Form & grow your clan group with Irish Clans Network

Using the latest online technology tools, Irish Clans Network helps you form your own clan grouping (or develop your existing group) so you can connect and engage globally with people who share your Irish family name heritage!

Irish Clans Network is now providing a cutting-edge approach to connecting people of Irish heritage around the world – if you want to start an Irish clan grouping or want to develop your existing clan group, Irish Clans Network can help you grow.

Anyone can be part of an Irish clan grouping, after all it’s your birth right and being part of a close connection to your past and to your ancestors is something that everyone can experience. With Irish Clans Network, there are no mountains of document submission, pre-certification red tape or membership fees involved, if you feel part of a particular Irish clan group(s) then you have a right to be a member.

And if you are part of an existing Irish clan group and need help to grow your connections or to promote the activities of your grouping then Irish Clans Network can provide you with the latest online tools and support to do so.
There are currently over 450 Irish clan groups registered with Irish Clans Network having connected over 70,000 around the world.

To form your Irish clan grouping or to find out more about developing your existing Irish clan grouping, email:

“Genetic heritage” to find Irish ancestors

An exciting prospect for those interested in exploring their Irish heritage lies ahead with the work of a new company called Ireland’s DNA. Set up to help trace a person’s genetic heritage, the company is launching in Dublin today (Thursday 3rd May).

genetic heritage ireland

Within the article (published in the Irish Times newspaper), Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, a biomedical research lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and one of three founders of the company states:

“With DNA you can really go deep into the past to learn where your ancestors came from.”

A decade ago it was tremendously expensive to deliver a complete genome but today prices have fallen and it is feasible to think of using DNA technology to identify ancestry. About 20,000 genomes have been completed so far by labs around the world and this has opened up the possibility of direct Y chromosome comparisons between individuals and groups.

The more genomes completed, the more the resolution improves, and the better the ability to see back in time. “Up until recently we might have had a genetic signature for the northwest of Ireland collectively as being Irish. What has happened since is we can split up the Irish type. The higher resolution comes from the sequencing of the human genome.”

It all comes down to comparisons. “We look for markers and see what they are telling us,” he says. “A marker is part of the DNA that is different between people. Those differences arise with each generation.”

Most of our genome is a mix of our mother’s and father’s DNA, but the Y chromosome does not mix in a substantial way. Cavalleri likens it to the Olympic torch as individual runners carry it from city to city on the way to the games.

The same torch is passed from person to person but imagine that each person is able to leave behind a mark on the torch, a small spelling change in the DNA. “By looking at those spelling changes you get a sense of how those people have moved. After all, we are part of one big pedigree.” It is all about knowing what markers are hidden in a genome pointing towards one ancestry or another.

“There is a fascination with this type of work,” he says, and people can now participate via the company. The male Y chromosome can be traced but it is also possible to track female lines via mitochondrial DNA only passed along by female lineages.

It costs €250 to analyse both the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA and €210 for either one or the other. Women don’t have a Y chromosome but often co-opt either a brother’s or a father’s DNA to show the ancestry, Cavalleri says.”

This is a really enticing opportunity for anyone who is interested in tracing their roots and as can be seen from the above article, the journey in doing so has the potential to reveal some surprising results.

Millions of people around the world consider themselves to be of Irish heritage and up until now the ability to trace ancestors via genetic science would have been considered out of reach for most – for more information visit or read this article in full on the Irish Times website.

Fictional Irish Clan Epic Rolls On

Following the success of his debut novel “The Law of Dreams”, Canadian author Peter Behrens carries the timeline of his fictional (yet roughly based on his family history) Irish clan story to the next generation.

His first prose won critical acclaim when published in 2006 and he was awarded the Governor General’s  Literary Award in Canada – the story covered the emigration of Fergus O’Brien as he crossed the Atlantic Ocean to escape the Irish famine of 1847 and the trials he endured as he carved out a new life for himself and his family.

Behrens’ new novel, simply titled “The O’Briens” takes up the family dynasty with Fergus’ grandson, Joe who takes on the role of father figure to his siblings after his own father is killed fighting in the Boer War.

The story of this Irish family rolls through the decades from 1880 up to 1960 and sees the Clan venture to locations across North America from British Columbia in Canada to the sun-drenched state of California as the saga unfolds.

“The O’Briens” has been well received by critics and promises to bring further success to Peter Behrens. The book highlights the experiences of many an Irish family that crossed to the New World but remained forever bound to the Irish traditions and never-say-die attitude of their homeland.

Read the Washington Post’s review of “The O’Briens”:

Links to Ancient Irish Clan “unearthed” in Co. Down

Some ground-breaking news has emerged from Co. Down where the Irish Clans Network understands that one of Ireland’s most mystifying monuments from Ancient Ireland, the Mound of Down, near Downpatrick is currently being excavated.

The Mound of Down has long been associated with the Ancient Irish Clan the Dál Fiatach who are believed to have had a stronghold here and the site has remained shrouded in mystery with no excavations having taken place until now.

The site is also known as Dundalethglas or “the English Mount” which could be a reference to the fact that the Anglo-Norman knight, John De Courcy won a significant battle near the Mound in 1177 during the Norman invasion of Ireland and may have took the site as a stronghold.

And as for the Dál Fiatach, this clan too has a mysterious past but is believed by many to have lineage to the modern day clan names of Dunleavy/Donleavy, McNulty, Hoey, Haughey and McCaughey.

Whatever secrets the Mound of Down holds beneath the soil, the hopes are that archaeological work will soon provide us with an opportunity to look into the past way of life of this Ancient Irish Clan.

Read more on this significant development:

Irish Clans in USA: Kerry Lyons piece on her Irish heritage

With the celebrations well and truly over for St. Patrick’s Day 2012, we came across this evocative piece in the Huffington Post from Kerry Lyons who reflects on what it means for her to be of Irish heritage having been born in and grown up in the US.


She covers how important it is for her and her wider family to remain connected to Ireland despite the distance between the two lands.


Kerry also touches on how important her own Irish clan is to her with her family name of O’Connor, her husband’s (a first generation Irish American) family name of Lyons and how her grandparents friends the O’Sheas and the McKennas would join them for annual vacations on Cape Cod, which she lovingly refers to as the “Irish Riviera”.


She also reveals how her ties to her Irish heritage were strengthened by spending time with her family connections both in the US and in Ireland and how:

“Our little clan of Irish lads and one lovely lassie serve as daily (and nightly!) reminders of how important it is to cherish our past while ensuring a future where our Irish tales will be told and songs will be sung.”

Read Kerry Lyon’s full article: