Newsletter No. 73

Kelly Clans group at Aughrim
Kelly Clans group at Aughrim 18th May 2019
Plaque commemorating those who died at the battle of Aughrim
Plaque commemorating those who died at the battle of Aughrim

In this issue:

Letter from the Editor
New Members
New Council Members
Contact Us
Obituary for Dr. Joe Kelly
Reflections from Council Member Joe A Kelly
2019 Kelly Clan Gathering
Gala Dinner, Sunday Afternoon AGM
Subscriptions to Kelly Clans
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
Flyer for Aughrim Remembered Summer School 2019

Letter from your Editor – Judy Kelly Fausch

Judy Kelly Fausch
Judy Kelly Fausch Editor

The past few months have been quite eventful. The biennial Kelly Clan Gathering was held in Athlone on the 17th-19th of May. There is much information in this newsletter about that Gathering.
You’ll note there was much discussion about the future of the Clan. If anyone has any ideas to share with the Council, we would encourage you to contact us before the next Council meeting in September with your comments and suggestions.
Shortly after the Gathering, many of us were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of longtime Council member and historian, Dr. Joe Kelly on May 28, 2019 (RIP). We send our condolences to his wife, Angela and family, and his brother, and current Council member, Dr. Des Kelly.
His obituary is printed in this newsletter with some reflections from long-time friend and fellow Council member, Joe A Kelly.

Members – Thank you to all who have paid their membership fees.

New Members

Failte Ui Cheallaigh (O’Kelly Welcome) to these new members: 

Tina O’Kelly, County Kildare, Ireland

Michele Browne, County Meath, Ireland

A special welcome to our newest Council members:

Count Robert O’Kelly,
Countess Tina O’Kelly
Michele Browne,
Gearóid O’Ceallaigh

Contact us with comments, questions, information to share.

Contact Us

Council Members

Clan Chieftain, Count Robert O’Kelly

Uachtaran, Mary Kelly

Secretary, Bernie Kelly

DNA Study; Aidan Kelly

Gearóid O’Ceallaigh

Michele Browne

Facebook Page Kelly Clan Association [Muintir Ui Cheallaigh]

Council Members

Countess Tina O’Kelly

Tanaiste, Dr. Des Kelly

Editor, Judy Kelly Fausch

Dom Celsus Kelly,

Joe A Kelly,

Tom Mernagh

Obituary for Dr. Joseph Kelly, longtime Council member/historian for the Kelly Clan Association

Dr Joe Kelly
Dr. Joseph Kelly

KELLY, Joe (M. Ch., Orth. F.R.C.S.I.) May 28, 2019; (Maree Road, Oranmore, Co. Galway and 9formerly Béal an Mhuirthead/Belmullet, Co. Mayo) (peacefully) after a sudden illness, surrounded by his loving family in the wonderful care of the staff at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin following the excellent work of the A & E Dept., at UHG. Predeceased by his parents Dr. Thomas and Bridget Agnes and his brothers Tommy and Vivian. Beloved husband of Angela (née Kehoe) and much loved father of Tomás, Joe, Úna, Aonghus, Éadaoin and Galvea, grandfather (Dadó) of Bea, Zolea, Banba, Oscar, Surnaí and Art. Sadly missed by his wife, sons and daughters, grandchildren, sisters Mary, Geraldine and Rosaleen, brother Des, son-in-law Dana, daughters-in-law Elaine and Paula, nieces and nephews, colleagues and many friends. Reposing at home today (Thursday) from 4p.m. to 8p.m. Requiem Mass tomorrow (Friday) at 1p.m. at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Oranmore, Co. Galway. Funeral after Mass to Renville cemetery, Oranmore. Family flowers only and donations in lieu to the Simon Community ( please if desired. Slán agus grá mo chroí go deo na ndeo

–From The Irish Times

Reflections from Council Member Joe A Kelly

Some of the most enjoyable times of my life were spent in the company of Joe and his wonderful wife, Angela in Oranmore and in their cottage in Connemara.  

Oranmore became a second home to my wife Sue and me when she was able to join with me, on my earlier frequent visits to Ireland. We have fond memories of their stay with us in Northampton for a weekend, together with the Clan Council. We also enjoyed a lovely weekend in Brussels where we spent time with family.   

