Newsletter No. 67

Autumn 2017

Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co. Clare, Ireland

Location of 2017 Kelly Clans Gathering.

In this issue:

Our newest members, to whom we extend our warmest welcome.

Whether you attended the recent Gathering in Spanish Point, Co Clare or not, you will no doubt enjoy reading the personal review and pictures graciously provided by Ray T. Kelly who now lives in Florida.

Our condolences to long-time member and Past Uachtaran and Tanaiste, Joe A Kelly, on the death of his sister, Nancy (Sr. Antoinette Kelly.) He has shared her eulogy with us. She sounds like someone we would have enjoyed knowing in our Kelly Clan Gatherings. She was definitely a member in spirit. There is also a picture of many of Joe’s family members. Joe’s nephew, Ray Kelly (mentioned above) appears there, also.

Both Mary and I have spoken with Michael Healy, a genealogist specializing in Irish ancestry, and a tour guide/reunion organizer, with Kellys in his family tree (his great-grandmother was Barbara Kelly from Co. Mayo.) He has projects planned which might be of interest to many of you, especially if you have links to County Mayo, Kerry or Cork.

Letter from outgoing Editor –Mary Kelly
Mary Kelly

You will have noticed we have a new editor for our newsletters. As the retiring editor I felt it was time we had some “new blood” doing the job and was delighted when Judy Kelly Fausch agreed to take it on.

Judy has always been an excellent ambassador for the Kelly Clan. I first met her in Spanish Point, Co Clare at the Kelly Clan Gathering in 2001. It was a friendship that started immediately and one of those ones with the feeling that you have known that person forever! Despite the distance between us – Judy lives in Iowa and me in Co Clare – our friendship has flourished and grown over the years and even if we don’t speak for a couple of weeks or more, it was like we spoke yesterday. Judy has always been more than willing to help and assist in any way she can to further the development of the Clan and long may this continue.

I hope that you, our dear readers, will be able to support Judy and send anything of interest to her for inclusion in the newsletters. Sometimes I used to sit at the computer and stare at it, looking for inspiration to start a newsletter, but then someone would send a little snippet in and off I would go from there. As I have said many times before “it is your newsletter” and we love to hear from you with any anecdotes, newsy items, historical pieces, DNA reports, etc. etc.

Having said that, I am thrilled to hand over to Judy and wish her well with her “new career”! Oh, I’d better make sure I send stuff in to her as well. See you all in future pages. Mary K

Letter from your Editor – Judy Kelly Fausch

Our President, Mary Kelly, has been very adroitly writing, soliciting articles for and assembling the newsletter for quite some time, as well as performing her many other duties. I speak for many when I extend a big THANK YOU to Mary for a job well done. You’ve earned a break.

The first Kelly Clan Gathering in 1995 at the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon Town, Co. Roscommon, was my introduction to this group. Traveling from my home in Central Iowa, USA, I have attended many Gatherings since then and have been on the Kelly Clan Council for a number of years. Many of you realize what a wealth of knowledge we have within our membership. I’m counting on the input of many people to help me produce a newsletter that will continue to be interesting, informative, and a way for us to stay in touch.

Contact us with comments, questions, information to share:

Uachtaran, Mary Kelly/Tom Mernagh

Secretary, Bernie Kelly/Treasurer, Michael Kelly

Editor, Judy Kelly Fausch

Facebook Page Kelly Clan Association [Muintir Ui Cheallaigh]

Ray Kelly, clan liaison for Website,

Other Council Members: Aidan Kelly,

Dom Celsus Kelly,

Joe A Kelly,

Count Robert O’Kelly,

Newest members :

Patricia(Trish) and Pat Kelly Oracle, AZ Matthew Kelly, Shropshire, UK

John Anderson, Powell, OH Michael Kelly, Dublin

David Kelly, New York Randall Kelly, Stafford, VA

Raymond Kelly, Tampa, FL

Failte Ui Ceallaigh (the O’Kelly Welcome) to all of you.

We hope to see you often in the future.

Partial Group Picture taken 21 May, 2017
Partial Group Picture taken 21 May, 2017


Report from the 12th biennial Gathering of the Kelly Clan Association, by Ray Kelly

As a youth, I grew up in England, but spent most of my summers in Ireland where I developed a strong sense that this was ‘home’. Some of my earliest memories occurred on the Kelly farm at Clonina on the west coast of Ireland. As I drove closer to these Kelly lands, memories started to flood back of my time there, particularly the complex smells of Gran Kelly’s pea and ham soup cooking in the big black cauldron on top of the turf fire in the old kitchen, the burning of peat, and the fresh hay being readied for the harvest. I recalled with great clarity the bountiful views and the green of the Irish countryside, a green composed of fields, meadows, and ancient trees spun with ivy, mosses, ferns, and the soft light that plays over the peat bogs.

