Historic Geoghegans
Geoghegans of Historic interest (for Modern-day Geoghegans of note see Hall of Fame)


Aedh Mac Bricc or Saint 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 but what happened to it after that family died, I don't know.


Congalagh Mór MacEochagáin (died 1291)
The first recorded bearer of the surname. The following record appears in the Annals of the Four Masters under the year 1291 ...
"Congalagh Mageoghegan, Chief of Kinel-Fiachach, died."


Fearghal Rua MacEochagáin (died 1458)
Fearghal Rua (the red haired) 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 on 17 February 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)

Drive 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
(The Inneion is the Anvil River in Tang parish near Ballymahon and Lough Ainnin is Lough Ennel).


Rev. Rock MacGeoghegan (1580 - 1644) Bishop
A member of the MacGeoghegan sept of Westmeath, he was educated in the Dominican Priory at Mullingar and in the Irish College in Spain. In 1622 he was appointed Provincial of the Dominican Order in Ireland and was later consecrated Bishop of Kildare. He is buried in Multyfarnham, County Westmeath


Conall Mageoghegan (approx. 1580 - 1650) Historian
A native of Westmeath and head of the sept MacGeoghegan. He 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 we can determine in the absence of the original".
The Reim-Rioghraidhe (rem-ree-riah), or Succession of the Kings a historical work compiled by Brother Michael O'Clery, one of the Four Masters, was commenced in the house of Conall, 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 (in Westmeath), 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.


Abbé James MacGeoghegan (1702 - 1763 - with thanks to Noel Rice for additional information)
Abbé 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.
"Born 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.
MacGeoghegan's "History" is the fruit of much labour and research, though, on account of his residence abroad, he was necessarily shut out from access to the manuscript materials of history in Ireland, and had to rely chiefly on Lynch and Colgan. Mitchel's "History of Ireland" professes to be merely a continuation of MacGeoghegan, though Mitchel is throughout much more of a partisan than MacGeoghegan."
Life
1702-1763 [vars. Geoghegan; Abbé Jacques MacGeoghegan]; b. Usineach, Co. Westmeath; related to Conall MacGeoghegan, translator of Annals of Clonmacnoise, and to Fr. Francis O’Molloy [Prionsias Ó Maolmhuaidh]; ed. Lombard College, Paris, ord.; appt. Abbé of Poissy, diocesse of Chartres; elected provisor of Lombard college, and later transferred to church of St Merri, Paris; appt. chaplain to Irish troops in armies of France; published Histoire d l’Irlande (Vol I. 1758; Vol, II. 1762; Vol. III, 1763), extending to period of Irish Brigades in continental service, stating that 450,000 Irish troops died in French wars (questioned by Lecky); d. Paris. DNB.
Works
Histoire de l’Irlande ancienne et moderne, 3 tomes [2 vols. Paris: Antoine Boudet 1758, 1762; the third Amsterdam 1763] [copy in Marsh’s Library]; P.Kelly [trans.,] History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern, taken from authentic records and dedicated to the Irish Brigade (Duffy 1831; 2nd edn. 1844) 622p.;
WORKS, See also John Mitchel, History of Ireland [...]: A Continuation of the History of Abbé MacGeoghegan (1869) [two issues noticed in P. S. O’Hegarty’s commentary in Irish Book Lover, Vol. XXVIII, No.4, 1942, p.89].
Criticism
Richard Ryan, ‘John Mageoghegan’, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, p.416.
References
Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (John Benjamins Pub. Co., Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1986): The last flourish of the emigrés tradition in praise of Gaelic greatness occurred around 1760 when the priest James Macgeoghegan published his Histoire de l’Irlande ancienne et moderne, tirée des manuments les plus authentiques, 3 vols. (Paris 1758-62). [Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (1986). p.400.]
British Library holds [1] Histoire de l'Irlande, ancienne et moderne. (Précis de l'histoire des quatre Stuarts, sur le Trône Britannique), and 2nd. copy, F. P. 3 tom. Paris, 1758-63. 4o. [2] History of Ireland, ancient and modern. Translated ... by P. O'Kelly; Another edition. 3 vol. Dublin, 1831-32. 8o. Dublin, 1844. 8o. [3] The History of Ireland, from the Treaty of Limerick to the present time; being a continuation of the History of the Abbé Macgeoghegan. Compiled by J. Mitchel; another edition; also, another edition of vol. 1. New York, 1868. 8o. 2 vol. Dublin [printed], London, 1869. 8o. Cameron and Ferguson: Glasgow, 1869. 8o.
University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern, taken from authentic records and dedicated to the Irish Brigade (Duffy 1844) 622p.; John Mitchel, History of Ireland ... a continuation of the history of Abbé MacGeoghegan (1869)
Quotations
‘The absence of records or registers, more ancient than the eleventh century, is negative argument, and cannot be considered proof. It is very probable that they [the annals of Ireland and in particular of Dublin] were burnt or suppressed by the Danes, who were frequently masters of the city, and that their descendants, who became Christians, and were tolerated from commercial reasons, had begun their records with the first of their own countrymen who were appointed bishops of Dublin, which took place in the eleventh century.’ (History of Ireland, trans. O’Kelly, Chp. XIV, p.272.; cited in George A Little, Dublin Before the Vikings, 1957)
Notes
Roy Foster, Paddy and Mr. Punch (London 1993), indicates that Abbé MacGeoghegan is cited foremost in J. Pope-Hennessy, ‘What Do Irishmen Read?’, in Nineteenth Century, Vol. 15 (Jan.-June 1884), pp.920ff.; Foster, op. cit., Notes, p.312).


