They came from all parts of the world, all parts of Ireland and all parts of the Maine Valley!
And they got together for the Breen Family Reunion which was organised by the Irish Rambling House front-woman, Kay O’Leary.
Tralee native, Kay, who lives in Lyreacrompane, has a long time interest in genealogy and decided to research her mother’s side of the family – the Breens. The story goes back to 1800 in Croughmore and lead to contact with decedents now living in Minnesota, Michigan, Italy, and England as well as from all over Ireland. And they all travelled to Kerry for their gathering.
The event was held over two days and began with a gathering at the Meadowlands Hotel in Tralee at which 120 sat down to a meal and mighty entertainment by the Triona Breen school of Dancing.
Informative presentations by Eamonn Breen, Castleisland and Brendon Duffy from the United States and a lovely rendition of Danny Boy by Cullen Schirtz from Michigan. Sonny Egan sang The House on the Hillside at Ballydunlea which was composed for the occasion by Kay O’Leary and Joe Harrington. DJ Dermot O’Brien provided the music and singing for the rest of the night.
Day two of the gathering was a coach tour of places connected with the Breens such as: Croughmore, Ballydunlea, Kiltallagh Church, graveyard and old church ruins and Kilnanare burial ground near Firies.
Then it was on to Killarney for a cruise on the lake in a Water Bus in glorious sunshine. On the way back the group stopped at Griffin’s Bar in Castlemaine for some food, music by Charlie Boyle and the obligatory singsong.
“I was delighted to have been able to bring people from all over back to their roots. They will be going back with great memories and new friendships. One of the visitors from the States summed up the event in a typical America fashion with a single word – Wow,” Kay told The Maine Valley Post.