Reunion August 2021

A brief reminder that due to COVID-19, the:

Clan Reunion in Ireland DELAYED to August 2021

— more details early next year.

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Muintir Uí Lochlainn; reunion 1995:

Following the completed restoration of Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan in 1994 (illustrated), a series of meetings was held to prepare for the first international ÓLochlainn reunion in September 1995.

Many ÓLochlainns attended this reunion, with over one hundred from North America, as well as a dozen enthusiastic Clan members from the South Australian city of Adelaide, including one family of four generations.

The pleasure of meeting so many Clan members from around the world was increased by the opportunity to learn together more of our shared heritage, and walk around sites in County Clare and the Burren.

A most unexpected development of this reunion emerged, when Brian OLoghlin (Australia) was introduced to Dónal Loghlen OSullivan (Dublin). Those 1995 series of contacts began outside Hyland’s hotel, when Dónal made initial contact with an Australian family group by displaying his genealogy tree to Peter from Queensland, Australia.

Further contact developed at The King Thomond Hotel, Lisdoonvarna during the Saturday bus tour of North Clare. The Ballyvaughan and Lisdoonvarna meetings, helped bridge a gap of some one hundred and fifty years which began with the emigration of Brian’s ancestor, James OLoghlin from Grey Rock (Cragreagh), outside Lisdoonvarna to Australia c 1840. The renewed family contact was further developed, when Dónal from Dublin visited Brian OLoghlin at Mount Tamborine following the 1995 reunion.

(See also a recent blog post>.)

From the opening ceremony at Newtown castle on Friday, through to the christening ceremony at Corcomroe abbey, ending with a lengthy musical jamboree at Hyland’s Burren hotel on Sunday evening, visitors and locals were bombarded with many facts and many hours of cultural fun! A memorable song was described in the April 2015 post The West’s Awake.

One of the reunion speakers, Brother Micheál Fearghaois OConnor also co-authored the reunion booklet, A Short History of The ÓLochlainn Clan, with Eamonn ÓLochlainn.

The 1995 reunion also demonstrated how quickly technology is changing our modern lifestyles; the now ‘ancient’ Fax machine was chosen to contact Clan societies within Australia, which permitted Australians to participate in various aspects of the reunion, in particular the musical-marathon at Hyland’s Hotel on the Sunday evening.

Today, a stone plaque at Newtown Castle commemorates the 1995 reunion.

The organising committee included; Shay OLoughlin, Michael Greene, Mary Hawkes Greene, Jimmy OLoughlin, Peter OLoghlen, Mort OLoughlin, Helen Walsh, Martin OLoghlen, Edward OLoghlen, Jim Cotter; with Helen Walsh and Martin OLoghlen working in close association with the late Michael Greene.

Group photo 1995 by Mort OLoughlin. Others in this post by Brendan O’Loghlin.

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Centenary of Thomas Francis

Thomas Francis O’Loughlin, Jr. born March 1920:

Tom was raised in Hartford, Connecticut.

He was sent to Loomis Preparatory, an exclusive school now Loomis-Chaffee in Windsor, CT. This was followed by his studies at Harvard, graduating from there in 1942.

Tom then moved to Midshipman School at Columbia University, becoming Regimental Commander of the USNR Midshipmen Class of February 1943.

Left, Lt. Tom O’Loughlin at the binoculars, watching the landing unfold. Center, Gen. George Kenney, right, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, October, 1944 during the invasion of Leyte Gulf, the greatest Naval battle in history. Image: US National Archives and Records Administration.

He was selected as an officer on USS Nashville, which was Gen. MacArthur’s flagship during the island-hopping campaign in the Pacific. An official photo shows Tom with senior commanders on board USS Nashville, October 1944.

Tom survived a kamikaze attack. He was selected as a bomb-disposal and damage-control officer, a vital role on warships crammed with men, fuel and ammunition.

Thomas O’Loughlin with J Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI

Following WW II, he attended Law School and entered the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he became involved in counter-espionage as Special Agent for the Director, J. Edgar Hoover.

The Kennedy administration selected Tom as lead-planner for all special operations at the Pentagon, following the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

He worked directly with US Joint Chiefs, which permitted access to “Top Secret” clearance.  He planned special operations in the Vietnam war and elsewhere.

The sudden onset of cancer in 1970, which metastasised quickly, led to his death at the early age of fifty one (June 6th 1971). The “war” between CIA and the Old Navy/FBI, a struggle for power and control during and after the administration of President Kennedy, likely hastened his premature death.

