William Bui Ó Ceallaigh

1351 William McDonagh Moynach O’Kelly (28), (William Bui O'Kelly) in Irish Uilliam Buí Ó Ceallaigh), King of Hy-Many, invited all the poets, brehons, bards, harpers, gamesters or common kearógs, and jesters and other of their kind of Ireland to his house Gailey Castle built on the western shores of Lough Ree, near Knockcroghery, Co. Roscommon, upon Christmas this year where every one of them was well used during Christmas festivities and satisfied each of them with presents at their departure so as every one of them was well pleased, and extolled William for his bounty, one of which assembly made certain Irish verses, in commendation of William and his House, which begineth thus. Gailey Castle had been built by William in 1348.



The following poem was penned in Irish by one of the Ollamhs who had been a guest at the party which had lasted one month. As a result the term Fáilte Uí Cheallaigh (The Welcome of the O’Kellys) was coined and is still in use to describe a great welcome. Below is a translation of the poem into English. William built a large temporary village to accommodate the many guests.

Filid Erin Go h-Aoin Teach







The Poets of Ireland to One House Are Coming


The Poets of Ireland to one house are coming
This night they are not in dispersion
Who is the poet that has not been released from his bondage?
By the man of the house in which they assemble.
Is it not thus they ought to come
The poets of Erin, altogether
Although now we be thus happy
We are unhappy at other times
If we were but few it would be dull
More and more numerous are the poets
Our invitation is the more pleasant, because
We are not a limited company
The greater part of the men of Erin are, Opposed to us, though it is illiberal,
It is a good time to give us a lifting hand
When the public on our people are frowning,
As if he were a Brehon of Schools
He sends forth a school proclamation.

A man that never made a Rann
The noblest of the plains of Eamhain, William,
William O’Kelly of the fair side
Has arisen over the Princes of Erin,
To his suavity his pride submerges
Him to whom we are congregating
From the proclamation we have received
They will not remain, as I think,
Their own poets with
The O’Neills at their Christmas.
At this Christmas next to us
From the numbers that will go to his Dun
What will be drunk by the active hosts of Munster?
Shall be drunk without the society of a poet.
The poets of the descendants of Bloid are
Like the rest at Christmas
From the multitude of scholars coming to his house
Every other house shall be lonely
The hospitable tribe were not wont

(The more they shall envy William)

On the eve of a solemnity like this,
The Clann Carty to be without Ollamh.
During this day in Leinster
Or in Meath of the slow rivers
But the sweet notes of birds from trees,
No other music shall be heard
To be without anxiety with him
For the men of science is most befitting
During this day at his festivities,
Will be to the poets a feast for an age.
To each other will be known
The professors of smooth landed Fodhla
And the far travelled professors of Alba
Are coming to the noble mansion of William
Here will come the seven orders
Who form the shape of the good poetry
A charm for misfortune is their coming to the house
The seven chief orders of the poets.
Many from the North, not fewer from the South
To the son of Donogh’s, the visit of poets

A Crinnheadh from the East and from the West
Multitudes of the votaries of science
There will be the Brehons of legal judgments,
There will be the Druids and goodly poets
In his mansion will be the authors of Erin
The Chroniclers of the triumphal histories.
The musicians of Erin prodigious the number
The followers of every science in common
The flood of professor from all quarters
Are all journeying to one house
In a retired chamber in the house
There is formed, tis right to tell
To the lord of the mansion only known
A plentiful store of wine and fruit.

There are long houses for beds In preparation for the company
On the smooth ridge of a dry eminence
Well finished with woven clothes
They are now ready to visit O’Kelly
The poetical professors of the land of Erin
A numerous company approaches his mansion
A street of well formed houses awaits them.
Near unto these, joyous its features
There has been ordered by William
A separate street for the musicians
To be in readiness in his presence
The historians of beautiful Erin
And the heavy throng of their associates
In the town is the multitude
Where is the street of the Seanchaidhes
There is another extensive street,
In which are the fair houses
With the free hearted hosts
For the reception of the histrionic troop.
Trifling are these seeing all that are
Around the fortress of O’Kelly
Of streets of greater merriment
With the good manly hosts of Oirbhealach

The manner of their situation is
Wide passages between them
And as letters placed in lines
So are these straight intersected streets.
Every line of way (street) exact,
Smooth unobstructed, pleasant,
And of houses graceful, handsome ridged
Each (street) by two ranges environed.

