Show ContentsCallinan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Callinan comes from the Irish Gaelic O Cathalain. The Gaelic versions of today's Irish names demonstrate a link to a proud, ancient past. The name is possibly derived from Cathalan, king of Farney slain in 1028, whose name means Little Charles, and from whom the family is thought to have descended. Cathalan was in turn descended from Coleman Mor, the king of Meath and (the 133rd Monarch of Ireland).

Early Origins of the Callinan family

The surname Callinan was first found in County Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Caillin (fl. 560), was an Irish saint, "son of Niata, descended from Rudraighe, whose grandson, Fergus Mac Roigh, flourished at the beginning of the Christian era. His mother was Deighe, granddaughter of Dubhthach, chief poet of King Laogaire in the time of St. Patrick. The authority for the history of St. Caillin is the ancient ‘Book of Fenagh,’ a series of poetical rhapsodies, written about 1400, a copy of which with a connecting narrative in prose was made in 1516. we may gather the following facts of St. Caillin's history from this curious repertory of ancient traditions: ‘The descendants of Medbh and Fergus, viz. the children of Conmac, Ciar, and Corc, grew and multiplied throughout Ireland. The children of Conmac especially were in Connaught.’ Those were the Conmaicne of Dunmor, kinsmen of Caillin's. Resolved to remedy the congestion of the population by killing each other, the Conmaicne would no doubt have carried out their plan but for the interference of St. Caillin. By the advice of an angel they sent messengers to him at Rome, whither he had gone for his education." [1]

Early History of the Callinan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Callinan research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1027 and 1280 are included under the topic Early Callinan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Callinan Spelling Variations

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Callinan were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. Callan, Callanan, Caillan, Calan, Calanan, Callen, Callin, Callon, Callinan, Callinon and many more.

Early Notables of the Callinan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Callinan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Callinan migration to the United States +

To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Callinan or a variant listed above, including:

Callinan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Michael John Callinan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [2]

Canada Callinan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Callinan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Callinan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1833

Australia Callinan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Callinan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Denis Callinan, (b. 1816), aged 27, Irish convict who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Constant" on 9th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Biddy Callinan, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" [4]
  • Margaret Callinan, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"
  • James Callinan, aged 13, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Confiance" [5]
  • Matthew Callinan, aged 29, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Confiance" [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Callinan (post 1700) +

  • John Callinan (b. 1955), Irish hurler with the Clare senior inter-county team from 1973 until 1987
  • Graham Callinan (b. 1982), Irish hurler, member of the Cork senior inter-county team since 2008
  • Ian Callinan (b. 1982), former professional Australian rules footballer who played from 2007 to 2015
  • Ian David Francis Callinan AC, QC (b. 1937), Australian jurist, former Justice of the High Court of Australia (1998-2007)
  • Damian Callinan, Australian comedian
  • Sir Bernard James Callinan AC, CBE, DSO, MC (1913-1995), Australian soldier, civil engineer, businessman, and sport administrator

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th March 2021). Retrieved from
  4. South Australian Register Monday 27th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Sir Edward Parry 1854. Retrieved
  5. South Australian Register Tuesday 30th November 1858. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Confiance 1858. Retrieved on Facebook