Aughrim Remembered

A very important date in the calendar of the extended Ó Kelly family. Kelly history tells us 400 Kellys died in this battle.

New Pictures just in for Aughrim Remembered 

Well the battle’s over, at least for another year. It was quite an ambitious programme for a
small committee to undertake, but they got there and did a magnificent job. My
congratulations to all directly involved.
A picture speaks louder than words, so I will let the
photos speak for themselves. They show the very
diverse aspects of “Aughrim Remembered”, from Irish
dancing and music,
The dancers from Cuil Na Meagan were fantastic.

(Left)L-R; Dr Hiram Morgan, Richard Doherty, Tommy Greham, Dr.Padraig Lenihan and Dr. Eamon Ó Ciardha. All took part in the History Ireland forum.

(Above) Soldiers bivouac set up in the park with a display of weapons and equipment.


During the course of the weekend the ‘troops’ performed drill movements which was very
We had great fun at the Poc Fada competition in the local GAA pitch. I hope the footballers
did not mind ‘loaning’ their turf for a short while.

rightPractice makes perfect, Julie.

(Below)Some of the local lads giving it a lash.
PJ Jennings who did a great job organising An Poc Fada.


A happy warrior.(Below)

left right

The Interpretive Centre well guarded by Williamite and Jacobite troops prior to the Book

Kjeld Held Galster of Denmark launched his book “Danish troops in the Williamite army in Ireland,
1689-91” in the Interpretive Centre on Sat evening. The launch was very well attended and I am assured by
The Four Courts Press, very successful.

A great job was done by Julie Cruise (above) and the event was very well supported by the Kelly clan.
Ken Kelly (Below left) of Ballinasloe did MC at the opening on Friday evening.

left right

Joe Kelly (Above Right) saying a few words in St Catherine Hall on Friday opening


L-R Standing with back to camera Tom Mernagh, unknown, then Mary Kelly just visible beside Michael
and Bernie Kelly with Tanaiste Joe A Kelly on extreme right. Joe travelled from Northampton to be with
us at Aughrim.

Local businessman Pat Finn (Below) enjoying the Hedge School discussion.

Was it enjoyable? These Gentlemen thought so.









Tomas Ó Brogan's map of the battle site.

The PDF image on the right shows the regiments that your Kelly ancestors fought in.  --------Cool----------Laughing-------------Frown----------------Cry.



As part of our Fund raising effort for “Aughrim Remembered”, John Bourke was very instrumental in arranging a Battlefield walk on the site of the Aughrim battle. We had a very good turn out and managed to raise near enough to € 500.00 for a very pleasant afternoons fun.
The walk was approx. 10 km and took a little over 2 hours to complete. Our complements to CLADA MINERAL WATERS of Galway who supplied a generous quantity of refreshing spring water when we were halfway through. Helen Mannion acted as quartermaster assisted by Mary McLoughlin.
Once again thanks to Tom Connaughton of the Ballinasloe Civil Defence who provided us with the necessary First Aid backup. Thankfully their expert skills were not required. We finished back where we started and were treated to good Aughrim hospitality. Tea and cakes in the Interpretive Centre. This was greatly appreciated by young and not so young. Our thanks to Julie Cruise who manages the centre.Each participant was awarded a parchment to record the events achievement. To the amusement of many there was an incorrect date on the certificate, this has not been rectified so you guys have a free walk coming up.
Thanks again
Joe Kelly

“Aughrim Remembered” was initiated by a member of a Kelly family, who felt that the numerous Kelly’s who fought and died at the Battle of Aughrim
in July 1691, should be commemorated in some fashion. With this in view he set
himself the task of coordinating and planning a suitable event. I talked it over in the first instance with Brendan Kelly in a pub in Aughrim. He felt my idea of a tree planting would be appropriate. Brendan undertook to introduce me to Tim Broderick an independent councillor whom he knew, both being from Kilconnell. Tim was very keen on the idea and made contact with Marie Mannion, Galway’s heritage officer. My records show the first meeting took place at 4 PM on Friday, 6 August 2010. Brendan, Tim, Marie Mannion and I, met in the rain Illustration by Sean O’Brogain ! ! ! ! outside the interpretive centre in Aughrim. The centre being closed even though it was the height of the tourist season. This was the start of several further meetings in Aughrim covering all the issues of all local interests. Our Kelly “tree” committee also met several times and enjoyed the hospitality offered by John and Sophia Kelly Byrne, in their home in Cabintely. From day one it was very clear that an event of some form would be most welcome. It was also felt that the potential for this to become an annual event was quite probable. It was also clear to me that I would get support by way of input and possibly some funding from Galway County Council.

We were not there yet. Not till I met up with Marie Mannion in her office in Galway County Council on Monday morning 7 March 2011. After a brief recap on our previous Aughrim meeting, Marie contacted by
phone Padraig Lenihan and Jerry Sullivan, both men agreeing immediately to talk on their respective subjects, and would be delighted to partake in such an event at Aughrim. We were on our way. At a further meeting in Ballinasloe, at which Mrs Maura O’Gara O’Reardon, of the Clans of Ireland was present we decided that “Aughrim Remembered”would be a fitting title of our proposed event. Prior to meeting with the local Aughrim committees, decided on a
few issues.The date of the battle was very important, and needed clarification for two important reasons. Historical correctness, and also to avoid any confusion with celebrations carried out by another tradition in our island.
i.e. 12 July. According to the Gregorian calendar, which was in use at the time and is the calendar in use today, the battle was fought on Sunday, 22 July 1691. So based on thisinformation we made our decision to go for Saturday, 22 July. The other issues to be decided on were the wording of the plaque and the type of tree we should use. We
decided on an oak tree being the symbol of strength and nobility. The wording of the plaque took a little bit of time to decide on. It was not only Kelly’s who fought at Aughrim, but many many other clans played their part. We decided on balance to commemorate all those who died, with a special reference to our ‘many kinsmen’.

