Order of Clans of Ireland

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The Order of Clans of Ireland is an award made by the Clans of Ireland organisation, an independent authority which seeks to authenticate and register Irish clans. The Order was instituted in 2010 to commemorate the 21st anniversary of Clans of Ireland. The patron of the Order is Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland. The Order is intended to honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to their Clan, or Irish heritage and culture generally, or who have brought conspicuous honour to their clan name.[1]

Structure and appointment[edit]

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, Patron of the Order of Clans of Ireland receives his insignia from Dr. Michael J. Egan, Chair of Clans of Ireland, 28 May 2012

The Order of Clans of Ireland is intended to honour any man or woman from Ireland or with Irish ancestry who has made a significant contribution to their Clan, or Irish heritage and culture generally, or who have brought conspicuous honour to their clan name. The process of finding such individuals begins with a call for nominations each September which is sent to all clans registered with Clans of Ireland. Only clans that have been included on the Register of Irish Clans for three consecutive years may present nominations to the Order. There is no limit on the number of nominations that each clan may present or on the total membership of the Order but a maximum of ten people may receive the honour each year.[2]

The Order is administered by a council who are appointed by the board of Clans of Ireland. The Order's statutes dictate that three members of council, including the chair must be drawn from the board of Clans of Ireland and a further two must be independent. Once appointed the Order's council is completely autonomous in its decisions and feedback is not given on unsuccessful nominations. Each year the Order's council convenes in the Spring to consider all nominations which have been presented by Clans or the board. The names of the successful nominations are published on 17 March (St. Patrick's Day). Recipients are normally inducted at a ceremony in Dublin in April of each year when they receive their insignia. The recipients also receive a letter of congratulations from the Order's patron, the President of Ireland. Apart from the President of Ireland who is patron and whose role is largely symbolic, as of 2014 the members of the Order's council are:[2]

There is only one category of membership in the Order of Clans of Ireland and all inductees are designated as Companions of the Order of Clans of Ireland or in Irish Compánach Fhinte na hÉireann and may use the post-nominal letters CIOM.


Breast Insignia and Miniature of the Order of Clans of Ireland

The Order's insignia was designed by heraldic artist Tim O'Neill of Dublin who has worked on a number of commissions for the Government of Ireland and the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. The insignia is the same for male and female inductees and is worn on the left side of the chest. It is a gold medal under an azure blue ribbon on a gold bar. The obverse of the medal is styled after the Book of Kells and shows a Chieftain passing a light to two younger figures representing the handing on of Irish culture and heritage. The reverse of the medal contains a traditional Irish harp styled after the one supposedly used by Turlough O'Carolan and now on display at Clonalis House, the seat of the Ó Conchubhair Donn.

Companions of the Order (Members)[edit]

Appointments to the Order are made each year by the council of the Order of Clans of Ireland and new Companions are usually presented with their insignia at a ceremony presided over by a member of government, local Irish ambassador or another appropriate dignitary.[3]


  • Liam Crowley CIOM, co-ordinator of Crowley Castle restoration project.
  • Riobard Ó Dwyer CIOM, seven times All Ireland triple jump champion and Munster Senior Accordion Champion.
  • Proinsias MagFhionnghaille CIOM, author, and founder of Síol organisation to promote education about traditional Irish clothing and weapons.
  • Dr. James O'Higgins Norman MStJ KLJ CIOM, author and academic at Dublin City University.
  • Peter James O'Neill CIOM, Chairman of the Michael Coleman Heritage Centre in Gurteen, Co. Sligo and member of Moygara Castle Preservation Project.
  • Tim O'Neill CIOM, historian, author and calligrapher, designed Plantation of Ulster Commemorative Stamp.
  • Margaret Curtain CIOM, Genealogist and Clan organiser in Australia.
Minister Leo Varadkar presenting the Order of Clans of Ireland to Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle RIA at the Mansion House, Dublin


  • Nuala Cassidy CIOM, genealogist responsible for identifying former United States President Bill Clinton's Irish roots.
  • Vincent O'Donnell CIOM, historian, O'Donnell Clan Association secretary, activist and musician.
  • Byron Egan (USA) JD CIOM, Vice Chair American M&A Committee American Bar Council, Chair of Texas Business Law Association.
  • Michael D. Higgins CIOM, President of Ireland.
  • James Mulvihill (USA) CIOM, former Research Chemist and Director of Research
  • John Gargan (Thailand) CIOM, author and retired professor of finance, former National Chairman of the Reform Party (USA).
  • Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle RIA CIOM, author and academic at NUIG who transcribed and translated MacFhirbhisigh's Great Book of Irish Genealogies.


  • Dr. Mary McAleese CIOM, President of Ireland 1997–2011.
  • Ambassador Brian Ó Ceallaigh CIOM, retired Irish Diplomat .
  • Monsignor Pádraig Ó Fionnachta CIOM, retired professor of Irish, Maynooth College.
  • An tUasail Cathaoir Ó Tighearnaigh KEG, CIOM, Taoiseach Cumann na gClann Uí Thighearnaigh.


  • Rev. Fr. Anthony J. Gaughan CIOM, author, historian and biographer.
  • Lt. Col. Lynn David McMullen, CIOM, Irish-Canadian author, historian and soldier.


  • There were no appointments to the Order in 2015.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]