News Section 2018

Failte to the news centre for the Clans of Ireland. Below you will find the latest news about what is happening in the Clans world here in Ireland & abroad. We hope you find something of interest.

October 2018 - A.G.M. dates announced

The Clans of Ireland Annual General Meeting will take place on Sathurday the 13th April 2019 at The Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, 9 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

There will be activities on Friday the 12th which along with guest speakers whos details will be announced soon.


Aug 2018 - Developments in O'Neill DNA Genealogy

O'Neil DNA

Dwayne O'Neill, Fred Mulholland, Sean O'Neill and Ed O'Neill

The O'Neill's were the last great defenders of the Gaelic tradition in Ireland and is one of the oldest surnames in Europe dating from 950's AD. However, the clan predates this by many hundreds if not thousands of years. Since the Flight of the Earls in 1607, O'Neill's have been disbursed within Ireland and all over the world on many occasions.

The O'Neill DNA project has taken the known genealogy of this ancient and royal family and is successfully matching DNA to the various branches and septs of the family including the Tyrone, Clanaboy and Fews O'Neill's.

The presentation will tie in the latest Y STR and SNP DNA test results from the FT DNA O'Neill Surname Project to the main O'Neill lines and septs.

July 2018 - Áras an Uachtaráin concert

Clan attendees Aras 2018

Our Patron, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins invited two Board members from Clans of Ireland to a concert, held at Áras an Uachtaráin, on the 1st July 2018. Dr Joseph Mannion (Cathaoirleach) and Sorcha Ní Dhomhnaill attended as our representatives. President and Sabina Higgins had invited representatives from a large number of organisations of which the President is a Patron to Áras an Uachtaráin for this special event, paying tribute to the valuable work done by civil society organisations in Ireland. You can read more about the event on the official presidential website

It was a glorious summer’s evening upon arrival at the Áras at 6.00 pm. It began with an extensive tour of both house and gardens. Everyone was exclusively welcomed by the President and his wife Sabina, who were happy to leisurely engage in conversation as well as pose for photographs, with all their guests. An array of appetising canapés and customary refreshments were served, while a proficient Jazz band evoked an eclectic atmosphere with their acoustics.

At 8.00 pm, all guests were inside the Marquee for the highlight of the evening, hosted by Eileen Dunne, from RTÉ, as guest compere. President Michael D. Higgins made his open address, followed by an evocative musical performance, from RTÉ’s National Symphony Orchestra. David Brophy was the conductor, and everyone enjoyed the accompaniment of young players from the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.

Two contemporary Irish poets, namely Theo Dorgan and Paula Meehan, delivered live readings of their latest works. A group of young musicians, Navá, who explore the relationship between the ancient musical cultures of Ireland and Persia, entertained the audience with a sample of their folk/ bluegrass music.

Other young Irish artists who performed on the night were the violinist, Michelle McCarthy, the soprano, Rachel Croash and pianist, Finghin Collins. The crescendo of the evening was the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s exemplary rendition of ‘Mise Éire’, by popular Irish composerSeán Ó Riada.

After the entertainment, guests returned to The Garden Party, enjoying more canapés and refreshments, while the President and his wife Sabina mingled with guests until 10.00 pm. It was an outstanding evening, which showcased the very best of Irish culture, highlighting the youth of Ireland, a cause the President and his wife have always promoted.

You can see some more pictures of the event HERE

May 2018 - Historical Sites Plaque Unveiled

Dan McGrath, Clans of Ireland Historical Sites Committee Chairman and Joan Koechig, Chieftain of the O'Dea Clan

The inaugural Clans of Ireland Historical Site Plaque was unveiled at Dysert O'Dea Castle, Co. Clare, by Dan McGrath, Clans of Ireland Historical Sites Committee Chairman and Joan Koechig, Chieftain of the O'Dea Clan. The event coincided with the 10th International O'Dea Clan Gathering in nearby Ennis and the commemoration of 700th anniversary of the Battle of Dysert O'Dea. 

This is the first of a number of locations around the country which have been deemed Historical Sites. Plaques will be unveiled at a number of other sites over the next twelve months. This will be followed by the launch of a Historical Sites Trail. There was a large crowd present for the unveiling of the inaugural plaque, including several members of the O'Dea Clan from around the world, who had gathered in their ancestral county of Clare for the O'Dea Clan festival of heritage, genealogy and culture. 

Speaking at the unveiling of the plaque, Dan McGrath acknowledged the great work being carried out by Irish Clans, outlining the value of gatherings such as the O'Dea Clan Gathering in linking Ireland with its diaspora. He highlighted the tremendous efforts of the various clan committees around the country who host gatherings, the vast majority of the work being done on a voluntary basis.

Before he ended, Mr McGrath said that he was 'delighted to unveil the plaque at Dysert O'Dea Castle on behalf of Clans of Ireland on such a special occasion, commemorating a key event in Irish history'.


April 2018 - Launch of Gaelic Ireland anthology

Launch of Gaelic Ireland anthlogy

Pictured at the launch of Politics, kinship and culture in Gaelic Ireland, c.1100–c.1690 were (L-R) Conor, The O'Brien, Minister Ciarán Cannon TD, An tUasal Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh and Dr Joseph Mannion.

A wide-ranging and informative anthology of essays dealing with the history and culture of Gaelic Ireland was officially launched by Ciarán Cannon TD, Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, during the Clans of Ireland 2018 Annual Conference in The Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, Dublin on Saturday 14 April. Entitled Politics, kinship and culture in Gaelic Ireland, c.1100–c.1690, this much-anticipated publication was co-edited by Dr Joseph Mannion and Dr Katharine Simms.

The book comprises sixteen papers emanating from an annual essay competition on Gaelic Ireland, jointly sponsored by The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland, in conjunction with the History Department of Trinity College Dublin and History Ireland magazine. The works represent the winning entries and superior quality essays from 2013 to 2016, and cover the period from the twelfth to the seventeenth centuries. The study themes vary from political and social history to kinship and culture, relating to a selection of Gaelic Irish, Anglo-Norman and Scottish population groups who shared the island.

This is the second volume in the series, the first being Gaelic Ireland (c.600-c.1700): politics, culture and landscapes, which was edited by Katharine Simms and published in 2013. It was the product of a competition initiated by The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains, with the object of encouraging research into Gaelic Ireland among postgraduate historians and independent researchers. In 2013, Clans of Ireland became involved in the project, and has since then actively promoted and jointly sponsored the annual essay competition, leading to the publication of this second anthology. For a list of contents and a facility to purchase the book, see

March 2018 - Order of Merit list for 2018 announced

The following individuals are appointed as Companions of the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit as of 17th March 2018:

  • Mr Fergus Kavanagh CIOM - sponsored by the Caomhánach Laighean Clan
  • Mr Eamon Madden CIOM - sponsored by the Fagan – Ó Faodhagáin clan
  • Mr Thomas Weadock CIOM - sponsored by the Weadick MacMurrough – Mac Mhadóc mac Murchadha Clan

on the day that's in it may we wish the above congratulations and to one & all Beannachtaí ar Lá Féile Naomh Padraig libh.

February 2018 - Chiefs and Clans Essay Competition 2018

The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland, in association with the History Department of Trinity College, Dublin and History Ireland magazine, are offering a prize of €500 to the winning entrant in an essay competition on Gaelic Ireland. For further details, see

December 2017 - Chairman's Christmas message

A Cháirde,

Christmas is here and I sincerely hope that it will be, above all else, peaceful for you. It is a time when families and friends come together. It is, of course, a Christian festival, celebrating a family’s togetherness and the birth of their baby.

Early Christians ingeniously used the very ancient and globally widespread celebration of renewal and rebirth, the Winter Solstice as a basis for Christmas. The Christian church aligned the ancient pre-Christian notions of hope for more light and renewal of plant growth with its own preaching of joy and hope as a result of the Saviour’s birth.

The Celts and ancient Irish peoples celebrated the Solstice with feasting and large bonfires. Cattle were slaughtered at this time of the year to conserve food during the harsh months of January and February, for those animals that were to remain alive.

There are myths relating to confrontation between the Holly and Oak trees that are ascribed to the Winter Solstice. These two trees continue to be associated with the Christian Christmas festival with holly and mistletoe used as decoration.

Newgrange in County Meath is the most notable monument associated with the Winter Solstice. The sunrise at 8.58 a.m. on December 21st has been illuminating the passage of the tomb at this site, at the same time, for approximately five thousand years and therefore, predates not only Christianity but also the arrival of the Celts to Ireland. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are many who wish to gain access for the solstice, but due to its popularity those chosen succeed by lottery (approximately 32,000 people apply for 60 places).

Newgrange is arguably the most famous Winter Solstice site in Ireland, but there are many others where one can gain entry without a lottery procedure. Some of these sites are open to the public and some are on private property and access may only be by the kind permission of the landowner.

Clans of Ireland embodies the unifying movement of families and clans, the gathering together of relatives, near and distant, the celebration of shared past, understanding of historical experience and a recognition that the contemporary common good is best served through unity of purpose.

The past year has been busy for Clans of Ireland with, in addition to our own events including the Annual Conference, a number of external events that Members of Clans of Ireland were involved in.

In March, Members of clans linked to the Uí Mhaine tribe attended a conference hosted by the Royal Irish Academy on the Book of Uí Mhaine.

March also saw the appointment of two most deserving people as Companions of the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit; Bernard Joseph McKenna CIOM and Pádraig Nolan CIOM 

The Annual Conference was held at the Saint Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club in Dublin in April. On the Friday afternoon, we had again been invited to visit the Royal Irish Academy and the Office of the Chief Herald, where we viewed manuscript material associated with the attendees. On Saturday, following the Annual General Meeting, Dr. Brian McCabe provided the attendees with a most

entertaining lecture into his own McCabe Clan; ‘A Gallowglass Clan’, while in the afternoon, Dr John Cunningham lectured most insightfully on ‘The Clans of Ireland in 1641 and After’. Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe of University College Dublin introduced attendees to the Global Irish Diaspora Congress that was scheduled to take place in August.

Maura O'Gara O'Riordan with Máire Ní Chearbhaill, Michael Egan  and Joe Mannion presented insights into the experience of their own clans’ diaspora at this first international Global Irish Diaspora Congress, which took place in August at University College Dublin.

The Saint Stephen’s Green venue has become so popular that the 2018 Conference is again scheduled to be held there on the weekend of the 14th of April, with a similar Friday afternoon and all-day on Saturday format.

The winner of the 2017 Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize on Gaelic Ireland was Tuam librarian, Ruairí Ó hAodha. He will receive his prize early in the New Year for his essay entitled ‘“A very sufficient scholar”: Isaac Lally – Ireland’s Stuart schoolmaster’. His essay has been published in the most recent edition of ‘History Ireland’. The annual prize is jointly sponsored by The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland in association with the History Department, Trinity College Dublin, represented by Dr. Katharine Simms.

Our thoughts at Christmas turn to those who we have lost from our community during the past year. There were a number of high profile clan members such as Walter The O Kelly de Gallagh et Tycooly, Chief of the Name, Brian Ó Ceallaigh CIOM and Peggy Carty O’Brien, but there were also many others, whose passing we mourn. Our sympathy goes out to their families and friends.

With Best Wishes for Christmas & the New Year

Le gach dea-ghui i gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-Athbhliana

Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh


September 2017 - Global Irish Diaspora Congress report

Members of Clans of Ireland participated in the Global Irish Diaspora Congress held on the 15th to 19th August  at University College Dublin, which had been organised by the UCD Global Irish Diaspora Committee, including Prof. Tadhg O'Keeffe  Professor of Archaeology at University College Dublin. Professor O'Keeffe, who had addressed the Clans of Ireland Conference in 2017.

The conference examined the histories, culture, heritages and identities of Irish people living beyond the shores of Ireland. This was clearly a very important event, so that for Clans of Ireland to have representatives in attendance  was exceedingly worthwhile.

