Ireland's History in Brief
If one tells a lie enough times, it is often accepted as an unquestioned truth and we see this throughout our recorded history. The victors of the wars, the wealthy and powerful, they get to tell history to favor them, those who are wiped out, their side most often goes untold. I believe that most of our history is manufactured and what we are taught is pure fiction. I was born less than ten years after the ending of World War II and while our history books portray Germany, Japan, and Italy as evil empires, to be fair they really did nothing worse than what England, France, and Spain did for almost a thousand years before World War II as these three European countries in their quest to dominate the world killed a great many innocent people so no nation is blameless for the slaughter than has bee the way of our race. For the Irish, my native people, the English destruction and domination of their land wasn't the first time a foreign invader arrived on their island for the Vikings raided and killed many times in Ireland and the Vikings were not the first to invade Ireland because like in all the world, the island of Ireland had no original people, everyone who came to Ireland came as conquerors taking what they wanted and killing those who resisted, and that includes my ancestors. That has pretty much always been the way our world continues to function even today.
For the past five hundred years both Irish Catholic and English Protestants have waged war upon the men, women, and children of Ireland, as these two groups mostly fought over who would line their pockets with the tithes forced upon the people and always in the name of God; tithes that should have been used for the benefit of the less fortunate but spent by the Pope, Kings, Nobles, Priests and Ministers for their own greater enjoyment and when the crops failed in Christian Ireland in the 19th century, the common people were left to starve and many did. Perhaps no truer description of that time exists than written by English Poet William Blake:
Many speak of this time in England, Scotland, and Ireland as the "Reformation". They make it sound like the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ just peacefully swept the lands much like we have sometimes witnessed in our modern church but our dead ancestors who endured that time would not just dispute this falsehood they likely would be greatly disappointed in us for failing to acknowledge the truth about their tribulations. Most all my life ministers and my elders have talked about the second coming and the ending of our world and the tribulations to come but the truth they refuse to accept is we live in heaven when compared to the realities of our ancestors. Our ancestors who lived and died during the Christian "Reformation" lived horrors far worse than those foretold in the book of Revelations within the King James Bible, they lived to see their loved one murdered before their eyes solely because they had no religious freedoms, they were forced at the point of the sword to be Roman Catholic or English Protestant and the manner of death for those who refused to submit was so horrific that our modern minds do not seem to be able to accept. For many, to have been nailed to a cross and be permitted to died as it is said was the method of Jesus Christ was executed would have been merciful. Men of the "Reformation" invented ways far worse that being nailed to a cross to kill their fellow man and they did it in Christ's names. Imagine what it must have been like to witness the hanging of your children, watch your wife stripped nude and then a rope place around her neck and be pulled with her feet dangling just above the ground and when she was almost dead to witness her cut down, her belly ripped open and her bowels cut out while she still lived and burned before her eyes, then her chest rapidly ripped open and her beating heart cut out and it also tossed into the fire then her body quartered then when that horror was finished then to experience that same fate. Some families were burned alive other's slaughtered in their fields where they worked. This is how "Reformation" came to sweep through England, Scotland, and Ireland, it came in a form that far exceeded the cruelties described in the Book of Revelations and much of it was fueled by greed because after the destruction of the family the Protestants came to possess the lands and properties of those they killed in their reform of the faith.
We are told about the French Revolution, where the wealthy class had their heads lopped off but no one speaks about the Protestant "Reformation" where the followers of Oliver Cromwell received the lands and properties of the wealthy they killed under the deception of "Reformation".
