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O'Keeffe Clan

Gathering and Rally

9, 10 and 11 Sept 2016

guided tours, lectures

historical and genealogical exhibitions

cultural and musical events,

buffet banquet Saturday evening
Constantine O'Keeffe 1671-1745

O’ Keeffe of Ireland and The Isle of France (Mauritious).
As taken from:
Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Journal, 1893 VOL II, page 138-141.  D’ Hozier.
The following may be of interest to the readers of the Journal, to explain the conditions of our countrymen of the period on the Continent. As is well known, the O’ Keeffe’s had large possessions in “Pobul O’ Keeffe,” now Kingwilliamstown. Another member of the O’ Keeffe family from Glenville, county Cork, was parish priest of S. Similien, at Nantes, and subsequently became bishop of Limerick from 1720-1737.

Constantine O'Keeffe 1671-1745
Constantine O'Keeffe esquire, former Captain of Infantry in the Regiment of Clare, an Irishman, living at S.Germain en Laye where he has retired on a pension from the Court, Requested the Judge of Arms of France to place in the Public Registers of his office the titles of his nobility, and his armorial bearings. Considering that he is of noble extraction, and being naturalised in the kingdom, he is entitled to enjoy in it all the privileges attached to nobility: and in consequence the production he has made of his titles justifies that he is the eldest brother of the late Arthur O’ Keeffe, an Irish gentleman, Counsellor of the King in the Admiralty of France at the General Session of the Table de Marbre of the Palace at Paris, in favour of whom my Lord Bulter de Galmoi, M. de Lessei-Roots, the late Sieurs Lee and Dillion, Lieutenants-General of the armies of the King. The Sieur de Nugent, Marshal of the Camp, and the Sieur O’ Donel, Bridgadier, all former colonels of Irish regiments in the service of France, attested by an authentic document of the 9th May 1726. “That according to two certificates, one of Lord Carlisle, Secretary of State to the late King of Great Britain, James II., the others of the superior officers of the Regiment of Clare, and other indisputable proofs, he was of an ancient and noble family in the Kingdom of Ireland, allied to illustrious families of the country, and in possession of nobility for many centuries without interruption. That it was for certain that this family had suffered much by the losses the Catholics had sustained during the different revolutions that happened in Great Britain;
That the father of the Sieur Arthur O’ Keeffe having had restored to him portion of his patrimony during the reign of James II. Had rendered excellent service in the wars in Ireland; that five of his children had come to France with the troops of his nation; that three of them had died in the service, the eldest being Captain in the Regiment of Clare, where Constantine O’ Keeffe the fourth of the said children, serves still in the position of Captain retired on full pay, and that the said Arthur O’ Keeffe was the fifth of his brothers.
In the year 1708, the Chevalier du Bour, Chevalier of English creation, and of the Order of S. James in Spain, private chamberlain of the King of England, his envoy extra-ordinary in Spain; Lord Killeen, peer of England; and many other Irish lords and gentlemen, have certified that after having learned personally and from writing from many persons worthy of credit “that the same Arthur O’ Keeffe was son of Mr Arthur O’ Keeffe, an Irish gentleman, and one of the justices of peace of the late King of England in the county of Cork, Ireland; that at the commencement of the late revolutions in Ireland, he had levied, clothed, and supported at his own expense, during several months, a  company in the regiment of Lord Kenmare; that he had served in the position of captain to the end of the war in Ireland, after which, not being able to leave himself on account of his large family, he sent his company to France, where two of his sons had previously come, at the head of sixty men they had raised at their own expense, and which had been incorporated in the regiment of Clare (then O’ Brien’s), where they had commands, one as captain, the other as lieutient; that, sometime after, another of their brothers came to join them, bringing with him fourteen men of the army of Lord Marlborough, and that the three had continued to serve in the said regiment until the battle of Ramillies, when the captain was killed and the lieutenant wounded under fire; that the latter had been subsequently brought prisoner to England, that he was there still at the time of this certificate, and that two other brothers of his had died in the service of the King; that on all occasions the father and his children had done their duty well, after the example of many brave men of their family, who at all times had given very certain tokens of their real and inviolable attachment to the service of their Kings, especially in the wars which then disturbed France, Spain, and many parts of Italy; that they had a cousin-german and many other relatives killed or wounded in the service of the two crowns; that, besides, to all these facts they could add the loss of their inheritance and other considerable property on account of their attachment to the Catholic religion and fidelity to their legitimate sovereign.”
It is the petitioner who had been prisoner in England. A certificate which he has from the commander and from many of the captains of the regiment of Clare, in which he served, attests “that being ordered, by command of the Court, to join the expedition to Scotland in 1708, he was taken on the ship Salisbury; that during the fourteen months of his imprisonment he suffered much, being confined in the prisons of London, and his feet always in irons; that he was in the service during the term of forty-two years, and that on all occasions he behaved as a brave man and excellent officer.”
Besides this certificate, he also produces two others, dated 15th November, 1738, in which Lord Castleconnell de Brillas, peer of the kingdom of Ireland, and the Chevalier Nugent, baronet of the same kingdom, previously colonel of cavalry in the service of His Majesty, attest “that he is of the real and very ancient family of the O’ Keeffes of the county of Cork, in Ireland, a family recognized as noble by consent of all the historians and genealogists of this kingdom.” The Sieur Constantine O’ Keeffe married in the town of Avenes, in Hainault, on the 18th of March, 1718, Miss Margaret O’ Keeffe Plunkett, his relative, who died at Besancon on the 19th January 1735. He had of her two daughters.
The arms of this family, such as they are emblazoned in the certificates of Lord Castleconnell and the Chevalier Nugent, seen and verified by us, counsellor of the king in council, judge of arms of France.
Under the heading of Coats of Arms of Irish Clans:  We learn from another author that around the time of Queen Elizabeth’s reign Irish Chieftains were forced to give up their land to the British Crown, the male offspring were able to get re-grants of the same land to themselves under the English law of primogeniture. Many of the Chieftains were granted titles of Earl or Baron, and received grants of arms with their titles. These arms like the titles were hereditary, and consequently only the descendants in the male line of the grantees had the right to bear them. Each Irish Clan is allotted a Coat of Arms, Motto and Family Crest. It is the author’s opinion that the greater number of these arms were copies of coats of arms granted to individual members of Irish families in different countries on the continent during the seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. Irish septs from the latter part of the twelfth century undoubtedly carried banners with them into battle, on which were usually single charges or badges. When individual members of these families afterwards obtained personal grants of arms, these ancient clan badges were incorporated in the coat of arms so granted, either at home or by the continental heralds.

According to Cronnelly’s Irish Families History, Constantine O’ Keeffe belong to the Glenville O’ Keeffes, Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Journal 1914, Vol XX.
Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Journal, Notes and queries, 1914.
Fitzgerald. J. John. M.D.