Maura O'Gara O'Riordan and Máire Ní Chearbhaill represented the O'Gara Clan, Michael Egan represented the Egan Clan and Joe Mannion represented the Mannion Clan and all represented Clans of Ireland.

The Congress had an attendance of approximately two-hundred-fifty delegates including, academics, independent scholars, artists, practitioners in the field of the Diaspora. The Ambassador of Australia, the Ambassador of Argentina and representatives from the Brazilian Embassy.

There was productive networking amongst organisations and leaders from throughout the World and it was generally agreed that Irish studies are enjoying a period of prosperity globally, due to the centenary of 1916.

Prof O'Keeffe, who had originally initiated the idea of  the Congress, described how he had come to develop his curiosity about what it is to be Irish, leading from his professional interest in the global study of archaeology.

There was much discussion on the definition of the term 'Diaspora' , with a variety of viewpoints coming to light. It was agreed that Irishness can not be viewed as a singular identity and that it should be appreciated that it is more eclectic than we may have hitherto understood. It is calculated that there 75,000,000 throughout the world who claim to be Irish and that these members of the global Irish Diaspora  consider themselves increasingly multi-ethnic.

Prof Liam Kennedy of the Clinton Institute for American Studies at UCD described the results of a survey which he had been involved with in Chicago and that it is noteworthy that the term 'Irish Diaspora' is seen as a positive term that is now replacing the negative term of  'emigran't. He commented that Irish ethnicity is increasingly a matter of pride rather than need, as there are fewer Irish migrants in evidence in Irish American communities.

It was decided at the Roundtable that the next Global Irish Diaspora Congress will take place in 2019. It is our hope that Clans of Ireland will again be represented at this next event.


August 2017 - Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize on Gaelic Ireland 2017

The winner of the 2017 Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize on Gaelic Ireland was announced recently by Dr Katherine Simms of Trinity College Dublin, who is Chair of the adjudication panel. The winner, Tuam librarian Ruairí Ó hAodha, will receive his prize later in the year for his essay entitled ‘“A very sufficient scholar”: Isaac Lally – Ireland’s Stuart schoolmaster’.

The annual prize is jointly sponsored by The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland in association with the History Department, Trinity College Dublin.

July 2017 - Global Irish Diaspora Congress 15-19 August 2017

Global Irish Diaspora Congress

University College Dublin

15-19 August 2017

As you are aware from earlier communications and from Professor Tadhg O’Keefe’s presentation at Clans of Ireland AGM and Conference earlier this year, University College Dublin is hosting an International Global Irish Diaspora Congress from 15 to 19 August 2017, which is open to the general public to attend.

A special discount has been negotiated for affiliates of Clans of Ireland, and by using the code GICOI when registering, the attendance fee will be reduced from €200 to €100. The fee entitles a person to attend on each of the four days of the Congress, where one can select from lectures on a wide variety of diaspora related topics.

The finalised programme is available via this link, and will open in a new window where you can then download it as a PDF. Once you've done this you can zoom in and out and it will retain full clarity without pixelating. You may also wish to search (press Ctrl + F to bring up the search bar) for any word contained in the document.

Of special interest to members of Clans of Ireland will be the following three papers being presented on Wednesday 16 August between 09.00 and 11.00 in Room HI.51 during the


Máire Ní Chearbhaill – ‘The O'Gara brothers in 18th-century Europe’

Michael Egan – ‘Ireland to Germany: case study of Egan Clan Diaspora’

Joe Mannion – ‘From Ireland to Argentina: a case study from the Mannion Clan Diaspora’

Clans of Ireland and the aforementioned speakers look forward to your support for this ground-breaking International Congress on our Global Irish Diaspora. Bígí linn!

March 2017 - Order of Merit list for 2017 announced

The following individuals are appointed as Companions of the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit as of 17th March 2017:

Mr Bernard Joseph McKenna CIOM

Mr Pádraig Nolan CIOM

March 2017 - Global Irish Diaspora Congress UCD - call for papers

Global Irish Diaspora Congress

University College Dublin

15-19 August 2017



University College Dublin is hosting an International Global Irish Diaspora Congress from 15 to 19 August 2017, which the Board of Clans of Ireland has been requested to bring to the attention of its member clans. The organisers of the congress have invited Clans of Ireland to participate in this important event, providing an ideal opportunity for Clan historians to share the experiences of their emigrant kinsfolk in times past, and showcase the difficulties encountered in their bid to become an integral part of new settler societies in faraway lands.

Proposals are invited for research papers and/or sessions and/or posters relating to any aspect of Irish diaspora research, with a prerequisite being that the emigrants under investigation must have settled in a foreign country and raised their families there.

For further information, and to submit a proposal, click on the following link:

Please note that you will have an opportunity to fine-tune your title and abstract before it is published on the congress website, so a provisional title and abstract can be submitted, provided they remain close to the final version.

 Professor Tadhg O’Keefe of UCD will attend the 2017 Clans of Ireland Conference and AGM in The Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club on Saturday 8 April, when he will deliver a talk entitled ‘Family histories and the study of the global Irish diaspora: a start of a new conversation’, aimed at encouraging attendance by Clan delegates at the congress in August.

February 2017 - Peggy Carty O'Brien

Former board members at 2014 AGM

Clans of Ireland note with regret the passing of Peggy Carty O'Brien, who died in the Galway Clinic on 5th February 2017. 

Solas na bhFlaitheas dá hanam uasal

Peggy served as a member of the board of Clans of Ireland from AGM 2004 to AGM 2006.  She was Chieftain of the Carty Clan.

Peggy is pictured 2nd on the front left in the group picture of former (Retired) board members who attended AGM 2014.

February 2017 - Conference on the Book of Uí Mhaine

Clans of Ireland would like to notify its members about an upcoming conference on the Book of Uí Mhaine, to be held  in the Royal Irish Academy on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 March next. Compiled in the late fourteenth-century for Muircheartach Ó Ceallaigh, bishop of Clonfert, a member of the powerful O'Kelly rulers of Uí Mhaine, it contains material of a biblical and hagiographical nature, as well tales, genealogies, verse, a late Book of Rights, a Dindshenchas(place-name lore) etc. The conference will appeal to a broad audience and should be of interest to many members of Clans of Ireland.

The programme for the conference is attached for your convenience.


January 2017 - Passing of The O'Kelly de Gallagh et Tycooly

Walter Lionel ('Bob') O'Kelly The O'Kelly de Gallagh et Tycooly

Bob had been the quietly attentive and polite hereditary O'Kelly de Gallagh et Tycooly for seventy years when he died on January 16th. His gentle philosophies were a cornerstone of his leadership.

Bob's gentility masked an indomitable spirit, which, together with his absolute belief in the Roman Catholic faith, coupled with great health, ensured a very full life since his birth in County Westmeath in 1921. In the here-and-after into which Bob has now entered he has again met June, his beloved wife of over fifty years and mother of their four children; Barbara, Eithne, Michele and his Tánaiste, Robert. Above all else, Bob was devoted to his family.

In addition to his recognition as a Member of the Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains, he also held the courtesy title of Count of the Holy Roman Empire, the eight descendent of Festus O'Kelly who was honoured by Empress Maria Theresa in 1767, as father of the childless General Dillon John O'Kelly, by conferring on him and his family in perpetuity, the title of Count de Gallagh et Tycooly.

June let me into the story of how Walter became 'Bob' after his favourite pony when a child. He was known throughout his life as 'Bob' among family and friends, but among the wider O'Kelly of Hy-Many Clan he was affectionately and informally known as Count Walter.

Bob was a man of moral and theological absolutes. He would have considered it an assault if he were questioned about his beliefs. June once told me how he always wanted to impress on his children the importance of not always accepting without question the authority of others or their opinions. Injustice and the abuse of power hugely angered him.

Having studied civil engineering at Trinity College Dublin, he served as an officer with the Royal Engineers during the later part of World War II in India and Malaya. He then joined the newly established Bórd na Móna, where he spent most of his working life, until his retirement after thirty-seven years in 1986.

However, for all his philosophies and accomplishments as a father, engineer and business executive The O'Kelly will be remembered as being one of the longest serving clan chieftains in Ireland's long history who always upheld the nobility of this historical family that he was born to lead. The O'Kelly family of Gallagh and Tycooly traces its ancestry directly, as a senior branch of the O'Kellys of Ui Maine, to Maine Mór. The family built three castles, including Gallagh (Castleblakeney) and is closely associated with the Battle of Knockdoe in 1504. Later, in the seventeenth century, Col. William O'Kelly of Gallagh, fought against Cromwell, which resulted in the loss his castle and estate. The family subsequently moved into Tycooly House, near Athenry.

The O'Kellys and the O'Kellys of Maine will miss Bob greatly, but most poignantly Ireland will now have lost the head of one of its most ancient Gaelic families.

December 2016 - Chairman's Christmas Message

A Cháirde,

It has been another wonderful year for Clans of Ireland.

We had two major events in 2016, the Annual Conference and the Commemoration of the Battle of Athenry in 1316. The Annual Conference held in April was the best attended annual conference to date. It was held at the Saint Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club in Dublin. The 2017 Conference is also scheduled to be held there on the weekend of the 8th of April. At this year’s conference three most deserving people were awarded the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit:

Ms Margot Coogan CIOM former Chieftain of the Ó Leathlobhair ( Lawlor Clan) of County Laois who is considered by her clan members to be central to the ongoing success of this vibrant organisation. Margot is a regular and popular attendee at Clans of Ireland conferences.

Mr Eamon De Búrca CIOM who is instrumental to the foundation of one of our newest member clans, the De Búrca (Burke Clan). Eamon is also renowned as a collector of manuscripts and antiquarian Irish books, some of which he, in collaboration with Gaelic scholars, publishes as modern editions, giving access to many significant works, to so many of us, who would otherwise be denied such access.

Professor Gregory Egan CIOM of the Mac Aodhagáin Uí Maine (Egan of Hy Many)  was awarded the highest accolade of Clans of Ireland, in his absence, for his tireless work over many years in organising a branch of the Egan Clan in Australia.


The second event,  ‘The Gathering of the Clans', took place on the 1st of October in Athenry, County Galway. We were honoured to have Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle lecture the capacity assembly on ‘The Gaelic Nobility who fell in the Battle of Athenry 1316’.   Central to the event was the commemoration of the seven-hundreth anniversary of one of the most decisive battles in Irish history; fought between the Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Normans. Kieran O Conor addressed the gathering on the pivotal role which his ancestor Feidhlim O Conor played as leader of the Gaelic Irish. Other speakers included Shane O Dea, Michael Egan and Dan McGrath.

The Gathering on October 1st at Athenry also included an Extraordinary General Meeting in order to introduce constitutional changes to the Memo and Articles of Association in accordance, with the Companies Act 2014, all of which were unanimously ratified.

The presentation of the Irish Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize, took place on the 19th of  October at the historic Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Simon Egan of Castlegregory, County Kerry, a post-graduate student and tutor at UCC was awarded the prize by David The Ó Morchoe, representing The Irish Council of Chiefs and Chieftains and Dr. Michael Egan, Chieftain of the Egan Clan, representing Clans of Ireland. His essay, ‘An Irish Context to a Scottish Disaster, James IV, the O’Donnells of Tyrconnell and the road to Flodden’, was published in the most recent edition of History Ireland. The object of this annual competition is to  promote research and awareness of Gaelic Ireland. It is open to all, with the exception of history lecturers at third level institutions. The Chair of the adjudication panel is Dr. Katharine Simms of T.C.D.

Our thoughts at Christmas turn to those who we have lost from our community during the past year. There were a number of high profile clan members such as The O Donovan and Professor Reverend Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, but there were also many others, whose passing we mourn. Our sympathy goes out to their families and friends.