Over the centuries the human race has been blessed with many great people whose legacies last over the test of time and Joseph M. Kelly must surely find his place among those illustrious of people.

‘Dr. Joe’ was all that was necessary for us to identify this genius and most wonderful man. Not only was he an encyclopedia of information on all branches of Kellys everywhere but he also held in his memory a host of information on many old Irish families.

There is a tiny village called ‘Kelly’ in Devon, U.K. I discovered it by accident some years ago as it wasn’t on my road atlas and I intended visiting it, out of curiosity. I mentioned it to Joe who informed me that he had already visited it, that Kellys lived there in the big house, that he had called there, met the Kelly owner and had full details of their history! 

Over the years since the formation of our Muintir Ui Ceallaigh Clan, Joe played a major part in its organisation, being our permanent Ollamh, – Genealogy Professor – where he guided us in all aspects of Clan tradition and especially in the accuracy of our history.  ‘Ask Dr. Joe’ became the standard reply to anyone wishing for information on family genealogy. 

Joe was most charitable in his nice way of explaining the established facts as we sometimes have differing stories handed down by word of mouth. He very much enjoyed relating extra details to the pure genealogy.  Here are just a couple of examples:

A Kelly farm worker who emigrated made a lot of money, came back home, bought a farm, kept horses and in due course won a gentleman’s horse-riding race. He was refused the trophy on the grounds that he was not a ‘gentleman’. He took his case to court, was represented by Danial O’Connell, who asked if they considered the Lord Chancellor of England a Gentleman. They said ‘of course he is’. When it was pointed out that the Lord Chancellor’s father was only a barber Kelly was presented with the Trophy!  

There was the story of a fairly high-ranking man called Kirwan who ordained that when he died, he should be buried standing upright in a plot on top of a very steep hill. A Massey Ferguson tractor was borrowed to transport the body up there. Joe said to me ‘it might not have done much for the Kirwan Clan but there was an increase in the sales of Massey Ferguson tractors for awhile!”

Joe left a legacy of very useful information and in particular, I consider his book, O’Kelly PEOPLE AND PLACES; ISBN 0 946538 24 7 a most important document for reference.

His very thorough and time-consuming research is illustrated in just a minuscule way here! ‘………..I am grateful to the staffs of the Galway County Library, the National Library, the John Ryland Library Manchester, the County Library Roscommon, and the Library of the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin. Last but by no means least, I would like to give a special thanks to all the Kellys who shared their stories and the histories with me…….’

In listening to Dr. Joe’s presentations, a couple of lines from Oliver Goldsmith’s Village Schoolmaster often came to mind.

And still they gaz’d and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew!

I was blessed to have Joe as my mentor and special friend and my wife and I treasure the time we enjoyed in the most pleasurable company of Joe and his amazing wife, Angela, in Oranmore, at our Gatherings, on the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and elsewhere.

Yesterday, at mass I lit a candle for Joe and Angela.

 Ar dheis De go raibh a anam May his faithful soul be at the right hand of God.

Joe was fluent in our native Irish Language.  

2019 Kelly Clan Gathering

The 2019 Kelly Clan Gathering was held from the 17th thru the 19th of May, 2019 at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone, on the shores of Lough Ree on the Shannon River.
(We are grateful for the sponsorship received from Roscommon County Council.)
Council Member Dom Celsus Kelly, OCSO celebrated Mass on both Saturday and Sunday mornings in the hotel for those who wished to attend.
Dinner on Friday evening and lunch on Saturday and Sunday were left to guests’ own choice.
Friday afternoon allowed time for registration and several presentations:

–Rt. Rev. Dom Celsus Kelly, OCSO spoke on “A Border Kelly during the Civil War” drawing on some experiences of members of his own family. One question that was not answered at that time: When did the Royal Irish Constabulary become the Royal Ulster Constabulary?

–Clan Historian Dr. Joe Kelly spoke on “Kelly Bishops.” He mentioned there had been 12 bishops and 34 archbishops. The early church was run by abbots, not bishops until about 1180 when dioceses were established.

–There was a very brief general clan business meeting chaired by Rt. Rev. Dom Celsus Kelly, OCSO followed by guests’ own choice for dinner.

