Battle of Clontarf 1014

 An interesting family line

Teigh Mor Ó Ceallaigh King of Ui Maine*. d. Battle of Clontarf, April 1014.
His sister ? Ni Ceallaigh was the third wife of Brian ‘Boru” High King of Ireland. Brian had many wives.

Donal Mor Ó Ceallaigh, King of Ui
Maine, 1172 - 1224 m. Princess
Duncola Ó Brien, dau. of Domnall Mor
Ó Brien last King of Munster.
Connor Mor Ó Ceallaigh, 1201 - 1268.
King of Ui Maine.
Donagh Ó Ceallaigh, 1297 - 1307, King
of Ui Maine.
William Bui Ó Ceallaigh, 1297 - 1381.
King of Ui Maine.
Malachy Ó Ceallaigh, 1326 - c1401.
King of Ui Maine. m. Princess Finola Ó
Connor dau. of Turlough Ó Connor,
King of Connaught.
Brian Ó Ceallaigh d. 1393. ‘Tanist of Ui Maine’.
Aedh Ó Ceallaigh. d. King of Ui Maine, d 1467.
William Ó Ceallaigh, 1439 - 1487. His brothers Malachy and
Edmond (37th Ó Ceallaigh followed)
Donagh Ó Ceallaigh the 38th Ó Ceallaigh.
Aedh Ó Ceallaigh the 39th Ceallaigh and the last King of Úi Maine. Late 1500.

Descendants of this Ó Kelly line surviving.  April 2014.


Brian ‘Boru” High King of Ireland. D. Battle of Clontarf April 1014. (m. Ni Ceallaigh, 

sister of Teigh Mor Ó Ceallaigh King of Ui Maine
Teigh Mac Brian, co King of Munster 
(with his bro.
Turlogh ua Brian, High King of Ireland, d. 1086
Dermot Ó Brien, King of Munster, d. 1118.
(his bro, Murtagh was also High
King of Ireland at one stage).
Turlogh Ó Brien, King of Munster, d. 1167. Lived in
Domnall Mor Ó Brien last King of Munster. His dau.
Duncola m. Donal Mor Ó Ceallaigh. Defeated Normans at Thurles 1192, d. 1194.
Donagh Ó Brien, King of Thomond, 1239 - 1242. Defeated at Limerick.
Conor Ó Brien. King of Thomond. KIA 1258.
Teige Ó Brien, d. 1259. (bro. Of Brian Ruadh, King of Thomond,
torn to pieces by horses 1277).
Turlough Ó Brien, King of Thomond, d. 1306.
Murtagh Ó Brien, King of Thomond 1311 - 43. Drove the English from Clare.
Mahon Ó Brien, King of Thomond 1364 - 9. (bro. of King Turlough the Bald)
Brian Ó Brien.’ of the Battle of Donagh’ King of Thomond 1369 - 99 Turlough Bog
‘the soft’ Ó Brien, King of Thomond 1446 - 62.
(deposed his bro. King Mahon the Blind).

Teige Ó Brien King of Thomond, fought the English. d. 1466 in his castle on lake Inchiquin.
19th August 1504 BATTLE OF KNOCKDOE
Turlough Don ‘the Brown’ Ó Brien, King of Thomond, ‘worthy heir of Brian Boru in war against the English’, d. 1528.
Murrough ‘the Tanist’ Ó Brien. Last King and 1st Earl of Thomond and Lord Inchiquin, 1551
Dermod Ó Brien, 2nd Baron of Inchiquin, d. 1552. M. Margaret, dau. of Donough Ó Brien, 2nd Earl of Thomond, murdered 1553 a son of King Conor Ó Brien, d. 1540.
Murrough Ó Brien, 3rd Baron of Inchiquin. 1550 - 1573. Aged 23.
Murrough Ó Brien, 4th Baron of Inchiquin, d. 1597.
Dermod Ó Brien, 5th Baron of Inchiquin. d. 1624.
Honble. Mary Ó Brien (sister of Murrough Ó Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin, French cavalry general and Viceroy of Catalonia). M. Michael Boyle, Archbishop of of
Armagh, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, d. 1702.
Eleanor Boyle (sister of Murrough, 1st Viscount Blesinton, of family who discovered
‘Boyles Law’ in physics). M. William Hill of Hillsborough. PC. MP. HM Lieut. Counties
of Down and Armagh. D. 1693.
Michael Hill of Hillsborough, PC. MP. HM Lieut. Of Co. Down, d. 1699 aged Arthur,
1st Viscount Dungannon, d. 1771 (m. Descendant of Ó Neill barons of Dungannon).
Honble. Anne Hill, Countess of Mornington, d. 1831; m. Garret, 1st Earl of
Mornington, d. 1781.
Richard, Marquess Wellesley, Gov - Gen. of India and Foreign Sec. d 1842. (bro. of
the Iron Duke).