Because it was a battle we were commemorating it was fitting that some type of military presence or input would help in the overall effectiveness and impact of our event. Having paid a visit to the Boyne interpretive centre in the hope of picking up some pointers and advice on the structure,

make up, and equipment of the opposing armies, I was put in touch with Tomas O’Brogain whose help, and knowledge of the Williamite wars was invaluable. It was through this man’s contacts that we were able to set up the soldiers bivouac, which was manned by uniformed soldiers depicting regiments of both the Jacobite and Williamite armies. These uniforms were 100%
authentic as were the regimental flags which were on display.
“Aughrim Remembered” started on Friday evening with an excellent recital
of the O’Kelly poem of welcome, given by Gearoid. This poem dates back to
1351. On balance the following program covering Irish art and music, the excellent speakers on Friday and Saturday covering very interesting topics and the fabulous “Aughrim Remembered” exhibition and parade put on by the local school children, made it a very memorable event.
We were blessed with the weather on Saturday and the attendance of Cllr.
Mogie Maher, the Mayor of Galway County on both days and Cllr Mike Kelly,
Mayor of Ballinasloe on the Friday, signified the high level of local interest from the County of Galway. Along with many individual clan representatives there was also a strong turnout from the Clans of Ireland who were well represented
with senior committee members and members of the board of that organisation. We also
had in attendance members of the Orange order, having been invited by the Rev
Trevor Sullivan, who is the retired Church of Ireland parson of Aughrim. I did not have
time to meet these gentlemen but I was told they were very impressed with the
‘spirit’ of our gathering. Little noticed, but known to me was a
representative of the Lutteral family, and on Saturday a member of the Nugent family was in attendance. This was very encouraging because we hope over time to network with as
many descendants of people who had ancestors evolved in the Aughrim battle.
Overall things ran very smoothly with no major hitches, with one exception. I had been assured that the field for the soldiers bivouac had been organised. This was not the case,
and I was not advised till very shortly before the living history personnel (soldiers) from the
north of Ireland, with two trailer loads of equipment, were due to arrive. This could have
been disastrous, but the day was saved by Paddy Naughton of the Aughrim Development
company,. “We’ll put them up in the garden” said Paddy.






The speakers were excellent and the talks were varied and interesting. Ranging from
archaeological discoveries, records of the gentry of east Galway and their estates, more currently
the Ireland reaching out project, to aspects of the battle. The latter has raised many interesting
questions which I understand has led to further research into the presence of irregular troops (clans) and the actions of rapparees during the conflict. There is already evidence to support the idea that clans actually fought as clans under their clan chief. The culmination of “Aughrim Remembered” was the planting of the tree. This was performed by Brian O’Kelly senior, being a retired member of the Diplomatic Corp..               

We had a short ecumenical service performed by Rev George of the Church of Ireland and Fr. Jerry Geraghty the
local parish priest. Rev George gave us anunscripted and solo rendering of ‘if you’re happy clap your hands’. Our own Fr. Celsus joined in for the blessing, so the reader can be assured our tree is well fortified with the
blessings of our christian churches.

The Piper, who was more used to playing at weddings gave us a rendering of Wooden Heart, being his idea of a lament, and the troops, who were excellent, dipped a Jacobite and Williamite flag in respect.

It must go on record that the support from the various Aughrim committees was tremendous, and they deserve the highest tribute for their magnificent cooperation
and willingness to see the job through. I include in this the management of the Aughrim
Interpretive Centre for their enthusiastic support and interfacing with the local primary schools.

The Aughrim Development Company, for handling the flags and bunting the planting of the tree and making the garden available to us for the soldiers bivouac, the Aughrim Pastoral Council, Aughrim Retirement Group who in conjunction with St Catherine’s Hall committee arranged for the tea and sandwiches which were in plentiful supply during the course of the lectures. The Aughrim Art and Cultural Group, Maura Wade for the art workshop,

M/s Ester Barrett for loaning her “Charge at Aughrim” painting, which was on display in the interpretive centre, local businesses and above all the people
of Aughrim. All who contributed to the much commented and remarked on atmosphere
which prevailed in the village that weekend. The tone of “Aughrim Remembered” was
accurately portrayed in the fabulous brochure produced by Damien Goodfellow, and his
wall mounted panels had great impact. The logistical coordination and cooperation by
Marie Mannion of Galway County Council was superb and contributed in no short manner
to the success of “Aughrim Remembered”.
Should we go again? On a couple of follow-up visits to Aughrim and having spoken with
some of the people of the above committees the answer is, very definitely. This view is
shared by the Kelly Clan Association. I am aware of an interest to attend any further
Aughrim gather by a Dutch military historian, also a Dutch re-enactment company would
be very interested in attending. The “Aughrim Remembered” event has great potential for
expansion and could develop into a military summer school or such like. In this regard I
would be very interested in meeting with, and exchanging views, with similarly minded
I trust this report is fair and balanced and is inclusive of all those whose contribution I
greatly appreciate. It was only right that the men who died in the battle of Aughrim should
be remembered in a nonsectarian and nonpolitical fashion,. The fact that it was initiated by
a Kelly clans man, and will continue to be supported by the Kelly Clan, is not an act of
oneupmanship, but an act of tribute and remembrance to our people who made the
ultimate sacrifice and those who suffered great hardship and deprivation at that time.
Joe Kelly.