About This Site
This site is a result of my personal quest to find my clan and discover my roots. I was born and raised on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This area had been the site of major gold rushes in the 1860's. Many of the miners were Irish who stayed to take up various trades after the gold ran out. Even today there is still a strong 'Irishness' about the community.
My great-grandparents came from Castleisland, County Kerry in 1875 to settle in South Canterbury. I know little about their earlier history, and I know nothing about the movement of their family which took them to County Kerry from the original clan lands in County Cork. Perhaps one day I will learn more.
As a child I attended school in my birthplace, Hokitika. At school the Irish influence was strong. I was taught by nuns of the the Sisters of Mercy, an order which originated in Ireland. Many of my fellow pupils were aware of their Irish origins. There was a large proportion with the more common Irish surnames, like Murphy, O'Brien, Kelly, and so on. I recall that they sometimes questioned my own credentials. "McAuliffe," they'd say, "What sort of name is that?" I didn't know, though I'd been told it was Irish, but my schoolmates didn't always accept that. Being Irish was a badge of honour in an Irish-Catholic school.
When I attended high school I was given access to the convent library. It contained many old books about Ireland, some of which I believe may have been brought here by the nuns who came from Ireland. Reading those books was a significant event in my life. In one I found a coat of arms for the clan MacAuliffe ('Mac' and 'Mc' are the same - 'Mc' is simply an abbreviation of the Gaelic prefix 'Mac', meaning 'son of'. Nowadays a number of Irish surnames, including McAuliffe, are more often spelled with the abbreviated 'Mc"). The book also had a short account of the clan.
I had an Uncle, Dan McAuliffe, who was passionate about the family. He told me about a castle in Ireland, and the clan fighting bravely against English oppressors. His stories fired my imagination. Today I know there was much truth in what he told me. He told me there had been a McAuliffe castle. Now I know there were at least three, and the McAuliffe's did indeed offer strong resistance to the invaders of their land. I have continued a life-long interest in finding out as much as possible about my clan. Now I am able to put what I have learned on this website, and I dedicate it to all of my fellow MacAuliffes who, like me, have wished to know more.
I'd like this site to be a junction for anything relating to MacAuliffes. If you have, or know of, a web site relevant to McAuliffe history or genealogy, or you have a personal McAuliffe family web page and would like a link to it, e-mail me with details and I'll be happy to include it in my links.
It is my dream that one day the McAuliffes will follow the lead of many other Irish clanns and set up an organisation that descendants of the clann can belong to and feel part of. I sometimes receive e-mails from McAuliffes asking how they can join the clann. Currently they can't because there is no formal organisation. At the 2008 clan rally there was discussion about that and a committee will meet to make recommendations for the future, including whether there should be a formal clan organisation.
We are very fortunate in that an energetic group in County Cork has for several years now organised a four-yearly gahering of the McAuliffes at Newmarket, in what was once the McAuliffe clan land. The Rally Committee has done a tremendous job.
I started this site in 1991 and it has continued to grow over the years. This is not a clann website as there is no organised clann; it is my personal contribution to establishing communication between McAuliffes wherever they are in the world and sharing what knowledge there is of our common heritage. The domain name clanmcauliffe.com is registered to me and the costs of maintaining the site are borne by me. I foresee the day when there will be a Clann McAuliffe organisation and when that happens I plan to gift the site and the domain name to it. In the meantime this site will strongly advocate for that day.
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About The MacAuliffe Site
Site designed and maintained by Bob McAuliffe, New Zealand.
This page last updated 28 June 2009
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