Saturday morning:

After Mass, Tanaiste, Dr. Des Kelly, welcomed all present, followed by a presentation on harp music, backed up by a couple pieces performed by professional harpist, Kim Fleming.
Genealogist Cath Trindle, presented information on research, including use of DNA. Using some of her own family research for examples, she highlighted the importance of storytelling (using family stories.) Also, as her own personal research has shown, we need to remember that earlier in history, name changes occurred more often than we might think. DNA results have surprised many of us, including Cath, who did not know before that she had any Kelly relatives.


After lunch, the group assembled for a coach trip to Aughrim for presentations on the 1691 Battle, including who, what, where and when; Raparees and their significance; and a display of weapons and equipment of the time. Much of this was presented by Tomas O’Brogain (Oireas Historical Services.) We also heard from former Kelly Clan member John “Cav” Kelly.

Cows at Aughrm
Welcoming committee (?) at Aughrim
John “Cav” Kelly and Tomas O’Brogain at Aughrim
John “Cav” Kelly and Tomas O’Brogain at Aughrim

The group then walked on the green to view many sites of interest, including the Kelly Clan Commemorative Tree.

Aughrim Famine Pot
Aughrim Famine Pot Plaque
Aughrim Famine Pot
Famine Pot
Gala Dinner on Saturday

Gala Dinner on Saturday evening with guests of honour Robert, Count, the O’Kelly and the Countess Tina O’Kelly.

 A bouquet and plaque were presented to Bernie and Michael Kelly, Secretary and Treasurer, respectively, for their many years of service to the Kelly Clan. They have announced their retirement from the Council after the regular Council Meeting in September, 2019. Their contributions to the Clan will be greatly missed.

Kim Fleming provided Celtic harp music during dessert.

Sunday Afternoon AGM:

The focus was on plans for the Kelly Clan organisation going forward, as many people are very concerned about the future of the group. Membership is down and, as Michael noted, “We can have too many chieftains – not enough soldiers. People have to be willing to work .”
We heard from three people who had very specific ideas they wished to be considered. These will be taken up during the regular Council meeting in September.
Below are copies of their written comments based on what they shared with the group at the meeting.

Gearóid O’Ceallaigh:

I have been asked to address you, as for those of you who do not know me, I was one of the founders of the Association. While I have not been active within the Association I have not lost any of my interest. It has simply been diverted in recent years.

The idea of this Association began when John of Cappawhite, with another John, from Tipperary, Tipperary Town held a Gathering of Kellys as part of a Bord Fáilte, the Irish Tourist Board, initiative. I had known John of Tipperary since the 1970’s and because he knew of my interest in my family history, he invited me to speak at the event, where I met with Brian from Dublin and Mike from Sydney. The basic aims of the Association, were conceived by Brian, Mike Sydney and myself over the following year or two, leading up to the launch of the Association in 1995 in Roscommon. Mike made a number of trips from Sydney to meet with Brian and me. Those ideas continue to have validity today. 

You have listened to the concerns on Friday evening and again this morning from a number of members of the Council and it is my understanding that this Association is now in danger of dying. I wish that the resolution to this could be as simple as waving a magic wand. I hope that this extinction does not come to pass.  Indeed I hope that we can, together, rejuvenate it. Those members of the Council have been the absolute back-bone of the Association since the very first meeting that we had at Roscommon.

The O’Kelly Clan Association is an association comprised of people of the name. Originally, we considered calling it the O’Kelly Clans Association, which in my view would have been a more accurate description than the O’Kelly Clan Association. It was, however, felt at the time that the use of the singular word “clan” would have been more unifying and that by unifying people-of-the-name under one umbrella body that there would be greater strength.  This proved to be true.

I have been asked to outline what the original vision for the Clan was and to try to re-ignite us. I am prepared to try to do this, at least I am prepared to help. 

We, as an Association, need more than my ideas, however. We, as an Association, need a willingness to listen, to debate and a preparedness to change. The Association now needs radical change if it is to survive. 

When we began, we had a vision that involved all people of the name and while we had some people from other kindred groups, such as Tipperary and Cork, most of the initial interest came from Ui Maine and County Clare. This meant that our attention was focused on those two territories. In hindsight, I know that we should not have allowed this to happen.

Knowledge has developed since the early nineteen-nineties. It is also the case that academic historians and geneticists have exponentially developed their understanding of where we have come from. We knew, in the early days, that there were fifteen established kindred groups or septs of O’Kellys around the country. Each of these kindred groups had a different progenitor, so that there is unlikely to be a close blood relationship between any of them. This has been scientifically proven through DNA.

