Monday, 26 April 2010

Ó Catháin Clan Gathering

One of the most successful examples of genetic genealogy is that of the Ó Catháin family, native to county Derry. As the DNA results accumulate it was clear from the very beginning that this extended family was not only dynamic, but also very numerous also. Dan Kane has organised a website and it has information about a planning Clann Uí Catháin gathering. Festival date Friday 30th April to Sunday 2nd May 2010.

For more information visit his website:

Ó Catháin Festival 2010

If your name is O'Cathain, O'Cahan, O'Kane, Kane, Cane, Keane, O'Mullan, O'Mellan, McCloskey, McCaughan this web site is for you.

Common variations on the name is O'Kane, Kane, Cane, Keane, O'Cahan, Ó Catháin, O'Cathain. Ó Catháin is the original Irish spelling which changed to O'Cahan then O'Kane and O'Keane and many other varients over the last 4 centuries. Today the vast majority of the diaspora are O'Kane.


The O'Cathain clan occupied an area in north east Ulster bounded by Lough Foyle in the north, the river Bann in the east and the Foyle in the west. Ancient records show that their lands extended to Lough Neagh in the south. The Roe valley was the heart of their territory and the castle by the Dogleap on the river Roe was their chief seat. This is located just downstream from the Dogleap Bridge in the Deer Park. This was a strategic military position between Donegal in the west, Tyrone in the south, the Glens of Antrim to the east and to Scotland through Lough Foyle. There is a long and troublesome history of alliances and disputes between the clans in these regions.

The origins of the clan can be traced to Niall of the Nine Hostages and his son Owen, the father of Clan Owen. It is through Clan Owen that the principal families of Ulster descend. These families included O'Neills, O'Donnell, McLaughlins, O'Cathains, O'Hagans, O'Mellons, O'Mullans and others.

The O'Cathain name first appeared in the Annals of Ulster in the early 12th century and played a prominent part in Ulster affairs for the next five centuries. The O'Cathain clan was the chief sub clan to the O'Neills, Kings of Ulster. ''The O'Cathain'' was the chief ''urragh'' to ''The O'Neill'' and with O'Hagan inaugurated ''The O' Neill'' at Tullyhog. The chief of the O'Neills conferred on the ''O'Cathain'' the title ''Eriagh thee O'Cathain''or ''Chief of the O'Cathain.

The last chief of the O'Cathains was Donnell Ballagh who joined with O'Neill in the rebellion against England in the 9 years war. After the Flight of the Earls he was arrested in 1608 and firstly imprisoned in Dublin Castle and then The Tower of London. Records show that he died in 1616 still in the Tower but there is no record of his burial site. The death of Donnell Ballagh brought to an end the line of the O'Cathain chiefs.

The Forthcoming festival is intended as an opportunity to examine and celebrate the history and traditions of the O'Cathain clan in Ireland and beyond. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the demise of the last chief and free his spirit after 400 years of imprisonment.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Gaelic Language in Butte Montana

Irish Language Immersion Week
Where: Montana Tech. Butte, Montana
When: July 17 – 24 2010
Classes: beginning, intermediate and advanced
Cost: Non- credit $280; Credit $425 [two credits]
Accommodation: $25 a night single occupancy; $20 a night double occupancy
Information and registration at
or contact Erin at 406-544-0311.
*Sponsored by The University of Montana, Montana Tech. and The Friends of Irish Studies.
There is a tendency to think of Irish and the use of Gaelic only in large urban areas such as Chicago or New York, but the Irish experience can be found anywhere Gaels have settled over the years. Irish, or Gaelic as we also call it, is a true international language and has been since the beginning of the Diaspora. Few venues for learning language can compete with that in Butte, Montana.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Gaelic Immersion Weekend in the NE USA

Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeilge / Irish Language Immersion Weekend

[1] Tionólfaidh Daltaí na Gaeilge ár nDeireadh Seachtaine Gaeilge,
7 - 9 Bealtaine 2010 in Esopus, Nua-Eabhrac. Is féidir leat clarú agus
íocaíocht a dhéanamh ar an idirlíon. Gheobhaidh na daoine atá cláraithe
roimh an 23ú d'Aibreáin (tríd an bpost nó ar an idirlíon) lascaine $10. Tá
súil againn go bhfeicfidh muid ansin thú.

