Important Genealogical & Legal Archive
Mahony or O’Mahony, Kerry & Wicklow: A large and extremely important collection of genealogical and legal documents and of political and personal correspondence relating to the Mahony or O’Mahony family and to estates in Cos Kerry and Wicklow.
The O’Mahonys were one of the principal Gaelic Septs of West Munster. In the 18th century they produced some distinguished soldiers in the Irish Brigade in the service of France, especially Count Daniel O’Mahony, hero of the defence of Cremona in 1702. In later times John O’Mahony was a leader of the Fenian Brotherhood and Sylvester Mahony (“Father Prout”) a well-known poet.
The branch that generated this archive used the Christian name Pierce or Peirce in five successive generations:
1. Peirce Mahony (1750-1819) was manager of the Earl of Devon’s estates in Co Limerick.
2. Peirce Mahony of Kilmorna, Co Kerry (1792-1853) established a highly successful firm of solicitors in Dublin in partnership with his brother David (“Peirce did all the talking and David did all the work”). He was Daniel O’Connell’s private solicitor, playing an important part in the campaign for Catholic Emancipation (1829) and in the defence of O’Connell and his colleagues in the State Trials of 1843-44. David Mahony bought Grange Con in Co Wicklow, which became another of the family seats.
3. Peirce Kenifeck Mahony of Kilmorna (1817-1850) married Jane Gun Cuninghame, who after his death married secondly Colonel W.H. Vicars; they were the parents of Sir Arthur Vicars, Ulster King of Arms. Peirce’s younger brother David inherited Grange Con; he developed the gardens there and was also a keen hunting man.
4. Peirce Charles de Lacy O’Mahony of Grange Con (1844-1930), nationalist politician and philanthropist, “was remarkable in having had successively three names, two wives and three faiths, and for being honoured by the kings of two opposing countries in World War I” (Wikipedia). An ardent home ruler, he courageously supported Parnell during the O’Shea divorce scandal. In 1904 he opened an orphanage in Bulgaria. In his later years he styled himself The O Mahony of Kerry and resided on his estate in Wicklow, where he lived as an Irish chieftain, attired in saffron kilt and accompanied by wolfhounds and bagpipers.
5. Peirce Gun Mahony of Kilmurry, co Kerry (1873-1914) assisted in the genealogical work of his uncle Sir Arthur Vicars and bore the title Cork Herald. He died in a shooting accident at Grange Con in 1914. His younger brother Dermot Gun O’Mahony (1881-1960) was a pioneering farmer in Patagonia and later lived at Grange Con, where he was succeeded by his elder daughter Patricia and her husband Lt Col Richard K. Page.
This Archive contains briefly,
· Printed briefs compiled in connection with the Irish State Trials of 1843-44. Alarmed by the success of O’Connell’s “monster meetings” in his campaign for the repeal of the Act of Union, the government banned his proposed meeting at Clontarf. Fearful of provoking bloodshed, O’Connell cancelled the meeting. He was arrested, charged with conspiracy, sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and fined £2,000. He was ably defended by his solicitor Peirce Mahony. Although the House of Lords quashed the conviction and criticised the unfairness of the trial, O’Connell’s perceived meekness severely damaged the effectiveness of the repeal campaign. The briefs give details of previous “monster meetings” and of the legal proceedings against O’Connell and his associates.
· Printed volume in original paper wrappers entitled The Irish State Trials 1843-44. Mahony’s copy. Lacks final page or pages.
· MS list of those qualified to serve as Jurors for 1844 in St Bridget’s Parish, Dublin, giving in each case name, address, occupation and qualification to serve. Approx 400 names, from which the jury was to be picked to serve at O’Connell’s trial.
· Letter-book of P. & D. Mahony, solicitors, 29 Merrion Square, Dublin. Concerns legal affairs. 507 pages. Most are copies of letters written by David Mahony, with some by his brother Peirce, between 12 March and 29 November 1825..
· Copies of report and correspondence between Peirce Mahony and Richard Newton Bennett, Nov 1830 to Jan 1831, including a letter from Daniel O’Connell.
· Letters patent of Charles II dated 13 June 1670 granting lands in the barony of Forth, Co Carlow, to Michael Barry, under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation. A lengthy document, giving details of several townlands. On vellum, with great seal attached (but now broken).
· Two letters patent of Queen Victoria appointing Pierce Mahony to be Clerk of the Crown in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Ireland (1849) and David Mahony to be Clerk of the Crown for co Kerry (1854). Both are fine documents on vellum, with decorated borders containing royal portraits and emblems. Each has the great seal attached, in perfect condition.
· Two fines (fictional lawsuits used to determine the conveyance of land prior to 1833) on vellum and written in Latin. They date from the 5th year of George II (1731-32) and relate to the sale of house property in Dublin (at Abbey Green in Oxmantown and in Capel Street) by John Lambert and Charles Capper and their wives to Elizabeth Williams.
· Other indentures of lease and similar legal documents, some on vellum, relating to lands in various counties, 18th-19th centuries, the earliest dated 1717.
· Facsimile of Charles Wolfe’s letter to John Taylor Esq at the Rev Mr Armstrong’s, Clonoulty, Cashel, 6 Sept 1816, with first draft of his poem on the Burial of Sir John Moore.
· Illuminated page with poem of six verses in memory of “W.H.T. Hill, 5th Lancers, killed in the Defence of Ladysmith January 6th 1900.” Signed Bessie Mackay. Endorsed: “He was your grandmother’s 2nd eldest brother.”
· File of typed documents re sale of the estate of George Raymond at Kilmurry, Co Kerry, under the Land Act of 1903. 44 pages. Damaged.
· Large genealogical file on the Mahonys of Kerry – letters, genealogies, certificates, transcripts of original documents etc. Collected by Peirce Gun Mahony, Cork Herald, 1907-08.
· History of the O’Mahonys of Grange Con compiled by Lt-Col R.K. Page, 1996.
As an Archive, w.a.f. (1)