News & Views

Recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award


President of Ireland
honours leading





PAT KELLY Founding member of the Canadian County Board in 1987. He has lived in Ottawa since the 1970s and has been closely involved with various Irish organisations in Canada, including the GAA. 

TEN high-profile Irish people living abroad are to be recognised with a new presidential award -- but the Government last night stressed how this new Irish scheme "is not an honours system" similar to the one in the UK. The new Presidential Distinguished Service Award, which acknowledges the work of Irish people living abroad, is diferent to the high-profile British honours system. Among those nominated for the Irish awards is the late GAA and Aussie rules star, Jim

Stynes, who carved out a successful career in Aussie Rules Football, before succumbing to cancer.Also in receipt of the award is Pat Kelly who has lived in Ottawa since the 1970s, and who has been closely involved with various Irish organisations in Canada, including the establishment of a Gaelic football club in his adopted city.Other award nominations are Sister Leena Deevy, a native of Co Laois who has worked with immigrants in Boston, and Fr Michael Kelly, who has done research on the impact of AIDS in Africa. 

Thank to the ‘Irish Independent’

Prof. Fr Kelly awarded for HIV/AIDS work

RENOWNED academic and anti-AIDS campaigner Professor Father Michael Kelly has received the Irish Presidential Award for Excellence for his outstanding contributions to the development of education in Zambia and Africa in general and for his work in curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS. Fr Kelly is among the 10 distinguished Irish citizens who received honours under the Irish President’s inaugural award that recognises excellence among Irish people in the diaspora.

The awards ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace in the Irish capital Dublin. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by press secretary at the Zambian High Commission in London Amos Chanda. Fr Kelly was awarded for his outstanding work in advancing education in Zambia, in particular and Africa in general and for his great efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS, especially among young people. Irish President Michael Higgins said Fr Kelly has devoted all his life teaching young men and women how to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.  

“These are awards to eight of the 10 wonderful Irish people living in the diaspora who have been chosen to receive this special acknowledgement for their tireless contributions to Ireland. Among them is Fr Michael Kelly from Lusaka, Zambia,” he said.

President Higgins said the departure of Irish people from their motherland in pursuit of service to humanity and in search of opportunities abroad, has been a constant recurrence and defining characteristic of Irish history.Mr Higgins said the immigrant experiences are deeply embedded in the Irish psyche and have continued to shape the country’s values, defining the Irish as a people at ease with others in the global community.

“The current Irish people owed a huge debt to the previous generations of fallen Irish immigrants. Without their legacy and unwavering work done by them, the Irish community currently working to build and support new links with the global Irish would not be attained. “The need to engage all Irish living in the diaspora is critical. Without the diaspora, very little would be known about Ireland. I thank all Irish people living in the diaspora for their enormous contributions to Ireland’s economic development,” he said. The Presidential Award for the Irish diaspora has been launched to formally recognise
outstanding contributions made by exceptional individuals across various facets of human development.
The award honours the sacrifice, support and commitment to Ireland of the wider Irish diaspora in all areas of human development.  The thematic areas of the award are Irish community support, arts, culture and sport,
charitable works, business and education, and peace, reconciliation and development.

A Short Movie by Grania Kelly

Bringing Uncle Home - ABC TV Message Stick Documentary filmed in Brisbane, Cherbourg & Nebo Queensland. from chris peckham on Vimeo.

 Sept 2012



The ‘fighting Irish’

Distant cousins meet outside Dublin’s historic Joycian Pub, DAVY BYRNES. Kelly brothers Robbie and Brian of Howth meet brothers Don and Mike Condit of Chicago.

Brothers Don and Mike with their wives Marleen and Suzan were part of the 35000 visitors from the States, who travelled here for the traditional Notre Dame/Navy football game. Both the Condit’s have professional practices in Chicago. Mick in law and Don as an orthopedic surgeon specialising in hand, wrist and elbow technology. All four are avid supporters of NORTE DAME, the fabled “FIGHTING IRISH”, who as we know had a fantastic but hard won victory over NAVY.

