London Reunion – May 1996

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Everything went perfect”, Tom Mac said. “ St. Joseph’s Club was an ideal location..” It was great to  meet old friends..” More people would be there but for the holiday week-end and others had to go to a wedding..” I was glad I went.. Maeve Kilkelly would have danced ‘til the dawn..”I’ll go again..”

Those words summed up the “gettogether in London” for all who attended St. Joseph’s Club, Empire Way, Wembley, on Saturday night, May 25th. It was a great opportunity for all who travelled to renew acquaintences with old friends, some had not met for over forty years and equally for all who made the journey from Athenry to meet up with family and parishioners.

The Mulkerrins family were there in strength, Gerry, Bernie, Rena, Patricia and Helena with their aunt Olive. The three McNamara sisters, Nancy, Betty and Pauline came along to keep an eye on Tom. J.J and Eilish Madden from Ballydavid and Sean Mitchell (brother of Paddy) with his wife Florence and their two daughters Lorraine and Michelle. Con Flannery from Caheroyan and Hugh Bowman with his parents. Maureen Crosby, Newline and Orla, Karen, and Dara Dunleavy to meet up with their father, Frank. Frank stayed on for a holiday. He has not settled since he came back! Martin Kelly from Kilcolgan, a cousin of Martin T. Kelly, was there. Niall Shanahan from Prospect was telling us about his first impressions of London. I’d say, he will find his way back as soon as he can. Liam Cummins Derrydonnell was all smiles and chat and kept a group of young people in good humour – Sinead Madden, Assumpta Freaney and her aunt Mary, and Madeline Roche from Lackagh. Lively company and it was great to meet up with them.

The big push to revive the London Reunion came from Frank Rabbitte when he was home for Lady Day last August. His interest and enthusiasm in bringing people together and for a group to go over put the responsiblity on Jimmy Somers to do something on the local scene. And he certainly did get the wheels in motion and put a lot of work into the preparations. It tested his remarkable patience and perseverance!
In London, Frank and his wife Kay got great support from Martin and Kathleen King, Caheroyan, and Kevin and Rita O’Brien. Publicity and tickets organising the venue and contact was made by them. They put a great effort into it. “That’s no bother”, Frank kept saying! On the local scene in our own parish, people were encouraged to send “letters of invitation” collected at the Churches.

Thirty five parishes in the London area had notice of the event in the parish newsletters, and the Connaught Tribune, Tuam Herald and Galway Bay F.M gave more publicity.

Gilbert McCarthy sent a letter to the homes of the students of Presentation College with information about the Reunion and Luke Glynn came over to represent the school and meet past pupils.
Thanks to the many people who helped in the promotion. We are grateful for all your help.

Something that added to the success of the event in a very special way, was the number of people who  made the effort to go over. It meant a lot to parishioners and friends in London to see such interest and support. Peggy & Courtney Andrews, Tom McNamara, Maeve Kilkelly, Ann Jennings, Luke Glynn, Fr. Tony King, Andy and Kathleen Bowman, Eithne Freaney, Frank Dunleavy, Jimmy and Breege Somers.

Many parishioners and friends from overseas will be home in Athenry for Lady Day and the Festival. We extend to them a Céad Míle Failte. We hope that they will experience great hospitality in Athenry during this colourful time of year.

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About this record

Written by Tony King

Published here 03 Jan 2023 and originally published August 1996

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