The MacManus Family

MacManus family crest

(Crest No. 156. Plate 57.)

THE MacManus family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The ancient name was Magnus, signifying “Great.” The founder of the family was Colla da Crioch, son of Eocha Dubhlein, brother of Fiacha Straivetine, first King of Connaught of the race of Heremon.

The original possessions of the sept were in the present Counties of Tipperary and Westmeath. Branches of this family were spread into other counties; in the County of Fermanagh they were a numerous clan, chiefly in the neighborhood of Tirkennedy, where they had control of the shipping on Lough Erne, and held the office of hereditary chief managers of the fisheries under the Maguires.

In ancient Brefney, comprising the present Counties of Cavan and Leitrim, the MacManuses also possessed estates, and others of the name held lands with the McKeons and the O’Roynans in the County of Roscommon.

During the encroachments of the Anglo-Normans, the MacManuses fought bravely against the invaders until resistance was vain, and they were finally dispossessed of their estates. In modern days the best known of this name is Terrence Bellew McManus. He was a young man engaged in mercantile business in the City of Liverpool, England. He participated in the ill-fated insurrection under Smith O’Brien in 1848, was arrested, condemned to death, and was afterward transported for life to Tasmania, whence he soon afterward escaped to California. He died in San Francisco in 1861, and his body was conveyed to Ireland, where his funeral was made the occasion of a great popular demonstration.