Ireland this year has been host to a multitude of large and small “gatherings” as the country has welcomed home those whose ancestors or who, themselves, once lived in the country, as well as those who wish they had. I sought out Maher-related events high and wide in anticipation of the call for eager visitors, but was not able to learn of any plans until mostly after the fact. It is good news, however, that the ancient clan is active and accounted for and, no doubt, a great time was had by all!
On the weekend of March 8 the town of Waterford celebrated the entry of the three-color flag into Ireland in 1848 by future Brigadier General of the American Civil War, Thomas Francis Meagher, upon his return from France, where he had been visiting with revolutionary-minded peers. An annual commemoration, this year Meagher’s great great grandson, Gilbert, was the event’s VIP Guest of Honor.
A private Meagher reunion occurred on May 11 in Portlaoise, County Laois, the county of origin of my own great great grandfather. Another private Maher reunion occurred on August 11 at Two Mile Borris, Thurles, County Tipperary.
Caitriona Meagher gratiously filled me in on the event she helped to organize in Roscrea, Tipperary for the weekend of August 24. This began with an ‘O Meachair’ family tour. “Family members were treated to a special outing to visit historical landmarks of importance, stories of the clan were swapped, tales of yesteryear were recalled and special guest speakers paid tribute to prominent clan members.”
Willie Hayes launched the trip from Roscrea Castle. At Sean Ross, “the principal burial place of the O’Meachairs” George Cunningham gave a talk. From there the group traveled to Monahincha, “where the O’Meachairs were Priors of the Island during the Middle Ages.” At Clonan, Anna Mackey spoke about the O’Meachair family saints and Caitriona Meagher spoke about the Meaghers of Clonan.” At Camblin Church, Damian Shiels (author of The Irish in the American Civil War) spoke about Thomas Francis Meagher, and Adrian Hewson paid tribute to Sgt. Marty Maher. Hewson also spoke at Clonakenny Castle, where the group had lunch together.
The group then left for Killea, where Seosamb Devine gave a talk, followed by their return to Roscrea via Templemore Castle. Some went on to visit Annameadle or other O’Meachair sites (Templemore, Templetouhy, Bawnmadrum, Boullabawn and Knockballymeagher suggested).
A DVD is being edited from the day’s events and Meagher said that “planning is already underway for next year. It looks like it will happen in conjunction with the Beó festival at the end of August.”
Hospitable and bold in danger, a cheer to the clan and their celebrations!
©2013 Janet Maher / Sinéad Ni Mheachair
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