DNA science is accepted in courts around the world as evidence of ones guilt or innocence. It is used to advanced our medical discoveries, used to determine paternity and many are using it to unravel the mysteries of the origins of man and his migration and genealogy. Recently National Geographic and IBM teamed up to use DNA to expand our knowledge of human migration and origins. The DNA test results accomplished so far is of a tiny sampling of the people around our world and it tell us that every human tested no matter his race or nationality shares 99.999% of their DNA with all other humans tested. There are some minor differences, many European lines also share DNA with the extinct Neanderthals an extinct race who I wonder may be the source of the stories told about giants. DNA tells us genetically we are all from the same human race that just as the story of Adam and Eve told in the bible, we all descended from a common female ancestor, a woman who lived in eastern Africa not a few thousand years ago but about 150 thousand years ago. This woman has been called by some as our ancestral Eve. DNA testing indicates that for almost 90,000 years our ancestors live in east central Africa sometimes under climate conditions so extreme that less than 100 humans may have survived but as our world's climate began to become more survivable some began to move or migrate to other areas of our planet likely always looking for a better place. My DNA indicates that I and most all native Irish descended from one of these migrating groups known as the Artisans who followed a common path out of Africa making their way over tens of thousands of years settling in central Asia. While in central Asia the cold climate forced my ancestors to covered their bodies with animal skins for warmth and their skin no longer exposed to the sun lighten just as mine does from summer to winter today but over thousands of years my blacked skinned ancestors began to appeared as white. About 12 thousand years ago as the Ice Age began to thaw this group split, some moving out of Asia and across the frozen land bridge into the Americas where they became the natives we call Indians but my ancestors moved west into Europe following the receding ice and in time they moved into France, Spain, Briton, Wales and into Ireland and from Ireland some moved into Scotland. Source: National Geographic:
It may surprise many to learn that Ireland has the oldest man made
structures know to exists in the world. Some
burial Cairns in Ireland date back ten thousands years.
New Grange is
newer dating back to 3000 BC to 5000 years old and to understand how old
that structure is, the
Pyramids were built around BC 2620 BC or 4600 yeas old.
was born around 1800 BC or 3800 years ago so these burial structures in
Ireland are much older and were constructed well before mans acknowledgement of a single god. It
appears that all humans have an internal hope built into their DNA for
immortality as these Irish Cairns always seem to be place either as high in
the sky as possible or built as tall as possible, they are monuments to long ago
forgotten great kings and queens.
Eleanor Hull in her book, "Pagan
Ireland" provides us with an account of early life in Ireland.
While her topic was of the Irish, in my readings I have found that many
of the barbaric customs of the Irish were also practiced all over
Europe. We have a modern belief that because of Christianity that
the world was a kind and gentle place which could not be further from
the truth. In her book she tells about a white slave class long
before whites took blacks as slaves. The Christian Church owned
slaves and that did not change with the coming of the Protestants in the
16th century, during our Civil War the King James Bible was used to
authorize and justify the enslavement of blacks around the world.
New evidence indicates that St Patrick was not an Irish slave as he
claimed but his family were wealthy Roman Tax Collectors living in
England or Briton as it was known in that time and when his father left
his vocation to become a Catholic Priest, Patrick took his father's
place so when he came to Ireland he came with many slaves that belonged
to his family and some historians believe Patrick manufactured his past about being an Irish
slave to make it appear that he had humble beginnings. A great deal of our history has been manufactured in this
manner to conceal the truth about man progression through time and
Ireland is no exception.
Husbands and wives rarely shared a sleeping room. Upper class wives and daughters lived in their own detached building and it wasn't uncommon for an upper class man to have more than one wife. Wives and daughters of the common class slept in their own area of the common dwelling. And while many may find this practice curious today, the practice of a husband and wife sleeping in the same bed is a modern invention. Anyone who has visited the home of President Abraham Lincoln has seen the separate bedrooms of the Lincolns. Perhaps the custom of a husband and wife sharing a bed may have come about due to the one room cabins common in early America.
Money as we know it didn't exist, people living two thousand years ago traded the creations of their labor stored in their wares for the things they needed or desired. One of the forms of transferring wealth for the Irish was through chess boards and chess pieces. Other than war, Chess was the favored pass time of the Irish and their boards and pieces were finely crafted often in gold, silver, and with precious stones. It is likely the always warring Irish found Chess very much like war and to be frank all cultures conducted war against their neighbors, it wasn't just the Irish who would raid their neighbors taking what they wanted and enslaving the conquered, the British, French, Danes, Romans, Christian and non Christian, they all engaged in this practice and it was the way of our world until a few decades ago. In her book, Eleanor Hull describes how the Irish often carried their Chess pieces and boards on their person and traded pieces much the same way we trade paper money for the things we need.
Eleanor Hull describes a series of events in the 8th century which sounds very much like a modern air war. She speaks about the lights in the sky that resulting in the burning and destruction and burning of the homes of the Irish. Google has her entire book on line at the above link for those who desire to know more about early Irish culture.
