- Born: - Died: -
Building contractor and engineer, of Dublin, active in the first and second quarters of the nineteenth century. He may possibly have been a son of James McMahon, who was a contractor in the employment of the Grand Canal Company in 1789,(1) and could also have been the John McMahon who was admitted to the Dublin Society's School of Drawing in Architecture on 2 February 1792.(2) In about 1808 he joined BERNARD MULLINS and DAVID HENRY to tender for the restoration and extension of the County of Kildare Canal for the Grand Canal Company. The three men were awarded the contract for the work, and thus the partnership of HENRY, MULLINS & amp; MCMAHON , the principal building contractors in Ireland in the first three decades of the nineteenth century, came into existence.(3) McMahon withdrew from the partnership in January 1827 and at about the same time resigned from the Board of the Royal Canal Company, of which he had become a member. It was alleged that this was a strategic move, in order to allow his former partners, Mullins and Henry, who remained on the board, to award him the contract for the construction of the Killashee-Longford branch of the canal in July of the same year.(4)
In 1843 McMahon was appointed Engineer to the Drainage Department of the Board of Works; in this capacity he was responsible for the drainages of Lough Neagh, Lough Corrib and the upper Brosna River.(5) The following year he was involved in preparing a prliminary feasibility study for the construction of the Ballinamore Canal.(6) He probably died in 1852, the last year in which he is named as a member of the council of the Institute of Civil Engineers of Ireland. He is no longer listed in The Post Office Directory for 1853, where his house at 13 Mountjoy Square is described as vacant. He was married. His eldest daughter, Alicia, died at the age of nine on 30 April 1815 and was buried in the graveyard at Kilbixy, Co. Westmeath.(7) Another daughter is said to have married JOHN KILLALY ,(8) while his youngest daughter, Kate, married CHARLES SAXTON OTTLEY. T he John McMahon who was admitted to the Dublin Society's School of Drawing in Architecture on 28 June 1821(9) could perhaps have been a son.
ICEI:(10) council member, 1845-1852; delivers paper, 'Construction of centres for bridges', 1845;(11) vice-president, 1846; delivers papers, 'The method of forming chambers in calcareous rock for the more efficient means of blasting', 9 March 1847, and 'an account of the caisson dams designed by Mr Bevan…to be used in the drainage works', 8 Jun 1847.(12)
McMahon's pupils and assistants included HENRY G. BYRNE.
Address: 13 Mountjoy Square East, <=1847->=1849.
See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY.
(1) Peter Clarke, The Royal Canal: The Complete Story (1992), 26.
(2) MS. transcript from Royal Dublin Society minutes of School of Drawing in Architecture admissions and prizewinners (in IAA).
(3) Ruth Delany, A Celebration of 250 years of Ireland's inland waterways (1986), 83-84.
(4) Clarke, op. cit., 72.
(5) TICEI 6 (1859-1861), 66; see also R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 164-5,213,222.
(6) Patrick Flanagan, The Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal (Newton Abbot: 1972), 37-39,
(7) Clarke, op. cit., 69.
(8) Delany, op. cit., 107; if so, she must have been very much younger than her husband.
(9) MS. transcript from Royal Dublin Society minutes of School of Drawing in Architecture admissions and prizewinners (in IAA).
(10) Information from Jones transcripts from Thom's and Pettigrew & Oulton's directories unless otherwise staated.
(11) TICEI 1 (1844-45), 68.
(12) TICEI 2 (1846-47), 126,104-109.
2 work entries listed in chronological order for MCMAHON, JOHN
|Building:||CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, EGLINTON CANAL|
|Nature:||Canal linking Lough Corrib with port of Galway. S.U. Roberts in charge of works.|
|Refs:||Ruth Delany, A Celebration of 250 years of Ireland's Inland Waterways (paperback edition, 1988), 171; R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 222-3(illus.)|
|Building:||CO. TIPPERARY, CAHIR, ERASMUS SMITH SCHOOL|
|Nature:||Estimate for same signed by a 'John McMahon'.|
|Refs:||Signed, undated estimate in Erasmus Smith drawings collection, High School, Danum, Rathgar, Dublin|
|Mcmahon, John||'Construction of centres for bridges'||1845||TICEI 1 (1844-45), 68.|
|Mcmahon, John||'An account of the caisson dams designed by Mr Bevan, member, to be used in the drainage works'||1847||TICEI 2 (1846-47), 126.|
|Mcmahon, John||'The method of forming chambers in calcareous rock for the more efficient means of blasting'||1847||TICEI 2 (1846-47), 104-9.|