Tá Faisnéis Ghinearálta, Eolas an Bhealaigh & Foirm Chláraithe ar fáil
tríd an nasc seo:

Eachtraí Eile / Other Events

[2] Agus ná déan dearmad:

Satharn na nGael - 12 Meitheamh 2010
Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19119-2642

Picnic na nÓglaigh - 24 Iúil 2010
Monmouth Park, Oceanport, NJ 07757-1298

Seachtain na Gaeilge, 29 Lúnasa - 4 Meán Fómhair, 2010
Marist Brothers Retreat Center, Esopus, NY 12429

Scholáireachtaí / Scholarships

[3] Bronnann Daltaí na Gaeilge trí scoláireacht gach Bealtaine.
Bunaíodh na critéir ar [A] obair a dhéanann duine ar son na teangan; [B] an
obair a dhéanann duine ar son Daltaí na Gaeilge agus [C] an iarracht a
dhéanann duine chun na Gaeilge a fhoghlaim (mac léinn) nó a mhúineadh
(múinteoir). Seo iad na scoláireachtaí:

- Mac Léinn - $1,000 sa gcaoi go mbeidh mac léinn in ann freastail ar
chúrsa Ghaeilge sa nGaeltacht nó áit ar bith eile in Éireann.

- Múinteoir - $1,000 sa gcaoi go mbeidh múinteoir in ann freastail ar
chúrsa do mhúinteoirí sa nGaeltacht. Le tamall fada anuas bíonn deis ag an
múinteoir seo freastail ar an gcúrsa á thairiscint ag Oideas Gael darbh ainm
"Oiliúint ar Mhúinteoirí". Faigheann an múinteoir lóistín, béilí agus
táille saor in aisce chomh maith.

- Múinteoir nó Mac Léinn ­ Faigheann an té seo lóistín, béilí agus
táille saor in aisce don tSeachtain Ghaeilge a bhíonn eagraithe ag Daltaí na
Gaeilge gach Samhradh.

Tá an Fhoirm Iarratais anseo:

Agus tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil anseo:


[1] Daltaí na Gaeilge will hold our Irish Language Immersion Weekend,
May 7th - 9th, 2010 in Esopus, New York. Online registration and
payment are available. Attendees who register by April 23rd (either by
mail or online) will receive a $10 discount. We hope to see you there.

General Information, Directions and a Registration Form are available
through this link:

[2] And don't forget our other upcoming events:

Satharn na nGael (An Irish Saturday) - June 12, 2010
Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19119-2642

Annual Daltaí na Gaeilge Picnic for our Volunteers,
Members, and Friends - July 24, 2010
Monmouth Park, Oceanport, NJ 07757-1298

Irish Language Immersion Week, August 29th - September 4th, 2010
Marist Brothers Retreat Center, Esopus, NY 12429

[3] Daltaí Scholarships - Daltaí na Gaeilge awards three scholarships
during the month of May each year. The selection criteria are based on [A]
the work a person does on behalf of the language; [B] the work a person does
on behalf of Daltaí na Gaeilge and [C] the efforts a person makes to learn
the Irish language (student) or to teach the language (teacher). These are
the scholarships:

- Student - $1,000 so that a student can attend an Irish language
course in the Gaeltacht or any other appropriate place in Ireland.

- Teacher - $1,000 so that an instructor can attend a course for Irish
language teachers in the Gaeltacht. For a long time now the winner of this
scholarship has also had the opportunity to attend the Teachers' Course
"Oiliúint ar Mhúinteoirí" at Oideas Gael. The teacher receives free
tuition, meals and lodging for that course as well.