With Best Wishes for Christmas & the New Year
Beste Wünsche für ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und ein friedliches Neues Jahr
Avec tous mes meilleurs voeux pour Joyeux Noel et bon début d'Année 2017

Le gach dea-ghui i gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-Athbhliana

Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh


October 2016 - Irish Chiefs and Clans Prize in History 2016

Prize in History' 2016: Presentation

Prize in History' 2016: Presentation

The annual Irish Chiefs and Clans 'Prize in History' 2016 was presented at a function in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. The recipient, Simon Egan of Castlegreggory, Co Kerry, is a former student in University College Cork. His essay titled ‘James IV, the O’Donnells of Tyrconnell and the road to Flodden’ was adjudged the winning entry by Dr Katharine Simms, History Department, Trinity College Dublin.

The attendance at the prize presentation included Gearoid O'Ceallaigh, Chairman Clans of Ireland, David The O'Morchoe, representing the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains, Dr Katharine Simms, History Department, Trinity College Dublin and competition adjudicator, Dr Michael Egan, Chief of the Egan Clan, as well as members of the Board of Clans of Ireland.

Entries for this prestigious competition came from various parts of Ireland and the adjudicators was tasked with a difficult decision. The Essay  had to be on a topic dealing with any aspect of the political, social or cultural history of Gaelic Ireland (within the date-range AD 400 to 1690), such as Irish kingship, lordship, land-holding, genealogy, family history etc. The competition is organized by the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland, in association with the History Department of Trinity College, Dublin.  It was first established by the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains in 2003 and Clans of Ireland got involved in 2013 as joint sponsors.

Speaking at the event, Gearoid O'Ceallaigh welcomed those present for the occasion. He warmly congratulated the winner and praised the quality of his entry, stating that it was "outstanding amongst it's peers".

OThe prize winner, Simon Egan is a past pupil of Castlegregory National Primary School and Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai in Tralee, Co. Kerry. He continued his education in UCC where he did a BA in History and Modern Irish, acquiring a First Class Honours Degree in both subjects. In 2011 I began his doctoral studies in Cork under the supervision of Dr David Edwards. His doctoral thesis explores the resurgence of Gaelic power in Ireland and Scotland during the later Middle Ages, c.1350-1513, charting how developments within the Gaelic world could influence the course of 'British' politics.



Caption for photo:

No Repro Fee Image: Irish Chiefs and Clans 'Prize in History' 2016: Presentation of the 'Prize in History' jointly sponsored by the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland, in association with the History Department of Trinity College, Dublin, to Simon Egan, Castlegreggory, Co Kerry. L-R, Gearoid O'Ceallaigh, Chairman Clans of Ireland, David The O'Morchoe, representing the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains, Dr Katharine Simms, History Department, Trinity College Dublin and competition adjudicator, Simon Egan, competition winner and  Dr Michael Egan, Chief of the Egan Clan and member of the Board of Clans of Ireland. Pic:Dan McGrath.

September 2016 - Irish Clans to visit Athenry

Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, who will deliver a lecture on the battle of Athenry at the Gathering of the Clans event in Athenry Community Centre on October 1st.

Representatives of numerous Irish clans will visit Athenry on October 1st for a special event organised by Clans of Ireland. Entitled ‘Gathering of the Clans, Athenry 2016’, the day has been arranged to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the 1316 battle of Athenry. The event will take place in the Athenry Community Centre in Clarke Street.

One of the highlights of the day will be a talk by renowned lecturer and author Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, appropriately titled ‘The Gaelic nobility in the battle of Athenry, 1316 – those who fought, and those who fell’. This free lecture will be delivered at 2.30 pm and is open to all to attend.

A native of Mayo, Nollaig is a former Senior Lecturer in Irish at NUI Galway, having previously been Reader in Irish and Celtic Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast.  Prior to that, he spent over twenty years as a Placenames Officer with the Ordnance Survey in Dublin. His most notable publication is an edition in five volumes of Dubhaltach Mac Fhir Bhisigh’s Great Book of Irish Genealogies (2003-4).  In 2009 he was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Until recently, Nollaig served as an Executive Committee Member of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and Assistant Editor of the Society’s Journal.

Earlier in the day, a workshop on ‘The Organising of a Clan Event’ will be held at 12.30. Clan representatives will share their experience of what works for them and what they could do differently. This will be followed by a ‘Question & Answer’ session.


The Board of Clans of Ireland extends a warm invitation to all interested parties to attend this important commemorative event.

August 2016 - Sad passing of Pádraig Ó Fiannachta CIOM


Padraig O Fiannachta CIOM

Clans of Ireland is sad to annouce the passing of a great friend and holder of an Order of Merit for his contribution to Irish culture and heritage. 

Priest, Professor, Poet and Pastor Emeritus Pádraig Ó Fiannachta died on Friday the 15th of July. Born in Ballymore in County Kerry, Ó Fiannachta was ordained at Maynooth in 1953. He was appointed Professor of early Irish at Maynooth in 1960, followed by Modern Irish in 1982. He taught at the College and subsequently the University until his retirement in 1992, when he returned to Kerry to serve as parish priest in An Daingean

Ar dheis dé go raibh a h-anam uasal

July 2016 - Gathering of the Clans, Athenry 2016

The acclaimed Irish scholar Nollaig Ó Muraíle is to speak at the next Clans of Ireland event,  'Gathering of the Clans, Athenry 2016', scheduled to take place on the 1st of October in Athenry, County Galway to commemorate the septicentennial anniversary of the noteworthy battle fought there between the Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Norman forces in 1316. Dr Ó Muraíle's lecture 'The Gaelic nobility who fell in the battle of Athenry, 1316' will be of considerable interest as it is reckoned that twenty nine individual members of seventeen separate Gaelic families died in the battle.

Dr Ó Muraíle is well known to many in Clans of Ireland and throughout the community of those interested in Gaelic culture. His work, The Great Book of Genealogies, published in 2004, followed his transcription of Leabhar na nGenealach. Some of his other works include The Celebrated Antiquity, Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh (c. 1600 – 1671) His Life, Lineage and Learning; Irish Leaders and Learning Through the Ages, Paul Walsh, Essays Collected Edited and Introduced by N. Ó M; Túras na dTaoiseach nUltach as Éirinn from Ráth Maoláin to Rome, Tadhg Ó Cianáins contemporary narrative of the "Flight of the Wild Geese" (Editor) and Micheál Ó Cléirigh, His Associates and St Anthony's College Louvain (Editor). In addition his latest publication, a new edition of The Annals of Clonmacnoise is due to be released by De Búrca Rare Books later this year. Dr O'Muraíle's edition has been modernised to make it more 'user friendly'.

The lecture will follow an Extraordinary General Meeting of Clans of Ireland, in addition to a workshop on Organising a Clan Event.

Following the lecture, the presentation of the Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize 2016 will be made to Simon Egan a postgraduate of UCC. His winning essay;  An Irish context to a Scottish disaster: James IV, the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell and the Road to Floddeni s due to be published in the Nov/Dec edition of History/Ireland.

The lecture and event on October 1st will be open to Members and non-members, following the Extraordinary General Meeting. Further detailed information may be had from Dan McGrath at

June 2016 - The O’Brien Summer School (TOBSS)

O'Brien Crest


‘The Era of King Brian Boru’

2-3 July 2016

At St. Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe, Co. Clare


The O’Brien Summer School (TOBSS) is a new philanthropic, non-profit initiative that aims to make Irish history more widely accessible to all. Founded by Lord James O’Brien and Lady Cheryl O’Brien, its voluntary management team also includes The O’Brien (Lord Inchiquin) and representatives from Trinity College, Dublin (speaker programme co-ordination) and University College, Dublin, supported by Moira O’Brien (webmaster) and Brona Moriarty of the Killaloe/Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre (local heritage liaison).

TOBSS inaugural event is an educational and entertaining symposium taking place on 2-3 July this year, where ten expert medieval historians will bring to life the culture, the landscape, the music and the battles associated with Ireland’s most famous High King, Brian Boru and the Viking invaders he fought. The event also includes a half day guided tour of local sites and monuments relevant to the reign of King Brian.

According to Professor David Ditchburn, Head of Trinity College’s Medieval Research Group, this event is unique and nothing like it has ever been organised in Ireland before.

As well as appealing to history students and members of local historical societies, this event will be fun and interesting for anyone who wants to know more about King Brian and Ireland in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Tourists and residents of Clare and Tipperary are being offered half price entry to the event and can email: to find out more and to book their place. Prices include talks, tour, refreshments, lunches and, on Saturday 2 July, a delegate wine reception. Tickets are also on sale via the Killaloe/Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre.

Professional historians and students can register online at TOBSS website:, where there is a wealth of additional information about TOBSS, the event and the full programme of presentations.

TOBSS is reliant on founder funding and grants, but its plans would benefit from additional sponsorship and donations, which can be made in any amount, just by clicking the donate button on the TOBSS website. TOBSS Founder, Lady Cheryl O’Brien, comments: ‘The more TOBSS Trust Fund grows, the faster we can create greater synergy between all the institutions, societies, groups and individuals who contribute to Ireland’s understanding and celebration of its wealth of history and heritage - and the more exciting live events we can organise to make all that knowledge more accessible to the public.’

May 2016 - Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize on Gaelic Ireland

The winner of the 2016 Chiefs and Clans Essay Prize on Gaelic Ireland was announced on 7th June, by Dr Katherine Simms of Trinity College Dublin, who is Chair of the adjudication panel. The winner, Simon Egan, a postgraduate student at  UCC will receive his prize later in the year for his essay:  An Irish context to a Scottish disaster: James IV, the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell and the Road to Flodden.

The annual prize is jointly sponsored by The Irish Council of Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland in association with Trinity College Dublin History Department.

May 2016 - Chairman's Update

Dear Members,

It was gratifying to have an increased number at this year’s Annual Conference and I would like to thank, on behalf of those who were able to attend, all who were involved in the organisation of the event.

We had our first meeting of your Board of Directors, since the Annual Conference, yesterday at which I asked the Members of the Board to become even more focused on projects relating to our raison d’étre. It was noted at the Meeting that your involvement in Clans of Ireland is most frequently driven by your Cultural and Historical interest (please see further analysis in The Main Findings from the Recent Survey of Members).

Manifestation of Irish culture goes back for more than four thousand years. It was a tribal culture which has developed, but has a resonance, as I described at the Conference Dinner, in contemporary Ireland. Our clan system provided us with a societal structure, which was aligned, in a complex manner, to religion. This, in turn, provided our ancestors with moral direction. Indeed, in my view, much of our attitudinal make-up in contemporary Irish society can be ascribed to this early Gaelic society.

Religion played a significant role in Pre-Christian Ireland. There is evidence of scientific precision in the construction of places of worship to the religious idols, which suggests that there was considerable complexity within the belief system which existed. When early Christianity arrived, not much more than a hundred years after it had become the established religion of Rome, it undermined the existing traditional polytheism with notions of love of our fellow man, as opposed to previous practices which included human sacrifice to Crom Dubh, the deity who was associated with Lughnassa. However, the Christians cleverly interwove their new beliefs with some of the existing practices, as exemplified in our calendar, in order to popularise and transform their cult into a mainstream religion.

This Early-Christian era was arguably one of the first momentous periods of Irish history of which we have documentary evidence. Some Clans encompassed Christian saints into their history, sometimes even venerating them as heroes of battles in a most un-Christian ideology, a dichotomy which is generally ignored. The advent of Christianity to Ireland brought about one of the most celebrated periods of our history, giving rise to the title of an early chapter in Primary School history Books; The Island of Saints and Scholars. It is from this period that the wonderfully illuminated annals such as the Book of Kells, Book of Durrow, Book of Armagh and numerous others originate

There is scope for increasing support for academic and historic study by our member organisations, both individually and collectively. The Chiefs and Clans Essay on Gaelic Ireland competition is a real example of how Clans of Ireland, in association with the Council of Chiefs and Trinity College Dublin, is involved in academic support. Our Clans History project is another, which has involved the participation of all volunteer registered clan organisation. It is hoped that this will have progressed significantly during the next year.