It was May of 2017 and I was driving along the almost deserted roads on the way to the Kelly Clan Gathering being held this year in the beautiful Armada Hotel at Spanish Point on the Wild Atlantic Way in Country Clare. The closer I got to the hotel the more excited I became about attending this 12th biennial gathering of Kellys from dozens of countries across the globe. I also eagerly anticipated meeting up with many of my closer relatives from Clare and England, some of whom had been members of The Kelly Clan Association since its inauguration in 1995. I simply rejoiced in the land of my ancestors, a land that always exceeds my expectations – it simply defies the imagination. Here, warmth and hospitality still rub shoulders with reserve and thoughtfulness. It is this intense individuality and stubborn sense of tradition that brought my ancestors a history full of glory and often much sadness. Fate has condemned this great land to centuries of emigration, although, like me, many of its descendants return from time to time, to stand lost in admiration of the Irish culture and tradition that go back thousands of years.

I am now living in the USA, a country that is very proud of its Irish heritage. This article is my humble attempt to pass on this appreciation of the efforts of so many that have built this organization over the years. Although my primary purpose of attending the Gathering was to continue my quest to develop a deeper understanding of my ancestral history, it was also to enjoy the company of my brother David, uncle Joe and several Kelly cousins along with a wonderful variety of wonderful Irish people. I had travelled for more than 20 hours and over 8,000 kilometers to attend this brief gathering, and as always, after a visit to the Emerald Isle, I left with a better appreciation for the land, its inhabitants and an epiphany of our closeness to Kellys all over the world. For that I want to thank everybody involved in the Kelly Clan Association, including Tainaste uncle Joseph Arthur Kelly, and our excellent host and MC, Tom Mernagh and his wife Mary Kelly who is the current president of the Kelly Clan Association.

The three day event was held from May 19th to May 21st starting on Friday afternoon and finishing midafternoon Sunday, giving us all plenty of time to meet and spend time with our long-distance relatives. Although all three days were very interesting, the highlight for me was the interesting presentation from Paddy Waldron, the renowned genealogist and distant cousin from the Craggaknock line. Paddy’s research is comprehensive and very accessible and is a superb resource for family history experts and neophytes alike. Although the leader of the Kelly DNA study, Aidan Kelly, was unable to attend, he forwarded an entertaining video presentation that provided an excellent overview of the state of the Kelly DNA study. He explained that the current research shows there are many genetically distinct Kelly based families, including several dominant branches that include the Ui Maine Kellys, and my line, the descendants of Brian Boru.

Paddy helped me deliver a supplementary presentation that Aidan had developed, which provided lots of useful technical detail on the DNA studies of the Kelly family. This generated lots of interesting questions and further discussions over the weekend on the DNA research. 5

Saturday afternoon featured a fun bus trip through the Burren, along the cliffs of Moher, and into Doolin and Liscannor where the group paid homage to the inventor of the world’s first submarine, John Holland. Saturday’s events concluded with an outstanding gala dinner and we were all entertained until the wee hours by honorary chieftain, Joe Kelly and some local musicians, dancers, singers and comedians, many of whom were attending the Gathering.

Joe A Kelly and nephew, Ray T Kelly
Joe A Kelly and nephew, Ray T Kelly


I started “tracing” as a 10-year-old in the late 1960’s primarily as something different to do during my many summer holidays visiting the old country. For more than 45 years I have continued to visit with hundreds of relatives throughout Ireland, painstakingly recording the many family stories, along with years of research of public records, and using as many formal and informal genealogical sources that I could find. At the Clan gathering it was incredible seeing so many people poring over early copies of the genealogy report of this branch of the Kelly family that I first started in the early 1980’s, and one that now lists several thousand descendants of the Kelly family starting in the 17th century.

In all this time, I was never able to find a direct Kelly line to ancestors before Tadhg an Oir Kelly who was born around 1790 in County Clare. Thanks to the amazing modern DNA research of several pioneers, especially Aidan Kelly, I was amazed to discover on this trip that DNA research indicates that my line are direct descendants of the great Irish king, Brian Boru, and are therefore originally from the O’Brien Clan.

The modern records of the Kelly family are comprehensive since the O’Kelly family first settled in County Clare in Ireland in the 17th century. However, the records of our Kelly and O’Brien ancestors date back to a much earlier time. With the punishing wars of the 11th century, the Great Famine of the 17th century, and the tough penal laws in Ireland during the 18th century, it is amazing that we are around to tell the story.

Ray T Kelly


Ray T Kelly has been a student of genealogy for over 45 years, and acquainted with the Kelly Clan Association since 1995. He was born in St. Albans, England, to Irish parents from west Clare. He now lives in Tampa, Florida in the USA with his beautiful wife Tricia. They have four boys and three grandchildren. His family tree traces directly back to Tadhg an Oir O’Kelly and Honora Mahon from Cloughanbeg in County Clare in the 17th century, and is always interested in hearing from relatives. If you are interested in more information, please email him at


Editor’s Note: Tonii Kelly, who splits her time between Florida and Gort, Co. Galway, spoke to the group on Friday evening, sharing her experiences in tracing Kelly ancestors.