- Teacher or Student ­ The recipient of this scholarship receives free
tuition, meals and lodging at the Irish Language Immersion Week that is
sponsored by Daltaí na Gaeilge every Summer.

The Application Form is here:

And additional information for these scholarships is available here:

Slán agus beannacht,

Daltaí na Gaeilge

Monday, 19 April 2010

Bluegrass Festival Season

Donovan McCain and Conar McCain performing in Taylor, Mississippi

Bluegrass Festival season is here again. Bluegrass has became a 'category' of music that actually incorporates several distinct styles of music all of which have deep roots in Ulster music. Bluegrass itself is a fairly recent phenomenon, really beginning with Bill Monroe post World War II. It is based on indigenous Southern folk and what is often called 'Old Time' music; all three types, Bluegrass, Southern folk, and Old Time, are a feature of many 'Bluegrass' festivals.

A listing of festivals is available on the State of the Ozarks website.

In recent years musicians from Ireland and Scotland are often included in the venues with their music being categorised generically as 'Celtic Music. In many ways all these types of music are facets of the same original music that is indigenous to Ireland, Scotland, and the Borders of England. The festivals are family friendly, some of the best ones even today feature a very relaxed atmosphere, with blankets on the grounds, picnics, and a lot of socialising and impromptu jam sessions, both with the members of the bands that play and musicians in the audience.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Ulster Heritage On Facebook Now

A reminder to all those with Facebook accounts, you can now join the Ulster Heritage Facebook 'group' there you will get tid-bits not posted on the blog and other items and links of interest. There too we let our hair (or those of us who had hair would do so now it they still had) down and even offer the odd comment on politics and current events, usually in lighter vein. The Facebook link is on the right hand menu of the Ulster Heritage Magazine Blog.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Canadian Headstone Project News

The mission of this project is to capture digital images and the complete transcription of headstones of our ancestors. As decades pass -- many stones are becoming harder, if not impossible, to read the inscriptions they originally contained.

By archiving the images and transcriptions, we can help save these important records and also assist researchers using this valuable resource.

This Headstone Photo Project is a privately sponsored, non-profit, educational site. Success of the Project depends completely upon the activities of many volunteers and other individuals who contribute photographs to the archive.

It was only 11 months ago when the idea was first envisioned and planning began for a possible website to cover the whole of Canada. Jim McKane contacted a number of his good genealogy friends as a sounding board and the idea grew from there. They had no idea how successful it would become, nor what support the projet would receive.

Congratulations to EVERYONE!! The 50,000 mark has been achieved in record time!

In just 10 months, the volunteers have helped produce one the most successful genealogy websites in Canada!

All that said, the summer months are coming when the volume of submissions will most likely increase along with the better weather across Canada. Therefore, new volunteer coordinators will be needed to assist in the submission approval process.

For further information or answers to questions, please contact Jim McKane -

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Fair Head, Antrim

The western seaboard of Scotland and Ulster have had a very long relationship, one that goes back thousands of years to the first folk that settle this area of stunning beauty. The Gaels of Argyll and the province of Ulster used small sail and oar driven ships to cross the short distance between Kintyre in southern Argyll over to the north Antrim. The photo above taken by north Antrim writer and historian Nevin Taggart illustrates just how very close Argyll and Antrim are. The photo was taken from Fair Head and looks over to southern Argyll. The closest point between Argyll and Antrim is only a short 12 miles away (or 20 kilometers).

Nevin's surname comes from the Gaelic Mac an tSagairt (son of the priest) and surname found in both Ulster and Argyll. In days past not all orders of priest were bound by celibacy. There were certain orders of priests associated with the Catholic Church that did marry. These orders were originally from the Celtic Church and included the Airchinnigh and Comharba. These orders lasted until the collapse of Gaelic rule in Ulster and Argyll.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Two Ulster Henry Families

What's in a name? ... or in this case a surname? Very often DNA results reveal long forgotten histories of Ulster families. Two fairly common surnames found up and down the Bann Valley are Henry and McHenry. On the face of it, these names appear very similar, but the Ulster Heritage DNA Project results show us there is much more to the story of these two interesting families. Both are old Gaelic families, but have very different origins.

