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All set for Gathering of Kearney’s at Lackagh

Family gatherings have been taken place for centuries and for the most part. over many years they have been mainly at weddings and funerals. However, in the rushed life of so many, not even the weddings and funerals brought families together. Thankfully, in most recent years thanks to the government initiative in 2013 called “The Gathering” many families have come together for reunions of the clan. The weekend of June 23rd, 24th and 25th has been earmarked for a reunion of the Kearney’s of Lackagh who are one of the oldest families of the Lackagh area. Descendants of Kearney’s of Lackagh will converge in Lackagh for a massive gathering of the clan in a reunion that was at the planning stage for several years. It is the second time that the Kearneys have gathered for a reunion as they had their first gathering at Lackagh in 2012, a year ahead of the aforementioned government initiative “The Gathering”. This weekend the first of a group of twenty seven of a branch of the Kearney family who set up base in the copper mining town of Butte Montana in the early part of the last century arrived in Ireland and many more are arriving from the United States as well as from Great Britain, Germany, and Chile this week.

The Kearney family have been a long-established family in the Lackagh/Turloughmore 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 parish church in Lackagh in 1839 after an older church went on fire during his tenure. The overseas visitors will be joined by many people from all parts of Ireland to the homes of their ancestors and to join in the second Kearney family reunion in Lackagh. It was in the copper mining town of Butte, Montana that the idea of this reunion was born in 2007 at a family gathering in the in once proud copper mining town. 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 descendants of the Butte families to their homeland of their ancestors for what became the 2012 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 a massive reunion took place in Lackagh in 2012, which brought over three hundred relations together. The hosting of the Kearney family reunion has brought together many other branches of the family who have been in contact and looking forward to this event again in Ireland. The Butte gathering was spearheaded by Pat Kearney who first came to Ireland in 1978 and with his uncle’s found that their ancestors on both sides of his grandparents’ families originated in Lackagh, and Pat proudly brought many people to Ireland for the first time. Pat Kearney died suddenly in 2014 and his family organised another reunion in Butte in 2017 at which eleven relations from Ireland gathered in Butte. For over thirty years there has been a strong connection between the Kearney family of Lackagh and Knockdoe and the Butte families and while many of the descendants who have come to Ireland for this reunion are now living in various parts of the United States, they are all part of what was the once proud copper mining town of Butte in south Montana. Based at a cross roads where the east-west 90 Interstate highway crosses the north-south 15 Interstate highway, Butte now has a population of approximately 35,000, it is a far cry from the heyday in Butte between the late 19th century and around 1920, when 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 descendants with an appreciation of their ancestors.

There are now over 500 different surnames who are descendants of the Kearney’s in Lackagh and several have become nationally or internationally famous including the late Bishop Patrick Duggan who played a leading role in the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association,  the late Paddy Kearney who walked 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Lands’ End in the sixties, the late Pat Kearney who has written many books on his native Butte, Montana, film actress Charlotte Lewis who played the female lead in “The Golden Child” alongside Eddie Murphy, Teresa Mannion, RTE Correspondent and former Donegal correspondent Timlin O Cearnaigh and sports people that included boxer Adam Hession, Dublin hurling coach Francis Forde, and rising young Galway hurler Darragh Kearney, all of whom are descendants of Kearney’s of Lackagh.

The re-union takes place this weekend commencing on Friday evening with ‘The Gathering’ that involves registration in Lackagh Parish Centre at Carnoneen from 6.30 to 8.00 and an outline of activities, before adjourning to Flynn’s Bar which was an original Kearney home. Weather permitting it is planned to take in the lighting of a traditional bonfire as well. On Saturday morning, a special Kearney Family Mass at 11.00 which will be celebrated at the Church of Our Lady of Knock, Lackagh, at which the original part was built by Rev. Thomas Kearney in 1839. This will be followed by a visit of Kearney family graves. 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 over three thousand names included. The reunion will close on Sunday which will be a relaxed day set aside for family photographs, an optional lunch at the Arches Hotel before the Scattering, later that evening. For more details contact Frank Kearney at 085 1266133 or email [email protected]

For more information, email [email protected] or call 086-4506727