McEgan, Boetius (Baoloach Mac Aogain) (d. 1650), Franciscan, bishop of Ross, was probably born near Ballygrady, Co. Cork. His family had traditionally acted as brehons for the MacCarthys of Munster, but increasingly found employment as members of the catholic clergy. His background was strongly anti-English and, according to a hostile protestant (and therefore questionable) source, he often declared that the best way of dealing with the English was to hang them. He studied theology for three years at Bordeaux before joining the Franciscan order, and then studied for a further three years at the University of Alcalá in Spain.
On returning to Ireland he gained a reputation as a good preacher, and by December 1639 was guardian of the Franciscan friary at Buttevant, Co. Cork. During the late 1630s the actions of the catholic bishop of Cork and Cloyne, William Tirry (qv), deeply antagonised the Franciscans and Dominicans in the diocese. McEgan was involved in efforts to broker a compromise with Tirry on behalf of his order in December 1639, which appears to have had some success. He was at Kilkenny in May 1642, representing the catholic clergy at the formation of the Catholic Confederation of Ireland. He became a provincial definitor of his order (1644) and in 1645 travelled to the Franciscans’ general chapter at Toledo to act as the representative of the Irish province, where he was chosen as a general definitor of the order.
He acted as chaplain-general to the Ulster army of the Catholic Confederation in 1646 and was present at the army's destruction of the Scottish expeditionary force at Benburb, Co. Tyrone, in June 1646. Following this very significant victory, Owen Roe O'Neill (qv), general of the Ulster army, sent McEgan to meet the recently arrived papal nuncio to Ireland, GianBattista Rinuccini (qv). He arrived at Limerick to brief the nuncio on 13 June, bringing thirty-two battle ensigns and the standard of the Scottish cavalry, and then accompanied Dionysius Masari, dean of Fermo, to O'Neill's army quarters in Co. Cavan. Rinuccini was greatly impressed with McEgan, appointing him vicar-general of the Ulster army and on 11 August 1646 proposing that he be made bishop of Ross, Co. Cork. There appears to have been opposition to this promotion from within the supreme council of the confederation, which regarded O'Neill and his supporters with great suspicion. It had become an established practice that all nominees to Irish bishoprics had to obtain the assent of the supreme council, and no such assent was granted to McEgan's appointment. Nevertheless, he was made bishop of Ross on 11 March 1647 (N.S.).
At the meeting of the confederate general assembly in November 1647, Rinuccini's enemies raised objections against the presence of unconsecrated bishops, particularly McEgan, though they were eventually allowed to take their seats. At this meeting McEgan was appointed to act as an envoy on behalf of the confederation to Spain, but this mission appears ultimately to have been cancelled. Rinuccini formally consecrated him as bishop at Waterford on 25 March 1648. That May, as the divide between Rinuccini and the supreme council hardened, the nuncio turned frequently to McEgan for advice; he would have urged Rinuccini to take an unyielding line. McEgan was at the nuncio's side in Kilminchy, Queen's County, on 27 May, when Rinuccini issued his excommunication against those who adhered to the truce that the supreme council had signed with the protestant forces in Munster. This fateful decision split the catholic hierarchy and helped to precipitate a civil war within the confederation. Following the excommunication, McEgan accompanied Rinuccini to Galway city and was probably there when the nuncio left Ireland in February 1649. Meanwhile the supreme council had formed an alliance with the protestant royalists under the command of James Butler (qv), marquess of Ormond, against the English parliamentarians, who were preparing to invade Ireland. McEgan is recorded at Clonmel and Waterford in March, attempting to rally the nuncio's supporters. However, he was harassed by the royalists and appears to have spent late 1649 in hiding in the Kerry mountains.
By spring 1650 parliamentarian forces under the command of Oliver Cromwell (qv) were advancing deep into Munster. McEgan assisted Col. Maurice Roche (qv) in hastily raising an army at Killarney, Co. Kerry, and accompanied this force east. He was captured on 10 April at Macroom, Co. Cork, after the catholic army was surprised and routed by protestant troops under the command of Roger Boyle (qv), Lord Broghill. Boyle brought McEgan to the nearby castle at Carrigadrohid and told the bishop to advise the catholic garrison to surrender or face immediate execution. McEgan called on the defenders to hold out to the last and was hanged on the spot. His sacrifice was in vain, as the garrison surrendered soon afterwards. The known details of his death are based solely on a letter written by Boyle, which may have been misdated. Thus, it is possible that the engagement at Macroom occurred on 10 May and that McEgan in fact died on 11 May. According to tradition, he was buried at the church of Acchanach (or Aghina) in Co. Cork.