In the early days Notre Dame used Irish Terriers as their mascot. The University of Notre Dame was founded by a 28-year-old French priest, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. in 1842. He was a very determined man because when the university’s main building was damaged by fire in 1879 he is quoted as saying "I came here as a young man and dreamed of building a great university in honour of Our Lady, but I built it too small, and she had to burn it to the ground to make the point. So, tomorrow, as soon as the bricks cool, we will rebuild it, bigger and better than ever."

There is an interesting Kelly connection to this historic University’s football team - it’s coach. Their 51 year old Massachusetts born Brian Kelly is very proud of his Irish roots and during his visit here was anxious to slip off for a few pints with his relations. He was not saying where or when - we will try to find out.

Well what can I say...

I have thought about an appropriate caption for this photo, and I have to admit I’m totally stumped.

Perhaps someone out there can help. The occasion was Joe A Kelly's 80th birthday, and the location was on a clay pigeon range. All fully legal. Sept ’12

Mike and Trudy Kelly ‘doing’ Europe.

Mike and Trudy enjoying a pre lunch chat with Joe A Kelly and his beautiful daughter Rebecca.

Seated L- R. Joe A, Mike, Rebecca and Trudy Kelly

On their recent visit from Chicago to this part of the world, Mike and Trudy had time to have an enjoyable lunch with Joe and Rebecca in The Shakespeare Hotel, Stratford - on - Avon, in the UK. Shortly afterwards our American clan members travelled over to see us here in the Emerald Isle. Unfortunately I missed meeting up with our visitors when they travelled to Westport in the west of Ireland. Westport has been voted Irelands most pleasant town to live in, you can see why.

The Kelly’s have long and traditional links with the town of Westport, having married into the Browne and Bourke families in the 1600’s. Through the Bourke marriage they would be related to the Sea Queen of Connacht - Grace Ó Malley.

Croagh Patrick - majestic and mysterious. Mike, hope to meet up the next time you are back. Joe (Ed) Sept ’12.

A letter in from Martin Wade

Hi Joe

Just came across your website. It awakened childhood memories of the 50’s and our landlady, Miss May Kelly and her brother Edward. They were of Catholic Anglo-Irish stock and owned some property in Kingswood, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin. Their deceased uncle, Walter Walsh had owned most of Kingswood and it’s associated 400-acre farm. We lived in the Gate Lodge of the property.


May had served as some kind of nursing sister in both world wars. She had a dachshund called Harris that had been given to her by a wounded German officer. Eddy had been an officer in the Great War, and had been wounded in an attack on the German trenches, being shot in the face and losing many teeth and having his jaw injured. He believed that he “got” the German who shot him before he collapsed.

"The dachshund is a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed belonging to the hound family. The standard size dachshund was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals."

"Below : The two British campaign medals commonly found as family heirlooms nicknamed Mutt and Jeff: the British War Medal and the Victory Medal."

Most of the time, Eddy was a reclusive gentleman of the old school, somewhat under the thumb of his sister. Once a month, however, when his pension arrived, he went into Dublin on a roaring bender, and would return late at night, somewhat the worse for wear. Rather than face his sister’s wrath, he would knock diffidently on our door and seated at the fireside, enthrall us with his stories.


As he aged, the drink had more effect on him and he would lose the use of his legs when he got out of the taxi. He would shout for assistance and my father would carry him up the avenue and enlist the maid’s assistance in discreetly putting him to bed.

“ Wade, Wade, upstairs is fine, but downstairs has failed”.

My father, himself a gifted storyteller who had had three uncles in France, revered him and when he went up to the “big House” on Saturday to pay the rent, he might not return for hours. Edward died sometime in the 60’s. The drinking binges were possibly the only therapy available to relieve the memories of the horrors he endured.


