Castle Leslie Co Monaghan Ireland

For the O'Kelleys of my line who either appear on this website or have grandparents who appear and you would love to travel to Ireland and see some of the places our ancestors once walked, Castle Leslie is an amazing opportunity as it sets near ground zero to the lands that our ancestor Tomas Ceallaigh (pronounced Thomas O'Kelley) own in Corvally in 1591.  I suspect many of the Kellys who live in the area are our cousins and this Castle presents us with an amazing opportunity to explore the country and stay in comfort. 

This castle has no connection to our O'Kelley family that I am aware, our ancestor left Ireland a century before it was built and our family was living at Kells in Co Meath at that time.  I have found nothing that indicates the Castle stands on lands once owned by my ancestor.  I think our O'Kelley ancestors came to this place solely to obtain "free" land as the English took our lands in Bregia in County Meath and there is no method to know when we first arrived in Co Monaghan but it seems certain that we had several generations of grandfathers who called these lands not far from where this Castle stands their home.  My grandfather William Kelly the son of Thomas was living at Carrickmacross a mere 26 mile from this Castle by 1640.

In addition to the Kellys, DNA has connected the McGonnells living in the area as our DNA cousins.  I share an ancestor with three different McGonnells and our shared ancestors lived in the 12th, 13, and 15th century so it is likely that in the 1500s they were also O'Kelley and a number of related families broke away remaining Catholic when our ancestor Thomas O'Kelley became protestant likely in 1585 AD.  He appears as "Thomas Kelly" in the Survey in 1591 as Queen Elizabeth pressed the Irish Gentry to use English styled surnames but we have no method to know how much of this was the English record keepers as Thomas Kelly's grandson appears in the 1663 church records as "Thomas O Kelly".  Thomas is given as owning lands in 1591 at Corvally and also Kilnamaddy near Clones.  There were McGonnell cousins living at nearby Drumbanagher in 1826 records and of course there were many more Kellys in those records but my family never seemed to take to using the Kelly surname.  Our family tradition is our ancestor James O'Kelley came about 1748 using the O'Kelley surname and his sons begin to appear as "O Kelley" during the Revolutionary War and all appeared in the records as OKelly by the time of their death so it seems certain that their father James O'Kelley did arrive in Virginia using his O'Kelley surname and not Kelly. 

Here is a nice YouTube Video of members of Celtic Thunder visiting the Castle.  Ryan Kelly who comes from Co Tyrone might even be a cousin.

A very nice YouTube Slide Show by Photographer Ashley Morrison.