Surname Dictionary: Kelly, O'Kelly Ireland VIEW SOURCE
John Grenham's Surname Wizard: Kelly Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY Flaxgrowers in 1796 Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY in Pre-Famine TITHE Records Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY in Post-Famine GRIFFITH'S Valuation Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY in Irish Civil Records (from 1864) Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY in the 1901 Census of Ireland Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY in the 1911 Census of Ireland Ireland VIEW SOURCE
KELLY ancestors on Ireland Reaching Out Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Got the Kelly surname in your family tree? 

You're in good company ...

Ó Ceallaigh (O'Kelly, Kelly, Kelley, Kellie) is one of the most prevalent surnames in Ireland. Other spelling variants may include: Kelie, Kellye, Mac Kelly, O Keley, O kelly, O'Kelley, Ó Ceallaidhe.

READ MORE IrelandXO Insight: Irish Surnames 101

This very old surname was numerous in all areas, especially Connacht and north Munster. There were a number of other septs in Ulster & Leinster: 

  • GALWAY/ROSCOMMON: The most important family were chiefs of Uí Maine a branch of the Oirghialla of Ulster, who ruled over an extensive territory in East Galway & North-west Roscommon up until to the reign of Elizabeth. This family produced many distinguished chiefs, among them Tadhg Mór Ó Ceallaigh who fell at Clontarf in 1014.
  • MEATH/DUBLIN: Ó Ceallaigh of Breagh, a branch of the southern Uí Néill, were lords of Breagh (an extensive district embracing a large portion of Meath and north County Dublin) up until after the Anglo-Norman invasion, when they were dispossessed and dispersed throughout Ireland. Conghalach Ó Ceallaigh (d.1292) was the last lord of Breagh. 
  • DERRY: Ó Ceallaigh of Cinel Eachach in the barony of Loughinsholin, Co. Derry, where they are still numerous
  • LAOIS: Ó Ceallaigh of Leighe, now Lea (barony of Portnahinch); Ó Ceallaigh of Magh Druchtain; Ó Ceallaigh of Gallen;
  • WICKLOW: Ó Ceallaigh of Ui Teigh, in the north of the present Co. Wicklow near Bray;
  • SLIGO: Ó Ceallaigh of Árd Ó gCeallaigh, in the parish of Templeboy, Co. Sligo
  • CORK: Ó Ceallaigh of Corca Laoighdhe, in the south-west of Co. Cork

In 1641 (just before Cromwell sent everyone packing) there were numerous O’Kelly / Kelly landowners in Ireland. See the Down Survey of Ireland at TCD where you can run a 17th-century landowner search (before and after Cromwell).

To search FREE Records for your Kelly ancestors, see our handy list of references below.

FIND KELLY ancestors in our database 

ADD your own Kelly Ancestor (if county of origin is unknown, attach them to County "Ireland XO")

SHARE a Castle or Homestead linked to Kelly

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