Rejected Proposal for Paper to International Congress of Genealogical
and Heraldic Sciences, Dublin 16-21 September 2002


Congress theme: 'Genealogy and Heraldry: Their Place and Practice in Changing Times'

Subject of proposed lecture and relationship to Congress theme: The title of the proposed lecture is 'Recognition of Gaelic Chiefs Past and Present'. The subject matter relates closely to the Congress theme, in that there is current debate as to what if any relevance chiefship possesses in modern times, and the issues raised by the question of recognition illustrate the need for adherence to the highest genealogical and heraldic standards.

Outline of proposed lecture: Topics will include succession to chiefship, Brehon Law and 'Tanistry', the collapse of the Gaelic order and survival of some chiefly titles, MacLysaght's system of courtesy recognition, Scottish practice, the MacCarthy Mór Affair, the need to have a system of recognition of Chiefs in a Republic, the roles of the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland and the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains, the question of female succession, sources for the validation of Chiefs' pedigrees, the arms of Chiefs, and a Register of Chiefs.

Qualifications and experience: I am a graduate of University College Dublin, holding a BA and MA in history, and I have conducted Adult Education courses in genealogy and heraldry in this university since 1989. I have worked as a self-employed professional genealogist and consultant since 1977, and until 1997 was periodically employed on contract work by the National Library. I am Director of the Centre for Irish Genealogical and Historical Studies, which maintains a strong web presence. I have published and lectured widely and made several media appearances, and am currently completing for publication a book entitled Twilight of the Chiefs: The MacCarthy Mór Affair.

Sean Murphy

18 December 2001