Irish Roots: events everywhere

The very late spring has produced explosions of green

Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 13:17

The very late spring has produced explosions of green everywhere. And the events season – conferences, meetings, commemorations – has also arrived with a bang.

Among the most recent additions to the calendar is the National Famine Commemoration. First held only four years ago, it is staged on a Sunday in May in each province in rotation – this year’s is to be held in Kilrush on May 12th next. The event is not just a single ceremony, however. For a full 10 days starting from May 3rd, an extraordinary series of talks, concerts, films, guided walks and re-enactments bears witness to the devastating impact of the Famine in south-west Clare. Details are at faminecommemoration2013.ie. One of the organisers, Paddy Waldron, has put together an excellent online guide to relevant genealogical and local history records at tinyurl.com/c55yt9z.

Another recently-born, equally remarkable event is the Fifth Summer Conference of the Sligo Field Club, “A Celebration of Sligo Families”, being held in Sligo on from May 10th to 12th. What’s so remarkable? The line-up of speakers positively glows: Jim Mallory, Ken Nicholls, Nollaig Ó Muraíle, Gerard Moran, Tom Bartlett, Catríona Crowe . . . Awaiting you is a weekend of rare (and witty) talk on Sligo families, particularly from the 17th century. See facebook.com/ TheSligoFieldClub.

If neither of these suit you, take a meander through The Gathering website, thegatheringireland.com. For next weekend alone, it lists more than 100 events. The variety is bewildering, ranging from the Dún Laoghaire festival of flags and emblems through the Maguire history weekend in Enniskillen to the Lorteo class of 1978 reunion in Mullingar.

If you extend your range to a month, the number of events grows into thousands and the diversity gets positively surreal: The Ballinacoola Murphy Clan, PJ’s 70th Birthday Bash and, my favourite, “Come Back Morgan” self-described as “ one big fat excuse for you to come back to visit us this Summer!” Front up, Morgan.

We may be broke, but at least we’re not staying at home brooding about it.


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