Alexander MacGeoghegan (died circa 1780)
Son of Charles MacGeoghegan of Syonan who left Ireland in 1691 with the Wild Geese (Gaelic Irish nobility who could no longer remain after the Battle of Kinsale). Alexander joined the French Army and became an officer in Berwick's regiment. He took part in many strenuous campaigns across Europe, including the Siege of Kehl in 1773 and the Wars of the Austrian Succession in the 1740's. He fought at Fontenoy in 1745 and then assisted Prince Charles Edward at the Battle of Falkirk. On his return to France he was created a Chevalier of St. Louis and on the outbreak of the Seven Years War he accompanied the famous General Count Lally to India. There he commanded the French forces at Wandewash and scored a brilliant victory over the English, which temporarily maintained French control in India. On his return to France the king created him a Colonel. He retired from the army about 1776 and died about 1780.


John "Jack the Buck" Geoghegan
18th century dandy, gambler and duelist, Lord of Moycashel. Thanks to the efforts of the Geoghegan Family Society, he now has a proper gravestone. Feature article.


Arthur Gerald Geoghegan (With thanks to Noel Rice - a seemingly never-ending source of tidbits!)
Arthur 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.
Geoghegan became collector of the Inland Revenue in 1857 and retired from the service in 1877. Charles Gavan Duffy states that on the eve of his (Duffy's) emigration to Australia: - "Some practical men insisted that before seeing me for the last time there ought to be some permanent testimony of good will ... Arthur Geoghegan, then a young Protestant Nationalist in the Excise Department, afterwards one of the four officials called 'The Kings of Somerset House', wrote to offer me (Duffy) all the savings that he had accumulated to be repaid without interest, and at my absolute convenience....It adds a flavour of rare magnanimity to Mr.Geoghegan's offer, that he did not agree with me in the contest which had brought about my exile. 'There is not on the face of God's earth,' he wrote (Geoghegan), 'a more pious and self sacrificing priesthood than yours and as an Irishman I am proud of them..I differ from you on many points, but on none more so than that it is neither desirable or expedient for the Clergymen of your Church to take an active share in politics. O'Connell hastened emancipation some years ago by their assistance, there is no doubt equally true is it that they have most habitually checked and retarded, either directly or indirectly, the growth of a free and manly opinion in Ireland ever since"
Geoghegan settled down in London in 1869. Two of his poems "The Mountain Fern" and "After Aughrim" have found their way into several anthologies. He died in Kensington, London, England on November 29th, 1889, 79 years old and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.
After Aughrim By: Arthur Gerald Geoghegan

Do you remember long ago
Kathleen?
When your lover whispered low,
"Shall I stay or shall I go,
Kathleen?"
And you proudly answered "GO!"
And join King James and strike a blow
For the Green."

Mavrone, your hair is white as snow,
Kathleen;
Your heart is sad and full of woe,
Do you repent you made him go,
Kathleen?
And quick you answer proudly, "No!
Far better die with Sarsfield so,
Than live a slave without a blow
For the Green."


Helen Gahagan-Douglas
Some said she was among the ten most beautiful women in the world. Others said she was the ten most beautiful women in the world. Helen Gahagan was a Broadway star who married her leading man Melvyn Douglas- and for the next forty-nine years lived happily ever after. She was elected to the United State Congress, then ran for the Senate and lost to Richard Nixon, in one of American history's dirtiest political battles. Feature article.


