Brian. It was wonderful how small the inheritance of the Kinel-Fiagha was at this time, for Rossa was only a private gentleman; he was, nevertheless, lamented by the greater number of the men of Ireland. The father of these sons was taken prisoner by the Lord Justice, because it was reported that he had participated in this fratricide.
proclamation of Parliament was issued to the men of Ireland,
commanding their chiefs to assemble in Dublin precisely on May-day,
for the greater part of the people of Ireland were at this time
obedient to their sovereign; and, accordingly, they all at that
summons did meet in Dublin face to face &ldots;
1588: Mageoghegan, Lord of Kinel-Fiachach, namely, Connla, son of Conor, son of Laighne, son of Connla, son of Hugh, died; and there had not been a long time before any one of the descendants of Fiacha, the son of Niall, who was more generally lamented; and his son, Brian, and Niall, the son of Ross, were in contention with each other for the lordship of the territory.
1596: Mageoghegan, i.e. Niall, the son of Rossa, son of Conla, died.
1602: As for the Earl of Thomond, after he had gone to Cork to the Lord Justice, the resolution to which the Lord Justice came was, that the Earl should again return with forces to the island on which he had previously left a garrison, namely, Oilen-Faoit; and he sent a fleet with ordnance round by sea, which arrived in the vicinity of Dun-Baoi, and, having put to land, they took an island called Baoi-Bheirre, and slew its guards, together with their captain, Richard, the son of Ross, son of Conla Mageoghegan. The crews of the fleet landed with arms and ordnance at Dun-baoi, where they formed a strong and impregnable ditch, and a stout and firm trench, from which to play upon the castle with ordnance. They thus continued the firing until the castle was razed and levelled with the ground, and the warders were for the most part killed; and such of them as were not killed were hanged in pairs by the Earl of Thomond.
text was originally compiled by Eddie Geoghegan in September 1997 and
updated, July 1998, March 1999, March 2000, March
2001, July 2002, July 2007.
The main source document which accounts for the majority of the content is a transcript of a lecture entitled "The Mageoghegans" delivered by Liam Cox NT, Moate, delivered to the Kilbeggan Historical and Archaeological Society, in the Convent of Mercy School, on Friday night, 10th January 1969. Other information was taken from "Irish Families. Their Names, Arms & Origins", by Edward MacLysaght, published by Irish Academic Press, ISBN 0 7165 2364 7 and from "Worthies of Westmeath" by Jeremiah Sheehan, published by the author and Wellbrook Press Ltd. The information from the "Annals" I extracted directly from that document. I also added material from my own memory. Such material came from books and other documents I have read which are no longer in my possession. A very small amount of the material came to me in the time honoured Irish way - by word of mouth.
I realise that some passages are confusing. If you think they are confusing to read, you should try typing them! There also appears to be a few contradictions which I attribute to typographical errors in the original documents. However, not having enough knowledge I have not attempted to make corrections based on personal guesswork. Readers of this text may have Geoghegan history, family information or anecdotes, which might render this treatise more complete or more accurate. If so I would be delighted to receive such information and will attempt to incorporate it in an appropriate location. I am not a genealogist so please do not ask me to perform family traces. My own family "twig" is rather small and I have never bothered to trace my own Geoghegan ancestry beyond my grandfather (Thomas Geoghegan of Mullingar). So it is unlikely that I have any personal family information that would be of use to anyone outside my own immediate family. My interest is in computers and the Internet and in making what information there is available through that medium.
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