Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's in a Name: Casey

James P Casey on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 9:54pm
In the Name books, even in some scholarly works it says Casey means Watchful and Vigilant. But that's because that was our job so to speak, in Ireland. That's what the Casey's did for the High Kings, the Ard Ri's around Tara, be their Bodyguards & stand up on the Hilltops & Towers being just that. In a way because of this we may have been bred to be hypervigilant. The Vikings who took over Dublin made some of us Vassals, but we learned their business & trade methods, and later fought with Brian Boru to oust them from power in Ireland. We fought against the invasion of Ireland by Strongbow & King Henry II & thus lost our prominent lands in Fingal north of Dublin to the Norman Hugh De Lacey and later to those who cheated the De Laceys. Some of it was returned but never to its full glory. Casey is actually an amalgamation of several different names: Cas, Cassi & Casi, all great European Celtic Tribes & also 1st names. It comes from Kay/Cay, the word for Warrior, Knight or Battler or Battle. In Ireland there were the Dal Cas, or DalCassians, a great warrior tribe from who Brian Boru of O'Brien fame arose. In Ptolemy's map of Ireland the Casey's land in what is now Fingal is marked as Cahassi or Caci land.The name became prominent in 6 different septs as Ui(O) Cahassy or Cathasaiugh. Literally it means the Warriors of the Waterfall. Or the Knights or the Battlers of the Waterfall. Because of different dialects it also became Cash, Casse, Cass & Case when anglicized. The Irish name for O'Casey was Ui Cathasaiugh & their Irish motto in Gaelic meant Casey of the Blood Red Sword. The later Latin one, per varios casus could be translated as through many difficulties or through various fortunes, dependent on your half empty/half full bias. In America, the mostly Irish speaking Catholics who fled the Great Hunger in the 1840's to 1860's were illiterate peasants who spoke Irish and their names were mispelled just like later immigrants. Casey became Cass, Case, Casse, Cash, Kesey, Cayce. Kacey and many others. An explosion of popularity among girls names in America since the 1980's to present has as many variations, Kacey, Kaysey, etc.


  1. The Gaelic or Irish family motto is:
    "Ua Cathasaigh Claidghimhdeirge (Uah Cahessy Clavay Derjah): O'Casey of the Blood Red Sword.

  2. Actually, Ptolemy's map in the 'English' alphabet indicated the Ua'Cah-assay land was called Cauci. Suddenly now some scholars are trying to belay the obvious & claim it means kaw-key after an obscure german tribe nw of Frisia rather than kay-a see which it had into late middle ages. This is really ridiculous, but what can I say. These same people would go into Kentucky & tell the Cherokee who they are. The Cassi, Casse were also what the Romans transformed in south central Britain after their chieftain aligned with Rome. The Romans called them Catuvellauni after this chieftain:

  3. Also:

  4. Here's a few other ones:; ;