James John "Bud" Geoghegan
The popular Geoghegan was often called "The Ambassador of Golf" had been a winter teaching pro at Bobby Jones Golf since 1975. Every Monday morning, he would offer a free clinic at the club. -
Geoghegan, whose sister Mrs. AT. Bucky Brown and two nephews Kevin and Shaun Brown are living in town. Brown, better known as Lubs' was one of the better women golfers in the state in the 30's while her husband Bucky was a sports legend out of Hall High in West Hartford. Nephew Kevin was well-known for football exploits at EHHS and Columbia University is an attorney-at - law today. practicing in town.
Geoghegan showed signs of early stardom when he captured the Junior Championship in 1916 while winning the City Championship in 1926 at Goodwin Park. Geoghegan and Bobby Grant, one of Connecticut's all-time amateur golf greats, teamed up to win 11 Pro-Am Tournaments in the 30's. They were at that time known as "The G-Men."
He turned pro in 1936 to become the golf pro at the East Hartford and West Hartford Country Clubs (both nine-hole courses) went on to a storybook career that spanned over 65 years. Geoghegan was also pro at Rockledge and Wethersfield Country Clubs before moving on to the famous Crestmont Country Club in Northern New Jersey where he reached his greatest heights when he rubbed elbows and played with top sport and TV-Radio celebrities in many benefit tournaments that included the likes of Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, Glen Gray. Julius LaRosa, Fred Waring. Nick Kenney, Perry Como, Mel Allen, Bob Hope, along with such outstanding athletes as Ted Williams, Arnold Palmer. Alvin Dark, Monte Irvin, Patty Berg, Kyle Rote, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazan, Gil Hodges, Mickey Walker, Phil Rizzuto and Gil McDougal.
He was truly one of the pioneers of golf. While in Connecticut, Bud organized golf leagues in insurance, industrial ard scholastic groups and during the winter months conducted group lessons for many different organizations. He continued in the same line when he moved to New Jersey.
In New Jersey. while operating the fashionable Crestmont Club, Bud was one of the first to use television to promote golf. For three seasons he presented a weekly program from the Newark Airport golf course. Geoghegan also wrote a monthly column in the magazine "Golfer" and was a successful golf coach at Seton Hall University.
Perhaps Geoghegan was best described by Joe Moylan, top golf professional of the Bobby Jones Golf Club,' "it was a combination of his knowledge of golf, the way he presented it and a little bit of his Irish blarney," said Moylan when explaining the popularity of the sessions. 'That cunning Irish wit of his was a crowd-pleaser." Moylan added, 'he had a million friends out there."
Dave Melody, East Hartford's best home-bred golfer of all time, former golf pro at East Hartford Country Club for many years said that Bud Geoghegan was 'Mr. Golf" of Connecticut. Dave added, "Bud was a great teacher, a great motivator, and had the knack of putting programs together that promoted golf." Geoghegan wanted Melody to join him at the Crestmont Club, so he could project Dave into the professional ranks of touring golfers. Melody. with a young growing family along with a solid job, turned it down but sometimes wondered what would have happend if he had pursued this offer.
He was a member of the Professional Golfer's Association, Florida PGA, Kentucky Colonel and Professional Golf.
Bud died at his Sarasota, Fla. home, at the age of 82. Geoghegan, born in Hartford, was survived his sons Jim Geoghegan of Scotch Plains, N.J. and Phillip Geoghegan of Forest Park. Ill., two sisters, Kathleen of Sarasota and already mentioned Mrs. Bucky (Lubs) Brown. His son. Gerald. a Marine Lieutenant was killed in Vietnam.


Gerald Daly Geoghegan (1942 - 1966)
Gerald Daly Geoghegan was born on November 24th 1942 to Professional Golfer J. "Bud" Geoghegan and the former Louise Conway in Hartford CT. Bud Geoghegan accepted a teaching professional position at Crestmont Country Club in 1947 and moved his family to Verona, New Jersey. Gerald graduated from Our Lady of the Lake school in Verona and went on to Seton Hall Prep, graduating in 1960. Bud was also the Golf Coach for Seton Hall University and both Jim and Gerald attended there. Gerald joined the Marine Corps Reserve and went through Basic Training as an enlisted mad at Parris Island Recruit Depot in South Carolina. He returned to his studies at Seton Hall and joined the Marine Corps Basic Officer Program and graduated from Seton Hall University in 1964 and was sent to Officers School at Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduation and receiving his commission, he was sent to the Republic of VietNam where he was wounded in action. He recuperated in Hawaii and rejoined his outfit. He was killed instantly by a rocket propelled grenade while leading his platoon in an attack on a VC village in the province of Quang Tri on September 18th, 1966. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.


John Lance (Jack) Geoghegan (1941 - 1965)
2nd Lieutenant, US Army
On November 15, Jack and all but three of his men died in the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.
See Memorial on the Virtual Wall
(Many thanks to Howard X. Geoghegan for pointing me to this information)
Jack's widow (Barbara Geoghegan Johns) wrote to me and asked that I mention that the story of Jack's death in Vietnam is included in the book about the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE...AND YOUNG by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph Galloway. and that Jack is portrayed by Chris Klein in the movie adaptation of the book, "We Were Soldiers"? The film was released on March 1 2002 and it will be ideo and DVD from August 2002. Barbara herself is portrayed in the movie by Keri Russell, their daughter, Camille Geoghegan Olson, is portrayed as an infant! She was born on June 8, 1965, only two months before her father left for Vietnam. She was five months old when he was killed. She is 37 now and has two little daughters herself.


New information on Geoghegans / Gahagans / Gaffigans / etc. of historical interest is always welcome. Send your information here.
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