Ireland has been shaped by an interesting history, recorded recently with the fervency of the recently nationalised and prior to that by either the long-term disaffected with few scholarly resources or by biased conquerors. It is time to publish a compilation of historically significant documents from our Gaelic past, which would provide contemporaneous and personal insights into the minds of the people who were the authors, not chroniclers, of Irish history, including some who were not born in Ireland such as; Saint Patrick, Pope Adrian and Oliver Cromwell.

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone; who might have suggestions as to their opinion of the ten or less most important documents, written by authors who shaped the future of Ireland; or who may be interested in becoming involved in such a compilation.

Is mise le meas,

Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh



Finte na hÉireann

The Main Findings from the Recent Survey of Members

54% respondent clans based in Ireland

95% of respondent clans would like Clans of Ireland to have second annual event

95% of respondents perceive that membership of Clans of Ireland is an enhancement to their Clan

100% of respondents would like Clans of Ireland to support further academic or historical patronage, such as the Chiefs and Clans Essay Competition

Main interests of respondent Clans

Historical & Cultural 26% Genealogical 20% Educational 18% Ceremonial 15% Social 12% DNA Advisory 9%

January 2016 - New Year Greetings

A Cháirde,

I hope that you will be as healthy and content as circumstances will allow during the year ahead and that most of us will have the opportunity of meeting during the year.

In a perpetually changing world, seizing the moment becomes almost daring, but what better way could there be to re-energise the soul than to plan a trip to Dublin in April or in October and meet your friends from Clans of Ireland. The weather in Ireland in April is generally delightful, with late spring sunshine and ‘scattered soft April showers’ to remind us where we are and why our country is so green. Little awakens the senses like walking through St. Stephen’s Green in the Spring.

On April 15th and 16th. I hope that you will join us at the breathtakingly magnificent St. Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club where we will have our Annual Conference. I can confirm that the renowned Prof. Dan Bradley of the Department of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin will be our Guest Speaker. Dr. Bradley’s subject intrigues most of us but due to its constant evolution, few of us can claim to understand it.

Later on, on a date to be confirmed in October, we will commemorate the Second Battle of Athenry, which took place in 1316. We will let you have the venue and dates as soon as available so that you can make your plans accordingly.

Finally, let me wish all of you who are having clan gatherings in 2016 every success and let us have your dates.

Is mise le meas,


Gearoid O Ceallaigh



March 2016 - Order of Merit list for 2016 announced

The following individuals are appointed as Companions of the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit as of 17th March 2016:

Ms Margot Coogan CIOM 

Mr Eamon De Búrca CIOM

Professor Gregory Egan CIOM

February 2016 - The O'Donovan of Clan Cathail

Clans of Ireland note with regret the death of The O Donovan, who died in Bantry Hospital, Co. Cork on 25th January 2016. He was a member of the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs, with whom Clans of Ireland (Finte na hÉireann), is in association, together with History Department of Trinity College, Dublin and History/Ireland magazine in offering an annual prize for the winning essay on Gaelic Ireland.

The O Donovan was the patron of the very successful O Donovan Gathering during June 2000. It was estimated that during the week long activities over 4,000 participated. There were certainly around 1,500 in attendance at the final ceremony on 25th June at the village of Castle Donovan. This event concluded with Síle de Valera, then Minister for Arts, Heritage, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, dedicating a plaque recognizing the Clan Gathering, organised by John Emmett Donovan and his daughter, Regina Crixell, was the Clan Organiser. The Minister promised to help the restoration of the castle, and it was announced in 2013 that the castle would open the following year, after a cost of €1.67m+, by kind permission of the land owner.

Our condolences to his wife Jane, children Teige, Katharine and Mary, and his eight grandchildren.

December 2015 - Christmas Message

A Cháirde,

Clans of Ireland is representative of so many Irish people who live throughout the World, some of whom are descendants of those who left Ireland willingly, but also many whose ancestors were migrants, were forced to leave their native land.

Our thoughts at Christmas of 2015 must turn to those contemporary migrants throughout the Globe; persecuted and homeless, many of whom have suffered from extreme brutality, especially in Asia and Africa. The Irish have had a long history of invasion and tribal warfare during the first millennium A.D., followed by another millennium of conflict with various invaders.  So much of the Irish population has been forced to migrate, sometimes as convicts driven to crime by hunger or even as slaves, to areas of the World which were, arguably far less hospitable than the Europe of today.

The study and understanding of our history provides us with a particularly empathetic perspective of those who are far less well off.

Turning our thoughts toward 2016 in Ireland, there are many whose attention will be on the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Historically significant as this is, Clans of Ireland will focus on another event, the Seventh Centenial rememberance of The Battle of Athenry, which is considered by many historians to be one of the most crucial events in Medieval Irish history. You will learn more of this during the forthcoming year, as an ad hoc committee of Clans of Ireland is planning to mark the occassion with a lecture in the Autumn. Details of this will be made available as soon as finalised.

The Chiefs and Clans Essay Competition, jointly sponsored by Clans of Ireland and the Council of Chiefs and Chieftains and run in conjunction with the History Department of Trinity College Dublin to promote research and awareness of Gaelic Ireland;  is being further developed through an awareness campaign, organised by a newly formed committee of representatives from all three involved pillars. It is open to all, excepting history lecturers at third level institutions and further details are available on request.

The Patron of Clans of Ireland, President Michael D. Higgins, expressed considerable interest in our plans to develop the Essay Competition when we visited him at Áras an Uachtarán in May. Most registered clans were represented at this historical event, the first time the a President of Ireland has met the leaders of a gathering of Clans of Ireland.

Finally, during the past year Clans of Ireland has been honoured to have been given access to both the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland and the Royal Irish Acadamy. It is hoped that our association with these two venerable institutions will continue long in to the future.

With Best Wishes for Christmas & the New Year.

Le gach dea-ghui i gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-Athbhliana.

Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh


November 2015 - Annual Conference 2016 Preliminary Notce

The date of the 2016 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting has been confirmed as April 16th. It is also likely that an informal dinner will take place after a walking tour in Dublin City centre on Friday 15th. 

Details are currently being finalised, but is likely that the schedule format used in 2015 will be closely replicated.

All enquiries should be directed to

August 2015 - Irish Chiefs and Clans Prize in History 2016

The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains and Clans of Ireland (Finte na hÉireann), in association with the History Department of Trinity College, Dublin and History Ireland magazine, are offering a prize of €500 for the winning entrant in an essay competition on Gaelic Ireland.

Entry is open to all persons over 18 years of age who are NOT on the academic staff of a history department in any third-level institution.

Essays must be on a topic dealing with any aspect of the political, social or cultural history of Gaelic Ireland (within the date-range AD 400 to 1690), such as Irish kingship, lordship, land-holding, genealogy, family history etc. They should be approximately 2,000 words in length and accompanied by full footnote references to sources used, with a bibliography at the end (footnotes and bibliography will not be counted as part of the word-length). Essays may be written in English or Irish.

Entries, with candidate’s name, postal address and contact details, should be e-mailed (preferably) as an attached MS-Word file to, or posted to ‘Chiefs and Clans Prize’, c/o Katharine Simms, History Department, School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland, to arrive by 1st June 2016.

The prize will only be awarded for an entry deemed to be of publishable standard. Subject to editorial approval, a version of the paper should appear in a subsequent issue of History Ireland. Both the winner and other entrants whose papers are deemed of publishable standard may be invited to contribute their work to a projected volume of essays on Gaelic Ireland, which is a central goal of this competition.

For further details, see

July 2015 - 300 yrs of Catholic parish registers free online

The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) is being made available; giving people of Irish Catholic ancestry the opportunity to trace their origins back almost 300 years online from July 8th. Gearoid O Ceallaigh, Chairman of Clans of Ireland commented that "this is of huge importance to the vast majority of Irish people, who are not lucky enough to have established ancestral records. Indeed, people may discover that they are able to trace their ancestry to a historic or important branch of their family in the Seventeenth  or Eighteenth Century."
There are more than 370,000 digital images of the microfilm reels involved, on which the parish registers are recorded and which will be accessible free of charge.These parish register records are considered to be the most important single source of data on Irish family history prior to the 1901 census. Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,086 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.
Clans of Ireland provides a Register of Clans with contact details for any enquiries.

June 2015 - Your Board at work

The 2015 board at work in Christchuch

On the last Saturday of June, a balmy Summer day, the Clans of Ireland Board met at the Chapter House of Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin; in a wonderfully ancient panelled room with the most amazing historical portraits on its walls. The history of Christchurch goes back to Viking times and Clans of Ireland is honoured to be given this facility as a venue for its regular board meetings.
Your board meets several times during the year. Members travel from as far away as Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Galway, Fermanagh and even France. They do this at their ownexpense as their roles are purely voluntary. The year ahead will involve  continuing with some existing projects, developing some new projects and crucially tackling some organisational governance issues, while also implementing the new Irish Companies Act.
The Companies Act 2014, which came in to effect on 1st June 2015, has been described as the most comprehensive reform of company law for generations. The Act effects all companies in Ireland especially private limited companies and the Board has an obligation to examine options in relation to corporate governance, codification of duties of directors, retirement of directors, Annual Returns and other compliance issues.

May 2015 - Address to President Higgins

Gearoid O'Ceallaighg addressing Presitent Higgins 28/5/15

This year we are celebrating our 25th Anniversary as a non-profit corporate entity. Recently, at our commemorative conference, we heard various speakers address the progression of our activities and accomplishments during those twenty-five years. At the heart of this has been the constant dream of bringing together the genuine clans and historic Irish families in a communal way; integrated with contemporary Irish society and attitudes.
Clans of Ireland authenticates and promotes the interests of Irish clans and historic families. It is also a major focus for Clans of Ireland to reach out to Irish people throughout the World and deliver to them an intrinsic understanding of their traditions and history, so that they can appreciate our authentic culture. We recognise that opinions of Irish ex-pats are influenced by different motivations and insights to those expressed at home in Ireland. A fierce fervency frequently symbolises such sentiments which come from abroad, thus encouraging our less impassioned indigenous enthusiasm. This patriotic nostalgia supports dedicated native scholarship.
Clans of Ireland, through its structure, promotes inclusivity amongst all of the Irish at home or abroad through its member organisations by disseminating academic study, by fostering organisational development, by legitimising, through membership criteria, those clans who display a valid non-commercial interest in Irish heritage and, arguably most importantly, by encouraging social connection around the World.
The Ó hUigín Clan are recognised as descendants of the Southern Ui Neill and were considered as hereditary poets to the courts of Gaelic Ireland. Thus, President Higgins, you are entirely genetically consistent, as you are recognised as an accomplished poet. You are also renowned for your enduring private and societal dedication to Irish culture, in addition to having an academic curiosity in migration among your many interests.
Clans of Ireland supports the fundamental principles of uniting peoples of the same blood and family association through marriage or other family bonds. It is my hope that Clans of Ireland, with your continuing patronage, will continue to foster even greater links between the Irish at home and the diaspora.
But for your patronage, President Higgins, Clans of Ireland would be less consequential.
Finally, if you will permit me a personal indulgence, as I would like to share the fact with our audience that there has been a multi-generational friendship between your family of Ballycar and my mother’s Keogh family of Newmarket-on-Fergus. Ladies and gentlemen, it may come as a surprise to you to learn that my maternal grandfather Denis Keogh died at President Higgins’ family home at Ballycar.
I would now like to present you, President Higgins, on behalf of Clans of Ireland, with your personal family tree of the Higgins Family of Ballycar, County Clare; dedicated to you as President of Ireland and Patron of Clans of Ireland.

