Select McMahon Miscellany



Here are some McMahon stories and accounts over the years:

Niall McMahon Ladrannaibh or Bandit


Niall Mac Mathghamhna is said to have been descended from Mathganna, the original lord of Fernmaige who died in 1022.  He is cited in the Irish annals from 1196 to 1207.  It seems then that he had been waging his own private war against the Anglo-Norman intruders for some forty years. 

History has recorded him as ladrannaibh or bandit.  But without this "bandit," there would certainly have been little chance of the McMahons becoming kings of Oriel.  His actions led to the rise of the McMahon kings who subsequently arose to that position when Eochaid became the first "formally recorded" McMahon king of Oirghialla around 1250.


Lough Leck and the Coronation Stone of the McMahon Kings

It was on a hill by Lough Leck, three miles southwest of Monaghan town, in Kilmore parish, that the McMahons first arose and where they were crowned as Kings of Oriel. 

According to the traditional accounting of the event, the ceremony always took place on a Tuesday.  Mass was said.  The chief-elect was then admonished by his pastor concerning the duties and ethics of office.  A procession was formed, led by a priest.  Then came the chief-elect, kinsmen, and clergy.  Midway along the route three sturdy youths, representing the Three Collas, maintained a mock combat.  When they reached the summit of the hill, the chief-elect took his seat on the stone and swore on the Domhnach Airgid.  A golden rod, forged in the smithy at Clones monastery, was placed in his hand.

The new chieftain then stood on the McMahon stone and looked in three directions, representing the Blessed Trinity.  He walked off in the fourth direction.  He then took off his cloak and his sword and the Abbot anointed him.  Then one of his men cut his arm.  He lay down and his blood mixed with the earth.  Next he sat down on the stone and sent four black doves off to the four winds.  At this bagpipes began to play and the procession formed again and set off for the church.  Midway to the church, young girls approached and sprinkled earth and salt and wheat.

The McMahon stone measured six feet five inches long by four feet four inches broad.  On the stone was the impression of a foot, said to be the foot of one of the first McMahon kings.


Maura Rua MacMahon

One noted McMahon was Maura Rua MacMahon, whose husband, Conor O'Brien, was killed by Cromwellian forces in 1651.  They lived in Leamaneh Castle, near Kilfenora in county Clare.

When enemy soldiers brought back her husband's body from the battlefield, she is said to have shouted at them from a window of the castle: "Take him away. We want no dead men here!"


John McMahon's French Makeover

Towards the end of the 17th century after the defeat of the catholic English king James II, a great many Irish emigrated.  This exodus was popularly known as the "‘Flight of the Wild Geese." 

There were three McMahon brothers in Limerick.  Maurice, the oldest, joined the Spanish King's army, then that of Louis XIV; Michael, the second brother, stayed in Ireland and became the Bishop of Killaloe; while John, the youngest, went to medical school in Reims before going to practice at Autun in Burgundy.

At that time the Morey brothers owned the Château de Sully nearby, but were finding life rather dull.  One of the brothers, who at that time was some sixty years old, decided to jolly things up a bit by marrying their young cousin, Charlotte Le Berlin from Eguilly.

Charlotte, however, was only 19 years old and she certainly did liven things up.  Her husband may have been youthful but his health suffered and the doctor had to be called in frequently.  And it so happened that this doctor was a charming Irishman who called himself Jean Baptiste de MacMahon.  In fact he was so charming that he ended up marrying widow Charlotte. 

Louis XV accorded him the title of Marquess.  Jean Baptiste and Charlotte had seven children and they lived at Sully happily ever after. 



Charles Patrick Mahon


Scholars have reached the conclusion that the Charles Patrick Mahon who called himself "The O'Gorman Mahon" was of the Clare McMahons. 

Spurning a career in law, he embarked on one which took him all over the world.  He became an intimate of Louis Philippe and Talleyrand in France.  The Czar of Russia appointed him to his bodyguard.  He soldiered in the Far East, South America, was an admiral in the Chilean navy, a colonel in Brazil's army, and a colonel in Napoleon III's regiment.

He re-entered politics in Ireland as a supporter of Parnell.  He unwittingly led to the downfall of Parnell by introducing him to Katherine (Kitty) O'Shea.  The hero of thirteen duels, many of them fatal to his opponents, he died in London in 1891 at the age of 91, vigorous to the last, although it is not possible to authenticate all of his adventures. 


William Friend McMahon at Fort Recovery, Ohio

Major William Friend McMahon was attached to the Legion of the United States, an early version of the US Army.  On June 30, 1793, just outside of the gates of Fort Recovery, a pack-horse train led by him was attacked by 2,000 Indians.  Major McMahon was killed and the rest of the survivors fled into the fort.  The Indians then made a general attack on the fort.  The battle raged for two days, but Fort Recovery was not taken. 


Ed McMahon's Background

Ed McMahon, the man who coined the famous phrase “Heeeere’s Johnny,” was born to an Irish-American family in Detroit, Michigan in 1923 (the reason he was born there was that his parents had stopped there on the way to a fundraising job).


Ed's father was a promoter, entrepreneur, traveling salesman, and fundraiser for charities and hospitals and clubs - by selling punch boards and running bingo games.  This was how McMahon got his first gig, calling bingo. 

Ed grew up in New England and used to spend some of his summers with his dad's parents, Joseph and Katherine McMahon of Lowell, Massachusetts.  His grandfather, a master plumber, was the founder of the J.F. McMahon Plumbing Company.





Return to Top of Page
Return to McMahon Main Page