O Driscoll Annual Clan Gathering
The O Driscoll Clan Gathering is held at Baltimore & the islands of Cape Clear, Heir and Sherkin, Co. Cork, Ireland takes place annually during the last weekend in the month of June. The full programme of events is published on the ‘Baltimore West Cork Festivals’ website, which can be found at this website address http://www.baltimore.ie/festivals/o-driscoll-clan-gathering.html
Here is the typical breakdown of events during the course of the Gathering:
On the last Thursday afternoon/ evening in June every year O Driscoll visitors start arriving in Baltimore village, Co. Cork, Ireland. Visitors may wish to take a boat trip around Baltimore Harbour returning at sunset. Music sessions follow in local pubs where old friends meet and newcomers traditionally introduce themselves to lots of other O Driscolls.
On Friday all others attending The Clan Gathering will have arrived in Baltimore by mid afternoon and get settled in to their accommodation. At 7 pm Clan members sign the Clan Gathering Register at the entrance to the restored O Driscoll Castle in Baltimore Village. Arriving in the Great Hall it is customary for visitors to introduce themselves to those sitting or standing alongside them. They are, after all, among their own even if their surname is not Driscoll. A short talk on some aspect of O Driscoll history and heritage follows and then at the Square below Dún na Séad Castle a formal welcome is extended to all. The current O Driscoll Chieftain then raises the O Driscoll Flag high over the restored O Driscoll Castle. From 9 pm there is usually a Buffet supper at the Baltimore Sailing Club which is located at the edge of Baltimore Harbour. The view of the sun setting over the harbour can be spectacular while music and good conversation in the Village Square and at local bars and hotels continues late in to the night.
A day trip to Cape Clear Island takes place on Saturday when the Clan members have made their way by 10.30 am to Baltimore Pier to take the Cape Clear Island Ferry for the 45 minute trip to the island. On there arrival to the Island, people can make their way to the museum on foot or by shuttle buses where at noon the O Driscoll Memorial Archive holds the Annual O Driscoll Remembrance Ceremony. Details of the O Driscoll Remembrance Ceremony are to be found here. An O Driscoll who has previously attended a Clan Gathering is invited to bring a candle from their own country to the Remembrance Ceremony. This candle is then lit in remembrance of deceased members of the worldwide O Driscoll Family. All present are invited to participate in the ceremony by stating their name and that of their country and then call the name of a deceased relative. Anyone related to an O Driscoll, past or present who is unable to attend the Remembrance Ceremony may submit online the name of a deceased relative whose name they may wish to have called at the Remembrance Ceremony.
After visiting the museum and viewing some of the O Driscoll related exhibition material and O Driscoll Archive Collection. There will be lunches, tea, coffee etc available at bars near the North Harbour. Visits to historic and other sites maybe organised in the afternoon. A music session and perhaps a quiz and other activities may take place in the day also. At 4:30pm the ferry leaves Cape Clear for Baltimore. On Saturday night O Driscoll Clan members usually spend some time chatting with new friends, making contacts and perhaps discussing their common O Driscoll genealogy and heritage. It is also a time for engaging with the local community and relaxing in comfort at local restaurants and pubs.
On Sunday morning visitors can attend church services in Baltimore or at Rath Catholic Church or Sherkin Island Church. After that most of the Clan usually go on the 10 minute short boat trip to Sherkin Island where other events may be included in their visit eg a visit to an Art Gallery, Archaeological sites- ruin of an O Driscoll Castle and Abbey. People can avail of morning coffee/ tea etc on the island. The ferry returns to Baltimore about 2.30 pm.
By 3pm Sunday afternoon O Driscolls will have crowded in to Baltimore Square in the shadow of the O Driscoll Castle. The name of a new O Driscoll Chieftain is announced every two years and there is the formal handing over of the O Driscoll Chieftains Chain of Office. Great excitement and music follows for a number of hours. Most of the visitors from overseas spend Sunday night gathered together around the Village and next day may perhaps continue with their holiday arrangements around County Cork, Kerry and elsewhere.
Cape Clear Island Museum has been participating in the O Driscoll Clan Gathering since its inception in 1986. The O Driscoll Memorial Archive established by Dr Éamon Lankford in 2013 has to date compiled 27 volumes of data telling some of the story of members of the worldwide O Driscoll family. Everyone is invited to submit their family story for inclusion in one of the O Driscoll Collection volumes. For details on how to make a submission of your family story go to: www.odriscoll.ie and www.capeclearmuseum.ie
The O Driscoll Clan Gathering at Baltimore, Co.Cork, Ireland, is the Official O Driscoll Clan organization registered with the Clans of Ireland which is an Irish Government Registering Authority. The O Driscoll Memorial Archive is a totally voluntary initiative dedicated to remembering O Driscolls past and present and is part of the O Driscoll Clan Gathering movement.
The mix of programme events at the O Driscoll Annual Clan Gathering at Baltimore and the islands of Cape Clear, Heir and Sherkin Islands blends with O Driscoll lore and history and the genuine friendships between O Driscolls and the locals as well as the communities in offshore islands. Visiting and participating in the O Driscoll Clan Gathering events and chatting with other O Driscolls as well as contacting local libraries and the O Driscoll Memorial Archive directed by Éamon Lankford does help to enhance family research and bring members of the international O Driscoll family closer together.
The focus of the Annual Gathering is always on people because all those who do attend are coming home to their O Driscoll ancestral home place. All who bear any form of the name Driscoll are descended from an O Driscoll who at one time lived in West County Cork especially in the area around Baltimore and the islands of Cape Clear, Heir and Sherkin. In this area are the ruins of seven O Driscoll castles and other buildings and sites associated with O Driscolls. Those who attend the O Driscoll Clan Gathering are coming home and are welcomed as being part of the family who are longer and in greater numbers in their ancestral home place than any other family in Ireland.
We ask that you to consider writing something about your own family and to deposit it in the O Driscoll Memorial Archive at Cape Clear Island Museum. You and your West Cork ancestors deserve to be remembered in the O Driscoll Memorial Archive.
To contact the archive :
Dr. Eamon Lankford
O Driscoll Memorial Archive
c/o 146 South Douglas Road,
Republic of Ireland
T 12 YW 02