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The 'Fictitious' Kelly family of Carrowlisconnor, Ballymore, County Mayo, Ireland

Page 2
of a Sample
Family History Report

Family reports vary from family to family so these pages only give a brief idea of what to expect. The details on these pages are for illustration only and don't refer to a real family.

The Kelly family of Carrowlisconnor,
Ballymore, County Mayo, Ireland
Civil and R. C. parishes of Kilbride

Kelly is the second commonest surname in Ireland (only slightly less numerous than Murphy) with about 50,000 of the name in the country today. Not all of the name descend from the same stock since Kelly has been assumed as an anglicised form of at least six distinct Irish surnames: O Ceallaigh, Mac Ceallaigh, O Caollaidhe, O Cadhla, Mac Caochlaoich and Mac Giolla Cheallaigh. Each of these surnames was borne by more than one family. Any individual called Kelly in Ireland today, therefore, descends from one of about eighteen distinct families, each of which is historically associated with a particular locality. The families who assumed Kelly as an anglicised form of their surname are dealt with below.

O Ceallaigh

This is the Irish surname which has given rise to most of the Kellys. It means 'descendant of Ceallach', where the latter is a personal name derived from an old Irish word meaning war or contention. This surname was assumed by at least nine different families:2

  1. O Ceallaigh of Ui Maine. Descended from the Oirghialla tribal group of Ulster, these were one of the most powerful families in Connaught. As chiefs of Ui Maine they ruled over an extensive territory in the present counties Galway and Roscommon, which they held until early seventeenth century. This family produced many distinguished chiefs, including Tadhg M6r O Ceallaigh, who was killed in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.


  2. 0 Ceallaigh of Breagh. A branch of the southern Ui Neill tribal group, who were lords of Breagh (an extensive district embracing a large portion of present County Meath and north County Dublin) until after the Anglo-Norman invasion (1169 AD), when they were dispossessed and dispersed throughout Ireland. Conghalach O Ceallaigh, the last lord of Breagh, died in 1292.


  3. 0 Ceallaigh of Cinel Eachach. Based in the present Barony of Loughinsholin in present south-east County Derry, this family is still numerous there.


  4. 0 Ceallaigh of Ui Teigh, in the north of present County Wicklow, not far from Dublin.


  5. 0 Ceallaigh of Ard O gCeallaigh, in the parish of Templeboy, County Sligo.


  6. 0 Ceallaigh of Corca Laoighde, in the south-west of County Cork.

2 Woulfe, Rev. Patrick, Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall - Irish Names and Surnames, Dublin 1923, pp.457, 458.


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