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Clan Gathering 2007

Thanks to Neil O`Driscoll for his report on this years Clan Gathering also thanks to Jim Driscoll for setting up the US web site and many many thanks to the people of Baltimore for welcoming us every year and to the Baltimore 2000 Committee, especially Marion Bushe for all the work she puts in over the year and during the weekend. Pat and Bernie McCarthy for sharing their home with us and a special thanks to Ronnie Carthy for his music,  Kieron and Sean from the Algiers for all the sessions we`ve had and are likely to have there.

Congratulations to Bruce Driscoll from Canada as the new Chieftain who I know will wear the chain well, and thank you for letting me have had the honour of being the Chieftain of the O`Driscolls for the last two years.

 Dave Driscoll


It was a little later than we expected to arrive in Baltimore , however, this was due to circumstances beyond our control. Wednesday night the 20th June and Lyn and I are picked up in Skibbereen by our landlady, Sandra from Fastnet House which is our home for the next six nights.


On our arrival into Baltimore the Algiers is already pumping with our Chieftain, Dave, our landlord, Ronnie, a friend of Dave’s named Jim and Declan McCarthy playing to a very well appreciative audience. Sean behind the bar is still as cheeky as he always is when I enter to say hello. In the bar are our good friends and regulars at the reunions, John and Barb Driscoll from Pennsylvania . It may be still two days before the reunion begins officially but we are in the spot we hold dearly and love the extra three days we spend in Baltimore , with the locals treating us as family. The music goes on till closing and not a soul leaves but as the word spreads more revelers appear and the joint is hopping. With the short walk around the corner to the piazza and the sight in front of me is that of Baltimore harbour, the yachts from all over the world moored near the pier, all the fishing boats in the cove, Sherkin Island just a mile away and the sun slowly retreating in the west and all I can think of is, I AM HOME.


We arise to another beautiful day in paradise, and after a great breakfast we gather in the piazza for that breathtaking view and a chin-wag with the locals we have gotten to know over the years. A brisk walk to the Beacon is taken by some of us early birds while others have a quiet time on the docks. A drive is decided upon and off we go to Glandore for lunch, this little village is beautiful and is the only place I know where the tables and chairs are actually set up on the road with the service coming from the pubs on the other side. The waitresses have to dodge the passing cars as they deliver your lunch. The view is over the inlet with the sailing clubs taking part in a regatta. On the far side of the inlet are the fishing boats of Union Hall which in itself is a picturesque village. Replenished we return to greet and meet more O’Driscolls from near and far.


It is not too long before Tim arrives from England and our other good friends from Massachusetts , Jim and Carol Driscoll as well as Jim’s sister Judy and her friend Teri. Also appearing are John Driscoll from Cardiff and his friend Peter McClancy from near Dublin . The barrel we are standing around is now surrounded by O’Driscolls from all over the world. Also on our return from lunch we catch up with Bruce and Marilyn Driscoll from New Brunswick , this now gives us Canadians, Americans, English, Welsh and Lyn and I from Australia , a real league of nations. As a tradition that was started back in 2003 most of us dine that night in The Mews with our host Denis Connelly providing great fare for us to indulge ourselves. After dinner we adjourn to the Algiers for some more entertaining music which is once again organized by our Chieftain, Dave. Kieron and Sean are there serving us the nectar that is Irish to the bone and warms the cockles of our hearts. The crowd swells and the craic is nothing short of fantastic. The bell tolls and back to Fastnet House for us and a good night’s sleep.


Friday is the start of the reunion and it used to be from 7pm at the sign in, however, in the last few years a boat cruise around Roaring Water Bay and the Islands has given us a new perspective of the area of our ancestors.


The sun was shining as we boarded the Mystic Water owned and run by former Chieftain Vincent O`Driscoll and his wife Rosaleen, The tour was started last year and runs through the summer months taking visitors around the islands of Roaring Water Bay (see web site)  Ten Island Tours as Vince and Rosaleen were away in France  the guided tour was taken by Naomh O`Driscoll from Cape and skippered by Mossy (he`s getting pretty handy on the button accordion) It was a great opportunity for people to get to know each other. After a great two hour trip we returned to Baltimore where we settled outside Bushes for a few drinks before the official opening of the Clan Gathering.


