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O'Callaghan

Clan O'callaghan

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O'Callaghan or Callaghan is of course not a Scottish clan, but an Irish one. The name in it's original form was Ceallachain, and traditionally everyone of the name is supposed to be descended from Ceallachain of Caisil. In it's anglicised form, Caisil is Cashel in what is now County Kerry, so in English, the man's name is Callaghan of Cashel, and he was King of the Irish kingdom of Munster from 915 to 953 AD.

However, the clan was founded by one of his grandsons, also called Ceallachain, or Callaghan O'Callaghan, who did not succeed to the throne of Munster. Surnames in Ireland seem to have begun to be used at around that time. The McCarthy clan are also descendants of Callaghan of Cashel, but a different branch.

Going the other direction in genealogy, Callaghan of Cashel was of the Eoganacht or Eugenian tribe, which was founded by Eogan, and all the Irish Gaelic tribal leaders are traditionally descendants of Milidh/Milesius, who, according to legend, came to Ireland from Spain. By comparison, Gaels in the Scottish highlands are descendants of a different Irish Gaelic tribe, the Dal Riada.

The clan lands of the Callaghan clan, or Pobul i Ceallachain, were established on the River Blackwater, near the town of Mallow in County Cork, and there are around 100,000 people with the surnames O'Ceallachain, O'Callaghan, Callaghan or Callahan in County Cork today. These are not regarded as septs, but as 'the same name', and Irish clans are also sometimes called septs themselves. The clan had at least two castles in County Cork.

In 1605, then clan chief Conoghor O'Callaghan attempted to claim personal title to all the clan lands by filing suit in court, but only succeeded in acquiring title to the chief's lands, which nonetheless ended transmission of the chief's title by tanistry, and established primogeniture. Cromwell later forcibly relocated the chief and his immediate relatives to County Clare, near the town now called Callaghan's Mills, but the clansmen remained in County Cork.

The chief's line in County Clare eventually died out, and the title passed to a line that had fled to Spain with the 'Wild Geese'. The Irish government recognised the title of "The O'Callaghan", i.e. the chief, as belonging to Don Juan O'Callaghan of Barcelona. "Don" indicates that the Spanish government also recognised him as a Spanish noble, which is true of all the Irish chiefs that fled to Spain. There are unconfirmed reports that Don Juan has been succeeded by his son, Don Antonio, but the Irish government no longer records Irish clan chiefs, which makes it harder to verify.

Although there is believed to be a current chief, there does not appear to be an active clan association, although there appears to have been a clan society based in Mallow at one time.

Baron Lismore also claims direct descent from Callaghan of Cashel, and the first baron was named Daniel O'Callaghan before his elevation to the peerage. The baronial seat of Lismore is in County Waterford, but close to the county line with County Cork. The Lismores intermarried with minor members of the English royal family, but then all Callaghans are descendants of a King of Munster to begin with.

The Callaghan tartan is number 7299, registered in 2007, around a thousand years after the clan was founded.

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O'Callaghan or Callaghan is of course not a Scottish clan, but an Irish one. The name in it's original form was Ceallachain, and traditionally everyone of the name is supposed to be descended from Ceallachain of Caisil. In it's anglicised form, Caisil is Cashel in what is now County Kerry, so in English, the man's name is Callaghan of Cashel, and he was King of the Irish kingdom of Munster from 915 to 953 AD.

However, the clan was founded by one of his grandsons, also called Ceallachain, or Callaghan O'Callaghan, who did not succeed to the throne of Munster. Surnames in Ireland seem to have begun to be used at around that time. The McCarthy clan are also descendants of Callaghan of Cashel, but a different branch.

Going the other direction in genealogy, Callaghan of Cashel was of the Eoganacht or Eugenian tribe, which was founded by Eogan, and all the Irish Gaelic tribal leaders are traditionally descendants of Milidh/Milesius, who, according to legend, came to Ireland from Spain. By comparison, Gaels in the Scottish highlands are descendants of a different Irish Gaelic tribe, the Dal Riada.

The clan lands of the Callaghan clan, or Pobul i Ceallachain, were established on the River Blackwater, near the town of Mallow in County Cork, and there are around 100,000 people with the surnames O'Ceallachain, O'Callaghan, Callaghan or Callahan in County Cork today. These are not regarded as septs, but as 'the same name', and Irish clans are also sometimes called septs themselves. The clan had at least two castles in County Cork.

In 1605, then clan chief Conoghor O'Callaghan attempted to claim personal title to all the clan lands by filing suit in court, but only succeeded in acquiring title to the chief's lands, which nonetheless ended transmission of the chief's title by tanistry, and established primogeniture. Cromwell later forcibly relocated the chief and his immediate relatives to County Clare, near the town now called Callaghan's Mills, but the clansmen remained in County Cork.

The chief's line in County Clare eventually died out, and the title passed to a line that had fled to Spain with the 'Wild Geese'. The Irish government recognised the title of "The O'Callaghan", i.e. the chief, as belonging to Don Juan O'Callaghan of Barcelona. "Don" indicates that the Spanish government also recognised him as a Spanish noble, which is true of all the Irish chiefs that fled to Spain. There are unconfirmed reports that Don Juan has been succeeded by his son, Don Antonio, but the Irish government no longer records Irish clan chiefs, which makes it harder to verify.

Although there is believed to be a current chief, there does not appear to be an active clan association, although there appears to have been a clan society based in Mallow at one time.

Baron Lismore also claims direct descent from Callaghan of Cashel, and the first baron was named Daniel O'Callaghan before his elevation to the peerage. The baronial seat of Lismore is in County Waterford, but close to the county line with County Cork. The Lismores intermarried with minor members of the English royal family, but then all Callaghans are descendants of a King of Munster to begin with.

The Callaghan tartan is number 7299, registered in 2007, around a thousand years after the clan was founded.

Have you though about re-establishing a Clan Callaghan society?

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Have you though about re-establishing a Clan Callaghan society?

It has certainly crossed my mind. Seems like it might be a lot of work, though.

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