O'Callaghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Before Irish names were translated into English, O'Callaghan had a Gaelic form of O Ceallachain, possibly from "ceallach", which means "strife". The family is descended from Ceallachan (Callaghan), the 10th century King of Munster from whom their surname is derived, and as such, the name O'Callaghan is a patronymic name.

Early Origins of the O'Callaghan family

The surname O'Callaghan was first found in Munster. The earliest mention of the name O'Callaghan placed them in the barony of Kinlea, in County Cork, yet the family lost most of their original lands in the barony of Kinelea during the Anglo- Norman Conquest under Strongbow. They relocated to an area near Mallow, in the north of the county, and remained there until forced off their lands once again during the Cromwellian Invasion of the 17th century. The head family migrated to the east of County Clare and flourished, giving their name to the village of Callaghan's Mills. The resumption of the often-discarded prefix "O" has been widespread during the late twentieth century, but in the early twentieth century, Callaghans greatly outnumbered O'Callaghans, but such is no longer the case. The O'Callaghans are one of the few Irish families to still have a chief, certified by the Genealogical Office. [1]

Early History of the O'Callaghan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Callaghan research. Another 202 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1640, 1738, 1807, 1797, 1883, 1605, 1654, 1839 and 1909 are included under the topic Early O'Callaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Callaghan Spelling Variations

The general population of Ireland, like those of Europe and Britain during the Middle Ages, scribes recorded people's names as they saw fit. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For O'Callaghan some of these variations included: Callaghan, Callahan, O'Callaghan, O'Callahan, Calahan, Cellaghan, Kalahan, Kallaghan, Kallahan, O'Kallaghan, Kellaghan, Kelleghan, Kellahan, Kelahan, Ceilahan, Ceilaghan, Callachan, Calachan, Callagan, Calagan, Kelagan, Callighan and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Callaghan family (pre 1700)

Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Callaghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia O'Callaghan migration to Australia +

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

O'Callaghan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas O'Callaghan, aged 21, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames" [2]
  • Johanna O'Callaghan, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames" [2]
  • Margaret O'Callaghan, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames" [2]
  • John O'Callaghan, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Thomas Gresham" [3]
  • Patrick O'Callaghan, aged 27, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Thomas Gresham" [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand O'Callaghan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

O'Callaghan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W. P. G. O'Callaghan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • Arthur O'Callaghan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Talbot" in 1864
  • Arthur O'Callaghan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glendevon" in 1864
  • Margaret O'Callaghan, aged 27, a housemaid, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gainsborough" in 1878
  • Jeremiah O'Callaghan, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name O'Callaghan (post 1700) +

  • Sergeant John O'Callaghan (1868-1870), American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Lieutenant-General William O'Callaghan DSM (1921-2015), Irish Army officer, Commanding Officer of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
  • Conor O'Callaghan (b. 1968), Irish poet
  • Eugene O'Callaghan (1888-1973), Irish priest in the Archdiocese of Armagh
  • Professor Kathleen "Kate" O'Callaghan (1888-1961), Irish Sinn Féin politician and academic
  • Gareth O'Callaghan, Irish author, radio presenter and former television presenter
  • David O'Callaghan, Irish hurler and former Gaelic football player
  • Gary Bernard O'Callaghan MBE (b. 1933), Australian radio announcer based in Sydney, Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame recipient
  • Eugene "Taffy" O’Callaghan (1906-1946), Welsh professional footballer
  • Arthur Pyne O'Callaghan (1837-1930), New Zealand Member of Parliament from Canterbury
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOSEPH SOMES / SOAMES 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850JosephSomes.htm
  3. ^ South Australian Register Monday 20th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Sir Thomas Gresham 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sirthomasgresham1854.shtml.


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