O’Callaghan: What’s in a name?

O’Callaghan – Sports and broadcasting are strong factors among some of members of this clan. By Shauna O’Halloran.

Variants: Callaghan, Callahan, Ó Ceallacháin 

The original usage of O Ceallachain name was given to mean ‘descendants of Ceallachain’, a King of Munster from 935 AD to 954 AD. The most prolific Callaghan sept was found in Cork, west of Mallow, although they re-settled in County Clare when they lost their land to Cromwellian plantation. The family forfeited their land, and it was taken over by Longfield family (who always claimed they were actually of French extraction and not, in fact, Cromwellian).

In 1795 Richard Longfield was named Baron Longueville, and so now grand house that remains on original O’Callaghan land, and which was added to greatly by Longueville, bears his name, despite being again in O’Callaghan hands. The current patron, William O’Callaghan, is a direct descendant of Donough who fought in 1640 rising. William now runs Longueville House as a luxurious guesthouse and is also head chef at its celebrated restaurant, having trained under gastronomic great, Raymond Blanc. The House is a typical late Georgian building, with an added Victorian conservatory of ornate ironwork and family art on restored walls, making it a must-visit for any O’Callaghan tracing his or her family history.

Another sept of family originated in counties Armagh, Louth, Meath and Monaghan, where variations on spelling can be found as Callaghan, Kelaghan, Keelaghan and Kealahan, among others.

Notable O’Callaghan’s include Cork native and Irish International rugby player Donncha O’Callaghan. Donncha also plays for Munster, and made his international debut in 2003 when he stepped out against Wales at Millennium Stadium. He since went on to become part of Irish team that won Grand Slam at Six Nations in 2009.

Another famous O’Callaghan of recent years is RTÉ television and radio broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan, who is one of Ireland’s best-respected and highest paid current affairs presenters and chat show hosts. The qualified solicitor and mother of eight is renowned for her no-nonsense approach to interviews, and direct questioning of politicians and business people on her many current affairs programs, as well as being one of few females at top of her profession.

Gerry Callahan is an American sports columnist for Boston Herald and radio talk show host of Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI, a sports radio station in Boston, Massachusetts, that is one of top-rated sports talk radio stations in nation

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