Thick set with houses is the level
Of the white-walled ridge of the field
In the background of the thickest level
Is a mansion like unto a capital letter?
A Capital Letter of a beautiful Castle
The white stoned Dun of a Lord
And the stronger the castle of the Dun by it
A lake behind the castle.
A star of a castle, as such long confessed
Over the waters of Loch-na-n-Eigeas
Tho’ more beautiful the castle on the inside
Its outer surface is like vellum.
The mansion on the brink of the lake
Indicative of a noble Lord
Their concordance is inseparable
The perfection of science is the building
Of other wood there has not been jointed
The equal in beauty of its timber work   
The goodly castle is not covered with lime

By the face of its fort only is it equalled in gracefulness,
The choice of stones and of trees
(Are in) the expansive court of Cualann
Trim, un cleft, oaks
Are the beams of its extensive court.
Many an interlaced ornament of art
On the bright woodwork
On the surface of every beam of brown oak
Are artisans carving animals.

On the polished side of the warm mansion Wonderful indeed for their beauty
The marks of the fine smooth pointed graver
Chastely, freshly, lightly,
This lofty tower opposite to it
The tower of Breogan only is its equal
At which were cast a multitude of darts,
From which Eire was espied from Spain
They contested a warlike deed,
The sons of the Milesians of Spain
The country by the sharp points of spears
Until of themselves they made Erin-men
By which Fodhla of the fair woods is
(On the destruction of the Tuatha-de-danann,
By the valour of the saplings of the hill of Bregia)
In possession of their seed after the sons of Milesius.
From Greece they came to fair Spain
From Spain they came to Erin
The hosts of the polished swords, such
The history of the great sons of Milesius,
Two of the hosts the most powerful,
Heber and Heremon,
O’Kelly is of the blood of their stem
Every hound takes after his kind.
The son of the son, of Conor of the fierce sons
He is not only an Erin-man
(He of the) branching soft curling hair
A Greek a Spaniard also is William.

Woe to him who angered the Lord
Tho’ long ere he can be angered
Grievous to aggravate the anger of Maine’s descendant
The greater his anger by its infrequency
Duibheasa’s son of the sharp arms
To him is subject the whole extent of Hy-Maine
From Grein to Seanchoraid eastward
Belongs to him of the undulating sun-bright hair.
Un curtailed is his territory
Both smooth and rough in his possession
With this the Lord of Li possesses
Apart of every surrounding territory,
Áth-na-Riogh, the broad Áth Luain
Áth Liag is not of less moment
Of the number (of territories) of the King of Flaghtga
Are the three noble Aths.
Loch-Deirgderc cause of pride
Loch- Ree of the green surfaced marshes
Blue harbours on which the sun brightens
Are the boundaries of William’s territories.
Maon-Moy once the Clan-Morna’s lands
Is under the sway of our generous Oscar
Unto Barr-Cobha would his sway extend

Even though’ the Clan Morna still lived.

In the hands of strangers a long time
Was that Moy until William grew up
Maon Moy gladdened at the Mannian
After been long used to the strangers
Now since the banishment of the barbarians from it
By the son of Donogh of Dun Maighe
The Mannians under their kings shall be
Over the smooth faced Maon-Moy.
He will distribute the plain to the Hy-Mannians To each as he merited in its defence
The clann of the noble Maine, ungrudgingly
Distributed Maon-Moy to the Hy-Mannians.
Tho’ abundant the tributes and rents   
That is by them consumed like cinders
More numerous with the Clan Kelly are
Soliciting cattle (gifts), from William
William the son of the white-toothed Donogh
The son of the protective Conor,
To bring them to his house is no small
It’s a house in which will be found poets.

[One American writer writing about William thought that Buí meant Boy. Buí means yellow (Blonde).
Boy is just a corruption of the Buí. The Irish word for Boy is Buachaill. A cowboy in Irish is Brachial
bó.][The number 28 after Williams name means that he is 28 generations after Máine Mór.]

Researched by Dr. Joe M Kelly of Oranmore, Co Galway. Nov '12


Over time we intend to add more on this very interesting Ó Kelly.
Cav Kelly April '14