Spring Message from An Cathaoirleach
Beannachtaí na Féile Bríde ort.
Today, the 1st of February, marks the ancient Gaelic festival of Imbolc, as well as being the feast of Naomh Bríd (Saint Brigid), the matron saint of Ireland. Many people in Ireland are visiting the many holy wells around the country. Some continue the custom of attaching pieces of cloth, known as a bratóg Bríde, on a bush near the well to be blessed by the saint and subsequently wearing the cloth to avail of its curative properties. The significance of the cloth is possibly due to the grudging offer of a grant of land by her father, a king, so that she could build a monastery. The offer was for an area of land over which she could spread her cloak or brat. The cloak spread, as if magically, over a large area of County Kildare, where she and St Conleth built one of the most prestigious monasteries in the country. Another custom that continues in Ireland is hanging a St. Brigid’s Cross in houses (we have just been given a gift of one by a neighbour this afternoon). These crosses, made of rushes, have become synonymous with Ireland. Brigid, before Christianity in Ireland, was also a legendary pan-Celtic God…..
The new Clans of Ireland website is progressing, under the direction of Seán McGrath. It is hoped to have it up and running in the very near future so that membership renewal and the payment of annual subscriptions can be accommodated through this facility. The Board is particularly interested in this aspect of the website as it will facilitate GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Therefore, we ask that you remain patient and await hearing from us before effecting your membership registration renewal.
Nominations for the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit awards must be registered with the Council of the Order of Merit no later than February 28th. Nominations, including full relevant biographies, must be submitted through the Correspondence Secretary
and addressed, in confidence to the Council of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit. The Order of Merit is awarded to a maximum of four persons each year, whose names are announced on St Patrick’s Day, 17th March. The conferring of awards to the new Companions of the Clans of Ireland Order of Merit will be made during the Saturday of the Annual Summit, on May 5th.
The Annual Cultural Summit is to take place in Dublin on the 5th and 6th of May. The theme of this year’s Summit is “Gaelic Kindreds in Late Medieval Ireland”. You are invited to attend the unveiling of a Clans of Ireland Historical Site Plaque at the iconic Christ Church Cathedral on Friday 5th May. Dr Patrick Wallace is to perform the ceremonial unveiling. Dr Wallace, who studied Archaeology and History at University College, Galway, has been asked to perform this significant function as, having been appointed Archaeologist in the National Museum of Ireland in 1971, he was given full responsibility for the archaeological excavation of the Viking “Wood Quay – Fishamble Street” site in 1974. (Those who took the walking tour of Old Dublin on the Friday of the 2022 Cultural Summit will recall that the Wood Quay – Fishamble Street archaeological site are adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral.) After the excavations were completed Dr Wallace was appointed Director of the National Museum of Ireland in 1988.
I would like to use this opportunity to announce the appointment of two Directors to key positions within the Board; Ms Kieran O’Dowd and Mr. Robert O’Halloran. Kieran, who has attended many Cultural Summits, takes on responsibility as Honorary Treasurer and Registration Secretary, following the retirement of Mrs Mary Carmody, while Robert takes on the onerous responsibility as Company Secretary and Director of Corporate Governance. I hope that you will join me in wishing both Kieran and Rob every success in their new roles.
I would also like to express my deep appreciation of Dan and Mary Carmody, following their retirement from the Board, for their separate considerable contributions to Clans of Ireland over the past several years. Go raibh míle maith agaibh.
Le gach dea-ghuidhe,
Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh
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