The Irish in America


Gathering Spotlight III


In this week’s Spotlight, we take a look at one of the most creative Gatherings I have heard of so far – Welcoming Claire to Clare. We also highlight the Aylward Gathering taking place in Waterford this September, and there is a weekend of fun planned in Mallow this Easter. We would also like to share the official invitation to the Sullivan-O’Leary Gathering this June in Bantry.

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Calling all Sullivans from Baurgorm!

A Baurgorm farmhouse in ruins -- photo courtesy of Donal Collins

A Baurgorm farmhouse in ruins — photo courtesy of Donal Collins

Although I have yet to receive a Gathering postcard from Ireland, I have been graciously invited to a gathering event next year. The invitation did not come from my family in Ireland, but rather from a client.

Shortly after Regan and I returned from Ireland in October, Donal Collins of County Cork contacted us. He wanted to trace the American branch of his family tree. Donal’s mother, Dympna, had completed extensive genealogy, carrying on the work her aunt had begun years ago, collecting the stories of the older generations in Ireland, as well as keeping in touch with those who emigrated. Dympna corresponded with American cousins and hosted them on visits to Cork, but after some time they lost touch.

We got to work on the search for descendants and began by looking at four Sullivan siblings who left from Baurgorm, near Bantry, in West Cork, in the late nineteenth century. Their father Denis Sullivan of Baurgorm married Helena O’Leary of nearby Widdy Island. Denis built the farmhouse pictured above. Three of the Sullivan siblings (Patrick, Denis, and Helena) settled in Manchester, New Hampshire. The fourth sibling, Timothy, settled in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Once we had located the four siblings in the records, we turned our attention to their descendants. Some descendants have already been “found” and invited to the Sullivan O’Leary Baurgorm Bantry Gathering on June 15, 2013. Donal has a full slate of events planned, including a Mass, reception, food, video on the history of the family, and live entertainment. Donal told me he has a really great group of musicians lined up and is encouraging attendees to share their talent – be it a song, a story, or a dance.

Take a look at the invitation we sent to descendants found thus far!

Photo courtesy of Donal Collins

Photo courtesy of Donal Collins

Sounds like a great night! Now, we just need to get some American cousins to Bantry for the celebration. If you claim descent from the Sullivan or O’Leary families of Baurgorm/Widdy Island via Manchester, New Hampshire, leave a comment or send me an email. I will put you in touch with Donal right away. It is not every day you receive an invitation like this!

Here are some of the surnames associated with the Sullivan-O’Leary family in the United States:

  • Martin
  • McGillan
  • Sullivan
  • O’Leary
  • Rohrbaugh
  • Simard

If you think you might be related, or know someone who is, please contact us. Get in touch with your family history, see the farmhouse Donal and his wife Carol lovingly rebuilt in 2000, and learn the stories of the Sullivan and O’Leary families.

Click here to see some fantastic photos of the Baurgorm Stone Circle.