April 2015 - Letter from the New Chairman

Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

26 April 2015

A dhuine uisle,
I consider it a great honour to have been elected as Cathaoirleach (Chairman) of the Board and I am delighted by the fact that such confidence has been shown in me.
The last number of years have seen Clans of Ireland go through some interesting times. The Board has been dealing with a number of significant issues; primarily the maintenance of the fundamental principles of our Gaelic Clan traditions and consequent conservation of core membership.
Both our outgoing Chairman Michael Egan and indeed his predecessor, Nora Keohane-Hickey have already ably and admirably directed Clans of Ireland during recent years into a situation where we now have a higher profile than ever before, accompanied by an increased lucidity of purpose. I would like to express my appreciation of the great work that both of them have done.
I hope to develop on the theme that Michael and Nora have been cultivating, through the preservation and enhancement of the highest standards for members. I would like to set as priorities greater emphasis on both clarification of and unity of purpose; strengthening of issues relating to governance and further development of a wider media profile, as the umbrella body which unites contemporary Gaelic clans and ancient families, whose histories are unequivocally Irish, while promoting intellectual research into genealogy, history and culture.
I would like to see Member Clans engaging with the Board to a greater degree. Membership of Clans of Ireland should not be about simply being protected by the credibility and patronage of our banner. In my view, Membership involves an understanding of the core principles of the organisation and vibrant participation in promoting them.
Those who know me, know that I like to listen and to take advice before arriving at a decision. In the case of an association such as Clans of Ireland, this decision, I would like to think, would reflect the wishes of the majority of Members. Therefore, I welcome any suggestions from members who may wish to contribute views or ideas that might be beneficial. I would like to promote a greater degree of involvement by Members and develop an elevated spirit of co-operation between Members and the Board so that Clans of Ireland can develop organically as we begin our second twenty-five years of life.
Is mise le meas,
Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

April 2015 - Final date for reserving your place at the annual dinner Friday 17th.

There is just over one week to our 25th. Annual Conference, featuring a Forum to discuss the highlights of the past twenty five years. The Forum moderated by Conor Mac Hale includes Nora Keohane-Hickey and Brian McCabe, representing the Board of Directors over the past twenty five years. Proinsias Mag Fhionnghaile and Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh are to discuss the eagerly awaited topic of traditional Gaelic Dress. After lunch, the renowned historian, Dr. Emmet O’Byrne is to give a lecture on ‘The Irish Resurgence of the 13th. and 14th. Centuries’ Author of War, Politics and the Irish of Leinster, Dr. O’Byrne has had numerous articles on Gaelic and Medieval Ireland published . Michael-Patrick Crowley, the Taoiseach elect of the Crowley Clan and author of “Origins and History of the Crowleys as an Irish Clan” is to introduce the Descendants of the Wild Geese who visit Ireland as an invited group for the first occasion since the Treaty of Limerick.

February 2015 - Invitation to Wild Geese to attend annual conference

This year’s Annual Conference on 25th. April is a commemoration of twenty five years of development as a contemporary organisation. Officially recognised under the patronage of the President of Ireland, it supports the aims of its member clans in their research into their individual history, culture and traditions. To further these aims; an invitation is to be issued to a selected group of the descendants of the Wild Geese, who left Ireland following the defeat of the symbolic Jacobite army, over three hundred years ago.

This will provide Members of Clans of Ireland with an opportunity to be present at the first visit of an organised group of descendants of those historic Irish families, since their devastatingly mass departure from our shore. It also provides those Wild Geese descendants, whose roots are in Ireland, with an opportunity to meet with those who continue to support contemporary clan culture in a very real way, who remain rooted in Ireland.

Clans of Ireland hope that bonds of friendship, based on shared interest in culture and family history, will result from this initiative. It is also hoped that further such visits can be arranged in future years. Should there be any queries, please contact Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh -

January 2015 - You reap what you sow: The Irish Resurgence of the C13th & C14th

‘You reap what you sow: The Irish Resurgence of the C13th & C14thcenturies.'

Dr. Emmett O’Byrne was a major contributor for the Dictionary of Irish Biography (RIA 2009) – focusing on Gaelic Irish leaders from 1000-1700, contributing 228 biographical articles. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Michael O’Cleirigh Institute at University College Dublin between 2003 and 2006. His published works include War, Politics and the Irish of Leinster 1156-1606 (Four Courts Press 2003) and The March in the Medieval West (co-ed with Dr. Jenifer Ni Gradhaigh) (Brill 2012). He has worked as an associate lecturer in law with IT Carlow from 2007 to date, serving on the academic council of that institute between 2010-2012.
Dr. O’Byrne is also a practising solicitor and is currently completing a biography of Feagh McHugh O’Byrne.

January 2015 - 25th. Anniversary, A.G.M. & Conference

The Board of Clans of Ireland is delighted to announce that the 2015 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting to be held at the Stephens Green and Hibernian Club in Dublin on April 25th. This year's Conference commemorates the 25th. Anniversary of Clans of Ireland and among the features is a lecture, ‘You reap what you sow: The Irish Resurgence of the C13th & C14th centuries', by Dr. Emmet O'Byrne.
Further details will be announced shortly.

October 2014 - Change of Mailing Address

The new Clans of Ireland mailing address is :
Clans of Ireland,
Sentinel Vaults,
St. Martin's House,
Waterloo Road,
Dublin 4,

September 2014 - William McKenna RIP

The death has occurred of our esteemed Board colleague, William McKenna of the Mac Cionaoith  or Clan McKenna of Truath, County Monaghan.

It is with immense sadness that the Members of the Board have learnt of Willie’s death, who was always a good friend and colleague. He will forever be remembered for his smile and wonderfully good nature. Willie died after a short illness on September 26th.
A former Mayor of County Monaghan,  Councillor and Member of the County Enterprise Board, Willie was hugely involved in community activity throughout the County and in particular in Emyvale, where he resided. He was instrumental in organising a country music festival which generated life and commercial activity in the county town, during the summer of 2013.

Willie was also intensely interested in the history of County Monaghan. In 2012 he was honoured with Life Membership of the Irish Canadian Society at a ceremony in Dublin. He had been instrumental in developing twinning ties between three Canadian communities; the town of Miramichi, New Brunswick; the city of Peterborough, Ontario and the Province of Prince Edward Island. The association between Prince Edward Island and the baronies of Monaghan and Truagh in  County Monaghan resulted from the organised migration to this fertile Canadian island in the decades before, during and after the Great Famine.

It was due to his passionate work relating to Clann McKenna that he became involved with Clans of Ireland and consequently a Member of the Board of Directors for many years. He will be deeply missed on the Board for his quietly courteous commentary attended by a ready smile, the smile which won him universal popularity.

The Board of Clans of Ireland, on behalf of all of its members, wishes to  express its deepest sympathy to his immediate family, extended family and many friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

September 2014 - *WINNER* Council of Irish Chiefs and Clans of Ireland Prize in History 2014 - Trinity College

Congratulations from Clans of Ireland to the winner of the 2014 'Chiefs and Clans' prize in History, Mr. Gerry Moloney.

Chiefs and Clans Prize 2015
Once more Clans of Ireland (Finte na hÉireann), The Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains, the History Department of Trinity College are associated with History/Ireland magazine in offering a prize of €750 for the winning entrant in an essay competition on Gaelic Ireland.

The essay topic is the political, social or cultural history of Gaelic Ireland, 400 A.D. - 1690 A.D. including, for example, Irish kingship, lordship, land-holding, genealogy, and family history. It should be approximately 2,000 words in length and must be presented with full footnote references to sources used, together with a final bibliography. Note that footnotes and bibliography do not count in the 2,000 words. Essays may be presented in either English or Irish.
Entry is open to all persons over 18 years who are NOT on the academic staff of a history department in any third-level institution.

Entries, with candidate’s name, address and contact details should be posted to:
‘Chiefs and Clans Prize’
c/o History Department,
School of Histories and Humanities,
Trinity College Dublin,
Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland
or e-mailed as an attached MS-Word file to: by 1st May 2015
This prize will only be awarded to an entry judged to be of publishable standard. Subject to editorial approval, a version of the paper should appear in a subsequent issue of History Ireland. All entrants, whose papers are deemed of publishable standard, may be invited to contribute their work to a projected volume of essays on Gaelic Ireland.


September 2014 - Phillip Patrick Cassidy, An Caisedeach Fhear Manach RIP

It is with immense sadness that the Board of Clans of Ireland has learnt of the death on August 8th. of An Caisedeach, Pat Cassidy of Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, at the age of eighty seven. He had served as chieftain of the Cassidy Clan for the past twelve years. A farmer and retail business owner, Pat was a pillar of his community in Lisnaskea. He was also an ardent supporter of the work being done within the Cassidy Clan. However, Members of Clans of Ireland will also dearly miss him at our annual conferences, as he was always one of the most popular people at our gatherings.
Pat, as a widower, is survived by his daughters Margaret and Mary and his brother Michael John, to whom Clans of Ireland extends its deep condolences.
Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh a anam dhílis.

July 2014 - Newly elected O'Dea Clan Chieftain

Congratulations to Maureen Carey of Adelaide, South Australia who was inaugurated as the new O'Dea Clan Chieftain on July 12th. at the O'Dea castle at Dysert O'Dea, near Ennis, County Clare. The outgoing Clan Chieftain, Lt. Col William O'Dea, Chairman Shane O'Dea and one hundred seventy members of the O'Dea Clan congratulated Maureen in a hospitable County Clare fashion. 

July 2014 - Recent Member, Mannion of Soghan

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to our latest member, the Mannion of Soghan Clan. The ancient Soghan Clan is associated with the contemporary barony of Tiaquin. The Clan held the estate and lands of Menlough Castle until 1617, when its leading landholders were forced to engage in the infamous 'surrender and re-grant' scheme under James I. The Clan of Mannion of Soghan effectively lost its ancient Gaelic ownership rights of its hereditary lands, which were then re-granted  under the English feudal system. 
To become a member of the Mannion of Soghan Clan, one must identify with the clan by inheriting or using of the surname Mannion, being involved in its culture and heritage in addition to the specific requirements which are available from Dr. Joe Mannion who may be contacted at Woodford in County Galway or by email;

June 2014 - Genealogy lecture series for Dublin

The National Library of Ireland have listed their 'Genealogy at Lunchtime' lecture series for August. For further information please use;

May 2014 - Summer Gatherings

Clans of Ireland would like to wish the many clans that are having gatherings over the forthcoming months every success.
It is hoped that these gatherings will engender a spirit of camaraderie and promote scholarly pursuit of genealogy and the histories of the families and clans.
For further details please go to the Gatherings page of this website.

April 2014 - Dr. H. Clarke lecture notes download

Clans of Ireland was fortunate to have an eminent historian give a presentation on the events surrounding Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf at its AGM on 12 April 2014.   Howard Clarke is professor emeritus of medieval socio-economic history at University College Dublin, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
Currently he is preparing, with Ruth Johnson, the Dublin city archaeologist, a collection entitled Before and after the Battle of Clontarf: the Vikings in Ireland and Beyond, to be published by Four Courts Press in late 2014.
Dr. Clarke has kindly agreed to make his talk available on the Clans of Ireland website.  The principal sources referred to in the presentation are the Annals of Ulster (AU) and the Annals of Innisfallen (AI).

