We thank Kerry Cassidy of Switzerland and Australia for this contribution (text and photos) to our website:
The 2017 Cassidy Clan rally was a great success. It was attended by over 60 clan members from many parts of the globe and all seemed to enjoy the varied and interesting program.
The Rally commenced on Friday the 30th June with registration of participants from 12.00 to 2.00 pm, then continued with getting to know the other members. This was followed at 4.00 pm by the Clan General Meeting with the election of An Caisideach (or president) and office bearers. The meeting was rather short as there was only one nomination for An Caisideach.
Nuala Cassidy was elected in a unanimous vote and her brother Noel was elected as chairman, a position in which Nuala had been active for some time. Both Nuala and Noel are very devoted to the clan and I feel they will both be excellent in the positions. Oliver Cassidy was invited to accept the office of An Tánaiste (deputy chieftain) for the next three years.
The venue for the Clan Rally was the Killyhevlin Hotel at Enniskillen and the facilities were perfect for the event.
After dinner on Friday we had a Power Point Presentation, “Meet the Cousins”, then the rest of the evening was spent meeting new friends and enjoying the beautiful night.
Saturday started with an interesting talk by Veronica Williams from Australia, telling us of the research she has done tracing her Cassidy ancestors back to Ireland and also explaining her work with DNA to trace ancestral links.
Anyone interested in this subject, please contact Veronica as she has now volunteered to oversee the Clan’s DNA project.
Veronica’s talk was followed by an interesting presentation by Frank Roofe, who is a local historian and genealogist. Frank is also an honorary life member of the Cassidy Clan and has helped many people with their research. He has been an integral part of the Clan gatherings for the last 15 years. Frank gave us several good tips on research and afterwards was our guide on a bus tour visiting interesting historical sites in the area.
We started off with the Enniskillen Castle museum, previously the Maguire Castle until the English confiscated it and their lands. The museum contains some very interesting displays showing how the people of the area have lived over the last two thousand years. We later continued on via Bally Cassidy to the Ardess Famine Graveyard and finally to the Ancient Cassidy Rath. It was a very special feeling to be at the Rath, knowing that over a thousand years ago our ancestors lived there.
After dinner on Saturday evening we were invited to an old fashioned Céili House, with three members of the Blackwater Céili Band. Eamonn Keeman and Jeff the Piper tod many tales of old and we were also entertained by singer Tina Cassidy and some talented clan members including Noel Cassidy.
The Sunday program started with a talk by Noel Cassidy about some of the renowned early Cassidy poets, including Gill Mo Duta Ua Caiside and Tómas Ban Úa Caiside.
This was followed by a fascinating P P Presentation by Alf Monaghan where he looked at the history of early Irish Christianity from a very different perspective. Titled “Monastic Ireland – A Gift of the Nile” it showed evidence that the original Christians in Ireland were Coptic Christians escaping the persecution of the Romans. Alf showed many examples of evidence substantiating the links back to Egypt. This was a long time before Saint Patrick came to Romanize the Christians in Ireland.
Alf’s talk was followed by another bus trip, this time to the ferry landing near Devenish Island.
We then took the ferry across to the Island for the Inauguration Ceremony of our new An Caisideach.
This was also a special experience and included many old customs of previous generations. We had lots of time to explore the Island, the ruins of the old monastery and the interesting museum.
We then returned to the hotel for the Gala Dinner and evening entertainment with the Byrne Brothers and the dancing and fellowship continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Many of us met again on Monday morning to say our farewells and there were quite a few who promised to meet again at the next rally in three years. We hope to see lots of members there in 2020.
If you would like to see more of the above events, I have a photographic reportage posted on my website under the following link: www.cassidys.ch/cassidy.htm
I hope you enjoy it.