The O’Callaghan Family

O’Callaghan family crest

(Crest No. 52. Plate 40.)

THE O’Callaghan family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Heber, and belongs to the Eoganacht tribe. The founder of the family was Cormac, King of Munster, A. D. 483.

The ancient name was Ceallachan, signifying “Contender.” The title of the chief was King of Cashel, and Chief of Beara and of Kinelea, in the County of Cork. The territory of the O’Callaghans was also called Pobal O’Callaghan, signifying O’Callaghan’s people, and extended from Mallow westward on both sides of the Blackwater, in the barony of Duhallow, County of Cork, and comprised the present parishes of Clonmeen and Kilshannick, an extensive territory containing about fifty thousand acres.

The O’Callaghans are of the same branch of the Eugenian race as the MacCarthys.

The chief of this family was transplanted into Clare by Cromwell, who gave him at Killarney considerable property in lieu of his ancient estates. A branch of this family are now Viscounts of Lismore. A totally different race of the same name lived in Ulster.

Ceallachan Cashel, from whom the family derives its name, was the forty-second Christian King of Munster and reigned ten years. He was a great scourge to the Danes, with whom he fought many battles, and at length routed them totally out of Munster.

The O’Callaghans were brave people, and distinguished themselves abroad as well as at home. Many of them gained rank and honor in the service of France and Spain. Several O’Callaghans were officers in the Regiments of Dillon, Roth, Clare, and Fitz-James of the Irish Brigade in France. Colonel O’Callaghan of the Spanish “Regiment of Milan” was noted among the officers of his time for his remarkable courage and intrepidity. Another distinguished representative of this family entered the British service—Lieutenant-General the Honorable Sir Robert William O’Callaghan, who died in 1840. He served forty-six years in the army, was Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Scotland and India, and was decorated for his bravery in the Napoleonic wars during which he participated in the battles of Maida, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, the Nuelle, the Nive, and Orthey.

This family has won an honorable place in literature also, in which connection may be mentioned the late J. J. O’Callaghan of Dublin, E. B. O’Callaghan of New York, and the Messrs. O’Callaghan of Chicago, the well-known law publishers.