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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Clann Chaomhánach

(Source: By kind permission of Michael Purcell. Carlow. 2004)

Page 2

Click on the photos to enlarge

Introduction to the Ceremony

The participants will assemble at the gate of St Mullins cemetery. The pipers will lead the group to the east side of the Motte. The procession will consist, in order, of the Sgt of the Guard and guard of honor, the Brehon, the outgoing and incoming Chiefs, the incoming Chief’s family, the ladies in waiting, the Marshall and the other participants in the ceremony and the members of the Clann and guests.

The pipers will lead along the low ditch to the end of the elevated low mound and take up a position at the extreme south end. The Sgt of the Guard, the Guard of Honor will step up on the low mound next in order. The Brehon, File and other participants will step up on the mound in next order. Next the outgoing and incoming chief will position themselves on the mound in a central position. The chief’s family and ladies in waiting will step up on the mound on south or right of the chiefs.

The Marshall will lead the other Clann members and guests to the flat grassy area facing the Motte and cemetery and he then will take up a position to the right of the Chief’s family and Ladies in Waiting.

The Narrator will take up position on a low mound just adjacent to the mound upon which the other participants are standing.

All will turn to face the two Chiefs.

Music by pipers

This ceremony was prepared by the late Michael A. Kavanagh of Bunclody.

Introduction to the Inauguration by the Narrator

Narrator: The ancient laws of Ireland known as the Brehon Laws governed the lives of our ancestors. These laws guided the lives the Irish people and provided a strict code of conduct for our forefathers.

The inauguration ceremony is adapted directly from the ancient ritual described in the Irish Annals and is the same that was used in inaugurating the first of our name Donal Caomhanach. The ceremony affirms the Chief’s responsibility as custodian of the lands and protector of the people.

The law was clear as to how a Chief should behave. The Chief was charged with being honest, impartial and courageous. The Caomhanaches were inaugurated as Chiefs of Ui Ceinnseallaigh, often referred to as Hy Kinsella. The territory was comprised of the modern counties of Wexford and Carlow with parts of southern Wicklow and eastern Kilkenny.

The Chiefs of Ui Ceinnseallaigh since the 11th century were powerful enough to be accepted as Kings of the entire Province of Leinster. One of them, Diarmait mac Maol na mBo, who was great grandfather of Donal Kavanagh and a direct ancestor of our present chief, was described in his obit as King of Ireland, King of Dublin, King of the Isle of Mann and the Western Isles of Scotland.

The inauguration ceremony of our Kavanagh ancestors took place on the hill of Knockavocca, located near one of the important Kavanagh seats in Ferns, Co Wexford. Today we are gathered at another Kavanagh historical site, near the Monastery of St Moling. St Moling, who, as a Kavanagh ancestor was famed in history and legend, and was the Bishop of Ui Cheinnselaig in the 7th century. The Ui Cheinnselaig were in the misty past the forerunners of the Mc Murroughs and Kavanaghs. This site with it’s ruined churches and round tower has long been the final resting place of many Kavanaghs, famous and otherwise.

The great inauguration stone of mac Eochadha, called Keogh or Kehoe was the inauguration stone of the Ui Cheinnselaig and later the Kavanaghs. This stone was known as the Leac mic Eochadha * sadly now lost to the Clann.

The inauguration of the Kavanagh Clan Chief was traditionally the responsibility of the O Nuallain, Chief of Fortharta Feadha * O Nuallain or O Nolan, as marshal of the Clan performed the ceremony of passing over the symbols of the chieftainship

The File (poet or bard of the Clan) were the mac Eochadha. They preserved and recited the Chief’s genealogy. The Kehoes are descended from the mac Eochaidh and were the Chief poets of Leinster.

The Brehon or Law giver, O Deoradhain or 0’ Doran ensured that the selection and inauguration were preformed according to the ancient laws. The O’Doran’s were the great law givers of the Leinster and served the people for many centuries.

The position of Clan Chief in Ireland was not hereditary but was selected from eligible candidates of Dearbhthine, descendants of previously elected chiefs.

*Eocha’ * Forda Fea

Music by Pipers

Narrator - Let the inauguration begin

Brehon steps towards the center and faces the Clan

Narrator - Is the Clan gathered?

All Participants - The Clan is Gathered

Narrator - Has the Marshall readied our warriors?

Marshall: Our Edel, horsemen and kern are ready

 Inaugurator steps to the center and faces the Clan

Narrator - Celia Kavanagh Boylan of Standish, England has reached the end of her chieftainship has the Clan elected a new Chief?

All - The Clan has voted. Gary Cavanaugh of Stockton, California is our choice.