April 2014 - Speeches, Commemorations Ceremony to mark the Millennium of the Battle of Clontarf

“ Address of the Cathaoirleach and Leas Cathaoirleach at the Commemorations Ceremony to mark the Millennium of the Battle of Clontarf, at Christ Church Cathedral”.Christ Church, Dublin         23 April 2014
Rev Dean Dunne, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, a cháirde
As Chairman of Clans of Ireland I am honoured to have been asked to say a few words to you on this auspicious occasion.
You will all be aware that approximately 1000 years ago Sitric Silkenbeard , who was the Viking leader in Dublin, had converted to Christianity, “gave up his auld sins” and built a cathedral on this very spot. Those of you who have had a chance to visit the crypt below the cathedral will have seen the very foundations laid by Sitric’s tradesmen. Without doubt he would have visited the works on a daily basis when the cathedral was being built and seen the ox blood being mixed with the lime mortar to give strength which would support the church above for centuries to come. Did you notice the ox blood?
Just down the hill, both north and south, were the Viking wattle houses and life went on as normal on a daily basis. Pigs and chickens  to be fed, cattle to be bought and sold and clothes to be made or repaired. No doubt weapons would have to be made and resharpened. There was still plenty of fighting to be done. Stocktaking of plundered gold and silver from the Irish monasteries would not have been a main “banking” activity as most of the monasteries would have been cleaned out of such by the year 1014.
Sitric would have stayed close to this cathedral on Good Friday 1014 and let others do the fighting out in Clontarf.  By nightfall the word would have come back that the Vikings and their allies had been defeated by Brian Boru and his clansmen. The writing was on the wall for the Viking plundering and the shipping of slaves to all parts of the known world. The large sums of money available for  slaves such as learned scribes and hard working men and women was to cease and peace seemed to settle on the land……until the arrival in 1169 of the next visitors to our shores ..the Normans. Then  St Lawrence O’Toole stood outside this cathedral and asked them not to burn the city…..but “sin sceal eile”.
Ladies and gentlemen you walk on hallowed  ground.
Thank you and enjoy the day.
Michael JS Egan
Cathaoirleach, Clans of Ireland

This afternoon, marks the millennium of a very special occasion in Ireland’s history. It should not be viewed as the celebration of a victory, where the victor in the battle lay dead with, by some accounts, 1,600 of his own men, while the numbers of the vanquished who perished may possibly have been far more. No Ladies and Gentleman, I ask you to view this as a commemoration of the many lives that were lost, fighting for a political cause which helped to shape medieval Ireland. The individual aspirations of the principals involved may be analysed for years to come by historians, but it is true to say that the result of the Battle led to a slightly more representative political system in Ireland. It is for that reason that Brian Boru is classified as a great early Irish hero.
Clans of Ireland is the umbrella body which unites contemporary Irish clans and families, whose histories are ancient, while promoting intellectual research into genealogy, history and culture. It could indeed be said that our aim to unite the clans of Ireland is similar to what Brian Boru set about doing a millennium ago. His use of military tactics is of course completely out of step in our modern Ireland, but it is possible to draw a parallel between Brian Boru’s ambitions and ours.
While it may be a jest to call us ‘the Fighting Irish’, it is now more likely to be considered an anachronistic insult. However, it is an unassailable fact that there was much internecine warfare among neighbouring kings and chiefs a thousand years ago. Yet, although we think of our contemporary national army as having peacekeeping as its sole purpose and consider our political system to be more representative of the population as a whole than in Brian’s era, we are truly fortunate to have been able to retain and celebrate our culture and traditions, much of which dates back to the early medieval period.
Thus, as we commemorate the countless lives that were lost at the battle, I would like you to listen to the names, in the ancient Irish and Norse languages, of the participating notables and compare with the names of our Clan Ceannairi and representatives, which I will read shortly. I have compiled this first list mainly from the very well researched book ‘Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf’ by Dr. Seán Duffy of Trinity College Dublin, who, in turn, mainly used;
The 12th. Century Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh,
The Annals of Ulster
The Annals of Inisfallen
The Annals of Clonmacnoise
The Annals of Loch Cé
May I now recall the names of the notables who were with Brian and his Allies
The man himself,
Brian mac Cennétig, progenitor of the O’Briens of Thomond, Limerick and Tipperary and ancestor of the McMahons of Clare
His son Murchadh
His son Tairdelbach mac Murchad
Conaing mac Donncuain mac Cennétig (a nephew of Brian)
Tadhg ua Ceallaigh, son of Murchad, King of Uí Maine and Progenitor of the Ó Ceallaigh of Uí Maine
Máel Ruanaid ua hEidin, King of Uí Fiachrach Aidne in North East Connacht, a nephew of Brian’s first wife
Domhnall Mac Diarmata of the Corca Baiscind in West Clare
Mac Bethad mac Muiredaig of Corca Luachra in North Kerry
Mothla mac Domhnaill mic Fáeláin of Deisí Muman whose head was buried beside Brian in the same tomb at Armagh. Apparently the mayhem was so intense that they could not identify his decapitated torso.
Máel Sechnaill mac Domhnaill, the first King of Tara not to be considered by the writers of the annals as King of Ireland
Domnall mac Eimin mic Cainnich, whose family’s title is now Earl of Mar and Kellie in North Eastern Scotland
Cú Duilig mac Cennétig a grand nephew of Brian
Géibennach na Dubagáin King of Fer Maige
Scanlán mac Cathail King of the Eoghanacht of Loch Léin
Some historians and annals contend that Tadhg ua Conchobhair and Fergal ua Ruairc were not at the battle, but I am naming them as some sources claim that they were there.
And now the notables of Leinster & Viking Dublin
Sitriuc mac Amlaíb or Sitryg Silkenbeard Viking leader of Dublin, who is said to have remained within the safety of the walls of Dublin during the battle.
Máelmórda   King of Eastern Liffey and in 1014 King of Leinster, who is recounted as having died in hand to hand combat with Conaing, Brian’s nephew. He was ancestor of O’Byrnes
Amlaíb or Óláfr mac Lagmainn.  Brother of Sitryg and one of the five chiefs of the Dubliners killed at the Battle.
Siucraid mac Lodur or Jarl Sigrid of Orkney who was in joint command and whose mother is thought to have been Gaelic
Gilla Chiaráin mac Glún Iain, whose father had been king prior to Sitriuc and who was heir designate to his uncle. It should be noted that he bore a very Christian name after the founder of Clonmacnoise.
Bródar, Commander of the Viking fleet who came from either the Isle of Man or York, depending on which annals one believes.
Máelmórda mac Murchada King of Leinster
Dúnlaing mac Tuathail
Donnchad ua Erluib
Before asking the Ceannairí and representatives to present themselves to Mac Aodhagáin and to Ó Brian, representing the contemporary Clans of Ireland and the O’Brien Clan I would like to recite this brief translated excerpt from the Cogadh, describing the battle which may give you pause to consider the fate of the clansmen as they went into battle
“These had for the purposes of battle and combat, and for their defence, sharp, swift, bloody, crimsoned, bounding, barbed, keen, bitter, wounding terrible, piercing, fatal, murderous, poisoned arrows, which had been anointed and browned in the blood of dragons and toads, and water snakes of hell, and of scorpions and otters, and wonderful venomous snakes of all kinds, to be cast and shot at active and warlike and valiant chieftains.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I now call on the Ceannairí or the representatives of the clans of Ireland to come forward and symbolically meet with Conor, the O’Brien, the direct descendent of Brian Boru and Michael Egan, Chairman of Clans of Ireland. Those who claim a heritage from Leinster and Leth Cuinn, unless allied to the Uí Maine can you please shake the hand of Mac Aodhagáin and Ó Briain in peace, while those of you from the heritage of Leth Moga, Tuath Muman  and Ui Maine can you please shake the hand of Mac Aodhagáin and to Ó Brian in unity.
May I now request;
O’Briain Tuath Mumhan (O’Brien of Thomond)
Ó Ceallaigh  Ui Maine (O’Kelly of Ui Maine)  
Ui Chruadhlaoich Corcaigh (Crowley of Cork)
Mac Fhionnghaile Dhún Na nGall (McGinley of Donegal)
MacFhlannchaidh (Mac Clancy)
Ó Gadhra Cúil Ó bhFinn (O’Gara of Coolavin)
Ó Leathlobhaire Laoise (O’Lawlor of Leix)
Mac Mhadóc Mac Murchadha (Weadick)
Ó Mathúna Raithlind (O’Mahony of Raithlinn) 
Bréifne Ó Raghallagh (O’Reilly Breifne)
Ó Tighearnaigh (O’Tierney)
Ó hUigín Cenél Fiachrach (O’Higgins of Cenél Fiachrach)
For those of you who may have missed the name of Tadhg ua Ceallaigh, one of Brian’s allies and my progenitor, I would like the congregation to pause to remember that the army of Brian mac Connetig was not alone on the day and that there were many clansmen from many parts of southern and western Ireland who fought with them, including the household troops of Tadhg ua Ceallaigh. It was these who killed Arnaill Scot at Dubgalls bridge, who was reputed to have been the last of the men of Dublin to die. However, it was also reported that only a hundred of the Connaught army survived and Tadhg ua Ceallaigh himself lost his life. So, it is fitting that a thousand years later, we the clans from throughout Ireland have come together again to support this symbolic O’Brien initiative.
Lastly, before we proceed ceremonially out of this magnificent Christ Church Cathedral and leave Dean Dunne and his pastoral flock in peace, I would like to recall a curious and alternative account given as the reason for the epic Battle. It was said that a merchant, said to be the son of the King of Denmark had entrusted his beautiful wife to the care of Brian while he travelled away on business. Murchad, the son of Brian, we are told ‘made suit to her and won her love and lay with her’.
This ladies and gentleman is an example of why it is generally accepted that most people in this room could claim that in all likelihood they have, if not O’Brien DNA in their system, they most certainly have the blood of someone who fought at the historic battle, coursing through their veins.
Therefore, let me invite you all to follow, in procession, the Clan Ceannairí, led by the O’Brien Pipe and Drum Band as they now leave the Cathedral, after which we have been invited to the magnificent crypt for a cup of tea or something by Dean Dunne.
Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

April 2014 - The Clans of Ireland at the Battle of Clontarf 1014

 Clans of Ireland has announced an initiative to publish, initially on this website, the names of every person, their associated tribe and where possible, the descendent surname, recorded as having played a part at the Battle of Clontarf. Registered Clans are being requested to make submissions.
A Roll of Honour ceremony will take place at Christ Church Cathedral on April 23rd, 1,000 years to the day, after the Battle.

April 2014 - The Millennium Commemoration of 1014

Amidst the multitude of events taking place throughout the island of Ireland marking the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf, Clans of Ireland held its Annual Conference at the Mansion House in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of April. Attendees were treated to a lecture in which Dr. Howard Clarke (Professor Emeritus) cogently expressed the view that the Battle of Clontarf was a battle between the rulers of opposing kingdoms of eleventh century Ireland to gain regal supremacy throughout the island, with an intriguing woman, Gormlaith, central to the plot. Nearby, at Trinity College, during the same weekend, similar views were expounded at a series of lectures hosted by Dr. Seán Duffy of the TCD Dept. of History. Seán Duffy's position is that Brian Boru's tactics prevented the Vikings from further expansion in Ireland.
The assembled gathering  of Clan representatives at the Mansion House, all history enthusiasts, were intrigued by Dr. Clarke's persuasive propositions, novel to some and fascinating for all. Heretofore, history books have generally led to the belief that the Battle of Clontarf was an altercation between the Christian Irish and the expansionist pagan Vikings. However, Howard Clarke's dissertation is at variance with this line of thinking. He contends that the Battle of Clontarf was fought with Irish leaders using Irish and Viking allies on both sides. He questioned whether the Battle of Clontarf was in fact a victory for Brian Boru and proposed that while it was a military victory and while it resulted in the Uí Neill monopoly of the high-kingship being broken; it was a political loss for Brian's descendants, as he and Murchad, his heir, were killed and Donnchad, who succeeded him, never achieving the same level of power as his father. A copy of his lecture will be made available on this website shortly.
Dr. Michael Egan, Cathaoirleach, has invited Members of Clans of Ireland  to participate in a Battle of Clontarf Commemorative Ceremony to be held on Wednesday 23rd April at Christ Church Cathedral, by sending Ceannairí or their representatives. This is being hosted in association with one of Clans of Ireland registered Members, the O'Brien Clan and is being led by the Very Rev. Dean Dermot Dunne. It is expected that the Government will be represented. A procession of Clans of Ireland will take place led by Conor, The O'Brien. It is indeed  fitting that this commemoration should take place at Christ Church Cathedral, the spiritual home of Clans of Ireland, as much of the secular work of our organisation is conducted there. The history of the Cathedral dates back to Sitriuc Silkbeard, leader of the Dublin Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf who is said to have visited Rome, many years later and is reputed to have brought back relics, which were to be used in the development of this wonderful Cathedral.
The Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore and his Government colleague, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltcht, Jimmy Deenihan formally launched the Battle of Clontarf Millennium Commemorations at a reception at Iveagh House on Wednesday April 16th; when the events which are to take place at Armagh, Clare, Dublin and Tipperary were outlined. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh represented Clans of Ireland. Further information may be found at
It was appropriate that Holy Thursday was chosen as the date for the unveiling of the Brian Boru Millenium Crown by the direct descendent of Brian Boru, Conor, The O'Brien. The event, held at Dublin Castle, was organised in association with Jewels for Cures, a cancer clinical research charity. Donations are welcome to this very worthy cause throughout 2014 and donors names will be inscribed on a scroll to accompany the Crown. The crown itself will be on public display at Dublin Castle until April 25th when it will be removed to Clontarf Castle where it will be on view to attendees at the O'Brien Clan Gathering.

