Maher Irish Times Article

Hi Jack

Have really enjoyed your webpage - many thanks for sharing the info on the web.

There's a snippet below from the Irish Times from a few years back that you may/may not have come accross. Hope you find it useful, in some way.

Slan go foill,
Ciaran O Meachair


In 1867 and 1921 respectively, two men of the name O Meachair met with sudden ends. The first was Thomas Francis Meagher, 'Meagher of the Sword', who, at the age of forty-four, fell overboard from a steamboat on the Missouri river and drowned. There was a strong suspicion that he had been murdered. The death of Patrick Maher, however, was no accident for he was hanged on 7 June 1921, along with Edward Foley, charged with the shooting of an RIC sergeant at Knocklong, Co. Limerick in May of that year. Thomas Francis Meagher was born in Co. Waterford, the son of a wealthy man and MP. Educated at Clongowes and Stonyhurst in England, he was prominent in the Young Irelanders, and after an abortive rising in 1848 he was, like Edward Maher, condemned to hanging. However he was reprieved and transported to Van Diemen's Land. He escaped to America in 1852, where he founded the Citezin newspaper, lectured widely, organised the Irish Brigade for the North in the American War, where he fought with distinction, and was appointed Secretary (in effect governor) of Montana by President Johnson after the war.

Though Ireland's freedom was the aim of both, Patrick Maher's background was more modest, his education less prestigiois and his lifespan considerably shorted. He was convicted of being involved in the rescue of Sean Hogan who had been arrested in connection with the ambush at Soloheadbeg earlier that year. A small party of volunteers led by Sean Tracey effected Hogan's rescue, and two of the constables guarding Hogan were fatally wounded.

The surname which derives from michair, 'kindly', is anglicised as Meagher and Maher, both of which, according to Mac Lysaght in his 'Irish Families' are bisyllabic, and not pronounced Marr. This is a sept of the O Carrolls of Ely, but unlike so many of the Irish septs, they were not driven from their homeland after the Anglo-Norman invasion. Their territory was near Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, at the foot of the famous Devil's Bit Mountain. The Annals of the Four Masters/Annala Rioghtachta Eireann records the deaths in 1413 and 1462 of O Meachair, chiefs of Ui Cairrin. The name of this territroy was later anglicised to Ikerrin to name a barony. The 'great and virulent' plague which raged universally in the year 1383, and was to cause the death of many of Ireland's notables, was not given as the cause of the demise of Honora, wife of O Meachair, the then chief of Ui Cairrin.

John O Magher of Clonakenny, Esq., Irsi Papist, was the largest land owner in the barony of Ikerrin in 1640, having in excess of three thousand acres. CLONAKENNY, the name of a townland in the parish of Bourney, dervies from Cluain Ui Cionnaoith, O Kenny's meadow. We have been unable to trace KNOCKBALLYMAGHER, the location of some of John O Magher's land in 1640 but it appears to be 'the hill of the homestead of the (O) Meaghers'. Of the sixty land owners then in Ikerrin, thirty-eight of them were Meaghers. The Census of 1659 lists the Meaghers as among the Principal Irish Names in seven of Co. Tipperary's baronies; in the Co. Clare barony of Tulla; in three Co. Laois baronies; in two Co. Offaly baronies; and one each on Cos. Carlow and Waterford. All but one of the six 'gentlemen's seats' occupied by Meaghers, listed for the year 1814, were in Co. Tipperary. The name was equally numerous in Cos. Kilkenny and Tipperary in the list of land owners in 1876, with the Munster holding of 4.552 acres at Turtulla in the Co. Tipperary parish of Fertiana being the largest.

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