Category Archives: Chieftains

In Praise of Cassidy Clan Chieftain Nuala Cassidy

Nuala Cassidy at the 2022 Cassidy Clan Rally.
Nuala Cassidy with Noel Cassidy at the 2022 Cassidy Clan Rally.

“It is with great sadness but also the deepest appreciation for a life well lived and incredible contributions spanning three decades to the Cassidy Clan that we announce the passing of the Cassidy Clan Chieftain (“An O’ Caisideach”) Nuala Cassidy. After a long illness Nuala passed away early this morning, 7 November, in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Nuala was inaugurated as our Chieftain at the Clan Rally in 2017 during a ceremony on Devenish Island. While becoming Chieftain represented the pinnacle of her service to the Cassidy Clan, it is not hyperbole to state that the modern Cassidy Clan would not have commenced and thrived from its founding in 1991 to the present without Nuala’s tireless efforts and incredible contributions – all on a voluntary, unpaid basis.

Nuala was simply the backbone of the Cassidy Clan. From its founding under the leadership of Colm Cassidy of County Clare, Nuala served as the Clan Secretary. She co-organized the first clan rally and each rally thereafter, eventually becoming the lead organizer of all Clan rallies.

Nuala also eagerly took on the role of Clan Genealogist, maintaining Cassidy records and assisting countless Cassidys from across the globe in tracing their Irish ancestors. Eventually, Nuala became Chairperson of the Cassidy Clan herself, and then Chieftain in 2017.

Nuala’s warm smile, kindness, dedication, sense of humor and sharp intellect will be missed by all. I offer my deepest condolences to her family.

Please share your memories and experiences with Nuala here in the comments.”

– Stephen Cassidy, Cassidy Clan Tánaiste (Deputy to the Clan Chieftain)

Founding executive committee of the Cassidy Clan.

[Editor: Thank you to Gearóid O Ceallaigh, Chairperson of the Clans of Ireland, for your thoughtful comments on the passing of Nuala Cassidy. In addition to leading the Cassidy Clan, Nuala was an active member of the Clans of Ireland for several decades.]

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Nuala Cassidy, Clan Chieftan of the Cassidy Clan.

I knew Mrs Cassidy well over many years as a member of the Board of Clans of Ireland, until she retired due to health complications. Indeed, she continued to help with the Annual Cultural Summit registration for a number of years following her retirement.

Nuala always treated her various roles on the Board with respectful seriousness, while also always maintaining her sense of infectious humour. I often sought her advice during my initial period as a member of the Board. It will be Nuala’s pleasant temperament that will remain as my abiding memory of her.

Tá sí i mo smaointe agus paidreacha. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.”

– Gearóid O Ceallaigh, Cathaoirleach (Chairperson), Clans of Ireland

[Editor: Brent Ó Caiside has written a loving tribute to Nuala Cassidy. One of Nuala’s strengths was recognizing the potential in people and welcoming them into leadership roles in the Cassidy Clan.]

Dear Nuala,

Ní bheidh do leithéid arís ann.

There will never be the likes of you ever again.

Today my heart breaks at the news that you have got your wings. I saw two rainbows in the sky yesterday and decided to take a walk not knowing what I would find, maybe a treasure. On my return, news came that you had passed and then it became clear that those rainbows were you smiling down on me. In every Irish sense of the symbolism of the rainbows and pots of gold, it was you. In that moment, I felt your presence and peace.

I am happy, grateful, blessed to have known you and shared so many loving memories over the last 21 years, but I believe everyone who came into your circle are better people than before meeting you. You were contagious with people, sharing stories, love and inspiration and treating everyone equal in the true sense of our Celtic ancestors.

Your love of Irish culture, history and the great Cassidy family that has spread all over Ireland and the world has inspired us all. I am forever grateful for your hospitality and warmth as a person to inspire my life into our Cassidy heritage, Irish history and culture. Forever grateful I am and little did I know that your inspiration drove me to go deeper, to learn more and discover self to be where I am today.

Thanks for welcoming my family to BallyCassidy so many times and for welcoming, showing and supporting our story from Roslea. Thank you for journeying across the pond to see where our family ended up and meet all your cousins.