The land of Eire was known by the Romans as Hibernia, Ireland existed for thousands of years at the very edge of civilization. The Romans who conquered almost all of the known world, had plans to conquer Ireland but Ireland was spared when Rome began to decline as a result of centuries of war. Most of the civilized world was wiped from the face of our earth with the fall of Rome. The Barbarians destroyed and burnt everything including many valued handwritten books. Christianity all but disappeared and some say all memory of it would have totally disappeared if not for the Irish monks. The author Thomas Cahill in his book, "How the Irish Saved Civilization" compares America's southern border shared with Mexico as an example of how Rome fell. For centuries barbarians streamed into the Roman Empire opening businesses, farming, going into the military and as more came, it encouraged more to come. The barbarians were not loyal to Rome and when they had more might than Rome they conquered, raped, murdered, and plundered the Roman citizens. These immigrant barbarian didn't become Roman Christians but rather retained their culture and their pagan Gods.
One of the mistakes we make is we tend to think that our ancestors were like our modern grandparents. Perhaps one of the best examples as to how our ancestors lived can be found in the Lord of the Rings. A great deal displayed in Peter Jackson's movies mirrored how the Irish lived. Many think the Irish wore kilts and the Scots who settle Ireland did bring their kilts but the Irish wore cloaks, the title of Captain used to describe regional Kings and Princes and the belief in Elves and Dwarfs and magic can all be found in early Irish beliefs. Even the weaponry used in LOTRs can be found in Irish life, the use of pikes and two handed swords were very common. It is said that J R R Tolkien borrowed from the Welsh but the Irish, Britons, and Scots all had similar beliefs and bloodlines. To be certain our Ancestors lived a very different life with different values. Unlike today, Christians in that time did not come to the aid of their fellow Christians because to do so would be viewed as providing aid to Satan and one risked bringing the wrath of the community upon one's own self and family. It has been estimated that over a million women were put to death in Europe just for attempting to do what mothers do, nurse the sick back to health but in their ignorance many believed that to be sick was a punishment from God and try to heal the sick was a sin as you were interfering with God's plan. The dark ages was a bad time to be alive and it was against this back drop that some in Ireland sought to preserve some of man's knowledge and advancements. Most people living at that time could not read or write. Books required considerable labor to create by hand making reading and writing an activity only for the most wealthy but for the common man he was far too busy trying to survive;, just surviving was a endless task so what few Bibles that had been created and escaped destruction, they were guarded in great secrecy. For a few generations the world may flourish only to be beaten back and have its population reduced by sometimes as much as 60% by disease, weather, and war. This was the uphill climb on Ireland's road to modern civilization and Christianity was smack in the middle causing considerable challenges to those just trying to live and get by.
In the audible book by Dr Jonathan Bardon book titled "A Short History of Ireland" we receive and insight to Irish culture and I believe this book should be required listening to every person alive today because it gives us an insight that is hidden through normal courses of education. Even though western Europe had been Christianized for more thousand years the Irish in the 16th century had changed little. For most of its existence Ireland was a pagan land. Its natives looked to nature as their gods as did most of those who lived outside the influence of Christianity but in the fifth century Christianity slowly creped into Ireland creating a blended religion that was dominated by Christian teachings with a seasoning of paganism. One can see this in the Celtic crosses which have many pagan Celtic symbols. Irish Priest married and had children so this was a very different faith than the one in Rome. Christianity did little to change what some viewed as an uncivilized people. They continued to cling to their Irish traditions which to many today would be shocking but to the Irish were very natural. The Irish followed the Old Testament examples often taking a primary wife with secondary wives. Unlike the men of the Old Testament in Christian Irish society husbands could send their wives and their children back to their families and take new wives. While I have found no examples where the Irish married their sisters, I have found many examples where first cousins married. Christian Irish dress was much different that the manner in other Christian cultures. There are many accounts written by those visiting the Irish in the 15th to 17th century who describe the Irish custom of dress. The Irish men would allow their hair and beards to grow uncut and they wore no shoes. How they would walk barefoot in the snow of winter isn't explained but clearly this was a very tough race of people. They would wear a loose fitting smock like toga style garment and it was not uncommon for them to remove all their garments and fight in battle totally nude. Irish women were often described as very beautiful and they too dressed in a short loose fitting smock like garment and some times nothing else leaving their private parts exposed to view. Visitors record seeing even high born Irish woman nude in public. Like those in the middle east it wasn't uncommon for the Irish to share their wives with male guests so while most authors describe the Irish as Christian, the belief in Jesus might be the only thing commonly shared.
