Culloty Gathering a huge success

Over 150 descendants of the Culloty families of Currovough, Gurrane, Ballybeggan, Baltovin, Ballyroe, Ballymacelligott and Oakpark thronged into the Ballyroe Heights Hotel on Sunday last for the first ever Gathering of this particular Kerry Culloty clan. The home families were boosted by the arrival of relatives from New Zealand, South Africa, America, Canada and England, with the southern hemisphere contingent connecting with their Culloty ancestors for the first time ever.

The occasion was prompted by the results of Jenny Baldwin’s research into her own family history from New Zealand over a 40 year period, which established her great grandmother’s connection to Currovough, and a chance meeting with Mike Culloty on Facebook last October, who introduced her to the Cullotys of Gurrane.

As a result of that meeting on social media and correspondence that followed between them, it emerged that Jenny would be in Tralee to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary in September and Mike decided to organise a Culloty Gathering to mark the occasion. The response Mike received from the local Culloty families to the idea encouraged him to continue with the project, which culminated in the events at Ballyroe last Sunday.

Over 100 photos were on exhibition-old family photographs restored for the day and each telling its own story; the history of the Culloty family was outlined with a spectacular display of historical documents, school attendance records, emigration information on family members, newspaper reports of the time from home and abroad, and personal family correspondence submitted for the event; and the family trees of every family from 1799 to 2018 was presented on a 20 metre long wall chart which was a constant focus for all attendants throughout the day.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Brendan Griffin welcomed everyone to the event and complimented the organisers on the incredible achievement of bringing so many people and historical artefacts together in one place on the same day. “You can all be very proud of the photographs, family trees, and historical documents on display in this room and I am sure you are going to have wonderful memories of the occasion in the future” he said in his concluding remarks.

The highlight of the day and what made this such a wonderful occasion, according to Mike Culloty, was the family speakers, who spoke in turn on behalf of  Currovough, Gurrane, Ballybeggan, Baltovin, Ballyroe, Ballymacelligott and Oakpark, South Africa, New Zealand, America, Canada and England. “It was incredible to listen to each person as they shared their family experiences in their respective locations; it was informative, historical, entertaining and it brought together the full picture of the Culloty history from Currovough to South Africa, from Gurrane to New Zealand, from Ballybeggan to California. For me the research undertaken and displayed on the walls of the Ballyroe Hotel found new life; each story was unique and powerful; and yet all were perfectly woven into the fabric of the Culloty cloth. It will never be forgotten”.

The proceedings of the day, featuring the full display of photographs and historical documents exhibited on the day, interviews with Jenny Baldwin, Bianca De Bruyn, Mary O Regan Abbey, references to family history and location, and all the wonderful contributions made by all the family speakers, are now stored forever in a four hour long DVD presentation. “For me there was too much history involved in the day that needed to be recorded for future generations, apart altogether from the wonderful experiences shared by those present on Sunday, to let the occasion pass without actually ensuring that it was preserved for the future and when the memories of those present has passed from us all. I am delighted now that we made that decision”.

The DVD is available from  Wednesday 26th September on http://www.michaelculloty.com/thecullotygathering/event-updates/ at a cost €15.