When such O’Neills the world over are now more than ever yearning to be once more part of the ancient clan O’Neill, to visit Ireland, research their genealogy, history and culture, it behoves the O’Neills at home to be ready in every way, to have their house in order, so when the good times come – and come they must – each corner will be found swept and clean, and the rooms garnished with good things. Then the harps will be taken from the walls, and there will be music and dancing in the land as of yore. The ancient clan O’Neill will be united once more.
The idea for this group was thought up in late 2011 and our website was launched on St Patrick’s Day 2012 . The membership grew and we were joined by people from Ireland, Britain, U.S, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. An international committee was formed and a Chief and Vice Chief Guardian were elected, the name Chief and vice chief gaurdian was something we wanted to bestow on different O'Neills around the world to honnor them for their good work in perhaps charity or Irish language ect but it was a bit hard to execute in the early days and it is something we may bring back in the future, as in any young organization we stumbled around for a while trying to find our feet our main aim at this time was to get our name out there and recruit members.
From day one we wanted people to fully understand that were not a political organization but would accept people from any political persuasion and introduced the 100 rule which means no Irish politics of the last 100 years would be discussed on our website, we pointed out to our membership that although we thought this period of our history was one of the most important there was other far more informed and more constructive places in which to debate it.
We are a non-profit making organization and to date have never received and funding from any government body or any other outside group neither do we charge membership fees or advertise on our site.
Over the past two years the structure of our organization has changed we now have an Ulster committee and four branches in the States all coordinated by one member overseas and one in Ireland.
Our aims have never changed we wanted to resurrect a fully functioning Clan O’Neill with an elected leadership according to Brehon law we believe all O’Neill families who ever they are or whatever country they reside in have a rich history and see them all as the great O’Neills therefore we do not recognize heredity titles handed down by foreign bodies, we see all the modern O'Nills as being the great O'Neill and seek our mandate from then only in accordance with ancient costume.
Our name the ancient clan O’Neill of Tyrone / Tir Eoghain, refers to the land of Eoin which covered Inisowen in Donegal all of the modern counties of Derry and Tyrone and a part of Armagh.
There is much confusion surrounding O’Neill coats of arms and who owns them some say they were created in Tudor times at the behest of the English to create Irish Earls whatever the case they are claimed by different branches of the O’Neills.
We as a clan respect and recognize all O’Neill coats of arms but decided to create a crest that all O’Neills, Neills, Neales, Neals and all the many spellings could claim as their own, there is some argument as to which was the original hand left or right we know in the end Turlough and Hugh were using the right hand as their seal but we decided to go with the more ancient and pre christen left hand we believe as the clan O’Neill we have the right to do this and it sets us apart from the many organization who now use the red hand as their symbol.
The Chief of the O’Neill clan was always titled The O’Neill we believe that title should be left in the past with the great men who bore the title with honour. We see ourselves as guardians of our clan history, culture and costumes we therefore decided the people who would represent the O’Neill clan would be a governing body, they would serve a three year term and be elected and re-elected to their office.
The O’Neill clan has never been this strong for 400 years we are growing and ask every O’Neill out there who are proud of their name and heritage to come and play their part you can just simply be an O’Neill rep for your area and touch base with the committee from time to time.
In this clan there are no experts we are here to help educate each other about our history and genealogy we want all O’Neills and all the different spelling of the nameto record their family stories / history for their own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren so it is not lost forever.
If we the O’Neills don’t do this who will.