Tag Archives: Clan 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.

2017 Cassidy Clan Rally Report

We thank Kerry Cassidy of Switzerland and Australia for his report and contribution to our website:

The 2017 Cassidy Clan rally was a great success. It was attended by over 60 clan members from many parts of the globe and all seemed to enjoy the varied and interesting program.

The Rally commenced on Friday the 30th June with registration of participants from 12.00 to 2.00 pm, then continued with getting to know the other members. This was followed at 4.00 pm by the Clan General Meeting with the election of An Caisideach (or president) and office bearers. The meeting was rather short as there was only one nomination for An Caisideach.

Nuala Cassidy was elected in a unanimous vote and her brother Noel was elected as chairman, a position in which Nuala had been active for some time. Both Nuala and Noel are very devoted to the clan and I feel they will both be excellent in the positions. Oliver Cassidy was invited to accept the office of An Tánaiste (deputy chieftain) for the next three years.

The venue for the Clan Rally was the Killyhevlin Hotel at Enniskillen and the facilities were perfect for the event.

After dinner on Friday we had a Power Point Presentation, “Meet the Cousins”, then the rest of the evening was spent meeting new friends and enjoying the beautiful night.

Saturday started with an interesting talk by Veronica Williams from Australia, telling us of the research she has done tracing her Cassidy ancestors back to Ireland and also explaining her work with DNA to trace ancestral links.

Anyone interested in this subject, please contact Veronica as she has now volunteered to oversee the Clan’s DNA project.

Veronica’s talk was followed by an interesting presentation by Frank Roofe, who is a local historian and genealogist. Frank is also an honorary life member of the Cassidy Clan and has helped many people with their research. He has been an integral part of the Clan gatherings for the last 15 years. Frank gave us several good tips on research and afterwards was our guide on a bus tour visiting interesting historical sites in the area.

We started off with the Enniskillen Castle museum, previously the Maguire Castle until the English confiscated it and their lands. The museum contains some very interesting displays showing how the people of the area have lived over the last two thousand years.

We later continued on via Bally Cassidy to the Ardess Famine Graveyard and finally to the Ancient Cassidy Rath. It was a very special feeling to be at the Rath, knowing that over a thousand years ago our ancestors lived there.

Kerry and Elisabeth Cassidy with Noel Cassidy at site of Ancient Cassidy Rath during 2017 Cassidy Clan Rally.

After dinner on Saturday evening we were invited to an old fashioned Céili House, with three members of the Blackwater Céili Band. Eamonn Keeman and Jeff the Piper tod many tales of old and we were also entertained by singer Tina Cassidy and some talented clan members including Noel Cassidy.

The Sunday program started with a talk by Noel Cassidy about some of the renowned early Cassidy poets, including Gill Mo Duta Ua Caiside and Tómas Ban Úa Caiside.

This was followed by a fascinating P P Presentation by Alf Monaghan where he looked at the history of early Irish Christianity from a very different perspective. Titled “Monastic Ireland – A Gift of the Nile” it showed evidence that the original Christians in Ireland were Coptic Christians escaping the persecution of the Romans. Alf showed many examples of evidence substantiating the links back to Egypt. This was a long time before Saint Patrick came to Romanize the Christians in Ireland.

Alf’s talk was followed by another bus trip, this time to the ferry landing near Devenish Island.

We then took the ferry across to the Island for the Inauguration Ceremony of our new An Caisideach.

This was also a special experience and included many old customs of previous generations. We had lots of time to explore the Island, the ruins of the old monastery and the interesting museum.

We then returned to the hotel for the Gala Dinner and evening entertainment with the Byrne Brothers and the dancing and fellowship continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Many of us met again on Monday morning to say our farewells and there were quite a few who promised to meet again at the next rally in three years. We hope to see lots of members there in 2020.

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

If you would like to see more of the above events, I have a photographic reportage posted on my website, visit http://www.cassidys.ch/clan.htm

I hope you enjoy it.

Kerry Cassidy