John OLoughlin, son of the late Thomas Francis, has been central to our clan-developments since 1995. During 2006 he added music to our 17th century boat-poem, Bless-the-Boat. (See also the Song and Dance page>). John, Marcia and The Fahy family of North Clare presented a musical rendition of Bless-the-Boat to those assembled for the clan reunion at The Whitethorn restaurant, on the southern side of Galway Bay during September 2010.

On March 21, 2020, John and a group of friends gathered to celebrate Tom’s 100th Birthday. John is using this year to study Tom’s career and hopefully publish a biography.

–   Thanks to John O’Loughlin, Maryland, USA

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O’Loghlen chiefs – a new paper

Research into family roots can often pose challenges, sometimes insurmountable. Records have been distributed in odd corners of churches, libraries and cupboards in homes — or lost by fire and water.

One branch of the Clan has evidently overcome all obstacles to assemble some threads over centuries of  their family history. This document has been presented and is now filed under Clan History as ‘O’Loghlen Chiefs in Burren, 1510-1823‘.

The authors have provided a summary as follows:


A research paper by Michael O’Loghlen; Margaret Bayles; Rosemary Gilligan, and Edward O’Loghlen (May 2020).

The first paper details a succession of O’Lochlainn clan chiefs:

  • Uaithne died 1590; with a note on Uaithne’s oldest son, Rossa.
  • Rossa’s nephew, Owney died 1617 and his wife, Finola O’Brien.
  • Uaithne’s grandson, Melaghlin died 1623.
  • Uaithne’s great grandson, known as Owney Oge born 1593.
  • Uaithne’s great great grandson, Torlogh;
    • with notes on Torlogh’s brother Donogh, and Donogh’s son Malachy;
    • and with a discussion of Torlogh O’Loghlen’s petition manuscripts dating from c1663, the oldest surviving family documents.
  • Torlogh’s son, Donogh died 1714
  • Torlogh’s grandson, Terence died c1766.
  • Torlogh’s great grandson, Peter O’Loghlen called the last Prince of Burren, died 1823.

It also includes:

  • a sketch of a family tree for the clan chiefs, extending from the time of Uaithne died 1590 to Peter;
  • Appendices dealing with the Composition of Connacht, 1585;
  • various other matters.
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No one is an island

‘No man is an island’, said John Donne in 1624; we are all somehow connected to and draw from the great river of humanity. Much later, William Butler Yeats opined:

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

So in these days of ‘lockdown’ and reflection, we savour the beauty and inspiration of many lives, now in peril or passed, who have offered into our consciousness some riches great or small — yes, and often in these pages with a connection to the Lochlainn roots in Ireland.

In this post, we remember two great contributors to the cultural history of the Burren, from whence came the grand ÓLochlainn heritage.

Cathal’s book of ballads, 1850-1976, collected by Sean Ó Cillín

Sean  P. OCillin

First, Edward has notified us of the passing of Seán P ÓCillin who compiled a book of ballads from County Clare and the Irish West Coast.

In this collection, Seán included another telling quote from W B Yeats:

The history of a nation is not in parliaments and battlefields but in what people say to each other on fair days and high days and how they farm and quarrel and go on pilgrimage.

Thank you Sean for your foresight and effort in shoring up this stream of our musical heritage.

Read more in a blog post five years ago, The west’s awake>

Tim Robinson

Secondly, of whom do I speak when I quote this recent obituary in The Guardian?

Máiréad was born Margaret Fitzgibbon in Loch Garman, County Wexford, and first moved to London in the 1950s to train as a lawyer. She mastered Gaelic, Italian and French, and read Latin and ancient Greek. Her reading was eclectic, ranging from Dante to the memoirs of 18th-century French aristocratic women’s salons.

She met Tim Robinson when, as recent graduates, they were renting rooms in the same shared house, and they married in Islington, London in 1959. They moved to Istanbul to teach and later to Vienna, where Tim began to develop his work as a visual artist.

Map of the Uplands of North-west Clare by Tim Robinson

Impressive. But Wexford in the south-east is a long way from Clare in the west.

The clue is ‘Tim Robinson’, whose cartographic work has been recognised in our Burren page. From 1972, Máiréad and Tim lived for years in Aran and around the West Coast of Ireland.

The corresponding Guardian obituary on Tim, who has passed away recently at age 85 within two weeks of his loved partner and manager, says of his achievements: ‘His life’s work laid new strata in the cultural history of Ireland.’ It continues:

Robinson was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2010. His maps of the Aran islands, the Burren and Connemara – places he referred to as the “ABC of earth wonders” – are little miracles of collective assembly, combining topography, language, geology, myth and physics.

