USA to the Burren!

A Warm Hello to Clan OLochlainn Members:

Rita is a US member of the ODaveron clan who has been immersed in both Davern and Burren research for  a number of decades, which has included many trips to her ancestral Burren landscape.

This article below, besides noting the close, medieval educational links with Clan OLochlainn, also evokes a term from those distant times when kinship was a pivotal feature for the functioning and well-being of clan affairs. We are delighted that Rita has connected with us, and she has helped to rekindle that sense of kinship and friendship.

— Edward

The O’Davoren clan members have been inspired by your progress in reuniting the OLochlainn clan group, across time and continents. You seem to have had a great deal of fun with your research and resulting connections. We ODaverons hope to follow suit, and are working on the DNA end of the research as well as our family trees.

We expect them to lead us back to shared ancestors, including those from the O’Davoren Law School which was located at Caher Mac Nachteen on the Burren during medieval times. The annual Burren Law School, held each year at the Burren College of Art (Newtown castle), commemorates this medieval ODaveron Law School.


Cathail Tigh Bhreac, image: Rita Davern. Recently excavated site, just north of Caher Mac Nachteen stone fort. It is believed to be the actual site of the medieval O’Davoren Law School. There are recessed areas in the walls, where the archeologists believe scrolls were kept.

The ODaverons had a gathering in 2015 at Caherconnell Stone Fort, Burren, County Clare, and another gathering was held last May in Ballyvaughan, County Clare to witness a preview of a documentary film about this Burren clan.

For more information, see

We thank you for your dedication and commitment to the preservation of Egerton 88 (ODaveron Legal Manuscript), as well as ongoing work towards digitizing that document, mainly located at the British Library, London.

What a generous and important contribution to Gaelic Legal history!

Best Wishes,
Rita Davern

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

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Hurling and Camogie

Many Irish, both at home and abroad, view Ireland in July as a place of festivals and homecomings, be it Galway city horse-racing at Ballybritt, or climbing the ‘reek’ (mountain) at Croagh Patrick, County Mayo on the final Sunday in July.
Others enjoy the ancient, Gaelic game of hurling, as the business-end of the hurling season begins in July and is completed during August or early September.

On Saturday and Sunday last, while many pilgrims were engaging with the demands of scaling Croagh Patrick, two epic hurling encounters were enthralling their supporters at Croke Park, the Dublin based sports-stadium.

Limerick faced Cork, with Limerick moving onwards to the All Ireland final on Sunday 19th August. Clare and Galway have to meet for a second time on Sunday 5th August, at Thurles stadium, to decide who will meet Limerick for the 2018 hurling final championship.

While Croke Park, Dublin is the primary Irish sports stadium, Semple Stadium / Thurles is the spiritual-home of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) since it was founded at Thurles by Burren native Michael Cusack, as well as seven others who attended that unique meeting in Hayes’s hotel on 1st November 1884. The founding of the GAA was part of an Irish cultural-revival from the 1880’s onwards which also inspired the forming of the new Irish State in 1922/23.

Image: Edward OLoghlen

The illustration at left shows Michael Cusack at Cusack Park, Ennis with hurley and ball (sliothar) at his feet. This limestone sculpture was hewn by Michael McTigue of Kilnamona, whose mother was a member of the OLochlainn clan.

Sports Members and All Ireland Champions:
Many Clan members have represented both club and county through the decades including:
Michael OLoghlin, Limerick Commercials (1887); Micho OLoghlen, County Clare (1917); Colm OLoghlen, County Clare (1968); Ann Marie Hynes/OLoghlen, County Clare (1974); Catherine OLoughlin/Burke, County Clare (1995); Gerard OLoughlin, County Clare (1995).

The equivalent to hurling, played by females is known as camogie. Anne Marie and Catherine in the list above were both members of successful All Ireland winning County Clare camogie teams.

Scotland enjoys a similar game to hurling known as Shinty. Throughout recent decades Ireland and Scotland have met for hurling and Shinty games.

*Additional Note: for those interested in the history of hurling, GAA/RTE have combined to produce a three part TV documentary entitled; The Game, which is being screened at present during August Monday nights, through the RTE One tv channel. This documentary provides insight from some sixty interviews from both former players and team managers. Unique, early video-clips add significantly to the quality of this combined production.



