• McMahon surname history

    McMahon surname history

    MacMahon (or McMahon) comes from the Irish Mac Mathghamha or, in the modern version Mac Mathuna, from mathghamhain, meaning "bear". The surname arose separately in two areas, in west Clare and in Co. Monaghan. In the former, the MacMahons were part of the great tribal grouping, the Dal gCais, and claim decent from Mahon O'Brien, grandson of Brian Boru. The last Chief of the Name was killed at the battle of Kinsale in 1602. The Ulster MacMahons were based in the barony of Truagh in the north of Co. Monaghan, and ruled the kingdom of Oriel between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries. Their last chief, Hugh MacMahon, who had become a lieutenant-colonel in the Spanish army, was beheaded by the English in 1641. A separate McMahon family in Fermanagh are descended from Mahon Maguire, a grandson of Donn Carrach Maguire. Today, although widespread throughout Ireland, MacMahon remains most common in the two ancestral homelands of Clare and Monaghan.

    Anglicisation of the name, to "Mahon", was never extensive; in 1890 less than 25% of the total recorded their names thus. The current proportion is significantly smaller.

    After the defeats of the native Irish in the seventeenth century, many of the Clare MacMahons emigrated to serve in the Irish Brigade of the French army. John Baptiste MacMahon, son of one of the original members of the Irish Brigade in the French army was made Marquis d?Eguilly by Louis XV. His grandson, Edmonde Patrice MacMahon (1808-93) was created Duke of Magenta, became a Field Marshal and President of France. The MacMahon family are still prominent in France; the family home is the Chateau de Sully outside Bordeaux.

    .Sir Charles MacMahon (1824-91) , descended from the Clare family, emigrated to Australia in 1853, became Commissioner of Police in Melbourne and secured election to the Legislative Assembly. Another prominent Australian MacMahon was Sir William MacMahon (b. 1908) who was Prime Minister of Australia in 1971 and 1972.

    Bernard MacMahon (d.1816) was an emigrant to Philadelphia who became an eminent botanist. His name is recorded in the evergreen shrub berbeeris mahonia.

    Charles Patrick Mahon (1800-91), known as "The O?Gorman Mahon", was a member of the Clare family. He was famous as an international soldier - Chile, Brazil, France and Russia are only some of the countries he served - and later as a politician in Parnell?s Irish Party.

    Bryan MacMahon(b.1909) has been one of Ireland?s best-loved playwrights and short-story writers for almost 60 years.