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  • Life

Emigrants reunion caps off one of best Kinsale Regatta Festivals

Tuesday, 27th August, 2013 2:02pm
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Emigrants reunion caps off one of best Kinsale Regatta FestivalsView More Images

BY LEO McMAHON

THIS year’s Kinsale Regatta Festival has been heralded by many as one of the best and, among the highlights was The Gathering Year Emigrants’ Reunion hosted by the town council and held outdoors for the first time at the Bowling Green overlooking the beautiful harbour.

Exiles from near and far renewed old acquaintances with family, friends and neighbours in the evening sunshine and enjoyed music from Shane and Friends. Special guest was 2012 Rose of Tralee, Nicola McEvoy, Kerry Pike, a secondary teacher in Luxembourg, who was with her mother, Mary McCarthy, from Summercove, and cousin Jennifer O’Leary.

Others who attended included:

• Helen McCarthy, Douglas, who with her husband Sean (whom she met at the Regatta 45 years ago) was reunited after more than half a century with her Convent of Mercy, Kinsale classmate Angela O’Driscoll, who herself previously resided in Madrid and London. Helen was accompanied by her sister Louise Tobin, Kinsale, while Angela, who was with her sister Sheila Cramer and Marie and Willie Pearse Scilly, said Kinsale was always the best play to be.

• From Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where she is a teacher, came Michelle Walsh with her toddler son Rory.

She was accompanied by her mother Mary Walsh, Cork Street and aunt June Sheehan.

• Wai Harrington and her friend Dang (who is married to Kevin O’Donovan, Ballinspittle) came from Thailand. Wai was with her mother-in-law Maureen Harrington and sister Colette from Scilly.

• All the way from Manhattan, New York, came attorney Tony Farley who linked up with cousins Patricia Hurley-Mullen and JJ and Sarah Hurley, The Glen, and old friend Gary O’Leary. Tony’s late uncle Mike was prominent in the Kinsale Emigrants Association in London.

• David Kearney of The Villages, Florida, USA and Kinsale also attended the reunion. We also met Maureen O’Brien-Walsh, formerly of Detroit with Michael Walsh sister of Mary McNamara, Kinsale.

• Home from Harare, Zambia, was Fr Gerry Galvin, O Carm, 53 years a priest. He was with his cousins Kate McCarthy, Belgooly; Clare O’Donovan of the town council, with daughter Abby, and Geraldine Allen.

• Maeve Cummins and husband Pablo Gonzales, Huelva, Spain, with children Alana and Jimena. Maeve is daughter of Dan and Mary Cummins.

• Gale and Jack Groot, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with their mother Abbie Casserley, and Saoirse Crowe. Abbie is aunt to Cllr Tomás O’Brien.

• Former Cllr Michael ‘Tough’ Barry, Compass Hill was with his cousin Mary Jane, Southgate, London, with husband Jonathan and daughter Millie and cousin Carmel Bogue, Kinsale.

• Adrian Bocking and his wife Stephanie were over on holiday from Moseley, Birmingham. Adrian is son of Tony and Maureen Bocking, nephew of Michael and Jack Sheehan and cousin of Sandra O’Donovan.

• The five Ross sisters from Butcher’s Row; Kay Jacobs, Altrincham, Cheshire; Ann Clarke, Bernadette O’Mahony, Marie O’Hea and Peggy Ross plus their friend Nodlag O’Connell.

• Kinsale native Joe Fisher, Mitcham, Surrey, has been attending the emigrants’ reunion over the past 43 years and was accompanied by his wife Pat.

• Patricia O’Donovan, Blackpool, Cork, with her sister Kay. Patricia’s late husband left Kinsale 53 years ago and they lived for many years in England and Wales.

• Others we met included Dublin-born Michael Alcock and his wife Bernie; Mary C Kelleher, Macroom, a cousin of Miah Crowley, Clonleigh; Sean Lynch, Julie McGill, Ballincollig and her sister Ruth; Tony Greenway, Noel and Rosemary Lucy, Mary and Mariel Twomey.

A warm Kinsale welcome was extended by Deputy Mayor Tomas O’Brien who specially mentioned John Twomey, president of the IFDS, who officially opened the festival. John, in conjunction with Kinsale Yacht Club, is hosting the World Disabled Sailing Championship later in the month, and he was accompanied by group of German disabled sailors who will be competing.

The reunion, said Cllr O’Brien was a great occasion to say ‘fáilte ar ais’. It was important not to be forgotten by one’s town.

Ten years ago, many left because they wanted to experience the world, but now left to live and had to get jobs in other countries. Kinsale people travelled and did very well, including those who went to Barry in Wales to serve in the Merchant Navy, some as young as 14, and in both World Wars.

Kinsale boasted a great sea heritage through its sailing, regatta, fishermen and yawl rowers and he praised the Kinsale and Dock club, the Outdoor Education Centre, the RNLI who recently saved 30 lives off Kinsale and organisers of the water carnival.

All the maritime and other events were very well supported, enhanced by the commentaries of Timmy O’Donovan, who was busy at the reception dispensing drink sponsored by Murphy-Heineken, while Eileen Murphy, Margaret Lynch and Mary Nagle served delicious food. Kinsale TC was also represented by Cllrs Billy Lynch, Fred Treacy and Noel Harrington; town clerk Stephen Murphy and town foreman Charles Henderson.

Deputy County Mayor Kevin Murphy congratulated the committee and thanked Kinsale TC for hosting what was ‘a joyous occasion’ and said Cork County Council, which was now in charge of the harbour, had in recent times, overseen major improvements to Lobster Quay, Adams Quay and the main pier.

Regatta, festival and Gathering chairman Ted McNamara praised and named all fellow committee members and thanked sponsors, local media, Gardai, Civil Defence, harbour master Phil Devitt, the town council staff and musicians Shane Murphy, Larry Crowley, Carmel Condon, Naomi McCarthy and Jer Finn.

The outdoor reception was filmed as part of a diary of Kinsale by Neb Jere, a native of Zambia.