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Billie assured of a warm Dunmanway welcome

May 2nd, 2022 10:30 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Billie: Dunmanway roots.

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IF mega star Billie Eilish ever decides to visit Dunmanway to examine her West Cork roots, she is guaranteed one major ‘ceád míle fáilte’ there.

As exclusively revealed in The Southern Star three weeks ago, the American Oscar and Grammy award-winning singer’s family can be traced back to The Clubhouse Bar in Bealad outside Dunmanway.

Billie’s great grandfather was William H O’Connell from the Clubhouse Bar and he married Catherine T O’Connell from nearby Edencurra, after both emigrated to Boston at the turn of the 20th century.

And it turned out that this reporter is ‘doubly related’ to her and a fourth cousin of Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell

Speaking to The Southern Star, Catherine Crowley of Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce said Billie’s connection to the area was definitely the topic of conversation around the town over the past fortnight.

‘I think people were genuinely shocked that her family has such local connections to here and there’s been fierce excitement among the young people too who would all know her music,’ said Catherine.

‘We would certainly roll out the red carpet if she decides to come and visit Dunmanway and with her world tour touching down in Dublin in June, it could be an ideal time for her to check her West Cork roots. There would be fierce excitement indeed as she has two sides of her relations from here.’

Dunmanway’s reputation as a welcoming town was sealed six years ago when the town’s chamber of commerce and townspeople welcomed the Taule-Leikanger family from Norway to the town.

Their visit was a result of a number of balloons having been released by the chamber at Christmas 2015, with one of them ending up 2,500km away in Norway, which was subsequently found by Linda Taule and her son Magnus.

What followed was a true friendship between the Norwegian family and the people of Dunmanway, which saw them invited for a memorable holiday in West Cork.

Let’s hope Billie and her family can get to experience that same Dunmanway welcome if they decide to come and visit.

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