In telling my six clan (iwi) and tribal (hapu) stories I thank the ancient recorders of history, the medieval monks, and include the Four Masters from the Donegal Franciscan monastery, now a ruin in Donegal town. Without these monks, many of these stories would no longer exist.
I am also reminded how many O’Dohertys have contributed and enriched my yarns. In offering my thanks, I start with the Inishowen and Derry O’Dohertys, especially those who have generously organised the five yearly clan reunions since 1985. I think of the older ones who have passed away – may they rest in peace. I particularly think of Paddy ‘Bogside’ Doherty who met me on my very first visit to Ireland and welcomed me in Derry with the words, ‘Welcome home, son.’ These three words still have a profound impact on me today.
I thank the current Irish and American O’Dochartaigh Clan Reunion Committee for all they do for the clan and acknowledge the disappointment for the many worldwide Dohertys who were looking forward to the clan reunion that was cancelled in 2020 because of international travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19.
Sarah and I were hoping to bring these stories to the reunion to share with members of the clan. Instead, we are publishing them on the ‘Walking to Donegal’ website as a gift to all the O’Dohertys to know some of our history and celebrate our clan stories.
The O’Doherty Keep and its restoration was to be a highlight for the 2020 reunion. I thank the O’Doherty brothers, Ronan and Gearoid, for being the ‘keepers of the Keep’. In 2018, we spent a wonderful time hearing their stories of the Keep. Many clan members have appreciated their commitment to this important clan project. We, and many others, have enjoyed their generous hospitality as they meet us and walk us across the bridge over the Crana River to the Keep.
I also acknowledge our clan artist, musician and genealogist, Seoirse O’Dochartaigh and the many creative ways he tells the stories of our clan history in Inishowen.
A special Clan Reunion commemorative calendar is available to purchase on the O’Doherty Keep website.
Donations to the restoration of the O’Doherty Keep can be made via the website too.
Many close friendships have grown between Inishowen families and my family in Aotearoa (New Zealand). What began as a search to find the answer to ‘who I was’ and ‘where I was from’, has become the richest experience of my life.
In conclusion, this Māori whakatauki or proverb from Aotearoa (New Zealand) highlights a most important reminder that is relevant to my family (whānau), my tribe (hapū) and my clan (iwi).
He aha te mea nui o te ao
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.
You can download this acknowledgement, for easy sharing, here …