April 2014 - Battle of Clontarf Commemoration Christ Church Cathedral

 A service to commemorate the millenial date of the Battle of Clontarf is to be held at Chriat Church Cathedral on April 23rd. Representatives of all registered clans are invited to attend on this enormously historic occassion. Please contact

April 2014 - Dr H. Clarke's Lecture Summary April 12th

Clontarf 1014 -  battle of clans?
In many ways, the Battle of Clontarf was a family affair. Contrary to popular perception, the central figure was not Brian Boru but Sitriuc Silkbeard, the king of Dublin. In 1014 he was Brian's son-in-law, while his mother Gormlaith was Brian's former wife and she and her brother Máel Mórda, the king of Leinster, were in alliance with Sitriuc. Brian and Máel Mórda were both killed in the fighting, whereas Sitriuc and Gormlaith lived to tell the tale. On a family level, the real victor of the battle was Sitruic Silkbeard.
Since the beginning of recorded time, the Irish aristocracy had been clan-based. This can be illustrated by the rotating kingship of the province of Leinster, which would not have been possible without an awareness of and general recognition of common ancestry. Similarly, the high-kingship of Ireland was an Uí Néill monopoly by tradition, until this pattern was disrupted by Brian Boru in 1002. His assumption of the high-kingship had the effect, not of uniting Ireland under a single royal dynasty, but of paving the way for the 'trembling sod' of the mid-twelfth century.
The Battle of Clontarf is surrounded by myths, the greatest of which is that Brian saved Ireland from a Viking conquest. For one thing his Munster army included Vikings from Limerick. For another, whatever the intentions of the Vikings from abroad who participated in the epic battle may have been, there was no prospect of such a conquest. The clans of Ireland would have prevented it, as they had always done. Brian Boru and his son Murchad played an heroic part along with many others and deserve to be remembered for that.
Howard Clarke
31 March 2014

March 2014 - Honours List Announced

Clan logo

The Chancellor of the Order of Clans of Ireland, Chev. Sean McClafferty has announced that the Council of the Order has approved the appointment of the following individuals as Companions of the Order of Clans of Ireland.

Lt-Colonel Lyn David McMullen Historian of the McMullen Clan

The Very Rev Fr J Anthony Gaughan, PhD, D.Litt.

All of the above were chosen for this honour because of their significant contributions to Irish culture, heritage and public life.

The conferral ceremony will take place on Friday 11th April in the Mansion House when Philip O'Conor, Tanist of Ó Conchobhair Donn will present them with the insignia of the Order of Clans of Ireland.

March 2014 - Millennium Commemorations of Brian Boru and Clontarf 1014

2014 is the Millennium of one of Ireland's most defining battles, the Battle of Clontarf. The Irish fought against the Irish and the Irish fought against the Vikings. There are commemorations throughout the island of Ireland durin 2014, at centres in Armagh, Tipperry, Dublin and Clare.
Brian Boru, Chief of the Dal Cais Clan, whose territory was in the present day County Clare, as King of Munster led the Irish against the forces against the allied forces of Mael Mórda mac Murchada, the King of Leinster and Sigtrygg Silkbeard, leader of the Vikings. The battle was fought approximately where Croke Park, our national Gaelic games staium, is now located.
Brian Boru's ambitious plan was to unify the Island under one central government over which he intended to reign as High King. He won enormous support from many Munster and Connaught clans, including that of Tadhg Mór Ó Ceallaigh of the Uí Maine Clan. However, many others did not support him and it was this revolt against his expansionist ambitions that led to the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, April 23rd. 1014. It was considered a great victory for Brian Boru, but it was personally pyrrhic, as Brian Boru was amongst the over 10,000 people who died t the battle. Historians consider that the most important result of the battle was that it stopped further expansion by the Vikings in Ireland.
For information on events throughout the year:

March 2014 - O’Brien Clan Millenium Celebration Events Calendar

O'Brien Coat of Arms - 3 Lions

APRIL 23 – 27, 2014


APRIL 23, 2014     - WEDNESDAY

Welcoming Remarks and Introductions:
Designating O’Brien Clan Official Medallion for the Millennium Festival.

Designating the Shield and Sword Family Roots Items as Official O’Brien Clan Memorials for the Millennium Festival

5: 30 Rugby Event at Clontarf Field CLOSE BY and Invited Back to PRIVATE PUB (Knights or Indigo Lounge) To JOIN CLAN GATHERING. Clontarf versus the Barbarians in the real Battle of Clontarf.

The stamp issue showcasing the amazing talents of BBC Time Team illustrator Victor Ambrus and is supported by expert text by Howie Firth Director of the Orkney International Science Festival ( and Dr Ragnhaild Ljosland of Orkney of the Centre for Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The issue includes a set of six stamps in mint condition, a First Day Cover, an envelope featuring all the stamps postmarked with the first day of issue, and a Presentation Pack, which includes not only the stamps in mint condition, but also a four-sided folder featuring more illustrations and information about the great battle.


5: OO –6:30 ASSEMBLE – COCKTAILS AND ORDERVES – ANNOUNCEMENT FROM O’BRIEN CLAN FOUNDATION _ KILLALOE – THE FUTURE OF O”BRIEN CLAN FOUNDATION – Presentation of IRISH HERITAGE AWARD PRESENTATION. Dignitaries from U.S. and Ireland Invited for this special presentation to a distinguished O’Brien family.




                                                                       IN ADDITION
THROUGHOUT CONFERENCE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO BE PRESENTED IN ARTS, MOVIES, NEW BOOKS RELATING TO BRIAN BARU –SOME EXAMPLES; masterful work of genius by musicians that are breaking new ground and opening new doors as they transverse our musical horizons"
Deep End of The Ford combine four of the most progressive avant-garde talents in improvised and folk music; with the spoken word of Celtic prehistory; to "create a seemingly ancient sound out of instrumentation that is anything but ancient"
They create massively dynamic soundscapes that shift from peaceful melody to turbulent invocations of sorcery and battle.
Possibly their most unique and exciting feature is their reuse of texts from the dawn of Celtic history in their compositions. Their retelling of The Táin sees them use a text that was transcribed in the 8th century AD, to explode a mythological epic -which was formed in the 3rd C. BC- on the modern senses.

AND IN ADDITION SPECIAL ACCESS TO OFFSITE ACTIVITIES SUCH AS  THE CLONTARF BATTLE TRAIL AND VIKING VILLAGE : The trail will consist of a series of heritage boards, approximately every 0.5km on the Clontarf Promenade between the Alfie Byrne Road and the Wooden Bridge. The heritage boards will be double sided and mounted perpendicular to the path. The six boards will outline the story of the Vikings, Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf in word, map and illustration in Irish and English. Daily guided tours, at 2.30pm will be provided during the two weeks of Easter from the 13th – 27th April 2014.



APRIL 27,   2014

After his death at the battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, 1014, Brian Boroimhe, High King of Ireland, was buried ‘on the north side of the great church’ at Armagh.  The Church of Ireland Cathedral of St Patrick, which stands on the site, incorporates a memorial tablet in its north wall.  A service will be held to mark the millennium of the burial of Brian Boroimhe on Sunday 27th April 2014 at 3.15 p.m.

Based on the Anglican liturgy of Choral Evensong, the service will be ecumenical in character, including both commemoration of the burial and prayer for the Ireland of today.  Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB, Abbot of Glenstal, will preach.

March 2014 - Forthcoming Annual Conference Speakers

Conor, The O'Brien, Chief of the O'Brien Clan will receive the Clan Ceannairi at the Parade of Clans at this years Annual Conference. Conor, The O'Brien is the direct descendent of Brian Boru.

March 2014 - Mrs. Maura Whitty R.I.P.

Mrs Maura Whitty R.I.P.
It is with deep sadness and regret that we announce the death of Mrs. Maura Whitty (nee Stafford) who passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on the night of 3rd./4th. March.
Funeral Mass will be held at 12.00 on Thursday March 6th at Barntown Church, County Wexford. The family have requested that donations in lieu of flowers be sent to the Wexford Hospice Homecare.
Maura has been an ardent supporter of Clans of Ireland for many years and pivotal to her own Whitty of Ballyteige Clan in Wexford. The Board of Clans of Ireland are collectively shocked and saddened by Maura's untimely passing. May she rest in peace.

August 2013 - Kentucky Man is Chief of Whitty Clan of Wexford

Paul Whitty

Paul Whitty of Kentucky in the USA has been elected Chief of the Whitty Clan. He was born in Louisville Kentucky and was the person that prompted the start of the Whitty Clan Association back in the early 1990s.  His Irish roots go back to his ancestors born in c1800 in Wexford.
Paul is very much involved in Irish Music and Irish Societies being one of the co-founders of the Louisville Irish Fest, a member of the "Drowsy Maggie", "Galloglass" and Louisville Pipe Band. Paul has also wrote and produced two productions of an outdoor play on the life of St Francis of Assisi.  Paul is married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Paul is a Solicitor with Goldberg Simpson.

August 2013 - O'Higgins Clan Society Acclaims New Chief

Karl O'Higgins

Karl O'Higgins of Ballynary succeeded as Chief of the O'Higgins at a gathering of his family in Dublin on 17th August 2013.

August 2013 - McCabe Chieftain Travels to Ireland from USA for Clan Rally

McCabe Chieftain Travels to Ireland from USA for Clan Rally

At the McCabe Clan Rally on 18th August 2013 was presided over by Honorary Chieftain, Mike Mc Cabe from Pennsylvania, who flew to Ireland for the ceremony during which he presented certificates to those attending.

July 2013 - Curtin Clan Elect New Chief

Curtin Clan Elect New Chief

Anne Curtin Emperor ASkaneateles, NY was reelected for a term of 2 years as Curtin Clan Chief at their meeting in Macroom, Ireland, July 27, 2013.

May 2013 - Clans of Ireland Represented at State Funeral in Serbia

Ambassador O’Donnell  lays rememberance wreath

The remains of the last reigning royal family of Yugoslavia were recently accorded a State Funeral by the modern Republic of Serbia, after decades of exile and entombment abroad.  Clans of Ireland was represented amongst the various European and other royal and noble families, and other dignitaries present.
H.E. Ambassador Francis Martin O’Donnell, delegate of Clans of Ireland laid a remembrance wreath at the foot of the cask of the late King Peter II of Yugoslavia, on behalf of Ireland’s ancient royal and noble clans and historic families.
The mortal remains of King Peter II Karadjorjević, Queen Alexandra and the Queen mother, Maria, as well as Prince Andrew, had been exhumed and repatriated some months ago from disparate burials over several decades in the USA (King Peter was the only monarch ever buried in the USA), England, and Greece. The funeral to the Royal Mausoleum of St. George in Oplenac in central Serbia on Sunday was led by H.R.H. Crown Prince Alexander II and Serbia’s President H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolić, attended by Prime Minister Mr. Ivica Dačić, and other dignitaries. President Nikolić observed that this was a cause for national reconciliation and unity, by correcting a historic injustice that had been perpetrated on the Karadjorjević dynasty by the former communist rulers of Yugoslavia, who abolished the monarchy and exiled its members. Crown Prince Alexander II, heir of the late King, observed that this event was a momentous occasion not only for his family but for all of Serbia, whose modern statehood was created when his ancestor, Kara-Djordj, liberated the country from foreign occupation. The former Serbian and later Yugoslav monarchy was one of the few dynasties indigenous to the region.
Among representatives of foreign countries with reigning royal families the funeral was also attended by several ambassadors as well as leaders of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Islamic faiths.  The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, a former Serbian foreign minister, also attended. In addition to Clans of Ireland being represented by Ambassador O’Donnel, Ireland was represented by Ms. Anne Pesic, resident Honorary Consul of Ireland in Serbia.
Ambassador O’Donnell served in Belgrade from 2000 to 2004 as the UN resident representative and coordinator, supporting the immediate post-Milosevic transition to stability in both Serbia and Montenegro. He was subsequently the UN representative/coordinator in Ukraine during and after the Orange Revolution, and recently completed a term as ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Slovakia. He is a member of the Board of the Clans of Ireland, the authority for authenticating and registering Irish clans and historic families, where he has represented the Clan O’Donnell of Tyrconnell for the past two years.