Read more of this obit here.

We celebrate these men and the talented women who contributed, enabled, assisted, inspired and managed such creative works.

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Adelaide reunions; 1977-2007:

Continuing our series of reflections on previous regional reunions in this year of the forthcoming gathering in Ireland, August 2020, we turn to Adelaide, Australia, and to an active branch of the family descending from Cornelius OLoughlin.

Note: Another Cornelius O’Loghlin lived in Adelaide but he was descended from  James, who emigrated in 1840, thus establishing another Adelaide branch with that different spelling,

The OLoughlins’ of Adelaide began their reunions in the year 1977. The anniversary of their first reunion was celebrated at Catherine Henningsen’s home on Saturday 17th March 2007 with a Cousins’ reunion. Those celebrations continued through to the following day, when one hundred and forty Clan members assembled at Plympton Hall, Adelaide, south Australia.

The Adelaide group have excelled, through providing a large number of publications from 1997 onwards. Stanley OLoughlin produced Anchor Under The Southern Cross, recording the arrival of two county Clare citizens; Ann Barry (Kilkee) and Cornelius OLoughlin (Ennistymon) would later marry, leading to the development of this Adelaide group.

After Stanley’s work of 1997, Catherine Henningsen, Findon, Adelaide went on to produce four publications;

(1) Frances and Laurence OLoughlin, 2004:
The son of Cornelius and Ann Barry, Laurence OLoughlin and his wife; Frances Morris. Their subsequent children, were each recorded through their grandchild, Catherine Henningsen.

(2) Reunions Galore, 2007:
During March 2007 Catherine profiled various Clan reunions of 1977 (Adelaide), 1995 (Clare), 2005 (Clare) as well as recalling the story of four Ennistymon brothers; Austin, John, Michael, and Thomas OLoughlin who arrived to the Dunnstown area of the state of Victoria, Australia between 1854 and 1857.

(3) A Trip to Ireland, 1913:
During May 2013, the centenary visit of Frances and Laurence OLoughlin to Dublin and Ennistymon was re-enacted by pupils from the local Ennistymon school, Scoil Mhainchín with OLoughlins’ from Adelaide (South Australia) and Mildura (Victoria) as well as county Clare in attendance. Catherine produced A Trip to Ireland, 1913 to capture the stories surrounding that centenary visit, based on the Diaries of Archie Peake who travelled to Ireland with Frances and Laurence in 1913.

(4) A Trip to Ireland, 2013:
The Australian visitors were very impressed with the dramatic stage presentations of the Ennistymon school teenagers. In particular, they appreciated the story of the Dublin newsboy, Patsy Keane who requested that Senator Laurence OLoughlin should bring him to South Australia on his return journey, eventually receiving permission for that long journey, from his Dublin mother in May 1913.

Catherine’s research in Adelaide archives brought the story of Patsy Keane and his wife, Sarah Kemp back to life. Patsy, on moving to Australia in 1913, worked on the OLoughlin farm at Pinnaroo, South Australia before participating as an Australian soldier during WW 1 in France. Then, later retiring to Australia in 1917 after visits to London hospitals, where he received his army discharge papers. Patsy and Sarah both retired to Mildura, Victoria where they resided until their deaths in 1976 and 1978, as the Adelaide OLoughlins’ were preparing to host their first reunion in 1977.

Catherine and her many cousins grew up at Pinnaroo; see blog Pinnaroo church (June 2015). As school kids, their tasks included weeding those flower-beds about Pinnaroo church.

The Adelaide reunions were planned by various Clan members, including:
Margaret Billing, Anne Roberts, Catherine Henningsen, Frances OLoughlin, Stanley OLoughlin; celebrating the arrival of Cornelius OLoughlin and Ann Barry to South Australia, where the OLoughlin anchor was firmly established beneath the umbrella of The Southern Cross; as recalled by Stanley OLoughlin.

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The Burren as Magnet

 This post by Katharine Lochnan is the third of three essays on the role of deserts; presenting options to nurture  silence  

As local tribes were converted, churches were built. It seems likely that the three small stone churches collectively known as the Oughtmama churches which are found at the base of Turlough Hill in Úi Lochlainn territory, were built between the 8th and the 10th centuries to replace 6th or 7th century churches, built in wood. They were the centre of a monastic community which is said to have been founded by three Colmans, one of whom may have been the saint.