The diet of the common Irish had little variety Potatoes and corn originates from South and Central America and Columbus is credited with bringing them to Europe but in Ireland corn was grains such as wheat and barley, corn as we know it was called maize or Indian corn. Like the rest of the world Ireland used grain to make beer which was drank from cradle to grave. The Irish used maize mostly to sell or feed to their horses. They seemed to prefer oats and butter and drank buttermilk, whiskey, or wine. The introduction of the potato into the diet of Irish came about as their form of homeland security. Often at war or being warred upon crops like oats, corn, and barley were often laid to waste as to starve the Irish into submission and reduce their numbers but because potatoes grew below ground, it took a great deal of labor to destroy a potato crop so the Irish planted potatoes as a form of national defense.
In the 1300s the temperature of the earth cooled by a few degrees causing a very cold winter in Europe. People had to huddle in doors to survive as did the rats causing the plague. According to "A Short History of Ireland" crops failed and food became so limited that to survive people dug up the recently dead and ate them and when they were all gone they began to eat their children. This did not occur in only Ireland, this occurred throughout Europe. It has been said that the basis of the children's story Hansel and Gretel came as parents would send their children into the woods under the pretense to search for food and some children never came back because they became the food that their parents, neighbors, and relatives, it was a story used as an explanation to the surviving children of what happened to their missing brothers and sisters. This was not the only time this occurred, humans stood on the brink of destruction many times being forced to do the unthinkable to give us a chance at life. During the Willamette Wars in Ireland in the late 1600s both Catholics and Protestants resorted to eating the dead for survival, a great many sins are justified for the cause of victory. It happened again in 1740 and 1741 when a great freeze hit Europe wiping out food crops and animals. This practice may seem unacceptable but consider that if the parents died there would be no one to care for any surviving children who would be left defenseless and prey, who is to say they would not do the same. Faced with the choice of saving some children at the expense of other children may have been their only option so I will not judgment them. It is likely that some of us who descended from European ancestry would not be alive today had our ancestors not made these very hard and difficult survival choices. I think it is important that we acknowledge and remember our ancestors struggles if for no other reason than to allow us to see how much we have advanced in the past one hundred years and that should give us greater hope for the future. We live in heaven when compared to the lives of our ancestors just a hundred years ago and we do them an injustice when we fail to acknowledge what they made possible for us.
The English viewed the Irish as animals as they did most of the other peoples of the world and I suspect much about the Irish was made up to make them appear more like animals than human allowing the English to justify their murderous actions for profit. The victors get to make up the history anyway they wish. We see this today, in that the majority of Muslims are a peaceful people but because 19 choose to kill during 9/11 many classify all Muslims as terrorist something that can not supported in truth. We saw the English do the same with native Americans and when gold was discovered in South Africa the British did the same to justify the invasion and taking of South Africa from the Dutch. In the Irish and English saga it must be said that both sides could be and were just as cruel even among themselves, that was the way of our world a history that is most often hidden today.
So what was the cause of almost a thousand years of mutual hate between the English and the Irish? It was the same that has always caused war and destruction all over the known world, the desire to possess that which ones neighbors possess. Most civilizations didn't create their wealth, they took it either by conquering or by enslavement and the Irish and English were no different. The one that control the power controlled the wealth and in an age when sometimes 50% of the population could died in a matter of just a few years due to starvation and disease wealth and power was the only possible way to escape such a fate. The conflict between the Irish and the English was always there but was elevated when Henry VIII broke with the pope and established himself as head of the Christian church, there was plenty of conflict between the two states long before that occurred. Religion just gave both sides a new vehicle to stir up the people of both countries in this power struggle between England, Ireland, France, Spain, the Dutch, and Rome. Like today, the common man believed his priests and ministers when they told them it was their duty to God to kill others.
From the beginning of recorded time until about 1700 the European world was often visited with great violence and starvation and much of this was man made. I sometimes wonder if Christianity may have encouraged it; not that any of the teachings of Jesus were the cause but that man's corruptive nature upon those teachings was the cause. Jesus did not create the "Christian Soldier", that concept was created by the Pagan Roman Emperor Constantine and has been encouraged and used by every ruler since including America Presidents. The practice of absolution by Catholics in a nutshell was a belief that one could be just as mean and nasty as they wanted and as long as they came to church and received absolution of their sins and they would still gain entrance into heaven seem to encourage all manners of evil. This belief allowed one to rape, pillage, and plunder then seek absolution and be forgiven and start all over again and again and again.