The McHenry family of the Bushmills area and around Ballyrashane Parish, is a branch of the very old and very distinguished Ó Catháin clan and their DNA results confirm these. They all descend from from Énrí Ó Catháin, a prince of the Ó Catháin clan that lived circa mid 1400s (anno domini). In English they were called the McHenrys of Loughan, i.e. Clann Mhic Énrí. The family was found on the eastern banks of the Bann, but spread in time to the general district and were well known in the Bushmills area. Their name in Gaelic is Mac Énrí and this has been anglcised several ways, but McHenry the most common.

The second group of 'Henrys' in the Bann Valley also have participated in the Ulster Heritage DNA Project is substantial numbers. Their results revealed they were a DNA match to a Gaelic kinship group from mid Argyll. Many histories of Ulster tend to leave out the Highland Gael migrations into Ulster; there were several substantial migrations of Gaels from both the southern Hebrides and Argyll to Ulster and the Henrys are one of these families. In Gaelic their name is Mac Eanruig and they also use several anglicised forms, Henry and Henrie are two forms that have been confirmed by DNA testing.

If you are a Henry, Henrie, or McHenry, and have always wanted to know our family's history, take heart, modern research often can provide this information for you.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Maine Scots-Irish Heritage Event

Maine Scots-Irish Heritage Experience


The University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College will be holding a Maine Scots-Irish Heritage Experience event on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and takes place in the Upstairs Lounge. The event's special guest will be BBC Radio Ulster host and author Alister McReynolds.

The day's events will include live music with performances by Castlebay, Maine Public Broadcasting's Frank Ferrel and the Maine Highland Fiddlers. Lectures by Alister McReynolds from BBC Radio Ulster's "A Kist o Wurds", Author and Maine St. Andrew's Society Ulster Scots Project Chairman, John Mann, and a panel discussion of the exciting collaborative archaeology project on the Kennebec River featuring guest speakers and USM Professor and archaeologist Barry Rodrigue, Archaeologists Pam Crane and Peter Morrison, Principal of Robbins Historical Research Jay Robbins, and Humanities Student Rebecca Graham. A coffee social hour will provide opportunities to meet the authors and presenters.

Celtic & Maritime folk duo Castlebay will present a special historically informed concert featuring will feature songs and tunes honoring the Scots-Irish immigrants who came to mid-coast Maine in the 1700's. These colonists brought their music with them to the new world as heirlooms and many of their songs and dance tunes appear in Maine's traditional repertoire. In addition, the adventures of these people in their new home provide ingredients for new songs in the traditional style.

Frank Ferrel is considered to be one of the leading North American fiddlers performing today. Widely regarded as a composer - the classic Cape Breton jig, Spin-N-Glo, is one of his compositions - Frank Ferrel is considered to be one of the leading North American fiddlers performing today. In a recent Boston Globe article, music critic Scott Alarik referred to Mr. Ferrel as "One of the finest living masters," of that genre.

Maine Highland Fiddlers are part of the traditional Celtic music revival that thrives throughout the north Atlantic rim. The band includes fiddles, guitars, keyboard, concertina, bodhran and occasionally some stepdancing. The members gather from throughout southern, central and mid coast Maine to perform and pass on the fiddle tradition. Their dance tunes recapture the kitchen party atmosphere that is central to the Celtic culture. The music of Scotland, Cape Breton Island and Ireland renews the heart beat of Maine's early Celtic settlements and gets everyone's feet tapping.
Alister McReynolds has written extensively on Scots-Irish history and culture, and in particular about the achievements of the diaspora in the United States. He is the author of the recently released book Legacy: The Scots Irish in America. His articles have been published in numerous journals including, The Ulster Scotsman and The Pine Tree Highlander as well as in The Belfast Telegraph and The Newsletter. He has appeared in BBC local history television and radio programmes and acted as a commentator and consultant on Scots-Irish matters for various media projects.