Ireland Aug. 16 2007 136

Corcomroe Abbey. Image K Lochnan

After the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, continental religious orders founded houses in Ireland. Chief among these were the Cistercians who built Corcomroe Abbey, near Oughtmama under the patronage of the O’Brien clan. Construction on the monastic church of Sancta Maria de Petra Fertilis (“St. Mary of the Fertile Rock”), the centre-piece of the new abbey, began in the 12th century. It is thought that while it was under construction, the brothers may have lived at Oughtmama.

The community, which undoubtedly included many clan members, farmed the fields around the abbey from the thirteenth century to the 1600’s. The monastery, which flourished until the Reformation, is closely linked to our history, and the church contains some of the oldest marked graves of the Úi Lochlainn.

“OLoughlin King of Burren Family Tomb” within Corcomroe Abbey. Image: B O’Loghlin

Colman placed the Burren under the “law of quality” which states that, for the believer, the more energy one draws from a sacred place or relic, the more it becomes capable of bestowing. On a beautiful evening in August, 2009, I set out on a walk from Corcomroe to Oughtmama, but was unable to reach the churches before the sun began to set.

I will never forget the view of Turlogh Hill across the green fields: as the sun went down the ragged cliff face, inscribed with ancient stone walls, turned pink, and the crescent moon and evening star began to shine brightly in the blue sky. In that landscape, which bears the marks of our clan and has witnessed its history since the dawn of time, I felt a strong sense of divine immanence.

That evening not only changed my life, it has inspired my course ever since. To me, the Burren remains the most fertile place on earth. Perhaps it is the journey rather than the destination that is most important. I nonetheless dream of returning, one day, to that place where we all have our deepest roots, and completing my pilgrimage.

– Katharine Lochnan, Adjunct Professor, Regis College, University of Toronto.

I would like to thank Professor Thomas O’Loughlin, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham, for reviewing my text and for his suggestions. Tom gave the keynote address at the Muintir Uí Lochlainn reunion in Ballyvaughan during September 2010.  I would also like to thank Edward O Loghlen for his inspiration over many years, his invitation to write this article and for his thoughtful and careful editing.

Anchorites – Christian monks (who lived in the desert?)
Bullaun – a stone with a bowl shaped depression used to catch water
Eremitic – hermetic existence
Essenes – an ascetic Jewish sect which turned its back on temple worship and formed a community at Qumran in the Judean desert.

See previous posts by Professor Lochnan here:

From Petra to Petra Fertilis. 4 March 2019

Colman of Kilmacduagh – Eastern Burren. 24 Jan 2020

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More about Brehon Law

Law and Grammatical Miscellany, by Domhnall O Duibhdabhoirenn, 1564. Image British Library, MS Egerton 88

Richard Davern of Limerick told a nice tale in 2019 about Egerton 88, the so-called Donal’s Book, which was first introduced here in the Clan History page.

Last weekend, at NUI Galway a symposium was held to explore the context for that 16th century Manuscript. Elizabeth FitzPatrick, Archaeology, NUI Galway assembled a unique set of scholars to provide a variety of glimpses on the world of Domhnall ODaveron (Burren) and his scribes. Elizabeth also provided one of the lectures to the ÓLochlainn reunion of 2010.

Acquiring the Egerton 88 Manuscript on short-term loan from The British Library, to permit this Galway symposium, was a wonderful achievement by Elizabeth and her keen band of supporters.

Further information on these Brehon Law manuscripts may be gleaned through the blog produced by Bernadette Cunningham, Deputy Librarian, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin who was one of the presenters at the Galway school, January 2020. Read more here>

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Colman’s Burren hermitage

By Katharine Lochnan, the second of three essays on the role of deserts; presenting options to nurture silence. If you missed her first missive, read it here>

St. Colman mac Duagh (6th-7th c. CE) was said to be the son of the Irish chieftain Duagh, born at Cork, Kiltartan, County Galway and educated at St. Enda’s monastery on the Aran islands. For a time he lived as a recluse and built a church and small oratory near Kilmurvey (Aran) which is one of the Seven Churches. In the late 6th c. C.E., craving greater solitude, he moved, with a young cleric, to a cave on the Burren at the foot of Slieve Carran. The Burren, which appears on the surface to be a barren moonscape, was seen as analogous to “the stricken hills of Judaea.” Colman was able to survive there thanks to the fact that the rock contains incredibly fertile soil within its crevices and mini-woodland valleys.

The Monastery of Kilmacduagh, founded by St Colman in the 7th C. The round tower was added in the 12th C. Image: Brendan O’Loghlin

Today the site consists of Colman’s cave, a holy well, the grave of his cleric, a bullaun stone, and a small stone oratory which was added later. 