For much of the 1600s Ireland was at war. With the Flight of the Earls in 1607, King James I (of the King James Bible) took possession of their lands and granted them to protestant English and Scottish immigrants. King James enacted laws that allowed the transportation of Irish, Scottish, and poor English to the English colonies where they were put on the auction block and sold as slaves, slaves for their life time, slaves who bore children who were treated no different and in many ways worse than the African slaves in America because African slaves were expensive but white Irish slaves were cheap. Hundreds of thousands of white Irish men, women, and children were taken and sold into slavery in America and other British colonies. King James set about to abolish the Irish system of clan ownership of land mostly because there was no profit in it for the English crown who desired to take ownership and taxes of lands as they passed from on generation to another. In 1641 out of fear over the Puritan Parliament when they refused to accept the negotiated peace between the Irish and King Charles of England the Irish began a rebellion killing and driving out some of the Ulster planters. In one account the Irish took the English protestant settlers and stripped them naked in the middle of winter and force every man, woman, and child onto a bridge where they were forced off in the freezing water to their deaths. The protestant Christians favored burning alive as their favored means of killing Irish men, women, and children including the unborn. For the Gentry Irish they would put a rope around their necks and push them off what every they were standing on as to not break their necks and let then strangle for 20 minutes or more and while they were still alive they would gut them, cut out their intestines and burn them before their still alive strangling victim then they would rip open their victims chest and cut out their still beating heart and toss it in the fire then cut off their heads and cut the rest of the body into four quarters and send these to the four corners of the land. The protestants believed these horrors were justified as to discourage any future uprising in Ireland and to force the Irish to convert from being Catholic and become protestant. These conservative Christians did these horrors in the name of Jesus Christ as they believed they were doing his will. England was soon occupied by its own civil war between the conservative Christian movement known as the Puritans and the Royalists who supported the English monarch but when King Charles I was executed by the Puritan Parliament and their general Oliver Cromwell was given leadership of the English government, his army of adventurers seeking plunder took revenge upon the Irish. About 1650 it was believed that Ireland's population was well under two million but during Protestant Oliver Cromwell's rape of Ireland it is estimated that 500 thousand Irish were killed or 1/4 of the population. An additional 100 thousand Irish were shipped to be used as slaves in Jamaica and Barbados sugar plantations and to Virginia. The most common manner of death for and Irish man, woman, or child was by the sword but a favorite of the English was to hang or strangle a person almost to the point of death then while his or her heart still beat, they would rip the chest open and cut out the beating heart then quarter the body. Catholics were not the only target of Cromwell and his puritans, they also targeted the Presbyterians Scots who had been planted in Ulster by King James over four decades earlier. Cromwell and his puritans wrote in their books and journals that God had authorized their actions and they may have killed a larger percentage of a population and in a more cruel way than Adolph Hitler and his Nazis. For the Irish that survived in eastern Ireland, they were forced to move to western Ireland. England didn't have the money to pay the Cromwell soldiers so great tracks of Irish land was given to many officers who helps clear the Irish lands but Cromwell was a mortal just like all other men and when he died the English were quick to restore a King as to curb the power of conservative Christians because they Irish was not the only ones that the puritans murdered, they also committed these same acts against their fellow English. Some peace came to Ireland when Cromwell died and English King Charles II was returned to head the government. he appointed James Butler Earl of Ormond as his Lord LT or Ireland and for the next 30 years Ireland was at peace free to observe any religion. Catholics press the restoration of their lands from the Cromwell soldiers and some were able to recover some land legally but not able to force the English protestant soldiers off the land. Over time this issue would return war again and again to Ireland.The "Christian soldier" was just as popular with protestants and they were just as cruel and murderous. They believe there was no requirement to repent, they believed that when they raped, pillaged, and plundered that they were doing that which was ordained by God and once they were saved, they were always saved no matter their conduct a belief that many modern Christians embrace today. This was the reality for the Irish for hundreds of years. If one became a protestant the Roman Catholic felt justified in murdering them and their family and if they remained Roman Catholic then the mostly English protestants believed God had ordained their murder and their families. There was no middle ground, no safe haven, and often no choice. For hundreds of years Ireland was a breeding ground of hate and violence and Christianity was used as justification. I have little doubt that if Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians had believed they would stand before God and be judged for their acts of rape, murder, pillaging, and plunder that Europe and even our modern world would have been far different. The true realities was the Irish and English actually needed each other to help stave off threats from Europe proper and there are many examples where the two joined to fight a common enemy only to return to fighting each other when the danger had passed
One of the lessons that man never seems to learn is war never accomplishes anything positive. In spite of the cruelties committed by Cromwell and his conservative Christians the Irish waged many battles over the next 50 years in their effort to expel the English and establish their own home rule. The greatest of these battles occurred in the 1690s when the Catholics of France and Spain joined with the Irish while the English under William and the Danes found to maintain the English rule over Ireland. A large number of O'Kelleys found in the battles at Athlone, Aughrim and Limerick and while the war actually ended in a negotiated peace, once again the conservative Christian puritans who control of the English Parliament derailed the settlement as it required many of them to give up their Irish lands and return them to their original owners. Ireland had many battles and over the next almost 300 years until in July 1921 Ireland gained it independence for all but Northern Ireland from the British. The fight to free Northern Ireland of British influence.
