02/02/2017
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How to organise a clan gathering

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Mary Kelly of the Kelly Clan Association shares her tips for organising a clan gathering, to bring together worldwide members of a family or clan.

The Kelly Clan have been holding gatherings since 1993 when the first one took place in Co Tipperary. Since then the Clan have held bi-annual gatherings throughout Ireland, attracting people worldwide. It’s a great opportunity for people who have a genetic, historic and cultural link to meet and have a good time.

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Start by finding an interested group of people and form a committee. They would have to be committed to the task, carry out what is required and communicate! This is the most important aspect of organising a gathering – communication! Without it you are lost, so make sure the people you have on board will do this.

The practicalities

Once your committee’s in place, you need to select a venue and ask one or two of your committee to investigate. Make sure you know what you want from the venue, eg, conference facilities for speakers; do you want a gala dinner, etc. Armed with these basic requirements you can then get costings. If your chosen venue is a hotel, then they will probably do a good deal for a weekend stay for your guests.

Your committee may know of speakers who you can approach to give talks. Some speakers will only charge a small fee. If you are thinking of arranging a tour around your chosen area, now is the time to get some prices from local coach companies. They will probably all charge around the same, so choose the one you are most comfortable with. You may need to issue tickets for the various events and one of your committee could obtain competitive prices. When setting your ticket price, remember to add a little on for contingency – just in case you have a shortfall!

Spread the word

Then the hard part begins - getting the crowd in! Advertise your event widely, through local papers, social media, church newsletters, local and national TV/radio stations and of course the all important word of mouth. Prepare some flyers which can be displayed in libraries, post offices, shops etc. In fact, anywhere that has a notice board.

If you are having an evening meal, it is always good to have some music; in the case of the Kelly Clan, we usually have traditional musicians, but that is personal choice.

For more information or advice, contact Mary Kelly by e-mail or visit the Kelly Clan Association website. The site also has information on the Association’s 2017 Clan Gathering, which will take place from 19-21 May 2017 at the Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co Clare, Ireland.

(Images from top: Clan Kelly Association members at a recent Council Meeting in Aughtrim; flying the flag at the Rock of Gibraltar)

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