The Monaghan Family

Monaghan family crest

(Crest No. 175. Plate 56.)

THIS family, whose name is variously spelled Monaghan, Magnigan, Manahan, Monahan, Moynahan, Mangan, Magnan, and Meenan, is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Colla da Crioch, son of Eocha Dubhlein, or Doivlen, brother of Fiacha Straivetine, first King of Connaught of the race of Heremon. The ancient name was Monaghan, signifying “Negligent.”

The possessions of the family were located in the present Counties of Monaghan and Armagh, and in the County of Roscommon, between Elphin and Jamestown. The O’Mangans were also chiefs of Breach Magh—a district in the parish of Kilmore Moy, on the eastern bank of the Moy, in the County of Sligo.

James Clarence Mangan, the poet, was a scion of this family and its most illustrious representative. He was a native of Dublin, where he died in 1849 in his forty-sixth year. For over twenty years he contributed to all the leading magazines and periodicals published in Ireland, but he never wrote a line for an English publication. As a master of rhyme he has, perhaps, no equal in the English language outside of Byron. As a translator he surpassed the originals, and his translations from the Irish, the French, the German, the Spanish, the Italian, the Danish, and the Oriental languages preserve all the graces of style and idiom and that indefinable something that is peculiar to every language. It would be difficult to say who are the most indebted to him—the dead or the living. It has been truly said of him that he was a Dervish among the Turks, a Bursch among the Germans, a Scald among the Danes, an Improvisatore in Italy, and a Senachie in Ireland. In melody, versatility of rhythm and rhyme, and grace, dignity, vigor, and feeling, many of his original poems are unsurpassed.