According to legend, after fasting through Lent, Colman asked his cleric whether he had found anything for their Easter meal. When the latter replied, in frustration, that he had only found a small fowl and some herbs, Colman prayed that the Lord would provide a suitable meal.

There are at least two colourful variations of the story that follows: one that maintains that at that very moment when Colman’s cousin, King Guire Aidne mac Colmáin, who lived near the site of Dunguaire Castle in Kinvarra, was sitting down to feast from the “Cauldron of Guaire,” it rose up from the table and was escorted by two angels over the woods and crags landing in front of Colman’s hermitage.

In another variation, as soon as the dishes had been filled from the cauldron, they rose up and flew out the window all the way to Colman’s hermitage. The amazed king followed with his retinue only to discover their banquet spread before Colman and his cleric! Today there is a sign near Kinvarra, pointing to Bóthar-na-Mias, “the road of the dishes.”

Like all these early legends this story was not meant to be taken literally, but to be understood as a metaphor. The so-called “bounty of Guaire” is a variation on the story of the manna that fell from heaven to feed the Israelites in the desert. As Patrick Sheeran has pointed out in “The Fertile Rock: The Burren as Desert” in The Book of the Burren (Kinvara: Tir Eolas, 2001, 211-220), “Colman is a type of Israel, the Burren a type of Sinai” (216). These stories are ancient ways of illustrating the precept that, for those who believe, God will provide.

Detail of the information plaque at the monastery site

But the colourful way in which this precept is conveyed through the Celtic imagination is distinctly different from the simplicity of Eastern asceticism. Impressed by Colman’s holiness, the King asked him to take episcopal charge of the territory of the Aidhne. Around 610 C.E., they founded the monastery of Kilmacduagh (the church of the son of Duagh) near Gort. This became the centre of the tribal Diocese of Aidhne which was practically coextensive with the See of Kilmacduagh.

Colman governed it as abbot-bishop; his crozier can be seen today in the National Museum, located at Kildare Street, Dublin.

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Melbourne Reunions; 1981-2007

Looking forward to our August 2020 reunion, we begin a series of retrospective reports on previous Clan gatherings over the years. We begin in Australia.

In March 2007, a family reunion was organised by Lynette and Brian OLoughlin.

This Clan reunion was celebrated at Dunnstown Hall, Ballarat, Victoria. Melbourne-based Lynette and her husband Brian planned this gathering at Dunnstown cricket pavilion.

The choice of location for their celebration was appropriate, as the land about Dunnstown was chosen by Brian’s ancestors, soon after they arrived to Australia c 1855. Mary, Austin, John, Michael and Thomas OLoughlin were the five children of Michael OLoughlin and Anne Mulquinny, Ennistymon, county Clare.

They departed for Victoria between 1854 and 1857. The sight of potatoes ‘flowering’ during the month of March may have appealed to those born about the hinterland of Ennistymon, the administrative capital for north Clare.

The late Jim O’Connor

Jim OConnor (1930-2010) was a descendant of the children of Michael and Anne Mulquinny. Jim visited county Clare during 1998. He recorded as much family information as possible throughout north and west Clare, later producing four booklets from his accumulated notes.

The Victoria Gathering of March 2007:

OLoughlins’ from a great variety of locations – Adelaide, Ballarat, Brisbane, Geelong, Melbourne, Sydney, Torquay, Queensland, England and Ireland as well as other locations within the state of Victoria attended at Dunnstown for the gathering of March 2007.  This was the seventh of the series which began in 1981. Some seventy ÓLochlainns were assembled for registration by Lynette and her group.

Clan Members from the State of Victoria included:

  • Margaret, Brian OLoughlin’s sister, with Brian’s brother-in-law, John Fay
  • Mai OLoughlin Clarke, who recalled stories from her worldwide travels
  • Gerard OLoughlin originally from the rural district known as The Wimmera, Victoria
  • Lynette and Brian OLoughlin, Melbourne, Victoria:

Following some lengthy local and international journeys ‘genealogy-trees’ were unfolded, computer laptops were plugged in and items of family information were exchanged and digested. Brian introduced both local and international clan members, who presented their family stories illustrating various links which weave through our histories.

During their reunion of March 2007, those assembled were requested to plan for future reunions, as Lynette and Brian had completed their current series of seven family reunions, which began in 1981.

Brian subscribed to the Australian-Irish online periodical, Tinteán – the Gaelic term Tinteán means hearth or fireside.

A Gaelic proverb; ‘Níl aon tinteán, mar do thinteáin féin’ – this may be loosely translated as:

No hearth is as warm or as effective, as your own hearth!

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