Successful Clan MacKenna Rally

The McKennas were once the dominant Clan of north Monghan and South Tyrone.

The sixth Clan MacKenna Rally was held on last weekend 28th to 30th June, in the Sliabh Beagh Tourism Centre Knockatallon, Co Monaghan. It was a resounding success despite the lack of numbers from the North American Clan members, which is understandable giving the worry regarding safety in air travel. However a number of brave souls made the effort, and enjoyed themselves.

Friday night was the starting point with the Inauguration of the Honorary Chieftain. The outgoing Chieftain Laurence McKenna of Gallinagh, Monaghan, had a very active term of office and attended many functions on behalf of the Clan MacKenna. It was he, as tradition goes, inaugurated the new Chieftain Bernard McKenna of Enagh, Monaghan, a steadfast, staunch and very active member of the Clan. In his address gave thanks to Laurence McKenna on the work he has done with his committee. He also called on the young people of the Clan MacKenna to get involved and retain the history and heritage of the forebearers. Ongoing on the night was the registration Clan members.

The launch of the Clan Journal, number 8, was undertaken by Mr Eugene Swezey, from near Boston USA. Mr Swezey is an authority on the MacKenna Clan and his book which was published in the States, has been influential in the reforming of the Clan. He praised the work of the editor and content of the Journal, which he said, that all North Americans of MacKenna blood enjoyed thoroughly and look forward to reading after each Rally. Mr Seamus McCluskey, the editor of the Journal, thanked Mr Swezey and said it was a pleasure to do the editing as the articles were well worth publishing and in fact he had started on the next book.

A short talk on the MacKennas by Brendan 0'Neill, this was dealing with their part in estate rentals, rounded off the night. There was entertainment delivered by the local Barritatopy Ceili Band who gave us reels and jigs a plenty. There were other local guests Kieran McKenna, on fiddle, the singing of Collette Johnston and brother Brian Mullen, and the dancers of McQuaid School of Dancing. Everybody had a very good night.

Saturday was the tour of MacKenna Country guided by Seamus McCluskey. From Knockatallon to Errigal Graveyard via Bragan Cross, Liskenna, Tully, Glennan Drumbanagher, Glaslough and Castle Leslie. A very historical and witty' tour by Seamus with many distracting stories. There was a very good tum out and Veronica Apfelstedt, from Mullagh via Paris, and her family enjoyed every moment, but poor Claire Boylan, from Georgia, kept leaning on husband Frank, from Ardaghy son of the late Pat Boylan.

At St Mary's Urbleshanny the Clan members presented gifts at mass to represent all aspects of its history. On Saturday night the Banquet was held in the Sliabh Beagh Tourism Centre. It was very well attended with well over a hundred McKennas and friends and was enjoyed by one and all. A welcoming address was given by Mrs Mary McKenna, Hon President from Kilrudden, Co Tyrone, she welcomed all the visitors to our shores and all who attended the dinner. The food was of the best standards possible and the staff were excellent. Well done Sliabh Beagh! The dancing followed and the music was supplied by Tumbleweed. Sunday was a rest day and the dancers were out again that night with the closedown Ceili, Sets and Old Iyme. The music was supplied by Grousel and Davey Fallon, from Westmeath. The night and weekend ended with the new Chieftain Bernard Mc Kenna urging people to encourage young people to take an interest in their Clan whether it was the MacKenna Clan or not. "Cirtle Bharraigh Abu!!" The Clan MacKenna website will be up and running by the end of the year and will have coverage of this years Rally.

Courtesy of the Northern Standard