A gathering of Kellys from all over Ireland and beyond are to descend on Westport this May.
Kellys, Kelleys, O’Kellys and Ó Ceallaighs are being called to join a weekend long celebration of the ancient clan, which can trace its roots all the way back to a man called Máine Mór, a contemporary of St Patrick.
According to retired GP, Dr Des Kelly from Belclare, who is a keen Kelly clan historian and one of the organisers of the gathering, there are some half a million Kellys worldwide and the surname is the second most common in Ireland.
This is the first time the Kelly clan has gathered in Westport in 11 years.
“We meet every two years,” explained Dr Kelly. “The gathering is all about having some craic, connecting with each other, enjoying the fun and entertainment, and celebrating the Kelly name.”
A group of more than 120 Kellys from Ireland, the UK, North America and Australia are expected to attend the weekend long festivities in the Castlecourt Hotel from May 15 to 17, which will include talks, an historical tour, including Westport House, Clew Bay and the Museum of Country Life, Turlough, music, entertainment and a banquet.
Dr Kelly said the Kelly clan history is a fascinating one.
There are 13 different branches of Kellys and an extensive DNA mapping project is underway, in which several hundred Kellys from around the globe have participated.
An expert speaker over the weekend will present the latest work from the Kelly DNA study.
The Kelly clan has played a significant role in some of Ireland’s most important historical events, added Dr Kelly.
“The 11th century King of the Kellys, Teigh Mor Ó Ceallaigh and his son, fought alongside Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, and died, in the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014,” he said.
“A lot of Kellys call their sons Brian in honour of having fought with the High King of Ireland.”
In the Battle of Aughrim in 1691, some 400 Kellys fought and died on the battle field.
Famous Kellys include the notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly, and actor, singer and dancer Gene Kelly.
The Kelly clan organising committee in Mayo is made up of John Kelly, Kings Hill (086 8729744 ); Kitty Kelly, Carrowholly Riding Stables (087 6366278 ); Sean Kelly, Drummin (085 1095082 ); Chris Kelly, Cluainard (087 2441966 ); and Dr Des Kelly, Belclare (087 2414234 ).