Anne Wesley (natural dau.) d 1875; m. Lord William Cavendish Bentinck, d 1826, 

son of William, 3rd Duke of Portland, KC. Prime Minister.
Rev. Charles W. F. Cavendish Bentinck (first wife was a gypsy) d. 1865.
Nina Cecilia Cavendish Bentinck, Countess of Strathmore, GCVO, d. 1938; m.
Claude Bowes Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, KG> KT, d. 1944.
Queen Elisabeth, The Queen Mother, 4th August 1900 - 30th March 2002.
H.M. The Queen, b 1926
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, b. 1948

Ó Kelly folklore has it that Teigh died " fighting like a wolf dog " and a green coloured creature came from the sea to protect his body from being mutilated as was the practice at the time. This composite animal had the head of a fox, the chest of an elephant, the mane of a horse, the forelegs of an eagle, the body and hind legs of a hound and the tail of a lion.

The Enfield has been incorporated in the Uimaine Ó Kelly family crests, as can be seen on Colla Ó Ceallaigh’s grave stone (below).

Cola Ó Kelly of Aughrane d. c. 1614. He commanded a Regt. of Foot
on the English side at the Battle of Kinsale 1601. His gravestone in
Kilconnell Abbey shows the Ó Kelly enfield. It is suggested he was on
‘good’ terms with the English monarchy.














An Irish warrior, typical of the time of the Battle of Clontarf 1014. He is bare footed and well armed with spear, double edged sword and the dreaded  ‘catha tughta’ (axe) which he used with deadly efficiency.

His hide skinned shield was his only protection. He had no personal armor and this made him very agile and quick moving. It is recorded some actually fought nude so they would not be encumbered by any weighty clothing.


As strong as the iron of his weapons he was also known to be brave and ferocious in battle.


A very formable man indeed, as the Vikings and their allies found out that Good Friday of April 1014.


Image by Damien Goodfellow, Galway. Jan. 2013.


The Ó Ceallaigh’s were traditional allies of the Ó Brien's (formally Kennedy's).  This relationship was cemented over the years through inter marriage. A fact suggested by folklore and supported by our DNA project. So it’s understandable that when King Brien called for support his request did not fall on deaf ears as far as the Ó Ceallaigh’s and other Connaught clans were concerned. (O’Conor’s, O’Heyne’s, McDermot’s, O’Flaherty’s, O’Reilly’s, O’Farrells, O’Rourke’s, O’Dowd’s and O’Malley’s).


The relationship lasted for many hundred years, but was finally broken in 1504 at the Battle of Knockdoe, Co Galway. We will cover this event at another time.

The Battle


Opposing forces would form up facing each other, maybe 100 yards apart, or closer, depending on terrain. Responding to taunts a proven ‘warrior’ from either side would engage in single combat. This would be decisive, not on the outcome of the day, but to the combatants, one would live and one would die. Each blow delivered or received, would be cheered or cursed by the anxious on lookers.


When one of the fighting warriors fell, this was the signal for all out battle, and what followed would not be pleasant. Spears would have been thrown at about 25/30 yards cutting down many, and then a charge of ferocious energy and tempo.


Injured and dying would have been dispatched usually by decapitation, this gruesome act would be carried out by the youngsters who were there to be “blooded”.


It would not be long before the battle field would be drenched with blood and scattered with body parts, both internal and external.


The whole event would have been witnessed and recorded by the Clan’s Ollamh




Below we have two lovely poems by Sean Ó Ceallaigh, dealing with the death of Teigh Mor, the other about our Ó Kelly clan motto. Sean has published many books on various topics.


 March ’13

                      The Ó Kelly Enfield,








































Mac Liag’s account of the Battle of Clontarf:

(Please click on the article for larger view)



From the Anals of the Ó Kelly's and submitted by Dr. Joe Kelly, Oranmore. Co Galway.

extract from the Annals of Ulster, Year 1014 p.447


Brian son of Ceinnétig (Kennedy) son of Lorcán, king of Ireland, and Mael Sechnaill son of Domnall, king of Temair, led an army to Áth Cliath. All the Laigin were assembled to meet him, and the foreigners of Áth Cliath, and a like number of the foreigners of Scandinavia, i.e. to the number of 1,000 breastplates. A valiant battle was fought between them, the like of which was never before encountered. Then the foreigners and the Laigin first broke in defeat, and they were completely wiped out. There fell on the side of the foreign troop in this battle Mael Mórda son of Murchad, king of Laigin, and Domnall son of Fergal, king of the Forthuatha, and of the foreigners there fell Dubgall son of Amlaíb, Siucraid son of Lodur, jarl of Innsi Orc, and Gilla Ciaráin



son of Glún Iairn, heir designate of the foreigners, and Oittir Dub and Suartgair and Donnchad grandson of Erulb and Griséne and Luimne and Amlaíb son of Lagmann and Brotor who slew Brian i.e. chief of the Scandinavian fleet, and six thousand who were killed or drowned. Of the Irish moreover there fell in the counter-shock Brian son of Ceinnétig, over-king of the Irish of Ireland, and of the foreigners and of the Britons, the Augustus of the whole of north-west Europe, and his son Murchad, and the latter's son, i.e. Tairdelbach son of Murchad, and Conaing son of Donn Cuan son of Cennéitig, heir designate of Mumu, and Mothla son of Domnall son of Faelán, king of the Déisi Muman; Eochu son of Dúnadach and Niall ua Cuinn and Ceinnéitig's son, —


