Speach given to Book Launch by Joe Kelly, Uachtaran; The Kelly Clans Association

Failte Ui Ceallaigh  

The Ó Ceallaigh Welcome

“A blessed, long living, great,  courteous welcome,
An affectionate, charitable, just, proper, true hearted welcome,
A welcome and twenty, and I add hundreds to them,
Like the surge of the stream is my welcome to you”.  

The words of Wm Bueide O’Kelly in 1351 to his guests at his historic gathering.
Bit like Cade Mile Failte.
Reading through the index of Dr Joes book I see a references to about 60 0’Kellys, some are mentioned a few times.
In fact one O’Kelly was referred to nearly 30 times. Must have been the bar man.
The O’Maddens also feature, one of which held the Lordship of Ui Mhaine at one time. 

My name is Joe Kelly, I’m Uachtaran of The Kelly Clans Association and generation 46 from Mhaine Mor.
I’m here this evening on behalf the O’Kelly clan of Ui Mhaine in support of Dr Joe Mannion’s book “ANGLICIZING TUDOR CONNACHT”.
A book we totally endorse. A book which examines in great detail the implantation and effect of the Tudor policy of “surrender and regrant.
And I would say to any student of history if you wish to know about “ a land grab” or a “regime change”, popular actions these days when you look at Ukraine and Gaza, this is the go to book. It’s now linked on our web site. www.kellyclans.ie 

Background on Kelly Clan association

The Association was formed in May 1995 in Co Roscommon. With the expressed view of forging links with other O’Kelly septs, of which we know about 18.
1 in Cornwall, 1 in The isle of Mann, 2 in Scotland and 14 here in Ireland.
The O’Kellys of Ui Mhaine being the biggest and most powerful. We share history with them but not DNA.
The associations highlight was it’s biannual gathering. The last one was in May 2019 and nothing since.
COVID and it’s restrictions did not help our cause, coupled with retirement of senior clan members and the loss of others due to natural causes.
I bring to mind Judy from Ohio our news letter editor.
Dr Joe Kelly our historian, from Oranmore. mentioned here in Dr Joe Mannion’s introduction.
Michael Shellfish Kelly our Treasurer from just down the road in Kilcolgan and I would also like to include Bernie his wife our clan secretary who has retired.
John J Kelly of Cappaghwhite recently deceased.
All stalwarts of the clan. 

Our aims;

Our immediate aims are to create an awareness of the noble clan of Ó Ceallaigh who were the heraldic chiefs of east Galway/West Roscommon, and ruled this territory for about 1200 years, We recall the deeds of our ancestors. To record their achievements in a meaningful way less they be forgotten.. warts and all.
To mention just a few To tell the story of Mhaine Mor our progenitor known as Maine of the chess boards.
Tadhg Mor O Ceallaigh Died at battle of Clontarf in 1014.
Col Charles O’Kelly served under two European kings returned to Ireland and fought in the Williamite wars on the Jacobite side at the age of seventy.
Rev Thomas Kelly his family late of Fidane, known as the hymn writer. He started his own religious sect called the Kellyites. During his time he wrote over 700 hymns . William Buide O’Ceallaigh. Poet, warrior, clan chief. Built Kilconnell monastery. Well researched by Dr Daniel Curly.
Sir Edward Kelly. Bit of the occult here. The alchemist to the royal courts of Europe. Claimed he could speak with angels and turn mercury into gold. He may have been able to speak to angels but he couldn’t fly. He was thrown from the wall of Hněvín Castle in Most in the Czech Republic. A most tragic accident.
William Patrick O’Kelly the man who shot the man who shot Jessy James. Tried and sentenced to be hanged for murder, released on appeal and public lobby.
Any Kelly connection to Al Capone and the ‘mob’ And many many more.
What a story we have to tell.

Update on current situation 

To continue research into our clan history.

