Meet Michael-Patrick Crowley
Crowley Clan an Tànaiste

How long have you been involved with the Crowley Clan?
I got involved 34 years ago when I first met Dr. Pat Crowley in Kilmoganny while I was doing a workcamp. Pat introduced me to the history and legends of the Crowleys, a glass of whiskey helping. Pat invited me to join a clan gathering which took place at the "Pink Elephant" after having mass in the Ahakeera woods. From then on I think I attended all gatherings.

What have been some of the high points of your involvement?
I did some historical research on the Crowleys, and published a small study of 20 pages or so. It was presented to some of the clan members, and as a result I was encouraged to produce more thorough research which lead to the publication of a 200 page book.

The book has been submitted to the Chief Herald of Ireland, and is now regarded as the reference history book of the O'Crowley Clan. It was also favorably reviewed by the Cork Historical and Archeological Society, Geraid O'Chruaidloich producing the review.

What is your professional background?
I hold an MBA from Boston University in International Finance. I started working in finance, then switched to sales and business development, and now marketing. I spent 14 years at IBM, eight years at Sun Microsystems, and now I am with SAP for almost five years in charge of Government Marketing World Wide for the Business Intelligence Division.

In parallel, I also had a career in the French army reserve where I served 22 years in operations.

What are your interests, hobbies, etc.?
History, of course, horseback riding, and fox and stag hunting which I practice every week during the season. And I have a passion for medieval architecture.

Tell us about your family and about your Crowley ancestors?
My grandfather Michael left Ireland in 1914 (the last day of the races) to go to Rochester, NY where he married a neighbor of his, Mary O'Leary. He had 11 brothers and sisters; eventually two of his brothers joined him in Rochester.

My father had two brothers, and he came to Europe with the US forces in World War II, stayed, and married my mother. The family ties are strong across the ocean. My Irish cousins still live on the farm which has been our family farm for a hundred years. It is in Ardglass near Ballyhea, and they have regular visits from their American cousins.

How did you come to own a castle in Galway?
Well this is a long story. My dream was to have a romantic thatch cottage, but I could not afford it. By pure coincidence 30 years ago I met with Col. Sean O'Driscoll who had restored Castle Matrix in County Limerick. Sean happened to have known my Dad, who by then had passed away.

We became best friends and he advised me to acquire a castle since it was cheap and restoring it only required labor, stones and wood, cheap as well. He advised me on the acquisition and restoration. After surveying more than 90 castles, including some in County Cork (alas too expensive or in bad repair) I acquired Ballinderry in Galway.

Tell us about your experiences while renovating the castle?
This could be the subject of a whole book! It is a very enriching experience, at time discouraging, but very rewarding. In the end I learned a lot about the old techniques and medieval architecture, doing things slowly to understand how the structure reacts to the renovation. But I think the best part is having the chance to meet good people happy to work on such a project. I became good friends with most of them and they know the castle is opened for them any time.

What would you like to see the Crowley Clan accomplish in the next 6 years?
We need to keep up the good work that has been done which is quite a responsibility, but also maintain the friendly social spirit in which everything is done. We do have an opportunity to join up with other Cork clans to increase awareness and achieve more Irish membership. Perhaps we can do this in a very informal way.

Certainly we have a major objective which will be the Battle of Clontarf's 1,000 year anniversary in 2014. I believe we all think that should be a major event for our clan since it was at this battle that we were given our name.

The Crowley Clan Newsletter is
compiled by Marian Crowley Chamberlain