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
Leslie is an amazing opportunity as it sets near ground zero
to the lands that our ancestor Tomas
Ó 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
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
Slide Show by Photographer Ashley Morrison.