Thank you for countless discussions, for encouragement and support. Thank you for welcoming my wife and family in to the Cassidy Clan and for visiting us in Donegal and then later in Oulu. The memories are countless, the craic and banter legendary, the love and hospitality forever a part of us. You were more than a friend, you were family and I will miss you forever while cherishing your memory.

Forever will you live in our hearts and forever will you be in my thoughts and anything I ever do for it was you who set me off on this Gaelic journey back in 2000. And, this is how I will celebrate your life, by continuing on as you did to inspire through peace, love and harmony. God bless you, your family and all that had the blessing to come in to contact with you.

When they write the next part of the Cassidy Clan’s history, your name will be amongst the greatest.

Go n’éirí an bothar leat a Nuala ’s go raibh míle míle mhaith agat, ár An Caiseadach mór go deo. Ní bheidh do leithéid arís ann.

My deepest condolences to Nuala, Leslie, Nodlaig, Sheila and all the extended family.

is mise le meas,

Brent Ó Caiside

Cassidy Clan Chieftains

The Cassidy Clan is headed by the Chief of the Clan, who is referred to or addressed by the title “An O’ Caisideach,” and the officers of the Executive Committee. The An O’Caisideach is an honoree position and ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.

The first An O’ Caisideach was Sean Ó Casaide of the Republic of Ireland, who was designated honorary Chief of the Clan for life. Sean served in this position from 1991 to 2003. With Sean’s passing, his wife Noirin Casaide was designated Chief of the Clan and served as Chief until 2005.

Noirin and Sean Ó Caiside
Noirin and Sean Ó Caiside at the 1998 Cassidy Clan Rally.

Dr. Sheila Cassidy from Australia was inaugurated as An Caisideach inaugurated on Devenish Island at the 2005 Cassidy Clan Rally.

Three years later Philip Patrick Cassidy (known as Pat) from County Fermanagh was installed as An Caisideach, and served as our Chieftain through the 2014 rally.  

Sadly, Pat died in August 2014 and as a mark of respect for his dedication and commitment to the Cassidy Clan organization since 1991, the office of An Caisideach was left vacant.

At our 2017 Gathering, Nuala Cassidy from County Armagh was elected as the new Chieftain. Nuala served as Chieftain until 2023. With her passing, Stephen Cassidy, who was the Tánaiste or Deputy Chieftain, became the Clan Chieftain. Stephen resides in California.

Nuala Cassidy with her brother Noel at the 2017 Clan Rally where she was installed as Chieftain.

Video: Sean Ó Casaide & 20th Century Ireland

The Cassidy Clan is headed by the Chief of the Clan, who is given the title “An O’ Caisideach.” Sean Ó Casaide was our first An O’ Caisideach, and designated with honorary Chief of the Clan for life. Sean served in this position from 1991 until his death in 2003.

In an obituary reprinted below, The Irish Times wrote that Sean had “a passion for music, a love of the Irish language and a lifelong commitment to the education and well-being of children.”  Born in 1907, Sean’s life spanned the 20th Century of Ireland.

In an interview conducted by Stephen Cassidy in 1999, Sean discusses his family, significant Irish and world events, his work in education, and love of Irish music and culture as well as notable Cassidys in Ireland.

The outbreak of World War I, the Easter Rising in Dublin, terror waged by the Black and Tans across Ireland are among the topics discussed by Sean Ó Caiside in the second part of the interview.

This clip concludes Sean’s interview.

Teacher committed to well-being of children

The Irish Times, September 13, 2003

Sean O Casaide, who has died aged 96, had a passion for music, a love of the Irish language and a lifelong commitment to the education and well-being of children.

He was born on March 16th, 1907, in Mullinroe, Co Longford, the fourth of the 13children of John Cassidy and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Coen), primary teachers in the nearby Cloneen school. Growing up in turbulent times, he witnessed the torching of Granard by the Black and Tans.

He won the King’s Scholarship to St Patrick’s Training College, Drumcondra, where the writer John D. Sheridan was a close friend and classmate. In his first teaching post in St John’s Lane in the Liberties, his class of 90 children came to school barefoot and hungry.

