The Mannion Clan Association August 2019 - report

Mannion group gathering 2019

2019 International Mannion Clan Gathering Report

The sixth annual international Gathering of the Mannion Clan took place on the weekend of Friday 16 and Saturday 17 August in the historic village of Menlough in East Galway. The highly acclaimed event began on Friday evening in Thompson’s Lounge Bar, with traditional Irish music played by brothers Enda and Pat Mannion and their colleague Ronan Regan.

This was followed by a captivating demonstration of Gaelic medieval arms and armour by Dave Swift of Claoímh Living History and Re-enactment Group, which kept the large attendance of Mannion Clan members enthralled throughout.

Afterwards, the attendees made their way to the site of the Mannion castle on the outskirts of Menlough village for the formal unveiling of a sculptured limestone plaque by the Earl and Countess of Mayo, Charlie Bourke and his wife Marie Mannion Bourke. The event was the culmination of a long-running joint project, involving Menlough Tidy Towns Committee and The Mannion Clan Association.

The commemorative piece features a tower house with a small body of water beside it, which gave the medieval village its original Irish-language name of Mionlach Uí Mhainnín, ‘the little lough of the Mannions’. The plaque marks the recently developed community recreation area, henceforth to be known as Páirc Uí Mhainnín or Mannion Park.

The unveiling and dedication was witnessed by members of the Mannion Clan from Canada, the USA, Latvia, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and several Irish counties, as well as by members of the local community from the Menlough area, who have enthusiastically embraced the unfolding history and heritage of their picturesque rural village.

The ceremony was followed by the official opening of the 2019 International Mannion Clan Gathering in Thompson's Lounge Bar by Galway County Heritage Officer, Marie Mannion. Marie highlighted the importance of occasions such as this for the Mannion Clan, and also in the broader context of acknowledging the rich history and cultural heritage of East Galway.

Afterwards, Clan historian Dr Joe Mannion gave an illustrated lecture on the early roots and royal ancestry of the Mannion Clan in ancient times, before introducing a pre-recorded presentation by genetic genealogist and citizen scientist Jim Hollarn of San Diego, California, who administers the Mannion Surname Project at Family Tree DNA on a voluntary basis.

Refreshments were served throughout the evening and the attendees mixed and mingled, renewing acquaintances from former years and making new ones, while sharing stories and recounting the intriguing and unique history of their mutual Ó Mainnín forebears.

Many of the Clan assembled once again at midday on Saturday 17 in the car park of Frank Mannion’s Bar in Abbeyknockmoy, for a guided tour of The Mannion Clan Historical Trail led by Dr Joe Mannion and NUI Galway archaeologist Dr Mags Mannion. After an introductory talk on the ancient Lughnasa assembly site of Knockroe and the remains of Killaclogher Castle, the Mannion castle site at Clooncurreen was visited and its medieval history and archaeology discussed.

Ramore inauguration and judicial assembly site in the townland of Mullaghmore West in Moylough parish was next on the itinerary. It was here that a Brehon law deed was drafted by a Mac Egan lawyer in May 1584 for the Ó Mainnín Clan. Excerpts from a translation of the agreement were read to members and friends of the Clan gathered at the ancient ceremonial mound, some four hundred and thirty-five years after the original event.

The sub-townland of Ballymannion, which with the modern townland of Cloonmweelaun was the focus of the Ó Mainnín deed, was then visited, as was the Clan’s ancestral village of Menlough where its ancient origins and subsequent history were outlined.

Saturday’s guided tour concluded in the impressive and historically significant surroundings of Kilconnell Abbey in the late afternoon, where the last recorded Chief of the Name of the Mannion Clan – John son of Melaghlin – was buried in a tomb dated 1648, with two of his kinsmen from the Clan’s principal stronghold at Menlough.

Later in the evening, the Clan gathered at Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara for a medieval-style banquet, accompanied by an eclectic mix of entertainment reflecting the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Ireland. As the night drew to a close, Dr Joe Mannion thanked all those who had assembled in their ancestral homelands of East Galway over the weekend to connect with their family roots, and invited the Earl of Mayo, Charlie Bourke and Heritage Officer, Marie Mannion to offer some concluding remarks.

The next Gathering of the Mannion Clan, which will include additional events and will take place over three days instead of two, is scheduled for the weekend of Friday 14 to Sunday 16 August 2020. Already many of the global Mannion diaspora are planning to join with home-based members of the Clan to celebrate the unique history and cultural heritage of their Ó Mainnín forebears.

The Mannion Clan Association