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Ennistymon or Ennistimon?

Ennistymon or Ennistimon, Lahinch or Lehinch, ‘are  ye right there Michael?’

A recent report with this catchy title by Patrick Comerford, historian, theologian, educator, writer and priest in Ireland, will be of interest to Clan members who have been fortunate enough to travel around the west of Ireland.

Here is a short extract:

Ennistymon, a market town built on the borders of the Burren and on the banks of the River Cullenagh or River Inagh, combines scenic, natural beauty with old world charm and many traditional pubs.

The narrow street near the bridge over the Cullenagh River is the oldest part of the town. Behind the Main Street and a little below the seven-arch bridge, built in 1790, the river with its small rapids rushes over an extensive ridge of rocks, creating a beautiful cascade.

The official name of Ennistymon is Ennistimon, although the spelling Ennistymon is used most widely, and historically it was spelled Inishdymon.

The name is derived from Inis Díomáin, generally translated as ‘Diamain’s River Meadow’ or ‘Díomán’s Island.’ Some argue, however, that the name is derived from Inis Tí Méan, meaning the ‘island of the middle house’ or ‘river meadow of the middle house.’

The oldest part of town is the narrow street near the bridge. Ennistymon grew from just three cabins in 1775 to 120 houses in 1810. The Falls Hotel, formerly Ennistymon House, is a Georgian house built ca 1760 on the site of an earlier castle…

To read more of Patrick Comerford’s observations during travels in and around Clare, including fine photographs of significant sites, go to his 23 July 18 blog post here>>.

With thanks to Edward and Patrick.

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Can you help, please?

Michael O’Loghlen in Australia and Rosemary Gilligan (USA) write:

If you have reliable information about any of the clan O’Loghlen (however spelt) before the year 1800, we’d like to hear from you.

We’re currently in the final stages of compiling a lengthy paper, trying to identify all the O’Loghlens (however spelt) of County Clare between the years 983 AD and 1799.

For example, if you have a will that predates about 1820, we’d be very interested. So far, the earliest will we have goes back to 1777. We’re interested not only in wills, of course, but in any O’L document before about 1820.

Please contact us using the form below. We’d be happy to talk matters ancient O’L.

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Old Ground Celebrations

Nancy and Michael OLoughlin of Rushaun, Kilnamona, County Clare recently celebrated fifty years of marriage with their family and friends at Kilnamona parish church and afterwards at the Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, County Clare.

Two of their grandchildren, Ciara OLoughlin with guitar and Kate Kelly with concertina, added their musical gifts to the celebrations at Kilnamona church.

Nancy’s connections to her own Kerins family at Ardrahan, County Galway ensured many hurling anecdotes/events were in plentiful supply on the 23rd June 2018. Michael represented his club Inagh/Kilnamona on the hurling field, in particular when his team won the County Clare hurling championship of 1965.

That tradition was continued when their daughter, Catherine represented county Clare camogie (hurling) teams during the early years of this millennium. Catherine was chosen on the Irish All Star camogie team for 2005.


Geraldine Kelly (OLoughlin)
Kate Kelly (OLoughlin)
Ciara OLoughlin

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Females Discovered!

This year commemorates the centenary of the beginning of equal voting rights for female citizens.

Recent OLochlainn research has discovered various females who were OLochlainn by birth, or married into the Clan during medieval times.

Female first names now extant were popular during earlier centuries. Saibh (Sive) or Sabby OLochlainn lived c 1450 and married an OBrien from Coad, Kilnaboy, county Clare. Saibh had a family of four sons.

A century later, Finola a daughter of Owney OLochlainn who was then chief of his sept residing at Gragans castle, until 1590. A grandson of Owney (1590), also Owney, lived till 1617 at nearby Mucinish castle on the north Clare coast, having married Finola OBrien c 1580. Finola is known due to the Gaelic lament for husband, Owney (+1617), while also representing a female view on historical events during the first two decades of the 17th century. Finola is recorded as having reached 58 years during a legal Chancery session, which took place probably in Dublin, during January 1615.
A poem connected to Finola is recorded in a text, entitled An Duanaire* (1600-1900) / Poems of the Dispossessed; OTuama / Kinsella (1981).

