17 March 2010

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!!

to skip the O'Callaghan history, scroll down!

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig is the Gaelic way of expressing a wish that you have all the blessings of St Patrick's Day and the "luck of the Irish".  Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.  As someone with Irish ancestry, I am happy to share the sentiment, and lend an "O" and an apostrophe to your name. 

 I have always been almost inexplicably proud of my Irish Ancestry.  Maybe it was because I grew up with a name that always had to be explained as, "The 'g" is SILENT. It's Irish." Maybe it's because it's just in my blood.  But there's also Welsh, Scottish, English, German and probably some French, as the Normans mixed with the English so famously in 1066.  Most likely my Irish pride comes from the unique and long history of the Irish people, which includes a unique and long history of my name as well:  

In direct line from Ceallachan, King of Munster from 935 until his death in 954, comes the widespread family of O' Callaghan. Ceallachan was also Chief of the Eoghanact tribe which included the most powerful families in Munster, including the MacCarthys. Ceallachan became a folk hero and is the ancestor of many of the families which are still in the County Cork area. 

Even further back than Ceallachan's time, there is a manuscript in Dublin's Genealogical Office showing the tree of posterity of Milo, circa 1400 bc, which includes the progenitors of the O' Callaghans and continues up to AD 1614! There is also a manuscript that records a pedigree of the O' Callaghan chiefs and their vast territories, from 900 up to 1933. They were settled in County Cork until about 1670 when, as with so many Gaelic families, they were driven to Connacht.

Genealogists believe the name Ceallachan is derived from the word strife. This is certainly appropriate for King Ceallachan who, in the heat of his youth led his warriors to ravage counties Meath, Kilkenny and Waterford, not even hesitating before plundering the monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise. He it was who defeated Cinneide, father of the great Brian Boru, who was to drive the Norsemen from Ireland and give his name to the O' Briens.
From the seventeenth century when the family dispersed, two distinct lines emerge. One fled to Spain and have long since become Spanish citizens, while the other lived for centuries at Lismehane, their mansion near the village of O' Callaghan's Mills in County Clare. It was through intermarriage with related Westropps that they consolidated their properties and acquired the additional surname.

Don Juan O' Callaghan (b. 1934), the O' Callaghan Chief of the Name, is a lawyer in Barcelona, Spain. Don Juan is in the direct line from Ceallachan who was the 42nd Christian King of Munster.

In 1641, just before Cromwell's army forced many of the Gaelic landowners to flee abroad, Colonel Donogh O' Callaghan was a member of the Supreme Council of the Irish Confederation of Kilkenny. Following the rebellion of that year, he lost his property, and was outlawed. Another member of his family had preceded him abroad, this was the Abbe John O' Callaghan (1605 - 54), a notorious Jansenist.

Cornelius O Callaghan (1742 - 97) of Shanbally Castle, Clogheen, County Tipperary, was created Baron Lismore in 1785. His son was known as the 1st Viscount Lismore and his daughter was the mother of one of the Dukes of Devonshire, whose family owns Lismore Castle.

Father Jeremiah O' Callaghan (1780 - 1861) blazed a trail through Paris and Rome, preaching vehemently against usury, rack-renting and capitalism. When he went to London he was actively supported by William Cobbett, a reformer and journalist. Eventually Jeremiah was found a congenial clerical post in North America, where he earned the name "Apostle of Vermont", befriending both the French Canadians and the immigrant Irish.

Edmund Bailey O Callaghan (1797 - 1880) of Mallow, County Cork, studied medicine in Dublin, Paris and Quebec. He dabbled in politics in Canada, which led to his having to escape to Albany, New York, where he settled and practised medicine. He studied the records of the Dutch founders of New York and wrote the first published history of the city. There was no financial profit from this huge labour, yet with his own money he published a second volume. He produced eleven quarto volumes of State Records or Documentary History of the State of New York, 1849 - 51, plus an astonishing variety of other publications.

One of the first Roman Catholics to be admitted to the legal profession in Ireland since the penal laws were repealed was John Cornelius O' Callaghan (1805 - 83). He was a Young Irelander and was on the staff of the Nation newspaper. His great work of 25 years, History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France from the Revolution in Great Britain under James II, to the Revolution in France under Louis XVI was published in Glasgow in 1869 in eight volumes. He declaimed, "I love, not the entremets of literature, but the strong meat and drink of sedition - I make a daily meal on the smoked carcass of Irish history".

Sir George Astley O''Callaghan (1852 - 1920), a London-born O Callaghan who was the son of an army captain, was the admiral who commanded the frigate that entered Peking in 1900 during the rising of the "Harmonious Fists", commonly known as the Boxer rebellion.

The O' Callaghan name is recorded extensively in the archives of Spain. In Germany, James O' Callaghan and his brother, Louis, filled the post of Baron and Grand Veneur (agent) to the Margrave of Baden-Baden. Their elder brother, John, was a captain in O Brien's Regiment in the French army. Their youngest brother, Cornelius (d. 1741), was a captain in the Ultonian Regiment in Spain where he died at Oran, leaving an O Callaghan son.

There were Callahans who fought at Bunker Hill in the American Revolution.

Genealogists give scant recognition to women. To be recorded they have to be an heiress, or have some special talent (or notoriety). In America there was Trixie Friganza Delia O' Callaghan (1870 - 1955) who was an actress and singer.

Rose Mary O' Callaghan Westropp of the Lismehane branch is mentioned in Burke's Irish Family Records as having painted the great jockey Pat Taafe on that most loved of Irish racehorses, Arkle.

