Lawlor Clan Rally 2016, 22-23-24 July - report

ÓLeathlobhair Clan chieftain for 2016/2017, Maeve Lalor, with her husband Declan and parents Pat and Margaret.

The annual Clan Rally was held on 22nd , 23rd, 24th July 2016.  There was an interesting programme of events. There  was a  large  attendance  which  included overseas visitors from America, Australia  and  England who  expressed  their  delight and  pleasure  at  attending  the  event    and  becoming  part   of  the  great  extended  O Leathlobhair clan which  is  the  most  active  of  all  the  native  Irish clans, holding  a  rally  every  year.

Chairman  and  PRO  of  the  Clan,  Kevin  Lalor Fitzpatrick,  welcomed  the  guests  and  said  it  was  heartening  to  see   so  many    attending  the event. He extended a  special  welcome    to  the  overseas   visitors  and  hoped  that  they  would  have  an  enjoyable   stay  in  Laois  and that they  would  being   home  very  happy  memories  of  their visit. He  expressed the  hope  that  they  would  spread  the   message  of the clan  far  and  wide  and  thus   encourage  other  Lalors,  wherever in  the  world,  to  become  involved in  the  affairs  of  the  clan.

Then  began  the  formal  business  of  the  AGM when Chairman  Kevin  Lalor  Fitzpatrick  welcomed  the  guests.The following officers were elected: Chairperson/PRO: Kevin Lalor-Fitzpatrick; Vice-Chairperson: Tom Lawlor; Minutes Secretary: Annie Lalor; Assistant Secretary: Mary O'Mahony; Computer Secretary: Mary Carmody; Treasurer. Paddy Lalor; Assistant Treasurer: Margot Coogan ;  Website Operator: Stuart Lawlor.

The Clan  Secretary, Annie  Lalor,   gave  a very  detailed  report. Other  reports  were delivered  by  Treasurer, Paddy  Lalor,  Stuart  Lawlor,  the  website and facebook  organiser and Mary  Carmody,  Computer  Secretary.

Refreshments, and a Comedy Sketch, delivered by Kevin Lalor Fitzpatrick and Paddy Lalor, followed. Those present were then entertained by music on the accordion, played by Joe Coogan and   contributions  from  the  guests.    

The Annual Clan Tour took place the following day .The bus departed from the Hotel Car Park at 10.30 am and proceeded to the Abbeyleix Garden of Remembrance , Colt Cross, Clonbar and onto Portlaoise where the statue of James Fintan Lalor stands in a Remembrance Garden commemerating the events  of the 1916 Rising. The  tour had as a theme the Centenary of the 1916 Rising.  There was a guide at each site to explain the relevance of each site in the context of the 1916 Rising. The first shots of the Rising was fired at Colt and  an  account  of the  event was  explained  to the  visitors. The tour proceeded to County Hall where Michael Parsons gave an informative talk at the Statue of James Fintan lalor.

Mr. Parsons,  who  is  President  of the Laois  Heritage  Society  gave  a   brief   but very  interesting  account  of the  life  of  James  Fintan  and  of  the  massive  impact  which  his  writings  and  political involvement  had  on  the   issues  of the  day  and  even  further  into  the  future.  He  said   that  James  Fintan  made  a  huge  impression  on  the  founder  of the  Land  League,  Michael  Davitt. His  writings were  also embraced  by James  Connolly  and  Patrick Pearse, two  of the  executed  leaders  of the  Easter  Rising.

It  was   then  on  to  lunch  at  The  Mile  Bush  Bar  and  Restaurant,  followed  by  a  visit  to  the  ancient   O’Moore  Fort   at  the  Rock  of  Dunamaise. This  is  the  ruins  of  a   very  impressive  edifice  standing  on  the  eastern   side  of the  road  midway  between  Portlaoise and  Stradbally. Jackie  Hyland, The  Heath,  entertained  the visitors   to a   very detailed  history  of the  Rock  and   his   knowledge  of  the subject  was   very  detailed  and  informative . Jackie  is the  author  of  a  very  informative  and   interesting  history  of  the   Blake  family  of  The  Heath  and  their  impact on  the  area   for  many  years.

A very enjoyable Clan Banquet was held later at the Manor Hotel . Music was supplied by Noel Glynn and his Band. There was no shortage of dancers taking to the floor. Kevin   The election of Chieftain  for the coming year was held . There  were  two  candidates  for the  position  of  Chieftain-Garrett Lawlor  and  Meave Lalor. Following  the  casting  of  votes Meave  was  declared  the  new  chieftain. She  thanked  her  proposer  and seconder  and  thanked  all  who  had  voted  for  her. She  promised  to promote  the  aims and ideals  of the   clan at  all  times and  to   work  diligently  to  ensure the  growth  of the  membership of the  clan.

Garrett  also  thanked  his  proposer  and seconder  and  all  who  voted   for  him. He   congratulated  Meave  on  her  election  and  wished  her  well  in  her  term  of  office  and said  he  was   sure  that  she   would  make  an excellent   leader.

On Sunday morning at 11.30am a Ecumenical Service was held in St Michael and All Angels Church of Ireland , Ballacolla Rd., Abbeyleix. Goodbyes were said following the Farewell  Lunch in the Manor Hotel.