Mannion clan to gather in Menlough next weekend

The fourth annual Gathering of the Mannion Clan will take place in the village of Menlough in East Galway next weekend Friday and Saturday August 18-19 as National Heritage Week 2017 gets under way. Heritage will undoubtedly form the central theme of this year’s Mannion Rally, which will see the unveiling of new welcome name-stones bearing the village’s full Irish-language name Mionlach Uí Mhainnín (the small lough of the Mannions ) on all approach roads.

This will be the culmination of a joint initiative involving Menlough Tidy Towns Committee and the Mannion Clan Association, whose mutual desire to acknowledge the history and heritage of Menlough and the surrounding area since medieval times was the driving force behind the venture.

Friday evening’s formalities will begin at 8.00 pm sharp, with the official opening of Menlough Amenity Park by local parish priest, Fr John O’Gorman. The recently developed recreation area adjoins the site of the Ó Mainnín castle of Menlough, and overlooks the dried-up lough that gave the village its name.

The opening ceremony will be followed by a short talk on the history of Menlough Castle and the associated medieval village by Dr Joe Mannion, before the unveiling of the nearby Mionlach Uí Mhainnín name-stone by Councillor Eileen Mannion, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council.

A large attendance, both local and international, is expected at the event, with more than 50 of the Mannion diaspora worldwide planning to be present, in addition to a similar number from various parts of Ireland.

The attendees will afterwards repair to Thompson’s Lounge Bar in Menlough village, where they will be addressed by Galway County Heritage Officer, Marie Mannion, before having an opportunity to immerse themselves in the history and heritage of their Ó Mainnín forebears during a lecture by Clan historian, Dr Joe Mannion.

This will be followed by a detailed report on the progress being made with the Mannion DNA Project, which comprises two separate but complementary components – the ‘Mannion by DNA’ network on Facebook, initiated and administered by local genealogist Martin Curley from Guilka, and the ‘Mannion Surname Project’ at Family Tree DNA, established and administered by Jim Hollarn of San Diego, California.

Friday evening’s festivities will conclude with an assortment of Irish music, singing and storytelling, and complimentary refreshments will be provided for attendees.

On Saturday 19 August, a guided tour of the chief residential, ceremonial and burial sites that constitute The Mannion Clan Historical Trail will be led by Dr Joe Mannion and NUI Galway archaeologist, Dr Mags Mannion. All interested in partaking in this event are asked to assemble in the car park of Frank Mannion’s Lounge Bar in Abbeyknockmoy before 2.00 pm for an introductory talk.

During the course of the visit to the Mannion castle site at Clooncurreen, a newly erected lectern-style information board, sponsored and erected by Skehana and District Heritage Group, will be formally unveiled. The board features an artist’s impression of what the medieval tower house might have looked like when in use, together with some historical details relating to it and a brief history of the Mannion Clan.

Saturday’s activities will conclude at approximately 6.00 pm in the impressive ruins of Kilconnell Abbey, where the last known Chief of the Name of the Mannion Clan – John son of Malachy – was buried in a tomb dated 1648, with two of his kinsmen from the Clan stronghold of Menlough.

The Mannion Clan Association extends a warm welcome to all to attend these free National Heritage Week events.The support of Galway County Council for the 2017 Mannion Clan Gathering is warmly acknowledged.

Further information is available at https://www.facebook.com/themannionclan

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