Time has come for us to be granted the use of Dun na Saed’s Great Hall for our registering and the speeches. This year we have Bruce and Marilyn giving us a talk on the O’Driscolls of Canada and it was fascinating. The presentation was extremely professional and entertained everyone in attendance, congratulations to our cousins from Canada . The castle is owned by Pat and Bernie McCarthy and for the last two years they have been so kind to allow us into their home for this very important part of our yearly reunion celebrations. After the speeches which are completed by our Chieftain and Marion Bushe who is an extremely integral part of the whole weekend as part of the Baltimore 2000 committee. This committee looks after the village’s entertainment and festivities that take part every year and do a magnificent job for our reunion . Well done to all concerned on this committee and our Chieftain as well as a lot of locals who pitch in to make these festivities the success they are. With the first lot of formalities completed we make our way to the Baltimore Sailing Club for a feast of the local seafood, wine and other delights which are provided free of charge by the local community. It is off to the piazza for the official launch of the reunion and special thanks to our sponsors for the weekend, Heineken and Clona Milk. The Mayor of Skibbereen, Brendan McCarthy welcomes us to his district and after the speeches we entertained for the rest of the evening by Open The Taps. The chin-wagging begins in earnest and the pleasure of catching with old friends and meeting new continues through the night. The three generations of Driscolls from Yorkshire have returned again and we look forward to seeing them for many years to come. Paul is the third generation of this family but was the first to attend back in 2005 and then his father, Jim and grand-father, John have been the last two reunions and last year there was the fourth generation with Paul’s wife, Polly and their two lovely children, Libby and Archie in attendance. Also returning from last year from England are Larry and Maureen O’Driscoll, a lovely couple who are talking about making the annual pilgrimage. The night once again is concluded in the Algiers with our new and old friends and cousins.


The weather for the trip to Cape Clear was wonderful, we were met as usual by  Mary O`Driscoll whose husband Ciaran Danny Mike now skippers the Cape Clear ferry. (thanks for going back for my camera Ciaran, Dave),. Mary then took us around the island and a few of us stayed behind at Ciaran Danny Mikes pub to chat and soak in the sun, when everyone was back we had a great meal and afterwards a bit of music, unfortunately because of the amount of people visiting the island we returned to Baltimore on the 4.00pm ferry. Cape is a very special place and well worthy of a visit any time of year.



Returning to Baltimore around 5pm and the music is playing in the piazza as the crowd swells for the evening festivities. Our new cousins and friends are all enjoying the outdoor entertainment until a shower arrives and a quick exit to one of the bars is made. Some of us have gone to Algiers and others have found room in Bushe’s Pub right on the piazza. Stories of our family’s exits to all parts of the world are shared well into the night until closing time once again brings us back home to the warmth and safety of our beds.


Without being in attendance we hear the next morning of our Chieftain providing stories of great entertainment to all those from Massachusetts . Mass is held on the mainland this year instead of Sherkin Island and the we are off to Sherkin for a tour and a very good talk about the Friary, which has been repaired to an impressive level. Rosaleen gives the talk about the Friary and everyone latched on tightly to her every word and one could see the interest in everybody’s face. We then wandered up the hill to the Jolly Roger Pub for an informal get together. Our Chieftain mingled amongst the new and all suggestions were listened to intently with regards to how the weekend could be better or if any changes are really necessary. A pleasant couple of hours spent on the island before returning for more entertainment in the piazza and the handing over of the chain to the new Chieftain for the next two years. The sun is shining, the liquids are flowing, the music is wafting through the air and the laughter and stories continue. Around 4pm it is time for Dave to pass on the mantle of Chieftain. We hear from Dave, and his words as always are few but as always are very poignant. It then comes time to hand over the chain to the well deserved, Bruce Driscoll from New Brunswick, Canada, He accepts the responsibility that comes with this honour and does it as always, in a gracious manner. We all feel safe in the thought that once again the committee has chosen wisely and Chieftain Bruce will do the O’Driscoll Clan proud. Congratulations Bruce from all of us, and we are looking forward to being in your company next year.


Photos and videos are all working overtime as the celebrations continue into the night. Some have to leave today and others will make there way to other parts of Ireland or to home tomorrow. John, Barb, Lyn and I are staying the Monday night to unwind and spend some quiet time with our dear Baltimore friends. The whole weekend was a huge success and once again Pat and Bernie flew our flag from their castle, thank you.


We all look forward to the next reunion as we savour this one with our photos and our memories. Special thanks to the brilliant job that our Chieftain Dave has done for the last two years and we look forward to seeing you along with many more O’Driscolls in Baltimore in 2008.