Gathering and AGM Dublin, Ireland

The 2013 DGS Annual Gathering was held in Ireland from Friday 26th to Monday 29th July 2013 and was based at the Ashling Hotel in Dublin, conveniently situated near the city centre.

Below you will find the Chairman’s Diary, which gives an account of the weekend together with a small selection of photographs. We also carry a selection of reminiscences about the weekend from delegates and hope that all those of you who were unable to join us in Dublin will enjoy the coverage of the gathering that you will find on our websites, and in the next issue of the DGS Journal, to be published at the end of the year.

Thanks go to Chairman Michael Dalton for organising the event, ably assisted by DGS Irish Secretary, Bernie Walsh, who lives near Dublin and is descended from Irish Daltons. Since the previous Dublin Gathering in 2005, she has been very involved with family history and now runs her own company, Daulten Quaile Genealogy, which undertakes research, facilitates courses and organises field trips.

Chairman's Diary

Here Michael Dalton gives his personal account of the Dalton Genealogical Society’s Annual Gathering for 2013 held in Dublin, Republic of Ireland from Friday 26th to Monday 29th July 2013. The weekend was based at the Ashling Hotel, Dublin.

Thursday 25th July

Kate and I flew to Dublin from London Gatwick on an early evening Aer Lingus flight. The flight was notable because of the very severe thunderstorm over Dublin airport which delayed our landing. There were dramatic views from the plane of the dark black mushroom shaped cloud and we were very glad we did not have to fly into it! Once safely on the ground, we were soon taking the airport bus to Heuston Station just near the hotel. We arrived at the Ashling around 9.30 pm, the same time as Howard and Jen, and David and Barbara Dalton, and before long other delegates who had arrived earlier joined us and we were able to have a drink and catch up with everybody’s news.

Friday 26th July

I had arranged a meeting in the morning with Elaine, the Hotel Events Executive. Kate and I had met Elaine back in November 2012 when we visited Dublin to make the more detailed arrangements for the weekend. It is always important to check through everything again just before the event and I discovered that we were to have our Saturday morning conference in a different room – the Kilmainham Suite on the lower ground floor. No matter, it was a more suitable room for our meeting and it was still planned that the annual dinner would be in the Liffey Suite on the first floor. This is the room which we used back in 2005 when we held our first DGS Gathering in Ireland. Since then the Ashling Hotel has been transformed with a major rebuilding and refurbishment programme undertaken 4 or 5 years ago. For those of us who were there in 2005, the hotel is hard to recognise and we were all very impressed with the improvements.

Once I had met with Elaine, I had a number of other things to check through and soon it was time for a lunch break with David Preston and Maureen Collins who were still in the hotel. Others had gone out sightseeing in Dublin and Bernie Walsh had arrived to lead a group visiting the National Archives of Ireland. After some useful discussions with both David and Maureen, it was time to set up the DGS Reception Desk in the main foyer of the hotel, and this was ready by 3 pm, the scheduled opening time. For the remainder of the afternoon I was fully occupied greeting delegates as they arrived, handing out the programmes for the weekend, answering their queries and generally taking the opportunity to meet old faces again, and new ones who had only previously been in touch with me either by email or telephone. Out of nearly 40 delegates, I counted 12 from North America, 3 from Australia, 8 from Ireland and 15 from the UK. Seven attendees were joining us at a DGS Gathering for the first time and 25 of the group claim Irish Dalton descent, or they are the spouse of an Irish Dalton descendant. So the mix of delegates was really excellent, with very good representation from overseas and a majority having a direct interest in Irish Dalton families. It was good to see new faces and returning ones, and particularly those who we had met back in 2005 or 2008 at our previous Irish Dalton gatherings. It was good to see everybody! …..and when we congregated in the Iveagh Bar for a drink before dinner there was soon a real buzz as delegates started chatting and catching up with each other – a hallmark of DGS gatherings wherever and whenever they are held. You cannot stop Daltons talking! A special area in the hotel’s Chesterfield Restaurant had been reserved for dinner and the talking continued as we enjoyed an excellent meal. The hotel staff looked after us extremely well and this was to be a feature of the weekend that we all commented on. The Ashling Hotel did us proud! All too soon the evening drew to a close – it had gone by very quickly.