Our aim was to share and develop an understanding of each kindred group’s history. Scientific developments have meant that we can now develop our knowledge, even further, of these other thirteen kindred groups that have been unintentionally marginalised. Can I suggest that, if there are representatives from these other kindred groups that are interested in greater involvement, I would be willing and come to speak to you, perhaps to help you to organise your own kindred group under the umbrella of this Association. This is what I propose that we concentrate on. This is how I propose we reignite this Association.

The O’Kelly Clans Association is about all people of the name, about all of the O’Kelly or Kelly kindred groups around the country and it is my belief that if we have people involved from all, or as many as possible, of these fifteen groups, working together, we could become much more vibrant and could become one of the most active clan associations in the country, as we once were.

The Association has been incredibly lucky to have had the services of Bernie and Michael, Dr Joe, Celsus and the other members of the Council, many of whom have been involved since that very first meeting in Roscommon and it is my hope that they will again see the fruits of their labours.

Tom Mernagh:

After the successful gathering of 2017 at the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point it was clear that it was going to be difficult to hold such Gatherings in future.  After a lot of discussion at the 2017 AGM there was no shortage of suggestions as to how we could/should proceed but this did not translate to members coming forward to join the Council.  

At the first meeting of the Council in September 2017 at Spanish Point, we were delighted that Judy had agreed to take over as Editor of the newsletter which helps spread the work of the Council.  At that meeting it was agreed that we hold our next meeting at the Hodson Bay Hotel.  This venue was chosen because of its location, its close proximity to Aughrim and accessibility to Dublin.  As it was suggested at the AGM that we try and find a permanent home for our Clan and that the Interpretive Centre at Aughrim could be a possibility, I was delegated to investigate and contact the Centre to ascertain if this was possible.  On my initial investigation it was not clear if the Centre had a future.  It appeared that Galway County Council were reviewing the situation with regards the Centre.

During my investigation I came into contact with the Aughrim Remembered Group which is chaired by Joe “Cav” Kelly, an ex-Council member of our Clan.  I reviewed our discussion with Joe and he suggested that it would be worth having a meeting between the two groups to see if we could find matters of common interest.  I reported back to the Council and at this time the Council were considering an event for our Gathering and asked me if I could enquire whether the Aughrim Remembered Group had any suggestions.  I re-contacted Joe and it was he who organised what I believe to be a very successful trip on the Saturday afternoon of our Gathering.


I have since been in contact with the Group and they are very enthusiastic about a meeting.  My suggestion at the AGM is that we as a Council should initiate a meeting as soon as possible after September.   I feel that with my contacts this could be worth our while.

John Kelly (Cappawhite)

Having listened to Gearóid O’Ceallaigh and Tom Mernagh’s thoughts on the way forward for the Clan, I would propose and strongly suggest that the Clan, after operating successfully for over twenty years, need to seek outside appraisal. 

The majority of voluntary organisations seeking grants or borrowings from established institutions would be required to do a feasibility study of its own organisation.

Feasibility Studies:

It involves seeking a grant from Leader or Tourist Board/County Council.  The cost of a study varies around 3-4 thousand euros. The local Leader Board would pay up to 80% in most cases or sometimes the whole cost.  The study would be carried out by a Professional Consultant with Tourism expertise and the individual would examine the organisation: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  The individual can be given the proposals/suggestions from all three: Gearóid, Tom and myself.

I would be proposing that the well known saying of the Kellys i.e. Fáilte Ui Ceallaigh be considered where the Clan Kellys could promote a food fair for cottage industry or small start-up enterprises in food, drink and maybe craft.

I would suggest that Feasibility Study should be done first and to be aware of all proposals and from its recommendations a solution for the way forward.  Maybe to be looked at at the next clan meeting.


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This is a European Union-wide framework which changes the rules on data protection. It provides for a more uniform interpretation and application of data protection standards across the EU.

The Data Protection Act 2018, which was signed into law on 24 May 2018, changes the previous data protection framework, established under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003. Its provisions include:

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Sites of Interest (especially for those involved in Irish genealogy):

Ireland Reaching Out

Irish Lives Remembered

Flyer for Aughrim Remembered Summer School 2019