Pedigree chart for Ray Kelly

Mary Clancy and the Mary Clancy Set Dancers entertained the group after the Evening Banquet on Saturday. With some prompting, many “audience” members became very active “participants,” joining the dancers, sharing songs and group dances. 6

The Noon AGM (Agenda for General Assembly) was well attended on Sunday. The participation was thoughtful and lively, with many interesting ideas for continuing our organization and growing membership. We’ll keep you posted on follow-up. Thank you to all who took part.

Sunday afternoon, Trisha Kelly of Tucson, AZ gave a presentation on “DNA 101.” Unfortunately, many people were unable to attend this one because of timing. It was especially succinct and well-organized and probably appealed to those who have not delved as deeply into DNA studies in the past. Trisha gives presentations on DNA for the LDS Library (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints “Mormons,”) so is well-suited to explaining the basics for a broad audience.
A special mention to Bridget Kelly, who did a sterling job of helping the whole weekend run smoothly. No issue was too insignificant for her to tackle. THANK YOU! WELL DONE!

(Relationships are shown from perspective of Joe A. Kelly.)
Back row, L to R;- My Brother Pat, RIP. Brother in law, John Theodorson, RIP. Nephew, John Theodorson, Yours Truly (Joe A). My brother, Tom, RIP. Next row, on his own, Son Liam, RIP. Then, from L- R;- First wife, Nancy, RIP. On her knee,son Sean. Niece, Carmel. Tom’s first wife, Frances,RIP. In her arms, nephew,David. Son Pat. Sister, Nancy (Sr Antoinette) RIP. Sister,Susan Theodorson, RIP. Son Brian. Nephew, Raymond T.Kelly, In Front, daughter Bridget.

Eulogy for Sr Antoinette Kelly

It is with thanksgiving and a tinge of sadness that we gather to remember and honour our much loved Sister Antoinette Kelly. For those of us who have lived in the Subiaco for many years, Antoinette is a “new-comer.” She joined this community over 7 year ago when she said farewell to her Kimberley Community – where she spent more than 50 years.

We have come to know Antoinette as a kind, gentle and prayerful Sister, with bright eyes and a ready smile. She had a welcome for all, eager to share stories of past and present days. Antoinette was generous in giving and gracious in receiving, and had a special love and appreciation for the nurses and carers who attended to her every need. She had a special welcome for Kimberley Sisters and people from Derby and Broome. They were her “soul friends,” the people she worked with through the heat of the day and the humidity of the tropical nights – where for many years there were few comforts.

Antoinette was open to the gift of the present moment, and to see the hand of God at work in the ups and downs of life. In her later years she lived a contemplative quiet life and loved to sit in silence – even when surrounded by busy people. She was a woman with strong faith and a deep love of people, especially those in any kind of need. 8

The people of the Kimberley came to know her as friend, companion, nurse and midwife. Here she spent her ministry life caring for the sick, the elderly, mothers and babies, those with leprosy and those with infectious diseases.

Antoinette (Nancy) was born in Cree, Cooraclare, Co Clare, Ireland on 26 July 1922, to Bridget and Patrick Kelly. She had 4 brothers and one sister, Carmel.* She is survived by her brother, Joe, and many nieces and nephews whom she loved very much. She entered

the St John of God Congregation on 25 May 1946 and was professed on 18 Dec 1948. A few months later with her companions, she set sail for Australia where she began her nurse training at St John of God Hospital, Subiaco (Perth). She made final profession on 18 Dec 1951.

After a short time in Geraldton, Antoinette volunteered for the Kimberley mission. She arrived in Broome on 21 June 1956 with Sr Remedius Murphy. Witnessing the tragedy of Remedius’ accidental drowning on the edge of Broome Beach, in March 1958, was a painful memory she rarely shared.

Her first ministry in the Kimberley was to the isolated mission of Beagle Bay, where she was the only nurse. She attended to every “emergency.” The nearest doctor, in Broome, visited every six weeks, and he was a full day’s journey away – along a dirt track in the 1950s. Antoinette became friends with the Aboriginal people and had great regard for their simplicity of life and survival skills. May Howard became a special friend – whom Antoinette could rely on, as she was the accepted local “baby deliverer!” They remained lifelong friends.

In the early 1960’s Antoinette was appointed to the Native Hospital in Derby. “This Hospital was poorly equipped, run-down buildings, little medicine – and trucks that pulled up loaded with sick people, mothers with dying babies from far-away stations”, is how it was described. The Sisters coped as best they could. There were no fans, no airconditioners to counter the soaring summer heat under a low tin roof. It was here that Antoinette came to understand and appreciate the Aboriginal culture and their way of life.

