Mannion Clan Gathering, 21-22 August 2015

2015 Mannion Clan gathering

The second annual Gathering of the Mannion Clan of Soghan took place during National Heritage Week 2015 in the historic village of Abbeyknockmoy in County Galway. The focal point of this year’s rally was the launch of the Mannion Clan Historical Trail and interpretive Guide in the Abbey Inn on Friday night, 21 August. The much-anticipated event was attended by more than one hundred Mannions and friends of the Clan, many of whom had travelled great distances to be present, some having come overseas from England and Switzerland.

The evening’s proceedings began with a lecture by Clan historian Dr Joe Mannion, who recalled the early Celtic roots and royal ancestry of the ancient Clann Uí Mhainnín. Joe also gave the background to the establishment of the Mannion Clan trail, and outlined the future plans of the Mannion Clan Association for the erection of discreet directional and interpretive signage at the principal Ó Mainnín Clan sites in medieval and early modern times.

This was followed by a lively presentation from County Galway Heritage Officer Marie Mannion, who spoke about the significance of the project for the Mannion Clan and the heritage of East Galway in general. Marie also exhorted those present to begin compiling their individual family histories, if they had not already done so. The formalities concluded with the launch of the Mannion Clan trail and associated family history booklet entitled Clann Uí Mhainnín: The Mannion Clan Historical Trail: A Guide to Residential, Ceremonial and Burial Sites by Teresa Mannion of RTÉ. Teresa also regaled the audience with the background to her own branch of the Mannion Clan, and her father’s great endeavours to record the family’s genealogy during the course of his lifetime. The evening ended with refreshments being served, the mixing and mingling of old friends and new, and discussion and debate about the absorbing history of their mutual Ó Mainnín forebears.

Many of the Clan assembled once again the following afternoon in the car park of Mannion’s Bar in Abbeyknockmoy, for a guided tour of the chief settlement, ceremonial and sepulchral sites that constitute the Mannion Clan Historical Trail. After an introductory talk on the ancient Lughnasa assembly site of Knockroe, the remains of Killaclogher, Clooncurreen and Menlough castles in the limestone plains of East Galway were visited in turn. So too was Ráth Mór inauguration and judicial assembly site in Mullaghmore West, where a Brehon law deed was drafted by a MacEgan jurist in 1584 for the Ó Mainnín Clan. In commemoration of this historic event, a translation of the original Irish-language agreement was symbolically read by Patrick Mannion to fellow Clan members gathered on the ancient ceremonial hilltop.

The day’s activities culminated at Kilconnell Abbey, where the last recorded Chief of the Name of the Mannion Clan – John son of Malachy – was buried in a tomb dated 1648, with two of his kinsmen from Mionlach Uí Mhainnín, now Menlough village near Ballinasloe. All of the above places are discussed in the Guide to the Mannion Clan Historical Trail, which also contains an overview of the history of Clann Uí Mhainnín and their ancestors spanning some 2,600 years, illustrations and images of the principal sites associated with the Clan, and location maps to assist would-be visitors to discover their whereabouts. The next Gathering of the Mannion Clan is planned for August 2016, the dates for which have yet to be decided.