Limerick’s O’Grady family traces back roots from far and wide for reunion

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

THIS TORRID summer might be laying waste to festivals and events left, right and centre, but when all else fails no party is as weather proof as a family reunion.

THIS TORRID summer might be laying waste to festivals and events left, right and centre, but when all else fails no party is as weather proof as a family reunion.

Last weekend members of the O’Grady family from across Europe and America descended on West Limerick for an inaugural reunion which mixed together genealogy, history and late-night celebrations.

Jacinta Khan, a member of the family who helped organise the O’Grady reunion, said that such was the success of the event that they’re already planning another one.

“There was a nice mix, a bit of everything. We had a good turn out, and we’ve already started planning the next one for four years’ time. We just had a weekend this time, but next time we’ll probably look to make a week out of it and get in trips to Holy Island off East Clare. The family has links there.”

The weekend saw visitors from across Ireland, England and Europe - with one relative travelling all the way from Spain - while relations in New Zealand and Australia gave their apologies for not being able to travel.

However the longest road to the reunion undoubtedly belonged to three relatives from Wisconsin in the United States, whom Jacinta said the family only became aware of recently.

“They actually found us four years ago when they were tracing their family history. We were looking for them, but they found us. The rest of them came from Birmingham and London, we had one from Spain and the rest from a few different places in Ireland.”

The reunion began with a stellar night of history and entertainment at the Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine on Friday night, which saw a general meet-and-greet and a talent show for younger members of the family.

Saturday saw a special Mass said for all deceased members of the family, followed by a dinner at the Devon Inn which included speeches, slide shows and presentations on family history.

On Sunday, the family made a trip to St John’s Church in Knockainey, which dates back to the 18th century and has links to the O’Grady family. The church is now preserved by the Knockainey Historical and Conservation Society.