This week the start of an influx of visitors to the Lackagh area commenced when seventeen descendents of Kearney’s of Lackagh arrived on Tuesday morning, most of them visiting Ireland for the first time as the come to join in the family reunion of Kearney’s of Lackagh which will take place for the first time in Ireland on the weekend of July, 27th, 28th and 29th. In the coming week several more descendents of Kearney’s are arriving from the United States as well as from Great Britain, Germany, Chile, Canada and New Zealand.
The Kearney family have been a long established family in the Lackagh area dating back to the late 1700. It was Fr Thomas Kearney who was one of the clan who was responsible for the building of the old church in Lackagh in 1839. There are now in excess of 500 different surnames scattered all around the globe who are descendents of Kearney’s of Lackagh.
The visitors will be joined by many people from all parts of Ireland as they arrive to visit the homes of their ancestors and to join in the first Kearney family reunion in Lackagh. It was in the copper mining town of Butte, Montana that the idea of this reunion was born as the last family gathering was held in once proud copper mining town in 2007. Several branches of Kearney families emigrated from Lackagh during the 1800’s and in the early part of the 1900’s and many went to work in Butte, the Copper Mining town of the United States Mid West.
In 2007 two branches of a Kearney family gathered for a reunion to celebrate the marriage of their ancestors from Lackagh who were married one hundred before. Seven thousand miles from where their ancestors left over a century earlier, the decedents of Lackagh native Thomas Kearney and his wife Julia Kearns who both immigrated to Butte, Montana to earn a living in the early part of the last century, came together to pay tribute to their ancestors at a family reunion. Frank and Ann Kearney travelled from Lackagh for the reunion and invited the descendents of the Butte families to their homeland of their ancestors for the next reunion. As most of these attending the reunion in Butte, had never set foot on Irish soil the land of their forefathers, the idea was quickly adopted and arranged to take place five years later and now that time is just a week away. The hosting of the Kearney family reunion has brought together many other branches of the family who have been in constant contact looking forward to the event for several months.
While many of the descendents arriving for the reunion are from the once proud copper mining town of Butte in south Montana at a cross roads where the east-west 90 Interstate highway crosses the north-south 15 Interstate highway, which now has a population of approximately 35,000, but in its heyday between the late 19th century and around 1920, it was one of the largest and most notorious copper boomtowns in the American west. Copper mining brought thousands of people from around the world to Butte and with the expanding development of copper, many other social and other business opportunities developed making Butte the boom area for people from many countries. These people left Lackagh and many other parts of Ireland to find a dream and while for many the dream never materialised, but hard work and a strong faith in the struggle to survive left their descendents with an appreciation of their ancestors.
In addition to Montana, branches of the family are to be found across the globe and the organisers say that this is a wonderful opportunity for the Irish relations to meet their cousins from Great Britain, Germany, Chile, Canada, Unites States and New Zealand who are making the journey.
The re-union will take place next week on July 27th 28th and 29th and will commence on Friday evening with ‘The Gathering’ that involves registration in Lackagh Museum and outline of activities, before adjourning to Flynn’s Bar which was an original Kearney home. On Saturday morning, a special Kearney Family Mass will be celebrated at the Church of Our Lady of Knock, Lackagh, at which the original part was built by one of the clan, Rev. Thomas Kearney in 1839. This will be followed by a visit of Kearney family graves and of sites of Kearney family homes. That afternoon all will assemble for a mammoth Barbeque at Turloughmore Social Centre that will be followed by the Presentation of the Kearney Family Tree.
Over thirty years of work has been put into research of the Kearney Family Tree which has almost three thousand names included. A huge effort is being made to bring the family tree up to date in recent times. The reunion will close on Sunday which will be a relaxed day set aside for family photographs, an optional lunch at the Claregalway Hotel before the Scattering, later that evening. For more details contact Frank Kearney at 085 1266133 or email [email protected]