In 1966 Antoinette was among the group of six John of God Nursing Sisters who moved with 90 Aboriginal patients, from the “old Native Hospital” in Derby to the Government Hospital. It was a historic moment, as it was the first time in the Kimberley to combine Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients in the same hospital. In her role as Nurse-inCharge of Maternity, Antoinette combined her professional skills with her kind and gentle personality, attending to all without distinction of race, colour or creed.

Antoinette was appointed Regional Leader in the Kimberley in the early 1970s, a role she carried with kindness, but never “fell in love with the role.” As Regional Leader she moved to the Leprosarium where she took her turn in nursing duties – in a challenging environment – remembering that the minimum stay for patients at the Leprosarium was at least 8 years. She remained at the leprosarium until it closed in 1986.

In all these years Antoinette not only contributed to medical care but became a truly loved and revered friend to so many of the patients. That friendship and support continued long after the closure of the Leprosarium, when she joined the Staff of the Kimberley

Infectious Disease Unit – where she worked closely with Sr Francis Dunne and Dr Randy Spargo and the team of Community Health Nurses.

In 1996 she finally retired from her nursing ministry. 9

Even in her retirement she continued a pastoral role. Her friendship with families, nursing staff and Community Health personnel continued to grow over the years. Now that she had time, Antoinette enjoyed her creative talents. She loved nature and her garden which was her pride and joy. This was a great resource for her to provide regular and fitting floral arrangements for the Church. She learned the computer and loved making cards and writing emails. She was devoted to her family & kept regular contact with them. She enjoyed family visits and news of Gatherings of the “Kelly gang” in Ireland. With a twinkling eye she was happy to claim an ancestral connection to Ned Kelly and “his gang!”

In conclusion, it suffices to say that the Sisters of St John of God and the people of the Kimberley have been greatly enriched by the life-long contribution of the gentle and prayerful Sr Antoinette Kelly. May we be encouraged by the example of her life, and the God-spirit she shared with us. May you rest in peace, Antoinette.

*Editor’s Note: Per Joe, there were 4 sisters in this family: Christina (RIP), Susan (RIP), Carmel (RIP) and Nancy (Sr. Antoinette RIP)

Joe’s comments about his sister: “Nancy and I were always very close. She was a wonderful sister, very understanding and helpful with a great modest sense of humour.

Her name, Kelly, made a great difference to her in Australia because of Ned!”

Mike Healy and his wife, Victoria Christie-Healy

Ireland RnR Tours company is a veteran owned business based in the USA. Tour organizers and hosts are Mike Healy and his wife, Victoria Christie-Healy.

Mike Healy is a USMA West Point and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland graduate with a deep love and appreciation of all that Ireland has to offer to the tourist. In addition to his passion for Ireland travel, Mike is a professional genealogist, specializing in helping people around the world find their Irish ancestors’ origins and birthplaces in Ireland back to 1840. In providing his Irish genealogy services, Mike’s ultimate goals are to find, retrieve, and deliver to his clients their Irish ancestors’ official Irish church baptism certificates and Irish government birth certificates. Mike developed his interest and passion for Irish genealogy through the study of his own Irish family history, (Mike’s great-grandmother was Barbara Kelly from Co. Mayo) stimulated by lengthy Healy family history conversations and discussions with his relatives in Ireland.

Mike Healy is a Tourism Ireland Certified Ireland Specialist, Owner and Tour Director at Ireland Reunions Tours – College Alumni Class and Family Reunion Gatherings in Ireland, Certificate of Irish Heritage Affiliated Genealogist, Author/Photographer of “Irish Genealogy Tips, Techniques and Tales” , “Ireland Mosaic: A Photo Journey”, and “Pubs of Ireland” series eBooks in the following online bookstores | | 10 and the Apple iBookstore. Search Keyword: M.D. Healy. Web: and

Mike’s Ireland RnR Tours YouTube Channel,, , has over 200 short videos shot in Ireland for viewers to preview all that we do in Ireland on our tours.

Victoria Christie-Healy has been knitting since childhood with long breaks taken for schooling, family raising and careers. She has been devoting herself to this obsession for knitting most seriously for the past dozen years or so. In recent years Victoria has been a member of the Loudoun Valley Sheep Producer’s Association, giving time and attention to their Wool Shop. This has been a wonderful way to learn about breed specific artisan wool yarns that are available through local sheep farms.

Her career as a knitting teacher started at the Reston Community Center in 2009. She has taught beginning and intermediate knitting classes for the Reston, Herndon and Vienna community Centers.

Most knitters eventually do some charity work, and Victoria is no exception. She donated some of her teaching time to be auctioned off by the Reston Interfaith organization.