May 2013 - Dr. Mary McAleese Receives Order of Clans of Ireland

Rome 2013 Dr. Mary McAleese Receives Order of Clans of Ireland

On May 22nd Dr. Mary McAleese, 8th President of Ireland became a Companion of the Order of Clans of Ireland (CIOM) at a ceremony in Rome. The award was presented by His Excellency Mr. Patrick Hennessy, Ambassador of Ireland to Italy at the Villa Spada. Clans of Ireland was represented by Mr. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh, Vice Chairperson. The ceremony was followed by a formal dinner attended by members of the Irish Community in Rome. Dr. McAleese was chosen to receive the Order of Clans of Ireland for her work on building bridges between the nationalist and  unionist traditions in Ireland.


March 2013 - St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Canada

Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, is welcomed to St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Canada by His Excellency Mr. Ray Bassett, Irish Ambassador to Canada and Baron Denis Hoban, Ceannaire of the Hoban Clan.

March 2013 - Honours List Announced

Logo of the Clans of Ireland

The Chancellor of the Order of Clans of Ireland, Chev. Sean McClafferty has announced that the Council of the Order has approved the appointment of the following individuals as Companions of the Order of Clans of Ireland.
Dr. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland 1997-2011
Ambassador Brian Ó Cheallaigh, Irish Diplomat (retired)
Monsignor Pádraig O Fiannachta, Professor of Irish at Maynooth College (retired)
An tUasail Cathaoir Ó Tighearnaigh, Ceannaire Cumann na gClann Uí Thighearnaigh.
All of the above were chosen for this honour because of their significant contributions to Irish culture, heritage and public life. The conferral ceremony will take place on Saturday 27th April in the Mansion House when the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will present them with the insignia of the Order of Clans of Ireland. Dr. McAleese will receive her insignia at a separate ceremony at the Irish Embassy in Rome, Italy.

January 2013 - Clans of Ireland Signs Agreement with Scottish Chiefs

Scotlands Chief logo - wet yellow circle with three feather like mountains a top on blue background

Clans of Ireland is delighted to announce that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. This historic event took place at a meeting of the board on 26 January 2013 at Christ Church Cathedral. The MOU was signed for Clans of Ireland by Dr. Michael J.S. Egan, Cathaoirleach and for the Standing Council by Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor. As part of the agreement both organisations agree to recognise each other's authority over clans and to
support each other's respective goals.

November 2012 - Recordings from National Folklore Collection

The audio archive of the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, houses some 1,100 wax cylinder recordings of folk narratives, folk song and folk music. The earliest of these date from the 1890s on the occasion of the first national Feis Ceoil competitions, which were held in Dublin and Belfast. This unique collection spans almost sixty years of folklore recording up to the mid 20th century. A selection is now available on Béal Beo.

August 2012 - Head of Clan Receives Queen's Medal

Baron Denis Hoban receiving his Medal from his member of Parliament Laura Albanese M,P,P,  at the Lt Governor of Ontario committee Room , Queens Park, Parliament Buildings Toronto.


Baron Denis Hoban Ceannaire of the Hoban Clan is to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubiliee Medal. The Medal was created to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen of Canada in 2012. Baron Hoban is being honoured for his contributions to Canadian Society.



July 2012 - Jack Gargan Receives Clans Award in Bangkok

Jack Gargan of the MacGeoghegan Clan received the Order of Clans of Ireland at a ceremony in Bangkok,

On 3rd July Mr. Jack Gargan of the MacGeoghegan Clan received the Order of Clans of Ireland at a ceremony in Bangkok, in the Kingdom of Thailand where he lives. Mr. Gargan was nominated by his clan and was presented with the award by the Irish Honorary Consul General in Thailand Mr. Gary Biesty. Mr. Gargan is a founder of the MacGeoghegan Clan Society.

July 2012 - Willie McKenna Speaks about The Gathering

Willie McKenna a member of the board of Clans of Ireland and a member of the Clan MacKenna of Monaghan was recently interviewed on Monaghan TV about how his Clan is planning to mark The Gathering 2013. To see the interview

click here



July 2012 - Tánaiste Launches New Website for Clans of Ireland

The Tánaiste Mr. Eamon Gilmore T.D. officially launched the new website for Clans of Ireland on Thursday 19th July at 12.30pm at Government Buildings in Dublin.

The Tánaiste Mr. Eamon Gilmore T.D. officially launched the new website for Clans of Ireland on Thursday 19th July at 12.30pm at Government Buildings in Dublin.

The launch was also attended by members Senator Jimmy Harte and Senator David Norris both of whom held separate meetings with the board of Clans of Ireland at Leinster House, prior to the launch of the website at Government Buildings.

Speaking at the launch Chair of Clans of Ireland Dr. Michael J.S. Egan said “the internet is full of commercial sites that offer to connect members of the diaspora with their Irish Clan but fail to provide any authentic experience or follow through”… “The new website has been designed to make authentic information about Irish Clans and historical families more accessible and to assist those seeking to participate in The Gathering 2013 to contact a genuine Clan organisation”.

Anyone seeking to participate in The Gathering 2013 will be able to access information about their relevant clan gatherings through the Register of Clans which is authenticated and published on the website by Clans of Ireland. The number of Clan organisations is continuing to grow and Clans of Ireland ensures that these are authenticated according to historical and cultural standards.

May 2012 - President Higgins Receives Board of Clans of Ireland

President Higgins receives board of Clans of Ireland at Áras an Uachataráin

On Monday 28th May President Higgins received members of the board of Clans of Ireland at Áras an Uachtaráin. President Higgins is Patron of Clans of Ireland. During the meeting the President accepted his insignia as Patron and member of the Order of Clans of Ireland. The President praised the work of Clans of Ireland.

Board of Clans of Ireland

April 2012 - Government Minister to Confer Order of Clans of Ireland

Mr Leo Varadkar the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Transport

The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Transport will confer the Order of Clans of Ireland on 4 individuals at a special ceremony at the Mansion House on Saturday 28th April 2012. The Minister has agreed to stand in for the Patron of Clans of Ireland President Higgins who was not available to attend the ceremony this year. Those chosen to receive the Order of Clans of Ireland were nominated by their Clans as an acknowledgement of their outstanding contributions to Irish heritage and culture.

April 2012 - Annual General Meeting 2012

Pic of Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2

The 2012 Annual General Meeting of Clans will take place on Saturday 28th April in the Oak Room at the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2. We are grateful to the Lord Mayor of Dublin for inviting us again to hold the AGM and conferring of the Order of Clans of Ireland at his official residence. Further details will be issued in early 2012 but in the meantime put the date in your diaries.


March 2012 - "Royal Harpist" to Play at Clans of Ireland Conferring

pic of harpist Áine Ní Dhubhghaill

Clans of Ireland is delighted to announce that harpist Áine Ní Dhubhghaill has agreed to perform at the conferring of the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit in the Mansion House, Dublin on the 28th April. Áine is from Dublin and was immersed in Irish traditional music from an early age. She has had numerous performances at harp festivals and concerts around the world including the US, Hungary, the Netherlands, Brittany, Wales, Scotland, England, Germany and Vietnam. She has premiered compositions by one of Scotland’s foremost harper composers, Savourna Stevenson and Dr Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. Her recordings include several film scores and CDs and a feature on renowned Irish broadcaster Ciarán MacMathúna's RTÉ’s "A Touch of the Master's Hand" and the recently released RTÉ CD “ Masters of the Irish Harp”. As a Concert Harpist, Áine has played with orchestras and ensembles including the RTÉCO and the RTÉNSO. She teaches harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and has been a committee member of Cairde na Cruite for many years. Áine is co-editor of Rogha na gCruitirí, Harpers’ Choice – 100 traditional tunes for Irish harp, published by Cairde na Cruite in 2010 to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. In May 2011 she was chosen by President McAleese to play for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Áras an Uachataráin.

March 2012 - St. Patrick's Day - Order of Merit Announced

St. Patrick's Day 2012


The Council of the Order of Clans of Ireland announces the names of the individuals to be honoured in 2012. Having been nominated, those who receive the award of Companion of the Order of Clans of Ireland (CIOM) were selected by the Council of the Order based on their contributions to Irish Clans, Culture and Heritage. The following have been chosen to receive the Order of Clans of Ireland:


  • Nuala Cassidy CIOM, genealogist responsible for identifying former United States President Bill Clinton's Irish roots.
  • Vincent O'Donnell CIOM, historian, O'Donnell Clan Association secretary, activist and musician.
  • Byron Egan (USA) JD CIOM, Vice Chair American M&A Committee American Bar Council, Chair of Texas Business Law Association.
  • Michael D. Higgins CIOM, President of Ireland.
  • James Mulvihill (USA) CIOM, former Research Chemist and Director of Research
  • John Gargan (Thailand) CIOM, author and retired professor of finance, former National Chairman of the Reform Party (USA).
  • Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle RIA CIOM, author and academic at National University of Ireland Galway who transcribed and translated MacFhirbhisigh’s Great Book of Irish Genealogies.

Conferring ceremonies will take place in Dublin, Bunratty and in Bangkok.




February 2012 - Dr. Don Ramon, The O'Dogherty, Chief of the Name, Lord of Inishowen.

Don Ramon, The O'Dogherty, Chief of the Name, Lord of Inishowen.

Clans of Ireland was sad to hear of the recent passing of the late Dr. Ramón O'Dogherty, Chief of the Name, in Cadiz, Spain (92 years of age). Dr. O'Dogherty was a Physician in Spain where his ancestors had settled in the 17th century. He studied Medicine at the Universities of Cadiz and Madrid. He was a member of the Royal Academies of Medicine of Palma de Mallorca, of San Romualdo of Letters, Arts and Sciences and was a member of the Supreme Council of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John the Baptist in Cadiz. In 1990, Dr. O'Dogherty visit his ancient territory in Donegal where he was acclaimed at an inauguration ceremony by a gathering of over 200 members of his clan. He was also a member of the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains. He is survived by his wife Doña Catalina Fabra, daughters Cristina and Begoña, and his Tanist Ramón who will succeed his father as Chief of the Name.


February 2012 - Adrian Gallagher, Ceannaire Clan Gallagher with Leo Varadkar, Minister for Tourism

Adrian Gallagher, Ceannaire Clan Gallagher with Leo Varadkar, Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport at the Colmcille School in Gartan, Co. Donegal on Sunday 26 February.


January 2012 - Royal Patron for Mac Clafferty of Ulster Clan.

The Mac Clafferty of Ulster Clan is pleased to announce that on the 15th March 2012
His Royal Highness Prince Dom Miguel de Braganca, Infante of Portugal and Duke of Viseu, was pleased to accept the office of Royal Patron of the Mac Clafferty of Ulster Clan. His Royal Highness was presented with a piece of Irish Bog Oak by the Clan Commander Sean McClafferty who was Invested on the occasion as a Knight in the Royal Order of St Michael of the Wing by the Duke.
Further details: