Sliabh Luachra Festival

In recent times particularly in connection with “The Gathering” or Homecoming Festival which is due to be held later this year we often hear the unusual and recently adopted alien word “Diaspora” being used to describe our Irish exiles and those of Irish decent who live in foreign countries. Those are to a great extent anyway the very people whom we hope to attract to visit the homeland during the forthcoming festival. To refer to those wonderful people as “Diaspora” is not only strange it is in my view insulting to our exiles, most of whom have settled in other lands and done well for themselves. “Diaspora” is a Greek word and refers to the dispersion of the Jews in the year 538 after their exile in Babylon. To adopt this word in a modern context and apply it to our own people who are living abroad is entirely out of context. How anyone can compare our Irish exiles with the Jews of ancient times is beyond understanding. Of course it is common knowledge that the tourist industry needs to be promoted if it is to survive and for this reason it is hoped that The Gathering will be a success and will bring a great many of our emigrants and others of Irish extraction home during the coming months and give the tourist industry a much-needed injection. In more recent years the English Queen and the American President wee both invited here at considerable expense to the hard pressed Irish taxpayers. It was hoped and expected that these visits would be of great benefit to tourism here and would bring in a major influx of visitors to the country from both Britain and the United States. Ther is however no evidence to suggest that the numbers of tourists coming here from either country showed any big improvement in those from Britain and America in the ordinary course of things. British and American ordinary working people who are for the most part those who visit here each year and are not very interested as to whether Heads of State visited here. What they really expect and deserve from us is however value for their hard earned money and if they feel that they are getting this with a genuine Irish welcome together with charm and traditional national courtesy for which our people are renowned then those British and American and other foreign tourists mostly from working-class and professional backgrounds will come back again and again.

In the meantime to return to the Sliabh Luachra Festival preparations for the East Kerry Roots Festival are by all accounts already under way. This will be held from July 25th to the 28th and it is expected that it will be even better than the successful festival which they organised last year.

My interest in this, and that of our family members, relatives and namesakes here in this country as well as abroad are  being invited to a gathering of the Brosnan Clan which is by all accounts a part of this year’s Kerry Roots Festival. This gathering of Brosnans will apparently be on much the same lines as the Harnett Clan Gathering  which was organised so successfully in Abbeyfeale last summer. The committee is reported to be liaising with The Gathering Ireland 2013 in this initiative. As many of us already know the Brosnan name is closely linked with the Sliabh Luachra area and there are many theories about its origins. One of these is that the name was derived from the parish and village of Brosna in East Kerry. My own ancestors from both sides originally came from the Sliabh Luachra area of Currow, which means that we still have several relatives in the Currow/Scartaglin/Kilcimmin areas. Anyone who can find a Brosnan in their family tree are invited to come along and take part in this clan get-together which is being held in Castleisland during the last weekend in July. Everyone is encouraged to invite Brosnans from near and far back for a great gathering , as well if others, some of whose ancestors happened to be Brosnans. A packed programme of events is being planned with music, song, dance, sport and much more. For further information contact Kay at 087-9940339.

Looking back over 50 years to my early days living in Athea parish one of the things that surprised me was to find out that there were so many Brosnans living in some of the local townlands in Knocknagorna, Toureendonnell, Clash, Upper Athea and so forth. Late Mary McAuliffe and late Kit Woulfe who both lived in Coole West were also Brosnans in their single days. Now we have Rose McAuliffe (Bill’s wife) living in Lower Athea who is also a Brosnan from Dromulton in Sliabh Luachra area. Rose is involved in sporting and cultural activities in the area and is very popular in these circles. It is hoped that members of our own families and our namesakes around Athea parish will attend The Gathering of the Clan in Castleisland next July and not alone the Brosnans of Athea, but those of our namesakes from all over West Limerick and beyond. There are many of those no doubt who are well capable of contributing their talents to the numerous cultural and sporting events that will take place during the festival.

Tragic and Other Deaths

There can be no doubt that the death that really shocked the nation during recent weeks was the shooting dead of Detective Garda Adrian Donohue during a robbery at a Credit Union Office in Dundalk. While every violent death is tragic in one way or another, including the suicide of a Fine Gael Junior Minister late last year, the tragic death of Garda O’Donohue seems to have had even a more profound effect on the public mindset that is of course taking into consideration the grief and trauma suffered by both families. We certainly hope and pray that Garda O’Donohue has found eternal peace ant that his grieving wife and young family and other near relatives will find the comfort and consolation that they need in their time of sorrow. May God help them all.

Other well known persons at national level who died during the past week were Kevin Heffernan, the Dublin All-Ireland footballer and team managers. As well as Irish team manager in the International games against Australia.

Eamon de Buitleár who was the long time presenter of the popular RTE television programme “The Waters and  The Wild” also died last week.

Pat Tubridy, father of well-known RTE Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy died during the past week. Pat was a psychiatrist at St. John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, during his medical career.

Drink Debate

The recent debate stirred up by Danny Healy Rae when he suggested that certain rural areas should be exempted from the national drink driving laws has sparked off a lot of heated arguments on both sides. But the suggestion in all reality would be difficult if not impossible to work.