In recent years, memories of this gentle, compassionate old man continue to come to mind. I would love to find some reference to him in any military records. I wonder if your organisation have any leads in this direction. Air dheis De go rabh a hAnaim.


The above is a letter in from Martin Wade of Dublin and well worth inclusion in our ‘Newsletter’. In a follow up conversation, Martin told me of his interest in motor bikes and his first mode of transport was a Francis Barnett Falcon motorbike, bought in Eagles Motor Cycle shop in Inchicore. (File picture below) Ed Aug 2012.

Enda Spotted in Booterstown


I heard on the radio the other day that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny would be unveiling a plaque to the memory of Kevin Ó Higgins, who was shot in Booterstown during the troubles. Having an interest in history, and Booterstown only down the road from me, I went along to see what was happening. Kevin Ó Higgins was shot on the morning of Sunday, 10th July 1927. He was on his way to Mass in the Church of the Assumption, which is only about 400 yards further down the road. He was a brave man and made very tough decisions during the formative time of our ‘state’.


There was a good turn out even though it was a very wet evening and a very inspiring oration was given by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

Also spotted among the crowd were local politicians Sean Barrett and Mary Mitchell Ó
Connor ( known for her driving expertise, see here ).

This article should not be seen as a support for any political party or thinking. It’s just a
newsy item which took place in my neighbourhood.


From Fr. Juan Pablo

Quetzaltenango was founded in the early 16th century by Spanish and Tlaxcalan conquerors over a Mayan village. The earlier Mayan village name was Xelajuh which is still Quetzaltenango’s nickname. It remained a fairly small agricultural town for over two centuries. However, in the 18th century, during the lifetime of Balthazar de O’Kelly, it underwent a deep change in population as well as in its economical basis that could well be called a re-foundation. D. Balthazar was the first O´Kelly in Quetzaltenango (he married Da. Tomasa García there in 1723). He was the eldest son of Dr. Thaddeus Theodore Dominick O’Kelly (born circa 1658 in Loughgall, County Armagh).

From the Church baptismal books for the 18th century, one can see that the O’Kelly family members were asked frequently to act as godparents. This fact attests their good social standing among the “Quetzaltecos”. The most notorious O’Kelly from Quetzaltenango was Friar Sebastian de O’Kelly, from the Franciscan minor order. He held the Mayan Language chair at the University for many years. During his last twenty years (1775-1795) he was the pastor of Quezaltenango’s parish of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Paulinus O’Kelly was also a Franciscan friar working in the same area. Miss Mary Ann Escobedo y de O’Kelly, their cousin, founded the confraternity of Purgatory Souls (1795) which lasts to this day.
During the independence turmoil in Central America, there is another brave O’Kelly, related to this family, and who supported the National government against the unionist movement with the Mexican Empire. In 1821, the year of our independence from Spain, Don Leandro de O´Kelly was the mayor of Mazatenango, a village then on a close relationship with Quetzaltenango. He was asked to join forces with the Mexicans. D. Leandro and his councilmen answered that they would remain loyal to the National government in Guatemala, whatever the outcome of the impending war. They had to flee from Mazatenango when the Mexicans invaded the town.The O’Kelly family has disappeared as such for a long time from Quetzaltenango. I became aware of them from the oil canvas of Fr. Sebastian de O’Kelly that hangs from the walls of the Cathedral’s sacristy. But most members of the Parrilla family (and some of the Peláez) come from them.

Juan Pablo

Mary Mitchell taking care of those pesky tree's in Sandycove ;-)

Dactylorhiza fuchsii var. Okellyi or O’Kellys spotted Orchid, has no mythical connection to the O’Kelly clan as
such.It owes it’s name to Brendan O’Kelly, amateur botanist, of Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, who discovered it in the late 19th century. It share it’s place with 26 others of the family Orchidaceae, and can be found in field and lane ways of the Burren in Co. Clare. It grows to a hight of about 10 inches and is known for it’s sweet fragrance, blossoming in the summer months of July/August.