Another Saibh/Sive appears in the 1600’s and she was recorded by Gaelic poet, Lochlainn Oge ODalaigh in bardic verse during his composition c 1642.
The same ODalaigh poet complimented Una who married Owney Oge OLochlainn (1593-1655) who fathered three sons; Torlogh, Donogh and Lochlainn.

Torlogh later married Honora OBrien of Newtown, while his son, Donogh (+1714), married Jane Nugent (+1712); both residing at Ballyalban, Rathborney, north Clare. Donogh’s son, Torlogh/Terence married a Mary Sarsfield and both were living c 1760.

*Duanaire refers to a Gaelic family poem-book, The Book of OLochlainn (1727) held at the RIA, Dublin is a good example

Rosemary Gilligan, Seattle, USA
Michael OLoghlen, Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia
Andrew MacCurtin, The Book of OLochlainn (1727); RIA, Dublin
The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing; Vol. (4), CUP (2002)

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Gragans Images – Old and New!

The unrestored Gragans

Gragans was a clan castle until c 1655.

At that time a Colonel Torlogh OLoghlen was required to vacate his Gragans residence for George Martyn, who was previously required to vacate his lands near Galway city by order of the Cromwellian land-commissioners. The Martyn famiy remained at Gragans for almost a dozen generations, until Frank Martyn died in 1956.

During a recent tour of Gragans and its environs by two Australian OLoghlens Margaret and Mary Jane, the present owner of Gragans, Brian Hussey provided various insights into his recent renovations at Gragans which included, updating of its mini-woodland features.
The image above of Gragans covered with ivy contrasts with that of the restored castle.

The restored castle. Image courtesy of Brian Hussey.

A century before 1655 an ancestor of Colonel Torlogh, Owney/Uaithne was the then owner of Gragans. During the late 1500’s period, the Barony of Burren was generally known as the Barony of Gragans especially when English administrators became keenly interested in acquiring extra taxes from Gragans’ residents, following the decrees of Perrots Parliament which was held at Dublin in 1585.

Brian Hussey, Gragans Castle
Mary Jane Pierce, Victoria, Australia
Margaret Bayles, Queensland, Australia

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Man in The Courthouse!

Man in the Courthouse!

 This blog note links the era of the French Revolution, with modern Australia.

Michael O’Loghlen was born in 1789 near Ennis, County Clare. He was son of Colman O’Loghlen and Susanna Finucane. He went on to attend Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied classics with a view to a career as a barrister.

His law career coincided with that of Daniel OConnell.
OConnell was completely confident, when he knew Michael was taking one of his many legal cases. OConnell having achieved religious emancipation, was gaining political momentum during the 1830’s and Michael became linked to his meteoric rise, with Dan becoming known in some circles as The King of the Beggars, which also became the title of a book on OConnell by the late Seán ÓFaoláin.

Michael was the first Catholic since the 1600s appointed as a Judge, whether in England or Ireland. He became Master of the Rolls in 1837, which signalled the dramatic rise of Irish Catholicism, during that decade from 1829.

Moving on from the 1830’s to the present time; Margaret Bayles and her daughter, Mary Jane, two Australian descendants of Sir Michael are visiting their ancestral County of Clare and County Galway during April 2018. Their family also have links to Thoor Ballilee, outside of the town of Gort, south Galway.

To many school children growing up in county Clare, Sir Michael became known as – The Man in The Courthouse, since Michael’s statue was installed at the entrance to Ennis Courthouse! 



Michael O’Loghlen, Apollo Bay, Victoria
Clare Library, Ennis, County Clare
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Tracing your DNA?

Have you been enticed into the fascinating world of tracing your DNA, wondering about the origin of your distant forebears, hoping to discover distant relatives? One of our North American editors, Jane, raised the issue in a recent post. Comments welcome (scroll down to the foot of that post).

The science seems to be going ahead in leaps and bounds; but where did it start? The relevant Nobel Peace Prize page says:

In April 1953 … James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA-helix, the molecule that carries genetic information from one generation to the other.