We recently acquired the Muckloon Papers, near Ballyforan. Little known on this family and General Sir Richard’s claim to be “The O’Kelly”
A soldier who showed extreme personal courage when confronted by the Russians at a battle in the Crimea.
Wounded seven times a true hero and well worthy of the O’Kelly title.
The papers are now to be deposited with the James Hardiman library here in Galway.
Many years ago I asked the office of the chief Herald is there a list of who and how many O’Kellys were “The O’Kelly” chief of his name after 1585.
They had no idea. 

The storm of COVID is over and we are now in recovery mode. Last year we tested the waters with an informal afternoon of talks in Athleague.
Assisted by Nollaig Feeney the heritage officer for Roscommon Co Council. Our team that day was Dr Daniel Curley, also mentioned in Dr Joe’s introduction, Tomas O Brogain of Orais Living History and Dr Padraig Lenihan.
Padraig had to shorten his schedule on the day. The admin was our clan secretary Michele O’Kelly Brown assisted by Dee Kelly. Padraig, Tomas, and I had previously worked together very successfully over ten years on our “Aughrim Remembered” project.
We are now in the process of re organisation with a focus on the O’Kellys of Hy Many.
During the pandemic we did not stand still and started a Reconnect project verified through DNA and have been successful in re connecting with the following families who had in the early days branched from the main O’Kelly family.
The first to branch were the MacEgans, line 16 from Mhaine Mor followed by the O’Madden line 18, around the time of the battle of Clontarf.
Then MacKeoghs Line 27 and a second MacKeogh family at line 28 . – and a very exciting reconnect with The Traynors who branched sometime in the 600s.
A line we knew practically nothing about. We are in contact with members of these families all carrying the O’Kelly DNA. 

To mention a few others in more recent history;

A Kelly family who’s line returned from Scotland and settled in Ulster for a while then moved to the south as builders with Lord Downshire Michael Hawkes (Ryan) who has recorded the sad and upsetting story of his adoption to an American family and the appalling treatment he and his twin sister received from the church and the state in his search for information on his birth farther. All in his published book “ Isle of Hope”. Michael and I according to FTDNA are 3 to 5th cousins. 

Ronald Wayne Kelly’s story;

Vietnam Veteran – US Navy-Lieutenant Captain – U.S. Coast Guard – Retired (18 years)
Former Special Agent of the FBI Retired 22 years service. 

Last September Ron was put in touch with me by Marie Mannion, the Galway heritage officer.
I met up with Ron and Nancy his wife prior to their departure to Louisiana their home state.
His information was very exciting regarding his ancestors departure to the new world in the 1640s. Cromwell came to my mind.
Ron undertook to do a DNA and the result confirmed his Ui Mhaine connection.
The christian names he gave me of his male ancestors were common to many O’Kelly lines but it was the names of their wives which helped us focus. We were able to tell him the family line he is related to. Here is a bit of what we have. 

David O’Killia. According to records available on Ancestry.com was born in Gallagh, Ireland in 1636.
He arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1644 a voyage which took about two months he was 8 years of age.
On October 4, 1655 he was recorded in Plymouth County, Massachusetts as an indentured servant to an Edward Sturges ( age 11 ) and before that as a servant to John Darby of Yarmouth, Mass.
In 1657 he was admitted inhabitant of Yarmouth and recorded as David O’Kelly, “the Irishman” ( age 24 ).
He died 10 February, 1697 in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. ( age 61)
His wife was Jane Powell ( 1650-1711).
We are still in touch with Ron and he is one very happy American.
Incidentally over 40% of our membership is from America.
Most of this work is referenced from the O’Donovan genealogical table and Dr Joe Kellys archives. 


Dr Joes book will be an powerful source of information in our ongoing research project, his research is invaluable and I am looking forward to discussing it in greater detail with Dr Joe.
We have a good team now and many potential projects in mind and will kickoff this year with a few afternoon lectures in different parts of O’Kelly country.
This is just a snapshot of what the O’Kelly clan in modern times is about.
In closing I thank Dr Joe for your invitation to be here tonight and wishing you every success with your book and for the future.

Thank you. 

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