Heber MacMahon

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Heber MacMahon
Bishop of Clogher
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Clogher
In office 1643–1650
Predecessor Eugene Matthews
Successor Patrick Duffy
Personal details
Born 1600
Died July or 17 September 1650
Previous post Bishop of Down and Connor

Heber MacMahon (Irish Éimhear Mac Mathúna) (1600 – 1650) was bishop of Clogher and general in Ulster.[1] He was educated at the Irish college, Douay, and at Louvain, and ordained a Roman Catholic priest 1625. He became bishop of Clogher in 1643 and a leader among the confederate Catholics. As a general of the Ulster army he fought Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Scarrifholis in 1650. He was defeated, taken prisoner and executed the same year.[2]


MacMahon was born in 1600 on the island of Inniskeen in what is now County Monaghan. He went to the Irish College at Douai in 1617 and later to Leuven.[3] He received his education at the Franciscan Monastery in Kiltybegs, the in Louvain. He was ordained a priest in 1625 and appointed as Vicar apostolic of the Diocese of Clogher by a papal brief on 17 November 1627.[4] Fifteen years later, he was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor on 10 March 1642.[4] He played a prominent part in the Irish Catholic Confederation in Kilkenny.

He was appointed Bishop of Clogher in June 1643.[4] He worked closely with Owen Roe O'Neill throughout the 1640s and liaised with Giovanni Battista Rinuccini after his arrival in 1645. Following the mysterious death of Owen Roe O'Neill on 6 November 1649, leadership of Ulster army of 5,000 foot soldiers and 600 cavalry was entrusted to Bishop McMahon by the Earl of Ormonde. In 1650 McMahon took Dungiven, but the Irish forces were then routed by Cromwell’s army at the battle of Scarrifholis, near Letterkenny, in June of that same year. Although he escaped, he was captured, hanged and beheaded by Sir Charles Coote in Enniskillen. He died in office in July[5] or 17 September 1650.[4]

After his death, Philip Crolly was appointed vicar apostolic to administer the diocese of Clogher in 1651, and next bishop was Patrick Duffy who was appointed in 1671.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Also known as Ever MacMahon and Emer MacMahon and also latinised as Emerus Matthaeus. (Lee p. 822)
  2. ^ Lee p. 822
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Heber MacMahon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (Third ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 418. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  5. ^ "Bishop Heber MacMahon (McMahon)". Catholic-Hierarchy. 


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Eugene Matthews (1609–1611)
Patrick Quinn (vicar apostolic, apptd. 1622)
Bishop of Clogher
(vicar apostolic, 1627–1642)
Succeeded by
Philip Crolly (vicar apostolic, apptd. 1651)
Patrick Duffy (1671–1675)