''Brian's three companions; two kings of UíMaine, Ua Cellaig . . . . . . . . , and Mael Ruanaid ua hEidin, king of Aidne, and Géibennach ua Dubagáin, king of Fernmag, and Mac Bethad son of Muiredach Claen, king of Ciarraige Luachra and Domnall son of Diarmait, king of Corcu Baiscinn, and Scannlán son of Cathal, king of Eóganacht of Loch Léin, and Domnall son of Eimen son of Cainnech, earl of Marr in Scotland, and many other nobles.(this is the reference to Ó Kelly at Clontarf - submitted by Tomas Ó Brogan).


Mael Muire son of Eochaid, successor of Patrick, with his venerable clerics and relics, came moreover to Sord Coluim Chille, and brought away the body of Brian, king of Ireland, and the body of his son Murchad, and the head of Conaing and the head of Mothla, and buried them in Ard Macha in a new tomb. For twelve nights the community of Patrick waked the bodies in honour of the dead king.

When one looks at the map and the disposition of the troops it can be seen that the centreline was led by Teigh Mor Ó Kelly. He was commander of the second division. It will be a clear distortion of history if the effort of the Ó Kellys and the other clans was not recognised for the brave commitment they made on this historic day.

 As best can be seen on the map the armies were deployed over a five mile front which extended from Dublin City. on the left flank of the Danish side, as far out to the village of Swords on the Irish left flank.The Irish were formed in 3 main fighting units with a small contingent of Scots on their left flank.

                                                            The Irish Army

The Right flank Division.                   The Centre Division.               The Left flank Division         

The King of Munster’s men.               The Ui Maine Men

Commanded by Morda Ó Brien         Teigh Mor Ó Ceallaigh           Ó Mahony

Clansmen                                            Clansmen                                Clansmen

Ó Briens                                              Ó Connor                                Mac Carthy

Ó Quinns                                             Ó Kelly                                   Ó Mahony

Ó Kennedy                                         Ó Heyne                                  Ó Callaghan

Mac Colgan                                         Mac Dermot                            Ó Donovan

Mac NaMara                                       Ó Flaherty                               Ó Moriarty                 

Ó Grady                                              Ó Reilly                                   Ó Sullivan

Ó Scanlan                                            Ó Farrell                                  Ó Donoahou

Ó Carroll-Ely                                      Ó Rourke                                Ó Carroll-Louth                     

Ó Meager                                            Ó Dowd                                  Ó Connel ?

Ó Hogan                                             Ó Malley                                 Ó Shea

Ó Dwyer.                                                                                            Ó Felan


                                                                                                            2 Corps of Scottish troops

In reserve and acting as King

Brian’s guard.

King of Tara, Ó Malaclin


Ó Malaclin

Ó Kelly Breag

Mac Guegan

Mac Auly

Ó Molloy

Ó Carny


                                                            The Danish Army.

Danish left flank                                 Danish centre (Insulars)          Right flank (Leinster men)

Danes of Dublin                                  Orcadians                                King Maormorda Ó Failey

Danes of Jutland                                 Hebridians                               Clansmen

Norwegians                                         Isle of Manians                       Ó Connor-Failey

Swedes                                                                                                Ó Byrne

                                                                                                            Ó Toole

                                                                                                            Ó Gorman

                                                                                                            Ó Ryan

                                                                                                            Ó Mora

                                                                                                            Ó Dempsy

                                                                                                            Ó Dunne.


We Kelly’s paid a very high price for the support of Brian in the battle. Our King, Teigh Mor. along with one of his son were killed on that faithful day. We know from "Ó Curry" that it was a fellow Irishman who killed Teigh Mor. Broderhan Ó Connor, king of Offaly was the man responsible. They both died and it is said that Teigh "died fighting like a wolf-dog". It was then the famous hybrid creature emerged from the sea to protect our fallen King's body.

Conor O’Kelly, son of Teige Mór O’Kelly, established a priory in Duleek, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. After the death of Tadhg Mór O’Kelly he was originally interned in Kilmainham beside the body of his hero Brian Ború, the High King. Teige remains were later transferred to the monastery of Duleek, by his son Conor who had also fought at Clontarf. Brian Ború’s body was later moved to the grounds of the Cathedral in Armagh.


 The above map is that of Denis H Kelly, late of Castlekelly, Ballygar, and ancestor of Teigh Mor.

Cav Kelly, April ‘14