December 2015 - Christmas Message

A Cháirde,

Clans of Ireland is representative of so many Irish people who live throughout the World, some of whom are descendants of those who left Ireland willingly, but also many whose ancestors were migrants, were forced to leave their native land.

Our thoughts at Christmas of 2015 must turn to those contemporary migrants throughout the Globe; persecuted and homeless, many of whom have suffered from extreme brutality, especially in Asia and Africa. The Irish have had a long history of invasion and tribal warfare during the first millennium A.D., followed by another millennium of conflict with various invaders.  So much of the Irish population has been forced to migrate, sometimes as convicts driven to crime by hunger or even as slaves, to areas of the World which were, arguably far less hospitable than the Europe of today.

The study and understanding of our history provides us with a particularly empathetic perspective of those who are far less well off.

Turning our thoughts toward 2016 in Ireland, there are many whose attention will be on the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Historically significant as this is, Clans of Ireland will focus on another event, the Seventh Centenial rememberance of The Battle of Athenry, which is considered by many historians to be one of the most crucial events in Medieval Irish history. You will learn more of this during the forthcoming year, as an ad hoc committee of Clans of Ireland is planning to mark the occassion with a lecture in the Autumn. Details of this will be made available as soon as finalised.

The Chiefs and Clans Essay Competition, jointly sponsored by Clans of Ireland and the Council of Chiefs and Chieftains and run in conjunction with the History Department of Trinity College Dublin to promote research and awareness of Gaelic Ireland;  is being further developed through an awareness campaign, organised by a newly formed committee of representatives from all three involved pillars. It is open to all, excepting history lecturers at third level institutions and further details are available on request.

The Patron of Clans of Ireland, President Michael D. Higgins, expressed considerable interest in our plans to develop the Essay Competition when we visited him at Áras an Uachtarán in May. Most registered clans were represented at this historical event, the first time the a President of Ireland has met the leaders of a gathering of Clans of Ireland.

Finally, during the past year Clans of Ireland has been honoured to have been given access to both the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland and the Royal Irish Acadamy. It is hoped that our association with these two venerable institutions will continue long in to the future.

With Best Wishes for Christmas & the New Year.

Le gach dea-ghui i gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-Athbhliana.

Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh