O’Dubhda Clan Gathering, 2015

In October, 2015, about 100 people bearing some variation of the Ó Dubhda name came to Enniscrone where visitors were welcomed from Ireland, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Qatar, Australia, USA and Canada – including for the first time French speaking Quebec. Among them was a representative of the Clans of Ireland organization, of which the O’Dubhda Clan was a founder member.

The Gathering consisted of four days of tours, lectures, meetings, the election of Tánaiste and Inauguration of Taoiseach with lots of celebration and social interaction usually lasting into the early hours.

The Clan were particularly grateful to Sligo County Council who in association with the National Roads Authority have erected a new chair to commemorate the life, death and extraordinary work of Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh (Duald Mac Firbis) at the N59 lay-by near Skreen Co. Sligo. They were addressed on the topic by Martin Wilson at the previous gathering in 2012, and it was nice to see the completed project. They are also very grateful to those who have begun work on the planned “Monasteries on the Moy” greenway from Ballina to Killala.

This was the 25th or silver anniversary of the first Gathering of the modern era organized by Enniscrone man Conor Mac Hale who gave an excellent lecture on the Heritage of Ó Dubhda and conducted most of the tours. Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle gave a very illuminating lecture on the Great Book of Genealogies by Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh which he translated and published in 5 large volumes in 2004. Proinsias Mag Fhionnghaile gave an extraordinary illustrated talk on Ancient Gaelic Dress. Mike Dowd from Australia also gave a groundbreaking talk about A New History of St. Patrick and his connections to the clan and the local area.

San Francisco born woman, Kieran O’Dowd was elected Tánaiste which means that the next Taoiseach of the Ó Dubhda Clan is to be a woman for the first time in history. The plan is for her to be inaugurated at the next event 4th-7th October, 2018.

The Inauguration of Andrew Dowds from Glasgow as the new Taoiseach was conducted on the megalithic tomb in the Castle Field Enniscrone, replacing the previous incumbent Kilglass born Brendan O’Dowd who organized this year’s event. Andrew is the son of the first O’Dubhda Taoiseach of Tireragh to be elected in over four centuries, Thomas J. Dowds, who was elected in 1997 and inaugurated at the Millennium Gathering in 2000.

The visitors toured the area to see some of the many notable sites such as forts, megalithic tombs, castles and churches including Carrowmore, The Beach Bar at Aughris, the Franciscan monasteries of Moyne and Rosserk and the Augustinian abbey at Ardnaree, and with views of The Black Pig, Castleconor Castle, Rathlee and Roslee castles and the newly erected Mac Firbis Chair at Skreen.

They also stopped to view The Mermaid Rocks at Scurmore, and Rathmulcah Fort and Souterrain at Killanley, before finishing in the wonderful Beleek Castle.

At the banquet visitors were particularly taken with the Irish dance and musical entertainment provided by members of the Tireragh Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann: Siobhán Foy, Cillian Dalton, Sinéad Harte, Lorna McGuinness, Éabha McGowan and Elizabeth Dunphy. The facilities and service provided by the Ocean Sands hotel were excellent, and they and other accommodation providers, as well as Oisin Quinn and Magrath Coaches, made all guests feel truly welcome. Some of them have come to every single event organized since 1990, which is a truly remarkable thing since Ireland is by no means a cheap destination in the global tourist industry.

An extraordinary and particularly mellow whiskey was specially blended for the occasion and the delightful, Irish produced but (unfortunately for Irish people) the “for export only”, O’Dowds Irish Cream liqueur were heartily enjoyed during the Gathering. As well as this a Californian white wine was specially produced and labelled for the gathering.

The Clan continues to remain connected through Facebook, email and the O’Dubhda Clan website. They are looking forward to returning to Enniscrone in October 2018.

“Ó Dubhda Abú!”