Another misunderstood event in Irish history was the potato famine. By the mid 1800s the English protestants had been very successful in dispossessing the Irish of their lands and most Irish had been turned into share croppers on lands they once owned. When the potato crop failed, there were other foods such as corn, wheat, and barley that the Irish grew that could have sustained them but because they did not own their land, they merely worked for the English who were their masters, the food they grew belonged to the English and the English protestants exported the Irish grown food to other lands to be sold for profit. Image that you were a poor Irish Catholic and your entire family worked in the fields and every penny you earned was paid back to your English protestant land lord and every ounce of food that you and your family harvested was shipped out of your country leaving you and your family to one by one starve to death. That was the true nature of the potato famine they cruelty of the English protestants is often hidden from new generations of the world but just as the sin committed by the Nazis must never been forgotten, I believe it is just as important to make certain that the world remembers how the English protestants behaved during God's test of them. Left to die many Irish dug their own graves so when their time was near they crawled in sometimes many bodies deep hoping someone would come along after they died and cover them over to prevent the dogs from eating their bodies. There were a few organized efforts to help the Irish, some created workhouses where families were separated, the fathers were housed in one barracks, the women in another, and the children were housed in the freezing attics where day after they they were worked long hours for profit and to pay for their food and shelter. Even the black slaves in America were treated better than the Irish Catholics and was because the black slave was considered valued property while the Irish Catholic was viewed an an infidel by the English protestant, someone unworthy of life.
In the first installment of Lord of the Rings, the forest were cut down to fire the furnace to make metal weapons and this mirrored a very real world wide event, as in England, Scotland, and Ireland the forest were all cut down to use as fuel in the smelting of iron. The great forest of Michigan, Wisconsin, and many other America states also fell to the greed of capitalism. Most all are void of trees in any quantity and are open featureless farmland. In Ireland it has been record that in 1600 a squirrel could climb a tree in eastern Ireland and travel to the western coast and never touch ground but by the mid 1800s most of Ireland had been stripped of its once great forests so merchants were importing wood from Canada and once empty and preparing for a return voyage to bring back more wood, many starving Irish were forced upon the ships and sent to Canada. The ship masters felt no duty to feed the Irish so many died during the journey and those that did survive many did so by feeding on the dead bodies of other Irish. Once in Canada, the starving Irish were dumped with no help or aid and a great number died of exposure from the hard winters or in large large numbers in their attempt to walk from Canada into America. This occurred just one hundred years before I was born and all of this has done much to feed the Irish hatred of the English. These were Christians doing this to other Christians, an evil that no one will claim today.
The Irish have been credited with the invention of surnames but I have read that the true origins of surnames was the English Poll Tax in the twelfth century. To ensure taxes were paid individuals had to be accounted for so a naming system had to be invented to accomplish such but even before that time the Irish had already been using a form of a surname in their clan names. Irish clan names came about much the same as the English Poll Tax requirement as the Irish didn't actually own land as if they purchased it, they occupied land they conquered. If they needed more land they waged war on their neighbors and took it and then they used family and extended family or members of their clan to hold and defend the land so a clan name was almost like the name of a nation. It is for this reason that we find that Irish surnames are family names while English surnames are often derived from the place they lived or their occupation. It may be that surnames developed in both Ireland and England at about the same time but for these very different reasons.
O'Kelley Irish Family History - This link provides information about how the O'Kelley family came to be.