Saturday 27th July

Following breakfast in the hotel delegates made their way down to the Kilmainham Suite in good time for the advertised 9.45 am start. We were joined by a few locally based DGS members attending as day delegates, who I had time to meet and greet personally. I was able to open our morning conference on time and it was a pleasure to welcome everyone officially to Ireland, to Dublin, to the Ashling Hotel, to the DGS weekend, and to our AGM, the first session on the programme. The formal business of the AGM was dealt with as efficiently as possible and concluded just ten minutes beyond the time advertised for the coffee break. I am not going to reiterate all the details here as the minutes will be published on our website soon and in the DGS Journal Vol 59 due out at the end of the year. We were very sad to lose the services of both Mel and Dairne Irwin after so many years and I am most grateful to Howard Dalton for agreeing to take on the role of DGS Treasurer on a caretaker basis until a more permanent successor is found. Our webmasters, David Preston and Martin Fitzgerald working in conjunction with a few committee members have a vision for a new more interactive website which will take over the role of "Daltons in History" and David outlined his initial ideas to the meeting. I must also mention Bernie Walsh here who had done so much to help with the preparations for the gathering. Kate and I met up with Bernie and her husband Eddie during our November 2012 visit to Dublin. With Bernie living in Gorey, Co Wexford, a few miles south of Dublin and with her professional genealogical experience, she had proved herself invaluable during the past six months. Whilst mentioning Bernie, I must say how delighted I am that she is stepping into the role of DGS Irish Secretary in succession to Ciaran Dalton.

So, with the AGM concluded and the coffee break over, we moved on to the second element of the conference agenda, a talk by DGS Committee member Mike Dalton entitled “The Eirann Daltons”. As coordinator for DIDP Group B, one of two key Irish Dalton genetic families in our DNA project, Mike was well placed to bring us up to date with the traditional family history research being undertaken both in Group B and interestingly in Group D. He referred particularly to work undertaken by DGS member Eric Dalton of Michigan, USA (a member of the Group D genetic family) on a tree linking back to the earliest Irish Daltons who settled in Co Westmeath. Helen Smith in Australia, along with Mike a member of Group B, had been in contact with a Dalton who is descended from this tree and persuaded him to take a DNA test. The result was astonishing – he unexpectedly matches Group B rather than Group D – and this has suggested that all members of the Group B genetic family link back to these early Irish Daltons. There is more work to be done on this exciting discovery but it gave Mike the opportunity to give us a very entertaining presentation on early Irish Dalton family history, including the link with the famous Strongbow, and suggest that they are his and Group B’s ancestors. Everyone much enjoyed Mike’s talk, even if he did take a little licence in arriving at the conclusions drawn. We look forward to reading a full write up on these exciting discoveries as an article in the DGS Journal, and to hearing more about the ongoing research. It is a wonderful example of genetic genealogy and traditional research working together to produce some really exciting and interesting results.

Our final session was led by Bernie Walsh. Bernie gave a very useful account of the Irish Census records now available online, and she was able to demonstrate to us how to access and use them. She showed us various Dalton records and answered many questions from delegates. Accessing original sources of data is such an important part of family history research and, of course, so much of it is now available on the internet and we no longer have to leave home to use it. Practical sessions such as this one by Bernie are much appreciated by DGS gathering audiences and it was particularly relevant to all with Irish Dalton descent. So many thanks to you, Bernie!

Delegates assemble for our AGM and Conference
Patrick & Patricia Dalton speaking with Michael
Michael talking with Etta Rodriguez
Maureen Collins with Hannah & Edna Redpath
Karen D’Alton with her parents Colum & Joy
Mike Dalton giving his presentation

All too quickly the formal part of our conference had come to an end – our buffet lunch awaited us. This was served at the back of the room and everyone was able to carry on chatting informally and following up on outstanding points from the morning. During the afternoon, most delegates took the opportunity to go out and explore the City of Dublin. The Ashling Hotel is conveniently situated near the centre and there is a tram service (the Luas) which goes right past the hotel for those not wishing to walk too far. Kate and I visited Christ Church Cathedral which we had missed on previous visits. This is the Anglican cathedral for Dublin and it has a history extending back to the 11th Century. Unexpectedly we were able to enjoy the singing of a visiting choir and we also found the tombstone of Strongbow, buried in the cathedral in 1176 – now assuming more importance for Irish Daltons following Mike’s revelations in the morning!

On Saturday evening we held the Annual DGS Dinner in the Liffey Suite at the Ashling Hotel. Pre-dinner drinks were served from 7 pm, and at 7.30 pm 34 of us sat down at four round tables for dinner. The food we were served was excellent – the only complaint I heard was that the portions were too generous! The starter was a smooth chicken liver pate; there was a choice of chicken or salmon for the main course; and the dessert was an apple strudel – all absolutely delicious! During the meal we were entertained by two young local lads who played Irish folk music. They were very talented and their music was much appreciated. Along with the candlelit tables, the music lent great atmosphere to our annual DGS dinner. I have to thank Bernie for finding our musicians – we really enjoyed the entertainment they gave us and I am sure they have a great musical future ahead of them.