Nine years later, in 1962, they shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Maurice Wilkins, for solving one of the most important of all biological riddles.

Letter to Prof. Schrödinger at Dublin Institute of Advance Studies

How did they get to that great achievement? Much hard work, no doubt, but also building on firm foundations. Consider what Francis Crick subsequently wrote:

Another Nobel Prizewinner, Edwin Schrödinger (20 years earlier, for quantum mechanics and the wave equations) is here credited with some fundamental ground work conducted at Trinity College Dublin leading to the discovery.

You can now read more of this tale in a new History of DNA page. While not specifically about our clan, those following DNA trails maybe interested in the Irish connection. The new page is appended to the Clan Outline page.

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Frank OLoughlin, Rochester, New York

Frank OLoughlin (1872-1918)

Frank was born at Rochester, New York in 1872. His professional umpiring career began in 1897 when Ed Barrow, then President of the Atlantic League tapped him. OLoughlin worked in that league for most of the year and later in that season jumped to the New York State League, in order to stay close to home.

Frank was given the name ‘Silk’ OLoughlin.

Frank’s Umpire Career:
Silk’s talents were used by the Eastern League from 1898 through to 1901. Late that year American League President, Ben Johnson came calling and ‘Silk’ OLoughlin joined the new league, serving as one of its finest umpires for 17 seasons from 1902 through to the war-shortened 1918 season.

Among one of Johnson’s early hires, ‘Silk’ repaid the American League chief for backing umpires with his loyalty and support.

Johnson had some simple orders for his umpires:
1. Make the game on the field clean.
2. Rule benevolently, when possible.
3. Rule with an iron hand, if required.
4. Johnson would back his umpires in disputes.

This did not mean that OLoughlin did not have trouble with Johnson. During the 1908 season Johnson was critical of a call ‘Silk’ made in a Detroit-Chicago game on an attempted squeeze play. Johnson chided OLoughlin for failing to differentiate between a pitch and a throw, and calling a Chicago runner ‘out’.

Silk was also known for his concern over the time of games, and often suggested means to speed up play. A no-nonsense man on the field, he was one of Johnson’s umpires who could be called the tough-cop on the beat. ‘Silk’ said Ben Johnson helped make baseball a respectable profession by “…eliminating rowdyism and by giving his staff of umpires his unqualified support.”

‘Silk’ was also a strong supporter of a two-umpire system in the majors. It must be noted that the call in the Detroit-Chicago game was made by OLoughlin as a solo umpire, and a partner might have been able to determine if the pitcher’s foot was on the rubber, when the play was made.

OLoughlin had many claims to fame as an umpire. He was behind the plate for seven no-hitters, a record unlikely to be equalled. He was also the first umpire to eject Ty Cobb from a game. That occurred on May 2, 1908, in a game with the White Sox, when Cobb tried to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park homer.

The 1918-19 influenza pandemic caused an estimated 50 million deaths. RTÉ News Jan 11, 2018

Career Shortened in 1918:
Unfortunately, Frank did not enjoy a full career. He died at the age of 42 in Boston on December 20 1918, due to complications from influenza (double pneumonia), a disease that claimed the lives of many people in the year following World War I. (This year marks the 100th anniversary of the pandemic.)

His personality, enthusiasm and energy made its mark on the American League. On OLoughlin’s death, Hall of Fame umpire Billy Evans noted ‘Silk’ was a great partner who worked every game like it was his last, saying: ” Baseball was a serious proposition for him.”

Francis H. “Silk” O’Loughlin

  • Birth 15 Aug 1872 Rochester, Monroe County, New York, USA
  • Death 20 Dec 1918 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Holy Sepulchre Cemetery Rochester, Monroe County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 103013916



Compiled from an article by David W Anderson

Note: A version of this biographical profile first appeared in Tom Simon, ed., Deadball Stars of the National League (Washington, D. C.: Brassey’s, Inc., 2004).

Paul OLoghlen, Calhoun, Georgia, USA

Jane OLaughlin, St. Paul, MN, USA

Judy Williams, USA

RTE News, Dublin

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