The Kelly Clan Association will be celebrating their twentieth year in 2015 and the Gathering to be held at Castlecourt Hotel, Westport, Co Mayo will be a bumper event in honour of that milestone. The Gathering which will take place over the weekend of 15th, 16th and 17th May 2015 will host a number of exciting events. The weekend will kick off with an informal get together on the Friday afternoon as people arrive to do their registration. Many will have travelled long distances and members will be arriving from USA, New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia and as far flung as Guatamala. There will obviously be lots to catch up on amongst those who have not seen each other since the last Gathering in 2013 with many joyful expressions of greetings going on!
Around 5.30 Aidan Kelly will deliver a light hearted prelude to his Saturday presentation on the Kelly Surname DNA programme. Following on from that will be a presentation on Croagh Patrick given by local historian, Harry Hughes. Harry is very knowledgeable on the area around Westport and his talk promises to be very informative and interesting, with an opportunity for questions to follow. Members will usually have dinner at the hotel in the evening giving everybody more chances to meet and greet.
Saturday is heralded with an early morning mass celebrated by our own Rt Rev Dom Celsus and this is followed by talks and presentations.
We have been fortunate to have the renowned author Mary Pat Kelly join us at this year’s Gathering. Mary Pat has written several novels with Irish historical interest woven into the story – the most well known being the best seller “Galway Bay”. Mary will be giving us a talk about the Book of Uí Mhaine (Book of Hy Many) written for the O’Kellys in the 14th century. Mary Pat says “There’s a Da Vinci code quality to the story of this manuscript which I first encountered in 1979 while writing my PhD dissertation in Dublin. The book had not been bound and was stored in a big wooden box in the Royal Irish Academy and was not displayed. But because I was a Kelly I got to see it. Touching that totem of our family had a profound effect on me and made me determined to connect with my Kelly ancestors.”
Aidan Kelly, our DNA Assistant Co-ordinator will then give an update on the Kelly Clan DNA programme, the numbers of which are increasing steadily. Aidan, who hails from Freemantle, Western Australia, will also be available to answer questions and there will be an opportunity to purchase DNA kits for those interested in joining. The DNA programme has unearthed many interesting ancestors for lots of members and dates can go back far earlier than any paper history available.
There will follow a guided coach tour taking in places of local interest around the beautiful Mayo countryside with a lunch stop on the way. On returning to the hotel there will be an opportunity for members to either rest, continue their chatting, and prepare for the evening gala dinner. There will be some short speeches at the dinner as we know that you will all want to talk to each other!
Sunday is usually started with mass at the local church. The timings for this are to be arranged. On return the Clan will hold their AGM and any items members require to be put on the Agenda for discussion need to be with the secretary, Bernie Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org at least 21 days prior to the date. After the AGM a lunch will be served and then most will depart for their various destinations with fond farewells and promises to meet “next time”.
The hotel are offering 2 nights bed and breakfast with one evening meal to be taken on the Friday evening at a price of €155.00. The hotel are also able to give good rates for those wishing to extend their stay, either before the Gathering, or after, or indeed both! More details can be obtained from the Castlecourt Hotel www.castlecourthotel.ie
Costings for the actual Gathering events taking place over the weekend are in the process of being calculated but these will be published shortly. All in all the weekend promises to be a bumper one and we look forward to seeing you there.
Mary Kelly, Uachtarán