A Little O'Kelley History
Keely, Queally, Keily, Kellye, Kehilly, Kelly, Kelley,
surname O'Kelly is believed to be associated with the
Irish meaning, "grandson of Caellach".
Reported to be descendants from Milesius, King of the Celts, the Kelly name and many variations is one of
the most popular names in all of Ireland. According
to The Book of Irish Families
Great and Small (ISBN
0-940134-08X) by Michael C.
O'Laughlin the O'Kellys were
treasurers of Connaught and owned castles in Galway
O'Kelly surname is an old and honorable name in Irish
History dating back to 874 AD in Ui Maine. Clan motto
is, "Turris Fortis Mihi Deus" God is My
Tower Of Strength."
Kelly Coat of Arms is slightly different in
many branches of the family, but the original
design dates back to the battle of Clontarf
in 1014 AD in which the Irish Clans literally drove the Vikings into the sea.
Brian Boru and Chief Tadg Mor O'Kelly of Ui
Maine died in that battle. When Chief Kelly
fell in battle,"fighting like a wolf
dog" two enfields emerged from the
nearby sea and stood guard over the body of
the fallen chief until his clansmen arrived
to claim his body.
Coat of Arms belongs to the Kelly's/O'Kellys
of Counties Limerick and Armaugh, Ireland.
They also trace their lineage back to Ui
Maine, but it appears that their crest was anglicized along with their names. There are
several other versions of this family crest.
Many Kelly's moved from Limerick to Australia. Many
Kelly's from Clare, County Armagh moved to Canada
and the United States in the 1800's. Between
1700 and 1900, half the population fled