The Highlights of the Weekend
Friday, September 10:
Banners with the Crowley Crest hung over the main entrance to Acton's Hotel on the waterfront in Kinsale, and registration for the Crowley Clan Gathering begin at 2PM in the lobby. Ann, Noirin, and Deirdre Crowley skillfully managed the tables, registered participants, collected fees, gave out information, and welcomed Crowley family members from Canada, England, Ireland, France, New Zealand, the United States, and Wales.
Next to the registration tables sat Terry Crowley selling Crowley Castle "bricks". These were lovely certificates Terry had made, and for a donation of €5 per "brick" the donor could contribute to the castle restoration fund and receive a certificate. Terry optimistically had 96 certificates printed. He sold all for a total of 236 "bricks", and he turned over €1,180 to Castle Restoration fund!
The wine and cheese reception was held at Acton's that evening. J.J. Crowley's Pub in Bantry donated the wine, while the Bandon Dairy Co-op donated the cheese. Gathering participants had a chance to meet each other, to socialize, and to hear the comments of Dr. Damien Bracken, who lectures in Celtic Studies at the University of Cork. Dr. Bracken entertained and enlightened us on the difference between the perception of medieval Irish as being barbarians and the reality of their being an educated and cultured population.
For those who could stay awake, the party continued at the Armada Pub.
Saturday, September 11:
Saturday began with the General Meeting of the Crowley Clan. The first order of business was for everyone to stand and observe a moment of silence in memory of those you died on September 11, 2001.
Our DNA Coordinator, Catherine Crowley Budd, spoke of the successes that some of our participants have had finding family connections. She also encouraged male Crowleys who have not joined the project to do so.
Seamus Crowley, the Crowley Clan Historian, spoke about the history of the clan from its origins in Roscommon, to its relocation in Cork, and on to the present time.
After a break for lunch, Crowleys met across the street from Acton's on the waterfront for walking tours of the old town of Kinsale with tour leader Dermot Ryan, and water tours of the harbor which enabled us to view the remains of two historic forts, James Fort and Charles Fort.
Our Crowley Clan Banquet was held that evening in the ballroom at Acton's Hotel with 140 people in attendance. The banquet staff at Acton's outdid themselves with a delicious meal and great service.
After the meal, Dr. Patrick Crowley from Kilkenny spoke about the contributions of the Clare County Crowleys. Next, Brian Crowley, Member of the European Parliament, from Cork City spoke on the need to be positive in these negative times. Brian quoted from the Bible, "This too shall pass." The evening concluded with music and Irish dancing.
Sunday, September 12:
Sunday began with the Irish sport of road bowling on a quiet road near Innishannon. The Kinsale Bowling Club gave a demonstration of the sport, and then we had a chance to try our hands at it. We formed four teams, and then narrowed it down to two. Anyone who has ever been to one of our road bowling contests will not be surprised to hear that the Canadian team won (as usual).
After lunch, we boarded the coaches to travel to Ahakeerna and O'Crowley's Castle. Lead by a bag piper and our flag bearer, Alyssa Crowley, we marched down the lane to Mass at the castle ruins.
Father O'Brien from Bantry was the celebrant, Johnny Crowley, also from Bantry, was the server, and Tom Crowley from Ohio was the reader. At the end of the Mass, just before the final blessing, Jerry Crowley from Bandon received the chain of office and became the new Crowley Clan Taoiseach. We joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne. As we began our walk back up the lane to the coaches, a soft rain began to fall. Our weekend was over.
by Marian Crowley Chamberlain, Crowley Clan Newsletter, November 2010
See photos from the event, click here