Narrator - Is Gary Cavanaugh a proper choice?

File steps forward and faces the Clan and recites the genealogy.

File -

Gary Cavanaugh is the son of Cot. Michael A. Cavanaugh, late of Washington D.C. son of Thomas Charles Cavanaugh of Harper’s Ferry, Iowa, son of Michael Kavanagh of Dorchester, Iowa, son of Morgan Kavanagh of Rathanna, Co Carlow, Ireland son of Charles Kavanagh of Rathanna, son of Morgan Kavanagh of Rathanna, son of Edward Kavanagh of Rathanna, son of Michael Kavanagh of Rathanna, son of Charles Kavanagh of Currane and Ballymartin, Co Carlow, son of Edward Kavanagh of Ballyteiglia and Currane, Co Carlow, son of Cahir McEdward Mc Art Kavanagh of Borris, Co Carlow, son Edmund Mc Art of Borris, son of Art McDonough, Chief of the sept of Donough of Ballyloughan, Co Carlow, son of Donough founder of the Sept of Ballyloughan, son of Murrough Ballach, King of Leinster of Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, son of Muircheartach Mac Donogh, son of Donogh Mc Art, King of Leinster, son of Art Caomhanach, King of Leinster, son of Art, King of Leinster, son of Muircheartach Rua Caomhanach son of Muiris Caomhanach son of Muircheartach Caomhanach, King of Leinster, son of Laigseach McMaurice Caomhanach, son of Maurice McDonal, son of Donal Og Caomhanach, King of Leinster, son of Donal Caomhanch, King of Leinster, the first Caomhanach who was son of Diarmait McMurrough, King of Leinster who was grandson of Murchada mac Diarmait, King of Dublin and the Isles and progenitor of the Mc Murroughs, son of Diarmait mac Maol na mBo, King of Leinster, King of Ireland with opposition, the Isle of Mann and the Westerns Isle of Scotland who descended from Enna Ceannsealach, King of Leinster of the line of Cathair Mor, ancestor- deity of the free Septs of Leinster and King of Ireland.

(30 generations back to Diarmait mac Maol na mBo, King of Leinster, King of Ireland)

Music by Pipers

The chief steps forward

The bishop steps forward and faces the new Chief

Bishop - With the guidance of God will you guide your people with honour and wisdom?

New Chief – I will

Brehon stands in front of New Chief

Brehon - Turn to your strong side and see before you the heavens of God that will bring you good weather, fat Cattle and abundant crops, if you are deserving

Brehon (cont) - Turn again to see the land of your ancestors which will bring prosperity to your people if you are just.

Turn a third time to see your people who will honour you if you are brave and fair


Turn to your weak side and see before you the sky which will shower storms and destruction if you place your own desires before the needs of your people.

Turn again to see the lands of your ancestors which will become barren and desolate if you are evil in your judgment

Turn a third time again and see your people who will turn their backs and walk away from you if you are cowardly and without honour.

The bearer of the seal steps forward and hands the Seal to the inaugurator and then returns to their place.

The inaugurator places the seal of the head of the new Chief

Narrator - Wear this seal, the symbol of your leadership, carved in silver and gold and bearing the Lion and Crescents of your ancestors.

The bearer of the wand steps forward and hands the want to the inaugurator and returns to their place

The inaugurator hands the wand to the new Chief.

Narrator - Carry this wand carved from the life giving and fruitful hazel tree. This wand is the symbol of truth shown from the whiteness of its flesh, a symbol of strength and impartiality as it is straight, a symbol of justice and equity as it is without blemish.

The bearer of the cup steps forward and hands the cup to the inaugurator and returns to their place.

The inaugurator hands the cup to the new Chief

Narrator - Place this cup before you to remind you that the mead you drink from it is from the labors of your people and will only be refilled from labors to honor a good and honest Chief.

The inaugurator faces the Clan and raises her right arm with clenched fist

Narrator - With honour and fidelity I give you your Chief, Gary Mac Michael, Mac Thomas Cavanaugh

ALL Present - Kavanagh, Kavanagh ABU!

Pipers Play

Clan assembles at the gravesite of Art Mc Murrough

Pipers lead the procession in previous order to the gate of the cemetery and then stop playing. The procession follows the pathway around the south perimeter of the cemetery to the gravesite of Art McMurrough. The chief, the outgoing chief, the Brehon, the File, Sgt of the Guard and Marshall face the grave. The pipers line up along the walls. The remainder of participants ring the ceremony.

Oration -

Placement of wreath

Pipers Play

(Source: By kind permission of Michael Purcell. Carlow. 2004)

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