Lord Eoghan MacDuibhshithe died unexpectedly on May 12, 2022. He is survived by his wife, Dame Margaret Makafee (Gretchen Beck).
Though a long-time subject of the Debatable Lands, Lord Eoghan started his SCA career in the 1980s in the Shire of Dachkehle (one of many early incarnations of what is now known as the Shire of Ballachlagan). At various points he served as Shire Seneschal, Herald, and Marshal. He had a particular interest in fencing, and traveled throughout West Virginia and Western PA to teach fencing back when it was new to the area. Along the way, he served on the Queen’s Guard for King Rurik and Queen Elspeth. His wife recalls “Folks thought, because he was big and heavy, he would be slow. They thought that for about half a second after they heard “lay on” and realized that someone that big, moving that fast, was truly scary.”
Lord Eoghan could also occasionally be convinced by his lady to participate in theatricals. She said, “I especially loved him and Connor M’Eleam [interacting] – they were in a Masque at Pennsic, a dispute of which is the greatest, Tragedy or Comedy — the two of them were supposed to play High Comedy and Low Comedy, but it turned out more Low Comedy and Lower Comedy — but a great good time was had by all (and I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard not to break character by laughing).”
Eoghan’s choice of SCA name often gave heralds pause. Master Donnan the Solitary recalls an event when Eoghan was called into court. “The herald called for someone named “E-han Fe-own Mac Dub shide” or something like that. Of course no one responded. I looked around and [realized] Eoghan had chosen not to attend court, but… the poor herald was struggling with Gaelic attempts at transcribing the language into English. So [in] a probably not-as-respectful-as-I-should-have-been voice from the back of the hall, [I called] “um… could you spell that?”” The herald, looking rather put off, dutifully spell out Eoghan Fionn MacDuibhshithe (Owen Finn MacPhee is the way it is normally pronounced), and I went up and collected his AoA for him. The king at the time seemed rather amused, and informed me that my friend needed to get an easier-to-spell name. Eoghan never did; indeed, he often came up with interesting, yet period, ways to spell the clan name.”
Dame Margaret recalls “He used to be asked occasionally about the household banner, which showed a sword piercing a book, and would say that was our motto, “Strength through Knowledge.”
Lady Dearbhforgaill an Chomhaidh recalls, “[Eoghan] could tell a story that would leave you in stitches and make you wonder if a tenth of it was true (it was) and wonder how he was still standing. He was infuriating in a debate and irreverent but he loved deeply and was a loyal and true friend. I will miss him.”
Maistir Brandubh o Donghaile and Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann, Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands, posted this to the baronial blog: “Though Lord Eoghan had not been active these past years, he was a staple in our Barony in years past, excelling particularly in merry-making, and instrumental in bringing rapier fighting to the southern reaches of the Principality of Æthelmearc, along with his friends and household. As Dame Margaret said about him, “[Eoghan] is now one with the universe and no more in these earthly dwellings. Pray raise a glass and a fond memory for his time with you.””
Master Donnan recounts, “Eoghan was one of the first and oldest friends I made in the SCA, always quick to share a drink or a fight. He was there when I began fencing myself, and was there when I fought heavy. He was one of the people responsible for the revival of fencing in the local area that continues to this day, and most, if not all of the older local fencers will have their own Eoghan stories, on and especially off the field. He has indeed been described as larger than life, and the legend will continue to grow. I like to think that somewhere, he waits by a fire with a beer, a sword, and so many stories to tell, for all of us.”
Lord Eoghan was recognized with the Debatable Lands’ Baronial Order of the Comet for service as well as martial skill (twice). He received his Award of Arms from the East Kingdom in A.S. XXI. In A.S XXXIII, he was inducted into Ӕthelmearc’s Order of the Golden Alce by King Cygnus and Queen Dorinda, and in A.S. XXXVII, and he received a Keystone for his service as an archery marshal from King Rurik and Queen Elspeth.
Final arrangements are private to family, but there may be a memorial service later this summer.
You can read Lord Eoghan’s modern obituary here.