Colonel George O' Callaghan (1864 - 1944) added the surname Westropp to comply with the will of his maternal uncle. He was aide-de-camp to three of Britain's kings: Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII. He was president of the Irish Farmer's Union and a member of the first Irish Senate. His son, Conor John O' Callaghan Westropp (d. 1986), inherited Lismehane, but demolished it and built a small house nearby.

In the 8th Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928, Dr Pat O Callaghan of Kanturk, County Cork, won Ireland's first gold medal as an independent nation in the 16-pound hammer event. He subsequently practised for many years as a medical doctor in Clonmel, County Tipperary.

A very English Callaghan of Irish origin is James Callaghan (b. 1912), son of a chief petty officer in the navy. A member of the British Labour Party, in 1976 he became Prime Minister of Britain upon the unexpected retirement of Sir Harold Wilson.

According to Dr Edward MacLysaght, a former Chief Herald of Ireland, the Ulster O' Callaghans of counties Armagh and Monaghan are a different sept from those who sprang from King Ceallachan. He suggests their name was probably originally O Kelaghan or Kealahan.

The O' Callaghans are obviously still jealous of their ancient lineage to judge from the clarification which appeared in an Irish newspaper in 1978: "Aubrey W. O Callaghan has not announced his engagement. The announcement by Aubrey E. O Callaghan is that of his grandfather".

An entirely separate family, that of O'Ceileachain, is found in the ancient territory of Oriel (Armagh, Louth and Monaghan). They are found using the family names of Callaghan and Kelaghan. The Kelaghan spelling of the name is mostly found in Westmeath.

Heraldry: The sept arms of O'Callaghan are Argent in base a mount vert, on the dexter side a hurts of oak trees, therefrom issuant a wolf passant towards the sinister all proper.

Several (O) Callaghan's have borne these, or similar, arms, some with the addition of a crest and motto.


Irish History from 1-1000 AD

200 AD
Beginnings of High Kingship at Tara, Co Meath

300 AD
Ireland inhabited by tribes known as Scoti

377-405 AD
Naill of the Nine Hostages, High King

428-463 AD
King McNeill reigned

431 AD
Pope Celestine 1 sent Palladius to the Irish, as their first Bishop. Palladius died soon after.

432 AD
Arrival of St. Patrick to help convert pagan Gaelic Kings to Christianity. 

550 AD 
Irish monks start to Christianize Europe

700-800 AD
Irish monasticism reaches its zenith.

795 AD
Full-scale Viking invasion.

The root of the name Éire is uncertain but it is thought to be a name of considerable antiquity. It first appears as Ierne in Greek writings which may have a base dating as early as the 5th century BC. The name appears as Iouernia in Ptolemy's map (c AD 150) and has also been found translated into Latin as Iuverna. The Latin form, Hibernia, appears in the works of Caesar, who may have confused it with the Latin word hibernus (wintry). Ériu was an Old Irish form of Éire, and was seen in the earliest of Irish literature. Ireland is derived from the Irish word Éire adding the Germanic word Land.

The Celts were well established in Ireland a century before Christ, and they dominated the island for nearly a thousand years, resisting challenges and absorbing influences from other cultures for many centuries more. To this day the core of Ireland's heritage remains unmistakably Celtic. Writing depicts the Celts as tall and warlike, placing their arrival in Ireland more than two thousand years ago. 

 The Irish Coat of arms is described as "a harp or, stringed argent, on a field azure." The harp has been used in the Irish coat of arms since medieval times, being found as far back as 1270. The harp is found on the banners of the Irish brigades in the armies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

There are at least 60 Celtic crosses in Ireland, as well as a numbers of ruins.  The Celtic crosses that are seen today were primarily commissioned and constructed up until the mid 12th century.  After the end of the 12th century, construction of these crosses all but disappeared. 
These wonderful crosses were normally used as boundary markes, for example where parishes intersected, or as monuments surrounding monastaries, cathedrals, or churches.  Contrary to some beliefs, they were not used as gravestones, but newer crosses have enjoyed increased popularity as gravestones since the 1850's.
The beauty of these crosses is not just in their basic shape, but also in the intricate carvings found on many of them.  The level of detail, and the quality of the artwork is something that is normally associated with treasured manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells.

Structure of the Celtic Cross

Also known as a High cross, or an Irish crossCeltic crosses are found throughout Ireland. They are compromised of a normal cross, with a ring that travels completely around the cross intersection. 

Celtic Cross Structure
The major components of the Celtic cross are:
- Cross base
- Intersection
- Ring
- Capstone (including the finial)

Construction of the Celtic cross normally starts with the cross base, which is an extremely heavy stone. Often times, the base had another life before being carved for the cross, such as being used as a millstone. The high cross is seated into a carved socket in the stone base by means of a tenon , forming a very secure and strong joint.
Crosses are decorated with a series of panels, which usually cover the majority of the cross.  Traditionally, these panels are used to show important biblical scenes, or to highlight elements of Celtic design and art.
At the intersection of the cross, the ring is added, giving the Celtic cross its classic and world-renowned look.  Most corsses feature a pierced ring, but the are variants that do not have any open space between the inner circumference of the ring, and the cross intersection.
An additional tenon joint is commonly found above the ring, seating the capstone. The capstone is often portrayed as a small house, complete with roof. This forms the architectural finial [link to wiki here] of the cross.
Sandstone and granite are the two most common stone used to construct these ancient crosses.  Unfortunately, both are susceptible to weather and the elements.  This has left some crosses in varying stages of wear - ranging from the borderline pristine, to crosses where determining the characters in the images is extremely difficult. 

Source: Celtic by Design

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