Professor Wilson studied at the Ulster Polytechnic, The University of Nottingham, and Queen's University Belfast, where he received his PhD in 1984. He is currently the Director of the Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies at the University of Ulster. His main research interest is in language in society, in particular political language. He has published a variety of journal articles in this area and a major text, Political Language (Blackwell:Oxford).
John T. Mann is chairman of the Maine Ulster Scots Project (MUSP) and the founder and president of Mann Associates, Inc.; a land surveying and consulting firm working primarily within the 18th century "Kennebec" and "Casco Bay settlement" areas of the State of Maine. John is also the author of "Ulster Scots on the Coast of Maine - Vol. 1, The Means Massacre Background and Location" and various other articles printed in The Pine Tree Highlander. He has designed programs to bring into schools with a goal of enhancing the learning of local history in Maine's public school system.

Author and USM-LAC professor Dr. Barry Rodrigue is the Scholar for USM's Franco-American Collection, and is director of French North American Studies and co-director of Global Studies. A Fulbright Scholar, Barry studied in Ireland, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Alaska, as well as in Maine and Canada. He is trained in cultural research as an archeologist, geographer, historian, biologist and ethnographer. Dr. Rodrigue is the founder of the Kennebec-Chaudiere Heritage Corridor. Barry has worked extensively with Humanities student Rebecca Graham who has been studying the Cork Colony as part of an independent research project since 2007. Her interest in Irish Studies and her desire to pursue a doctoral degree abroad led to involvement in this project and has remained the focus of her Humanities studies. Both Barry and Rebecca spoke in Savannah at the Frontiers and Fringes conference on the Cork Colony research that has been accomplished to date.

Pam Crane and Peter Morrison of Crane & Morrison Archaeology of Freeport, earned their degrees at the University of Maine at Orono. They have worked on the Popham Colony building footprints, the 19th century fortifications project at Fort Knox, and other early settlements in Maine. Pamela Crane obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Vermont in 1986. She received her Master of Arts Degree in History, Historic Archaeology Option, from the University of Maine in 1997. Peter Morrison earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Maine in 1986,and his Master of Arts Degree in History, Historical Archaeology Option, at the same institution in 2002 Both have worked in archaeology for more than 20 years throughout the northeastern United States. Their research interests includes New England historical archaeology, historical landscapes, ethnicity, and material culture.

John A. Robbins, Jr. is the principal of Robbins Historical Research, Inc. specializing in property research and genealogy. He also serves as Executive Director of the Lincoln County Historical Association overseeing three National Register of Historic Places properties including the 1761 Pownalborough Court House in Dresden. Jay currently serves as Treasurer of the Kennebec-Chaudiere Heritage Corridor Corp., Vice President of the Arnold Expedition Historical Society and co-coordinator of the Lincoln County 250th Steering Committee.

For more information about the event please email or phone Rebecca Graham at 207-882-7323 ext 135 or Dr. Barry Rodrigue at 207-442-7779.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easter Week

Cáisc Shona Daoibh, A'Chàisg Sona Duibh, Prospera Pascha Sit

Easter is of course a very special time to Ulster Folk the world over. In Western Christianity, Easter brings the end of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter..

The week before Easter Sunday is known as Holy Week. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday and the last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus' entry in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.

Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are known the Easter Triduum (Latin for 'Three Days').

Across the nine counties of historical Ulster, Easter is still a much loved and is observed by many families, be they Catholic, Presbyterian, or Church of Ireland. Attending Easter services is a very high quality way to experience the very best of Ulster society and culture.