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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Centenary Commemoration

Centenary Commemoration
January 2018 commemorates the centenary passing of Maryanne OBrien (OLoghlen) who passed away during the first half of January 1918. Her death was probably connected to the ‘Spanish flu’ which caused as many if not more deaths as WW1 itself, following the return of WWI soldiers from various European battlefields to their native lands.

Maryanne was the daughter of John OBrien who resided at Toonagh, Dysart a few miles from Ennis, County Clare. While 2018 sees the centenary of Maryanne’s passing, almost a century earlier as a young child, she attended at Ennis Courthouse, held in the arms of her uncle and his group of OBriens who had arrived in Ennis, to cast their vote for Daniel OConnell who aspired to become MP for County Clare in 1828. Their votes helped to ensure OConnell won a famous victory, which eventually helped secure Catholic emancipation, where those of the Catholic tradition were entitled to take their seats at The House of Commons, Westminster from 1829.

Maryanne’s Papers
Some three decades later, Maryanne married Peter OLoghlen, Ballyvaughan and she was known within her Ballyvaughan relations for guarding carefully her accumulated family papers, which were used by local historians such as George U Macnamara, when compiling and updating family trees. Her guardianship of such papers has also inspired family researchers in Australia, the USA and Ireland to fill some of the many gaps which exist within Clan history-folders.

The Kilnaboy cemetery. Image burrengeopark.ie

The Clare Journal of 12th January 1918 noted that Maryanne was buried at Kilnaboy cemetery, County Clare.


Rosemary Gilligan, Seattle, USA
Michael OLoghlen, Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia
Peter OLoghlen, Ballyvaughan, County Clare
The Clare Journal, Ennis, County Clare

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Passing of Clan Musician

TRIBUTES have been paid to accomplished traditional musician, Peadar OLoughlin of Culleen, Kilmaley, South Clare who died last week. Peadar, a Kilmaley native featured on earliest traditional music recordings and was the holder of a Lifetime Achievement award.

Regarded as a master in music, his achievements go back to the 1950’s, when he started playing with the Fiach Rua Ceili Band.

Best known as a concert flute player, he also played the uillean pipes and violin. Peadar received the TG4 Gradam Cheoil/Hall of Fame music-award in 2005. He was also a noted hurler and he lined out for Kilmaley, during his younger decades.

He experienced great enjoyment, when his two sons, Cathal and Ciaran continued that hurling tradition and later his two grandsons, Bryan and Sean have also flown the hurling banner.

Members of Kilmaley hurling club provided a guard of honour, while thousands turned out for the reposing of his remains at St. John’s church, Kilmaley.

The Cuil Aodha Choir travelled from west Cork, and under Peadar ORiada sung Peadar’s mass-celebration in Gaelic. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Pat Larkin and was assisted by Canon Michael McLaughlin with others.

Peadar is survived by his wife, Beta and family members.

For further reference to Peadar:

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Clan DNA – Introduction

An introduction, by Jane OLaughlin, Minnesota, USA

I would like to begin an ongoing discussion about Ó Lochlainn genealogy and DNA. I am an experienced genealogist, but an amateur with DNA testing.

I did my grad school minor in Plant Breeding and Genetics, so I have some genetics knowledge, although the last 30 years since then, that field has changed quite a lot. There is a bit of a learning curve with this DNA story.

WHY DNA? – Some Background

A genealogy friend by the name of Mahony had her family DNA testing done years ago for the O’Mahony clan DNA project. The clan organization had enough O’Mahony descendants tested, they were able to identify distinct geographic areas for different O’Mahony lines.

I thought it would be nice to have similar information for the Ó Lochlainn lines but the early tests were very expensive and there wasn’t an Ó Lochlainn group. That has changed now as the genome sequencing technology has gradually improved and also cheaper and there is competition, so the basic test costs are dropping below $100.00; $59.00 was available for recent holiday sales. Now is a good time for DNA.

National DNA Day was Celebrated on April 25 2017: A unique day when students, teachers and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics! National DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human-Genome project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double-helix in 1953.

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From Choctaws to the world

While there may be no direct link to our Clan, some clan members may have benefited from an unusual act of kindness during the 19th century.

A donation from the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans to alleviate the hardship of Irish people during the famine has been marked with the dedication of a commemorative sculpture in Cork. A delegation from the Choctaw tribe, including their chief, were among those in Midleton, County Cork for the ceremony this month, June 2017.

At the height of the famine in Ireland in 1847, the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans gathered what they could and sent it across the Atlantic to alleviate the suffering of the Irish nation. That generosity was marked with the dedication of a striking piece of sculpture, entitled Kindred Spirits.

The sculpture shows nine stainless steel eagle feathers reaching seven metres towards the sky, to represent a bowl of food for the hungry.

Kindred Spirits was commissioned in 2013 by the then Midleton Town Council, to honour not just a gesture to the starving Irish but to humanity as a whole. Kindred Spirits marks the generosity of the Choctaw Nation’s donation 170 years ago. Drawing on our past, it aims to encourage future generations to practice similar acts of kindness.

March 2018 – Update:

As a postscript to this story, RTE news notes that current Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadakar will personally visit the head of the Choctaw Nation, while on his annual St. Patrick’s week visit to the USA and the Irish diaspora, during March 2018. From late 2018, students from the Choctaw Nation will attend Irish universities through an Irish Scholarship programme.

Mr. Varadakar will personally thank the Choctaw Nation’s head for their concern and generosity of spirit towards the Irish nation, during those dark days of 1847.

Thanks to Edward O’Loghlen for this contribution

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