Monday, January 19, 2015

From Achill To Cleveland

In 2003, the town of Achill in Co. Mayo was twinned with the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The reason for this twinning was due to the considerable number of Achill emigrants who settled in the city over the last 150 years.

A great example of this connection is seen in the Lavelle Family From Achill to Cleveland website. Lavelle is one of those wonderful rare Irish names and can be tied to a particular part of Ireland. MacLysaght's The Surnames of Ireland outlines that it "is the name of a north Connacht sept, also found in Donegal."[1] Indeed, the website has documented 44 different Lavelle families who settled in Cleveland from Achill.

Estimates vary as to how many Clevelanders have Achill ancestry with anything from 25%[2] to 80%[3] claiming such links. However, I have not been able to find cited documentation to support these numbers.

Do you have Irish ancestors in the Cleveland area and are looking for their place of origin? Chances are, they were from Achill.

[1] MccLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. p. 190.
[2] Lavelle Family From Achill to Cleveland. Year Unknown. accessed 6 January 2015
[3] Author Unknown. History of the Twinning of Cleveland, Ohio and the Parish of Achill, County Mayo, Ireland. Year Unknown;;brand=default: accessed 6 January 2015.


  1. Certainly, my Lavelle family came from Doeega on Achill Island, part of County Mayo. I hope more Clevelanders with roots in Achill post and share their email addresses.

  2. Same here, Holmes/Mactavish surname- apparently migration to Scotland and England on seasonally for harvest was commonplace on island Achill

  3. My mother, Mary Pamala McLoughlin from Cashel, Achill immigrated to Cleveland to stay with her Aunt Catherine McLoughlin Gilmore. She later moved to Colorado Springs Colorado and married my Dad Thomas Francis Murphy

  4. She went to Cleveland around 1948