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Clann Gathering 2000

 


Monday 18th September 2000

Well I have just returned from my first clann gathering and it was a great success though very tiring and due to other commitments I could only stay for two of the four days! I was a little anxious as I travelled to Ferns that things might be awkward. Many of the attendees would be hardened veterans of previous events and I (despite the name) might be considered an outsider.

In my experience meetings with your immediate relatives can be awkward the first time never mind people that have to go back 5 or 6 generations to find a common link. Add to the mixture the fact that I was bringing my partner who has only met my mother twice and you can see the reasons for my nerves. Thankfully things turned out splendidly.

We arrived in Ferns with about 15 minutes left to go before the official start of the gathering. After locating the pub that was to serve as the event headquarters I entered and to my horror discovered just two people lodged at the bar mulling over their drinks. Several things flashed through my mind in the blinking of an eye -

Had I somehow managed to get the dates wrong and I was too early or (worse) too late?
Were the two characters at the bar the only ones to have made the effort to turn up?
Had all those already assembled decided to play some cruel joke and hide in the toilets until I left?
Had there been a nuclear strike on the Wexford area by some rogue state leaving me as the sole remaining male Kavanagh in the south east of Ireland?

I quickly analysed and discounted each idea in turn. Slowly, and I hope nonchalantly lest my partner notice the rising panic, I surveyed each corner of the pub. Finally I spied through one of the doors a function room at the back of the establishment that seemed to be prepared for some sort of event.

We exited the pub and nervously walked around to the back of the premises where we found a courtyard. To the left was the function room, while to the right the clann insignia fluttered gently in the breeze on the door of a barn.

I was trying to decide which way to turn - left to the function room or right towards the barn. If I made the right decision now the whole weekend would be a wonderful festival of fun and friendship. But if I took the wrong decision the whole thing could be a disaster and I would have to return home in disgrace - or at least that is how it seemed to me as I waited patiently for my brain to decide. Finally it kicked into gear and I made towards the barn.

As I approached I could distinctly hear American voices engaged in conversation. Seated just inside the doorway was a gentleman seated on a chair and before him on a small table was a nest of cables, tools, papers, folders and a laptop. I had a hunch that this was "German Jim".

For some reason in our clann James is a very popular first name for boys and a very unpopular first name for girls. I myself am christened James Michael Patrick. James is frequently turned into Jimmy or Jim. Having had brief discussions with the clann organisation in the past I knew there were many Jim's each known by a nickname to tell them apart:

Belize (or Jungle Jim) - Who isn't from Belize but does live there
German Jim - Who isn't German but does speak German and works for Volkswagen
Omaha Jim - Who may or may not be from Omaha
Lucky Jim - Who died in a tragic accident... OK so I made that one up.

One of the people I had previously conversed with via email was German Jim so I knew that he was the clann genealogist. This knowledge combined with the mass of paperwork that surrounded the gentleman in the barn was what led to my conclusion that the man was German Jim. Of course he could just as easily have been a local farmer turned hacker weighing up the pros and cons of Linux Vs Windows.

 


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