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
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
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
Brehon steps towards the center and
faces the Clan
Narrator - Is the Clan gathered?
All Participants - The Clan is
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
File steps forward and faces the
Clan and recites the genealogy.
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
(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
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
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
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
Clan assembles at the gravesite of Art Mc
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.
Placement of wreath
(Source: By kind permission of Michael
Purcell. Carlow. 2004)