An invitation was extended for the upcoming rally to be held in September 2000. This rally to be held at Dundrum House Hotel, Dundrum, County Tipperary, Ireland.
So I announced this event at our own Dwyer family reunion in July of 1999. Cousin Annie Dwyer suggested we go, which had only been a vanishing thought to me. My courage and interest were both strengthened and financially I knew I could afford it. By March of 2000 airline tickets, car rental and reservations had been made.
Now the waiting! Sept. 27, the date of our departure seemed eons away. Finally arriving, all packing done, we were off for our 3:45 p.m. departure flight from Dulles, the first leg of our long journey.
We flew to Logan airport in Boston, Mass. for the Aer Lingus plane for Shannon, Ireland. Over Newfoundland our pilot announced it was 9 a.m. E.S.T. here and 2 a.m. in Shannon, whereupon we set our time pieces accordingly.
Landing in Shannon, County Claire, Ireland at 7:30 a.m. we got our rental car and headed to our first Bed and Breakfast, Ivory Lodge, to recover from jet lag. The Rally was scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we had, having arrived on Thursday, some time before registering, etc. in Dundrum. Before leaving the terminal we exchanged some U.S. currency into Irish pounds.
Friday, en route from Newmarket-on-Fergus, we passed through the city of Limerick, over the River Shannon, the towns of Pallas Green, Oola, Tipperary Town, where we mailed postcards back home. Discovering that at the Post you could also do any banking, changing more money. Then on to Cashel and out on Dualla Road to our second B&B at Thornbrook Lodge. After sightseeing at the Rock of Cashel we drove over to Dundrum to register for the three day O'Dwyer Clan Rally.
Saturday morning there was a bus tour of O'Dwyer castles and homes beginning at 10:30 a.m., with approximately 95 of us aboard. Denis and Maureen O'Dwyer, John Kelly, Iiam O'Dwyer, Martin O'Dwyer were some of our guides who gave oral histories of the sites we visited. The sites included, Ballysheeda Castle, Killenure Castle, Knockgloss Ruin, Folk Village in Cashel and Holy Cross Abbey.
After the tour we returned to Dundrum House Hotel where Ann Moloney from the Heritage Unit in Tipperary awaited with her computer databases to do any searching one might be interested in of the Catholic Diocese records.
Siamsa ui Dhuibhir (The O'Dwyers in
Song and Dance)
Dinner in the grand dining room of Dundrum House Hotel began at 8. A very elegant affair for which I thought I was underdressed. The Siamsa-the "show", being conducted by Maureen O'Dwyer, with the following participants, viz: Aine O'Dwyer, Marie O'Dwyer, Elaine O'Dwyer, Michael O'Dwyer, Maureen Farrell, Pat O'Dwyer (tenor soloist), Carol O'Dwyer-O'Donovan, Anna Leahy, Maura O'Grady, Bill O'Dwyer, Eoin O'Dwyer and Pat O'Dwyer. We returned to our room at Thornbrook Lodge through a foggy road by 11:30 that evening.
The three days with our cousins from around the globe ended too soon. Annie and I were the only two from the United States. There were several from Canada, one from South Africa, mostly they were from Ireland. A few months earlier contact had been made with cousins from Russia whose ancestors had been among the Wild Geese.
Sunday morning, Sept. 30, we returned to Dundrum where we attended Mass with our Irish cousins. After Mass, representatives from the Celtic Book Shop were on hand with copies of the book, History of the O'Dwyers, by Tom O'Dwyer. This was an updated version of the 1933 edition of Sir Michael O'Dwyer's, The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanaugh. Thirty pounds was the price of a copy and Tom being present I was also able to get his autograph.
Monday morning we left Cashel and headed back to Tipperary Town via Golden, Thomastown and Kilfeakle. Hoping to meeting with John Bradshaw at the Clans Center. John was delayed, but we did get to meet his co-workers, Windy, Aileen and Mary.
Leaving Tipp, we took the N24 South to Bansha. Going through the towns of Caher, Kilbeheny, Mitchellstown, Kildorrery, on to Mallow where we picked up the N20 south to Blarney, home of the famous Castle and Stone of the same name. We checked into Blarney Vale B&B and asked our hostess, Anne Hennessey, directions to the castle. We toured the castle, where I kissed that famous stone twice. We also drove around seeing the country side. At Waterloo we stopped for lunch on the roadside. I looked around two more cemeteries (making the total number now about eight), one here one being Catholic and the other Anglican and found many O'Dwyer and Dwyer graves. After some time we retired to the B&B for a good nights rest.
Tuesday morning was a very cloudy, rainy day. After breakfast we left Blarney Vale, going North on the N20 heading for Limerick. Passing by Moure Abbey, Ballynamona, Mallow, New Twopothouse, Buttevant, Charleville, Croom, Patrickwell and finally Limerick. Once again crossing over the River Shannon onto the N18 toward Bunratty. Stopping in Bunratty for the second time for more shopping and a late lunch at The Creamery.
Just across the way we'd had our first Irish lunch at Dirty Nelly's, a place I highly recommend to any and all of you who might find yourself in Ireland sometime. We then drove back to Drumline Road and Ivory Lodge and our delightful hosts the Nallys.
Having several hours before dark and questioning our hosts about the cemetery out on the road and giving me directions etc., I walked out and took photos there. Again, more O'Dwyer burials.
Wednesday morning we left Ivory Lodge early so we'd have plenty of time to return our car and not be rushed in boarding our flight. Passing through customs without a hitch, boarding the Air Lingus return flight in a dizzily overcast morning. Our return flights was an hour and a half longer due to strong head winds. Landing in Logan it was unseasonably warm and we were delayed taking off due to thunderstorms.
Arriving in Dulles a bit weary but glad to be home. Annie was dropped in front of her home about 7:30 and I returned to the office and went to work, arriving at home myself around 11.
Again, this is a much shortened version of my original story and will gladly send anyone the full story at their request.