First, let me say that I have requested biographies from the individuals listed below each of whom has contributed to this site.  I am making some comments about them and their contributions until I hear from them and adding my own biography so site viewers may have some sense of who has done this work.


Donald M. Schlegel -

Don is an engineer by training and lives in Ohio.  But his passion appears to be history and he has studied his Irish roots to the point where he knows more about Airghialla than anyone I know.  He tells me that he wrote his first paper on his Irish roots in college and has been smitten ever since.  (He didn't mention how many years ago that may have been) He is descended from Colla Uais through the line of the Mac Donalds of Scotland.  His work is meticulous and rooted in fact or great logic and thought.  Don is the editor of the Bulletin of the Catholic Record Society - Diocese of Columbus (the diocesan historical society) since 1985 and is also a regular contributor to the Clogher Record, published by the Clogher Historical Association in Monaghan.

Don wrote the page offering an Alternative Explanation of the Three Collas.  In that page he uses linguistics to argue that the Collas appear to have been Roman centurions, soldiers, who were looking for something to do after Rome pulled out of Britain.  He explains his thinking clearly.  Of course what he is writing disagrees totally with the oral and written histories of the period, but then one must consider that those histories were often written in order to justify events rather than provide the facts.

Don also assembled the 9 page genealogy from the Collas to the branches of MacMahon.  This is a huge piece of work and a wonderful resource to have on the website.  It allows the reader to follow the genealogy, to see the individuals written about, while reading other sections of the history.

And finally, Don continues to provide invaluable counsel on where to find information and honest feedback when I write something that is incorrect.  He enables me to provide you with a website based on documented sources and as factual as can be written considering that we are trying to reassemble a storied past.


Brian Mac Donald -

Brian is a historian and lives with his lovely wife Deirdre and two children in Rockcorry, County Monaghan.  Brian has a library on Irish history that is amazing and himself is studied in the rich history of Airghialla.  Brian knows the history and the landscape.  He grew up on these lands and is one of the few people in Monaghan who seems to 'remember' the richness of the history there.  He knows the lands and where the baronies are, what took place in each locale both historically and in recent times.  He 'sees' the memory fading and works to keep it alive for himself and others.  He is a prolific writer and embarks on numerous projects so it seems he is always involved in some new venture.  At the root of many of the historical activities in Monaghan, if you dig deeply enough, you will find the hand of Brian at work.

Brian continues to provide feedback, sometimes detailing a historical event, sometimes providing a source or sometimes telling me to ask Don.  Brian formerly worked for the Clogher Historical Society and it was he, when we visited, who told us that we should develop a website on the MacMahons, that the history was being lost, that there was no dialogue among the clan.  I thought he was nuts for making such a suggestion.  Then, after I launched the site and sent him the link, he said to me 'but what of Mac Mathghamhna's bandits?', opening an entirely new door that has enabled us to contribute to the knowledge of how the MacMahon clan came to be kings in Airghialla.  Just as Brian's touch is noticed, if not visible, elsewhere in Monaghan it was his suggestion that led to the development of this website.  His goal of creating dialogue among the MacMahon clan and increasing awareness of our history is certainly being met. 


Jeffrey A McMahon -

Jeff is my brother, a professor at the University of Chicago where he teaches creative writing.  He was with my children and I in Ireland on our first visit to Monaghan and he too discerned the synchronicity that took place and the magic - the land speaking to us in a way that was too obvious to miss.  Jeff wrote the pages on the Three Baronies, the Meaning of the name Mac Mathghamhna and on the Killurin Mahons of Offaly and it was his conclusion long ago that we were going to have to embark on a DNA study if were to get by the impasse caused by a lack of information prior to 1845.  He continues to provide almost daily feedback and provides a different perspective on matters, which I consider before I write on a new topic.  His insights are often very different than my own and this enables us to provide you with website rooted in integrity, as factual as can be and yet portraying the richness of the period in question. 


John McLaughlin -

Former musician and writer, John has studied Irish history for some 15 years and maintains the McLaughlin website.  One of his approaches seems to be to challenge conventionally written Irish history and to compare different sources in order to discern what may have really happened.  John wrote the page on the Black Rents for us and has provided invaluable aid in researching the pedigree of Niall Mac Mathghamha.  He also provided the analysis of Niall's pedigree, comparing the different historical sources and showing that some were clearly in error, for whatever reason.  His work provided clarity in that it clarified for me that Niall's pedigree remains uncertain and that the historical sources cannot be counted as accurate.  We have little doubt that we've arrived at a correct lineage, but anything is possible and one thing that is certain is that the Mac Mahon pedigree was constructed after they had risen to power.  John's work is rooted in an analysis of the historical literature with an eye toward gleaning the differences so that one might discern what was really going on.  He continues to provide insights on various topics and when I'm stuck, I ask him and he answers.


James P. McMahon –

I have worked in the environmental field since 1974 when I launched one of the first recycling collection programs in the country, in Seattle.  I worked in recycling for 15 years, launching several successful business ventures and establishing the first intentional variable collection rate structure in the country.  In 1987 I took a one year sabbatical in the French West Indies.  Upon my return to the states, I moved to Denver where I began working as a freelance writer and sought a way to work with rivers, since I've long been attracted to flowing water.  In 1995 I got a chance to launch The Nature Conservancy’s Mackinaw River Project in Illinois.  Then, in January 1999, I was able to return to the West when I accepted a position with Grand Canyon Trust, working on the Virgin River in southwest Utah.  While the work was grand, both experiences were disappointing in that neither organization has the will to do what it takes to make land conservation endure. 

I've authored an essay reflecting on the development of recycling entitled ‘Closing The Loop’ in the book The Next West, published by Island Press in 1997.  While living in Denver I wrote policy papers and opinion editorials on western land use issues as a senior fellow for Independence Institute, a non-profit think tank. I've also published numerous articles, editorials, and short fiction.  I hold a BS in Ecology from the University of Illinois and coursework toward an MA in Deep Ecology from Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO.  For the past four years I've has studied the ancient energy healing methods of the Quechua Indians of Peru with the Four Winds Society located in Park City.  JPM Resume

In September 2002 I started a business that helps people deal with water quality issues in their homes.  That site is:

This website and the work involved in researching for it has provided me a way to understand my own roots, my own story, leading to a better understanding of the genetic memory that lies deeply embedded in my soul.  I have a wonderful son, Emrys, and a lovely daughter, Jacqueline, of whom I am very proud.  They are a gift.  I work from my log home overlooking a trout stream in the mountains of southern Utah. 

'Life doesn’t get any better than this….'      



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