Until we meet again in Sydney in 2007

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

It's a Rare Breed!
My father, Pat Coleman, got it right, not that I had ever any reason to doubt his word, when he was heard to say from time to time that the Coleman Clan was a rare breed. All this was indeed readily apparent to those of us who were lucky enough to be present at that very special gathering of the Coleman Clan in Ireland from the 6th to the 8th of August, 2004. The historic significance of this event is made all the more obvious by the fact that this was the first time for many centuries that the Colemans have met in such numbers under the banner of Clan Coleman. The correspondence that I have received since returning to Australia about a month ago has declared the gathering a resounding success.
The Barbecue at Colemans
The weekend began with a barbecue at the Coleman family home in Cahermaculick where Noel and Helen Coleman were fine and very gracious hosts to both local and overseas visitors. It provided an excellent opportunity for cousins from around the world, many seeing one another for the first time, to meet in a very relaxed and informal setting, the long, bright and warm evening as well as the fine food, wine and other labels available adding to the overall atmosphere which we all very much enjoyed. No party, particularly an Irish one, would be complete without a few songs and there could be none better to fill the bill than Paddy Holleran, Carrie Coleman and Willie Butler who, according to some, made a very surprising but entirely successful debut on the evening.
Photos of the Barbecue
More backs than fronts in this one and plenty of observers but it does capture the atmosphere somewhat!


Many of us, though first cousins, met on this evening for the first time. Here are Patrick Coleman from Dunchurch in England and Mick Coleman from Sydney with so much to catch up on.


Carrie Coleman from Westport with Paul Coleman from London adding both youth and glamour to the occasion. Expect to see Carrie high on the charts soon.















From the left, Clair and Derek Timms from Rugby on their first visit to Ireland with cousin Kevin Meehan from Montreal and Clair's mother, LInda Downie, from Rugby. Appropriately enough, perched on top of my scanner is a very colourful rugby ball presented to me on the occasion by John Coleman's descendants from Rugby showing all the countries in the world of rugby as well as its original home.














Young Max Timms from Rugby in England caught in the middle of his dinner. Max took it all in his stride as he travelled from one event to another with parents Clair and Derek and Nan Linda. He was just great!
Obviously enjoying the occasion, beautiful Megan Coleman from next door and all of six months old was the youngest clan member present. What a lovely photo of a very happy and photogenic Megan!

Pat and Mary Coleman from London enjoying the occasion.
Before arriving in Ireland, I was told that only Pat would be present. I was delighted to see his whole family there knowing Pat's sense of family and priorities.
Very pretty two year old Shauna Butler leading her best friend and mother, Colette, around to meet all her cousins.
A first meeting but instant friends, Martha Caluori from Montreal and Mary Coleman from Sydney.
Here's to a long life and a merry one;
A cold beer -- and another one!
Kevin Meehan and Gerry Butler.
Local girl, Maureen Butler, enjoying a quieter moment with Patrick and Barbara Coleman from Dunchurch.
And so here endeth the Barbecue and begineth our travels to times and places past.

On Saturday morning, yet another beautiful and sunny day, we set off from cahermaculick to visit those places close by that featured prominently in the lives of our ancestors, and particularly in the early lives of Mary, Pat, John and Jim Coleman. This picture shows us in the fourth class classroom of Gortjordan National School where John and Jim Coleman finished their primary schooling. John settled in England in 1936 and Jim in Montreal in 1931, and so I was delighted to be able to take John's children, Patrick and Linda, his grand-daughter, Clair, and great grandsons, Jack and Max, to this fine old school. I was equally delighted to have with me Jim Coleman's daughters, Mary Meehan and Martha Caluori, and his grandson, Kevin Meehan. I have met Kevin in Ireland a few times in recent years and I would like to thank him for making the trip again on this occasion all the way from Tokyo. I applaud him more still for taking the time to come, knowing that he was getting married a month later.

This was also the school which my brothers, sisters and I attended in the 1940's and '50's. In the picture from the left are Colette Devcich, Mary Coleman, Patrick Coleman, Mick Coleman, Linda Downie, Clair Timms, Barbara Coleman, Patricia Coleman, Kevin Meehan, Martha Caluori and Mary Meehan. Sitting at the desk is Roisin Naughton, Mick and Mary Coleman's grand-daughter from Shrule. It was great to have my cousin Colette, very knowledgeable and helpful in local matters, along as well as my brother, Mick, and his wife, Mary, and of course my wife, Patricia, who was born and reared in Sydney.


Outside Gortjordan School.

