Sunday, September 18, 2016

Day 3: Dunboy Castle

Passing the White Stick
Dunboy Castle was a significant battle site for the O'Chruadhlaoich Clan, so this is where the Taoiseach, Michael Patrick Crowley, transferred his power to the new leader, Dr. Patrick Crowley, by handing him the white stick as Dr. Patrick stood on a special stone. Dr. Patrick introduced Michael Patrick to the Clan and its history and served as Michael Patrick's mentor. This was truly an emotional moment for them both. What an ancient feeling all these ceremonies created in our hearts. At least I stopped crying.

Dr. Patrick, new Taoiseach
After a speech about the site that was a ruin and its significance, we climbed into the center for the ceremony of passing the stick. It was very moving, and everyone cheered. Afterwards, Matthew (or Michael) Dawson, the bagpiper, played an original composition for the occasion, "Crowley's Lament". It was beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't think quickly enough, so I only got the last half of it. It is not published anywhere. He created it the night before and played it for the first and only time in this ceremony.

We clean up good.

It lightly rained on us again, and everyone was ready to head back to The Maritime Hotel in Bantry. We rode over an hour to the hotel, got cleaned up and ready for the banquet. This banquet was a dressy-uppy affair, and very special.

William and Tamara
Tom and Billy (now Liam)
As Billy, Cindy, Jeanne and I chose our table, I was introduced to "the Providence, Rhode Island" couple, William A. and Tamara Crowley. William confessed he was actually from Seekonk, Massachusetts, so we realized that was like we say we are from Boston.

William and Tamara live in San Diego and were decked out in full Clan regalia. This was also their first Gathering, so they had the outfits handmade by a woman in their area. William shared her business card with us in case we wanted to have something made for the next Gathering in three years.

Ambassador Kevin Michael Vickers
The Ambassador to Canada gave a very intimate, personal account of his ancestral history search and what it meant to him. It was a very nice speech. Next, a man from the National Genealogy Institute of Ireland gave a lecture about the subject. Not as nice, and very dry.

Karen and Larry
Next, came the awarding of special medals to Liam, Larry and others for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the Clan. So many beaming and happy faces to capture on digital cameras. All the Chieftains wore full Clan attire, while the women of any significance like, Marian Crowley Chamberlain, wore a tartan swag with the O'Chruadhlaoich (O'Crowley) pin on it..

Marian Crowley Chamberlain
Marian was a Taoiseach and lives with her husband, in coastal South Carolina. We met online and discovered we are fifth to eighth generation cousins through the DNA test. She was instrumental in advising me about the Gathering, how to get there, what to wear and anything else I needed to know. Thank you, Marian. It was so nice to meet you in person.

All the Taoiseaches

Liam and Martin Crowley
After all the speeches, and a delicious dinner that culminated with a toast of either whiskey or gin provided by Charlie, another new Chieftain (the Red), the formal pictures began. After snapping a few of those, and before music and more partying ensued, we skipped out and adjourned to our rooms. We were exhausted, and had enough fun for one day. It was truly a magical day indeed.

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