THE STAGE is set for over 200 O’Malleys to come home to Murroe this weekend.
Some only have to travel over the road while others are crossing oceans for the Gathering event.
It all began with a family tree started four years ago that grew and grew.
“One of the trees stretches to 23 feet in length and contains the names of over 1,500 people going back nine generations.
“The details for this tree have been collected over the last three years from descendants of Murroe O’Malleys living in Ireland and the UK, and as far afield as New Zealand, Australia and USA,” said Ted O’Malley, of the large committee that have been involved in preparations for months.
Many O’Malleys are expected to attend a historic walk in Clonkeen church and graveyard on Saturday, March 16 at 2pm. Led by Br Colmán, of Glenstal Abbey, Clonkeen graveyard is the traditional burial place for many generations.
St Patrick’s Day begins with a children’s event in the Muintir na Tíre Hall, Murroe.
Brega Maher is helping to organise the event and said they have a range of activities for children of all ages including face painting, table tennis, cake decorating and more.
“Family trees will be on display, alongside a collection of old photographs from previous generations,” said Ms Maher.
A special Mass to celebrate the O’Malley Gathering is taking place at 6pm in Murroe church. Canon Donough O’Malley, parish priest of St. Mary’s in Limerick city, is the celebrant.
Eddie Butler says they are delighted to have a number of O’Malley relatives assisting in the readings, prayers of the faithful, offertory procession and singing.
“One of the readers will be Maeve O’Malley travelling from New Jersey,” said Mr Butler.
The O’Malleys and their relatives will begin to gather at Crokers in Murroe from 7pm. Speeches will take place between 8pm and 9pm and they have many experienced speakers to call on.
Des O’Malley, founder of Progressive Democrats and former Government minister; Tim O’Malley, former Government minister; Ed O’Malley, former state legislator in Kansas; Margaret Davern, tanaiste of O’Malley clan and Don O’Malley, former O’Malley clan chieftain, will all speak.
Presentations will be made to the eldest and youngest descendants of the O’Malleys by John Hayes. His brother, Tom, is travelling over from England where he captains Exeter Chiefs with wife Rachel, son Ógie and daughter Daire. Their mother Marie is an O’Malley.
A substantial collection of old photographs will be on display, spanning from the middle of the 19th century to the recent past.
Nano McMahon and her son Sean have been very busy preparing these photographs.
“We will have old photos printed and on display stands, plus electronic copies being televised at the Gathering using power-point presentations,” said Ms McMahon.
The O’Malley Gathering has received great support from different groups, says Denis O’Malley.
“Murroe Community Council facilitated the organising of the O’Malley Gathering as part of the Week of Welcomes, which ran all of this week from March 8 to 18.
“The preparation of the family trees greatly benefited from genealogy training provided by Amanda Slattery from Ballyhoura Developments. We have also received funding from the Gathering Fund through Limerick County Council’s Mary Killeen Fitzgerald.
“Crokers in Murroe have provided meetings and function venue which we greatly appreciate,” said Mr O’Malley.
When proceedings finish up late on St Patrick’s night it won’t be the end of the Gathering.
Firm contacts have been re-established with descendants of Murroe O’Malley’s living all around the world. Some of those living in New Zealand who can’t make it on St Patrick’s Day are confirmed as coming in June.