Our next stop was at the Parish Church in Kilmaine, only a few kilometres from Gortjordan. This church became the family's parish church in 1917 when my grandparents, John and Mary Coleman, and their four children, Mary, Pat, John and Jim moved to Cahermaculick from Turloughmore. Before then, the family would have attended the Catholic Church at The Neale as their parish church.



After leaving Kilmaine, we travelled in the direction of The Neale for about ten minutes before arriving at the village of Turloughmore. I should mention here that all those places we visited are described in some detail under the relevant headings elsewhere in this web site. As odd as it might seem, whenever I visit Ireland, I hear at some stage a call from within to visit Turloughmore, the birthplace of my father, my aunt and my uncles and our paternal ancestors for many centuries. Despite the fact that I was the only family member who knew where exactly the family home once stood, the only local members of the clan to accompany us there were Colette and Roisin. It was, however, a moment of great excitement for me, indeed one filled with a great sense of satisfaction, to know that now there stood their descendants who, representing very rightly all their descendants, had come from distant lands to pay their respects. It was a beautiful moment!

I was hoping to be able to introduce our party to Bridie Gibbons who lived in the lovely white thatched cottage nearby, but as I had learned a few days earlier Bridie is now in a home for the elderly in Castlebar. While she had lived on her own for years and into her 90's without mishap, more recently she had sustained a couple of fractures in falls. Despite this, she is I believe as cheerful and as bright as ever, and comes to spend a day in the old place from time to time. (If you haven't seen her or her cottage, take a look at the photos in the page on Turloughmore.) I certainly missed her this time as she was such a great link with the past and our ancestors, as well as being a true exponent of traditional Irish hospitality. Since 1992, I have travelled to Turloughmore six times and on each visit have spent a couple of hours chatting to Bridie about family, local history, customs and traditions. Her welcome was always such a hearty and very warm one it made you feel good to be there, and I can so clearly recall that gradually receding brandy level in the large bottle that stood between us on the table. A lot of our conversations I have recorded on video. When I was saying farewell last time, she remarked, "Sure isn't it great of you to come so often. When do you think you'll be home again. Sure you never know, I might still be here please God!"

Here we are at the Turlough in Turloughmore, or the big lake that floods in winter and dries up in summer that gave its name to the village. It's just a couple of hundred metres from the village.
Shortly we came upon The Neale National School only a short drive from Turloughmore. My father, Pat Coleman, and his sister, Mary, received their primary education here. Their two brothers, John and Jim Coleman, began their primary education here but completed it at Gortjordan National School. Have a look at the page on The Neale for photos of both the old and new schools.
Just across the road from the school is a fascinating stone monument. Central to it is a stone slab with carvings of a human, an animal and a reptile which are referred to as the Deithe feile (The Gods of Welcome), Dia na Ffeale or 'The Gods of The Neale', 'The Neale' being the anglicised form of 'na Ffeale' (of welcome). The slab itself was found in a cave in 1739 close to where it is now enshrined and is said to be of great antiquity.
Just around the corner from the school, the village of The Neale comes into view. We stopped for a well-earned break, some refreshments and lunch at Mellotts Pub before heading off for the Island of Inishmacatreer in Lough Corrib about ten kilometres away. (Take a minute to check out the page on Inishmacatreer.)
My paternal grandmother was Mary Daveron from Inishmacatreer. Her nephew, Sonny Davoren, has lived all his life in the home that replaced the one where she was born. I first met Sonny in 1986 when Patricia and I called there to tell him that my father was seriously ill and not expected to recover. It was my first visit to the island and my first opportunity to meet the Daveron family. Since then we have visited a number of times during our trips to Ireland and on each occasion I have learned something new about my grandparents who had died some five years before I was born. As Sonny knew his first cousins, Jim and John Coleman, well, this was an excellent opportunity to introduce their sons and daughters to him. Sonny looked forward to the meeting and was delighted to be able to talk to them about their parents. He appears in the photo fifth from the right next to Mick Coleman and grand-daughter Roisin.
Others in the photo are, from L to R, Patricia Coleman, Geraldine Daveron (Sonny's Grand-daughter) & Pauline (Sonny's Daughter-in-Law), Clair Timms, Patrick & Barbara Coleman, Max Timms in the arms of Linda Downie, Martha Caluori and Mary Meehan, Sonny Daveron, Mick & Roisin Coleman, Kevin Meehan and Jack Downie.
After bidding farewell to the Daveron family, we headed for the hotel in Cong by the bridge to watch the Gaelic Football Semi-Final between Mayo and Fermanagh. It was a very good performance by both teams that ended in a draw, but certainly not one Mayo could repeat in the Final some six weeks later.

