Ninth Annual O’Leary Clan Gathering. September 2004.



As in previous years, Creedon’s Hotel in Inchigeelagh hosted the ninth annual Gathering of the O’Leary Clan in September 2004.  It was a smaller meeting than usual, with about thirty members of the Clan turning up from various parts of the World to celebrate over the weekend of September 17/18/19th. but all agreed that it was a very successful one.  It was noted that the number of Americans attending was much smaller than usual and this was put down to a combination of two factors.  One, that the dollar rate is very poor for Americans at the moment.  And two, that there still remains a distrust of flying and an understandable worry amongst Americans following the terrorist attacks of three years ago.


The theme this year was General Daniel Florence O’Leary the 150th. anniversary of whose death occurred this year.  Daniel was the son of a butter merchant in Cork city, Jeremiah O’Leary whose family had migrated there from Uibh Laoghaire.  Daniel was born in 1801 and at the tender age of 15 went to South America to serve in the Army of  General Bolivar, the Liberator of a large part of that continent from the yoke of its Spanish rulers.


Daniel eventually became a general in Bolivar’s Army and his friend and confidant as well.  After the War of Liberation was successfully concluded, he had a second career as a diplomat in the British service in Colombia where he spent his remaining years.  He also had a third career as a historical writer, when he wrote his monumental 32 volume history of the War and of Bolivar’s life work.


On the the Friday evening there was a Reception and welcoming speeches from the Committee.  This was followed by Refreshments and an address by Michael Manning, the Manager of the Cork and Kerry Tourism Board  who told us what an important part that Clan gatherings play in the overall structure of Tourism in Ireland.   


The rest of the evening gave all the attendees a good opportunity to meet and get to know each other and exchange information on Family Trees and Genealogical matters. 


On the Saturday morning we first had our Group Photograph, taken this year in the Inchigeelagh Cross, and a copy of which appears alongside this article.


We then had a talk on the life of Daniel Florence O’Leary.  The subsequent bus tour took us to various places associated with him, including the family home in Acres near Dunmanway, and the home of his father, Jeremiah O’Leary in Barrack Street, Cork.  Then we were taken to see the Butter Market in Shandon and it’s Museum, and acquainted of the finer points of making and marketing butter in the 19th.c.


These buildings have been beautifully restored by funding from Cork County Council, the Ireland Fund, Dairygold and Kerry Groups, and other sponsors, and are well worth a visit.


The Saturday evening  was given over to the annual dinner, where as usual we were very well looked after by Joe Creedon and his staff  in the hotel.  This was followed by music and entertainment much of it provided by craic amongst our members.


On Sunday morning we feared the weather forecast was not good, so we decided to abandon our usual outdoor Mass in the Old Cemetery.  Instead we had a special Mass in the Conference Room which was presided over by Fr.Rory O’Leary OFM.Cap. who is at present in residence at the Cork Franciscan Friary. 


We then held the annual Clan meeting at which much was discussed and debated.  We finished up with an enlarged committee to improve the efficiency of our administration, and some of our old friends including Eugene O’Leary, Northampton, Kathleen Flanagan, New Jersey, Kate Corbett, Sussex, and Paudie McGrath, Cork, will be adding their weight to our efforts.  Some of this new assistance will be aimed at getting our Website more active and useful, and not before time.


We are looking forward to next year which will be our tenth successive Clan Gathering.  One of the first duties of our new and enlarged committee will be to select a suitable theme for this special event.  The date will be some time during September 2005, and many of our regular and frequent attendees have promised to be there.  Look forward to a great Gathering in 2005.


Another Project which we are hoping to push further during next year is known as the DNA Project.  Our small pilot scheme this year has been very promising, and we now intend to widen the terms in a number of directions.  This will be another challenge to the new management, but they have been given a flying start by our hard working member from Florida, Bonnie Harvey, whose great work is commented on later in this Journal.


Photo of O’Learys who travelled to Inchigeela for the Gathering


from left to right.

Tony Kenny, Killarney; Sally O’Leary, Westport; Charles O’Leary, Surry UK; Ged Lashford, Cheshire UK; Jim Flynn, USA?; Kate Corbett, Sussex UK; Eileen Flynn, USA?; Joe Creedon, Inchigeela; Carolyn O’Leary, Cheshire UK; Bob O’Leary, Boston; Eugene O’Leary, Northampton, UK; Peter O’Leary, Inchigeela; Bill O’Leary, Dublin; Eibhlís O’Leary, Dublin; Sheila Browne, Essex UK. (front kneeling) Tony Pilbro, Westport; Geraldine Dare, Essex, UK.