The Cotter clan held their first gathering in Creedon’s Hotel, Inchigeela, Co. Cork, Ireland, on the last week-end in August 2000. Of those present were Cotter descendants from England, Dublin and various parts of Cork but the majority had ancestral connections with Iveleary Parish. John Patrick from Dromnagcapple was there looking hale and hearty at 92 years old. He was accompanied by his wife Eily, his children and grandchildren. John Patrick has seen many changes since he was a boy growing up in Inchigeela.

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with relations we had never met previously. In today’s age of progress we tend to forget our history and those ancestors of ours who fashioned us to what we are today. We reminisced on stories our parents and grandparents handed down to us. Through those stories emerged the thought that even though they worked very hard, they also enjoyed the simple pleasures of life and in particular the art of conversation. Of course this has all changed through the introduction of television.

All this talk took place over a few "pints" after a most interesting lecture given to us on our family name by Paul Cotter from Cork. Let me share with you, very briefly, what he had to say..

In 1600 there were 650 Cotter households in Ireland, the majority of which were in County Cork and east Cork in particular. Many of the Cotters fled from east Cork to Muskerry when the Cromwellian Soldiers gave their lands to Sir William Penn. Coppingstown Castle was built in the 1400s and is associated with the Cotter family. The Cotters held lands from the Hodnetts and Barrys around east Cork, which they in turn sublet to tenants.

A Sir James Cotter was Governor of Cork and held lands around Castlemartyr in the late 1600s. Liam Rua MacCoitir was a great Irish poet who lived in Castlelyons. He had several brothers who were also poets who lived around Carrigtwohill. Patrick Cotter from Belgooley who was born in 1761 was 8’ 7" in height. He travelled with the circus. He died in Bristol in 1805.

It appears that Sylvester is a very common Christian name in Cotter families. It is not known how this originated.

It is proposed to hold another gathering of the clan within a couple of years. I hope it will come to pass. It will give us all the opportunity to renew acquaintances with those relations with whom we exchanged stories on that lovely Saturday night in Creedons in August.