The Clan Reunion Dinner at the Anglers' Rest in Headford on Sunday
8 August, 2004

The Anglers' Rest Hotel in Headford proved a very attractive venue for our clan dinner. The staff went out of their way to make the event as successful as possible. The management even acquired a new data projector for my use on the night when they learned that I intended doing a presentation with the aid of my laptop computer. From the time I first contacted them from Sydney some six months before the event, they could not have been more helpful. The attitude of both management and staff in the provision of excellent service and first class facilities added in a very real sense to the success of the evening. So my very sincere thanks to the Anglers' Rest Hotel.
A task completed on arrival by all members was the signing of the Clann Cholmain Rolla. Here we have an excellent photo of young Michael Naughton from Shrule signing the clan roll as his dad, John Joe, and brother, Patrick, watch on with interest. I thought it was just great when Michael insisted on doing his own signing. There was no way he would allow his dad to sign on his behalf. He did a fine job as this photo shows!
I was sorry afterwards that I hadn't arranged the seating for dinner by using place names. It wouldn't have been difficult to achieve this successfully and appropriately, and it would certainly have brought members together faster adding a touch of spontaneity to the early part of the evening. Despite this, most members would have met one another during the course of the evening.
Given that the occasion had brought family together for the first time from all over the world, one would have expected a goodly number of cameras there to record the event. As this was not the case, I have included nearly thirty photos which I believe do just that as well as capture something of the atmosphere of the evening.
In this photo, we have Colemans everywhere. Seated are Michelle, John and Calum Coleman with John, Martin and Michael Coleman in conversation just behind. To the right are Chris and Amanda Coleman with John Joe and Bridie Coleman just behind them.
Taken by surprise, Mick Coleman from Sydney turns around in time for this good photo of himself as he talks to Alan Coleman and girlfriend Donna.
Cousins all, John and Calum Coleman with sisters Hayley and Carrie Coleman and Noel Coleman approaching in the background.
Whatever Martin and Michael Coleman are up to, John is not too sure about it! Mary Coleman, centre, enjoying a chat with daughter Catherine Naughton and Teresa Murphy from Glencorrib.
Where would we be without the coalition of the willing? Well here's a coalition of a much better type - Maureen Glynn from London, Delia Doyle from Sydney and Martha Caluori from Montreal. Delia and Maureen had indicated their inability to attend the function and so to find them there was a lovely surprise. Their presence was really appreciated by Martha and the rest of us.
Patricia Coleman from Sydney with sisters-in-law Maureen Glynn and Delia Doyle.
It is I feel considerably more difficult for young people to attend such a function. So my thanks and congratulations to Michael Coleman from Sydney and Kevin Meehan from Tokyo and to all the other young people who made the effort to be there.
A very relaxed scene with another five Colemans - Mary, Kate, Michelle, Pat and John.
The proud parents, Amanda and Chris Coleman, and grandparent, Noel Coleman, of baby Megan whose photo shines in the first part of this report.
Our family tree as developed in the web site has over twenty 'main' branches. During the evening, a member from each branch was invited to the microphone to introduce all his or her branch members as their photos were projected onto the wall enabling all present to view them clearly. As my cousin, Gerry Murphy, mentioned on the night, all the genealogical information aside, it is a great achievement alone to have photos of the members of all the branches since the turn of the last century available on the web site. No one is missing!
In this photo are some members of the Cahermaculick Colemans - Helen with sons, Alan and David, and friend Donna.
It was great to have cousins from my mother's side of the family with us on the night some of whom I hadn't met for years. Here we have Gerry Murphy from Glencorrib, with arms outstretched and about to break into song, in the company of brother Jimmy and sister-in-law Anne. I recommend the page on Glencorrib in the web site to you if you haven't already seen it.
Let me say here and now how very grateful I am to our cousins from Dunchurch or Rugby for their tremendous support. My first contact with uncle John's descendants was as recent as four or five months before the reunion. They promptly and very kindly provided all the information and photos used in the web site for their family trees. They also all showed great interest in what I was doing and their enthusiasm for the reunion was most heartening and encouraging. Whenever I needed any additional information or photos, all I had to do was email Linda and Derek and in no time at all, there it was in my computer. They also, to the person, went out of their way to show their gratitude on more occasions than one for all that was done to bring about a successful reunion.
In this photo we have Linda Timms with son Max, husband Derek, and Mother, Linda Downie.