From this experience stemmed his conviction that education is the key to the alleviation of poverty. This and a clear understanding of the enormous challenges that face the educator in deprived areas were central to his life’s work in education. He had little interest in material comforts and sent his salary home to provide an education for his younger siblings, after the untimelydeath of his father.

Tugadh cuireadh do i 1931 a bheith mar mhuinteoir i Scoil Naomh Phadraig, bunscoil a bhi ceangailte le Colaiste Phadraig i nDroim Conrach: sa bhealach sinbhi pairt aige in oiliuint mhuinteoiri. Mar mhuinteoir og, rinne se ceimeanna H.Dip agus M.A. san oiche i gColaiste na hOllscoile, Baile Atha Cliath. Lena dheirfiur Daisy scriobh se an chead sraith leabhair I nGaeilge do phaisti bun scoile. Ceapadh ina Chigire Ceoil e i 1937, agus bhi se lonnaithe i nGaillimh agus i gCorcaigh. Mar Chigire Bunscoile, d’oibir se in Iarthair na hEireann (1941-’55).

Chaith se 10 mbliana ansin mar Chigire Ceantair agus ma Roinnchigire i dTir Chonaill, cupla bliain ar an Chlochan Liath, agus seacht mbliana i nGaoth Dobhair. Chuaigh se go Bhaile Atha Cliath i 1965 agus ceapadh mar Phriomhchigire Cunta e i 1969.Â

Nuair a d’eirigh se as an chigireacht i 1972, chaith se 10 mbliana mar Eagarthoir Ceoil sa Ghum. Ba mhinic a deireadh Sean gurbh e ceann de na laethanta a ba shona dena shaol, an la gur thosaigh se fein agus a athair le cheile a fhoghlaim Gaeilge, agus e mar dheagoir sa bhaile tar eis bunu an tSaorstait. Chuaigh Dubhglas de hIde i bhfeidhm go mor air, agus e ina mhac leinn aige in Ollscoil na hEireann.

He had a lifelong involvement with choirs, bands and the teaching of Irish and classical music. Under his guidance the Scoil Naomh Phadraig tin-whistle band frequently performed on 2RN Radio. In 1935 he founded the choir of Craobh an Cheitinnigh, Conradh na Gaeilge, in which three of his brothers sang.

He supported the work of Irish composers, convincing the minister of education in 1936 to assist the impoverished Carl Hardebeck with a yearly stipend of 150.

He introduced many children to music, most famously his niece, Geraldine O’Grady. He was enormously proud and supportive of his musical relatives, including the O’Grady family, Frank Patterson and Patrick Cassidy, all of whom consulted him on Irish music. In his later years he enjoyed his role as honorary taoiseach of the reconstituted Cassidy Clan.

Bhailiodh Sean seanamhrain sa Ghaeltacht, o dhaoine mar Roise na nAmhran i nArainn Mhor. Bhi se mar mholtoir sean-nois san Oireachtas ar feadh blianta fada, mar a raibh teagmhail aige le ceoltoiri mora na linne, cosuil le Sean O Riada agus Seosamh O hEanai. Ar theacht go Baile Atha Cliath do sna seascaidi, ba mhor an chuis misnigh do an “mion ghaeltacht” i Ranallach, mar a raibh moran teaglaigh le Gaeilge.

Nuair a bunaiodh an dara Gaelscoil i Ranallach i 1995, ba e Sean abhaist Lios na nOg uirthi.

His songs for children such as Teidi Beag Alainn, are a fitting testimony to hisgreat fondness for the young. His talents for composition and harmonisation wereparticularly valued by his own family, the group Na Casaidigh. Imbued by a deep faith, he composed an Irish Mass for the church choir which he conducted in Ranelagh for 36 years.

Cuis mhor broin a bhas da bhean cheile, a chompanach ionuin, Noirin, da thriur inion Fionnula, Ailbhe agus Caitriona, da sheachtar mac Ruairi, Ciaran, Feargus,Fionntan, Aongus, Odhran agus Seathrun. Cailliuint mhor fosta da thriur dearthara mhaireann, Kevin, Martin agus Brendan.

Sean O Casaide: born March 16th, 1907; died September 3rd, 2003