The children were quick to get into the spirit of things. By all appearances, they had a lovely evening. Providing some background action for the adults in the photo, we have Michael and Patrick Naughton from Shrule with their cousin Jack from Rugby, and Roisin Naughton to the right concentrating on the camera - the other one! The adults are Colette Devcich from Dublin, Patrick Coleman from Dunchurch, and Michael Joe Swift from Coventry. Michael Joe was also a great help, and from what I have heard went out of his way to be with us. It was he who provided the information that enabled me to get in touch with the Dunchurch Colemans. When Patricia and I returned to Sydney, there waiting for us was a lovely 'thank you' letter from Patrick and Barbara Coleman from Dunchurch.

This is a fine photo of sisters Martha Caluori and Mary Meehan, our cousins from Montreal. Martha and Mary are my uncle Jim's daughters. It was just fantastic to have their support all along. I am so proud of all my Montreal or Canadian cousins and their strong commitment to family, the likes I have not witnessed elsewhere. My only regret was that their brother, Jim, who wanted so much to be there, had a pressing medical problem preventing his coming. I was so disappointed for him, but I'm certain he'll make up for it in 2007.

Here we have John Joe and Bridie Coleman from Cordroon and their three grandsons, Kieran, Niall and Paul Coleman from London. It was a rather hectic time for John Joe and Bridie keeping up their support for the Mayo football team and attending the functions that comprised the reunion. They were certainly none the worse for wear and looked great on the night.
Before leaving Australia, I felt good about the reunion in knowing that Mick and Mary Coleman from Sydney were going to be there. There is really something special about knowing that you can always rely on certain people like them for their support. With them in the picture is Nonnie O'Reilly from Loughrea. It was wonderful to see our sister Nonnie enjoying the occasion as she met many of her cousins present for the first time.
Where else could you get a picture like this with such happiness radiating from it? This is the lovely Butler family of Gerry, Rhys, Shauna and Colette. This picture alone telsl the whole story of the reunion.
It wouldn't be an Irish function without a demonstration of Irish step dancing. We were entertained by a spectacular display of dancing from a wonderful group of young dancers in dazzling costumes. My sincere thanks to all the dancers and their teacher Catherine Naughton, all of whom must have been feeling exhausted after competing up country during the day. Catherine's three children, Patrick, Roisin and Michael, were among the dancers and performed magnificently. In the photo on the right is Roisin who not only looked the part but danced with such ease and grace.
Young Michael's aim was to entertain and he knew what it took to do just that as he performed a number of dances with the group, on his own and with Roisin.
As the night progressed, we were treated to some fine singing by Carrie Coleman, Gerry Murphy and Colette Butler. Here we have Gerry singing "Take me back to Mayo" as only a Mayo man can with enthusiastic support from his sisters, Frances and Delia, and sister-in-law, Anne.
Hayley, Carrie and Kirsty - the happy, talented and glamorous Coleman sisters from Westport who are always so lovely to meet whether at a function or at home.
It's time to go but Willie Butler is not ready to budge despite some gentle encouragement from Martha and Mary.

I hope that the photos and comments recall for you many very happy and memorable moments of our clan reunion. Patricia and I were delighted to meet you all in such exciting and special circumstances. The joy and pleasure of meeting cousins after all those years and especially of meeting them in Ireland at a family reunion, and being able to accompany them to where their father was born and went to school, cannot be measured. While we had the good fortune of spending a very memorable week in 1997 with our Coleman family in Montreal, and we have met Jim Coleman and his son, Kirk, in Ireland since then, it was the first time that we had met Martha Caluori and Mary Meehan on Irish soil and it felt good. Our first contact ever with my uncle John's descendants was earlier this year. Imagine what a thrill it was to learn a few weeks later that Patrick and Barbara Coleman, as well as Linda Downie and perhaps other family members, were planning to be at the reunion. This was all it took! I immediately set about securing a venue and confirming dates. In fact, to my great delight, a party of seven was joining us from Rugby comprising Patrick and Barbara Coleman, Linda Downie and her daughter Clair Timms accompamied by her husband, Derek, and their children, Jack and Max. Ours was a special meeting that was repeated again and again for them as they met for the first time so many cousins during the weekend of our reunion. A wonderful weekend, a rare and grand event, a fine people, a great and special family! My sincere thanks to all of you for coming and being part of it.

So, until we meet again in 2007 in Sydney at the Second Meeting of Clan Coleman of the Modern Era, may you and your family enjoy good health and fortune.
Martin and Patricia Coleman.
As this web site is continually upgraded, please check it out regularly. FORWARD to 2007 Sydney Australia