Howard J Dalton with Bernie Walsh
Kate with David & Barbara and Howard & Jen
Table 3 enjoying the occasion
Etta Rodriguez, Howard J, Hannah and Edna
Barbara D in earnest conversation with Pat Robinson
Our young entertainers playing Irish folk music

Sunday 28th July

Sunday required a brisk start as everyone was asked to be ready to board our coach for a 9 am departure. Bernie had booked the coach from a company local to her home in Gorey and coach and driver arrived punctually to pick us all up. We knew that we had a two hour journey ahead of us to get to Kildalton College, our first port of call. The time passed by quickly and by 11.00 am we were in the village of Piltown. Pat and Geoffrey Robinson had travelled ahead of us by car and they were waiting at the gate of the College with Noel Nugent, our guide, Noel’s wife and Gerard Dalton, a local resident with whom Pat had been in contact. Noel is a lecturer at the College and had kindly agreed to act as our host and we are most grateful to Noel and his wife for giving up their Sunday morning to show us round. The history of Kildalton and the Daltons who used to live in Kildalton Castle before the Civil War has been described in an article by Pat Robinson in the DGS Journal (Vol 57 pp 24-27) and a further piece appeared in "Daltons in History" in February 2013 (Vol 16 No 2) so I will not try to summarise those details here. Although nothing of the castle remains and the present house was completely rebuilt after being burned to the ground in 1923, this is still a place of considerable interest to anyone with Irish Dalton ancestry. Historically the Daltons who lived in this area link back to those Daltons of Co Westmeath referred to by Mike in his talk. Noel welcomed us most warmly and we were able to see inside the house as the photographs show and we were also shown round the modern facilities that the College has to provide first class training in agriculture for its students today.

Kildalton College, formerly Bessborough House
The DGS Group on the staircase inside
Inside what is now the College’s boardroom
Inside the Bessborough Room
Old print of Bessborough House as it was then called
Pat Robinson with Gerard Dalton
Pat Robinson, Kate and the group outside the house
The back of the house and the former chapel

After our very interesting visit to Kildalton, we went on to Kilkenny where our driver was able to drop us off close to the centre of the city and the castle. As it had not proved possible to make a group booking for a castle tour, we split up into small groups and each found their own way. Most of us went on the very interesting self-guided tour round Kilkenny Castle – the ancestral home of the Butler family, Marquesses of Ormonde. We know of links between the Daltons and the Butlers and these have been written about in the DGS Journal. Just near the castle is the old part of the city with its cobbled streets and quaint houses and shops and we wandered round there too. Everyone was mindful of the time that we had to be back at the coach and having “counted them out” I “counted them in” and we were on our way back to Dublin.

Finding the way round Kilkenny
Entrance to Kilkenny Castle
Inside the castle

Our journey back to Dublin was without incident and we were back at the Ashling around 6.30 pm giving everyone time to ready themselves for the evening. During the day we had been lucky – threatened rain turned out to be just a shower when we arrived at Kildalton College and the Neil Diamond outdoor concert at Kilkenny had threatened gridlocked traffic which did not materialise.

Our final event on the programme was dinner at Ryans, a restaurant in the first floor room above a pub just a few steps from the hotel and renowned for its steaks. We had spent a very enjoyable Sunday evening here back in 2005, and everyone enjoyed an informal meal in typically Irish surroundings. At the conclusion of the meal I took the opportunity to thank everyone who had contributed to making the weekend such a success and then Wendy Fleming presented me with a card signed by all and a bottle thanking me for arranging the gathering weekend. This gesture was totally unexpected and much appreciated – thank you to one and all!

Patrick & Patricia Dalton,
Ray, Cathy & Regina Negrycz
John D, Nancy Piastuck, Wendy Fleming,
Kate D, David Preston
Karen Preston, Michael D, Mike D
Three Mrs Daltons, Maureen and Velma Boudreau

All too soon the evening came to an end, and it was time to bid farewell to those not staying at the hotel. On returning to the Ashling, there was the opportunity for a final drink before retiring and reflecting on a busy and action-packed weekend.

Monday 29th July

The day of departure and saying goodbye. Inevitably all good things have to come to an end and I think all who attended agreed that it had been a most successful weekend. Kate and I were busy saying our goodbyes at breakfast as we had to get to the airport for our mid-morning flight home, and only two days at home before flying off to Canada for the month of August.

Inevitably this record cannot include everything that each delegate may wish to read and so I hope that you will fill out this account with your own reminiscences. Some of them follow in the next section, but I am sure there are more to be written and shared!


Here are some reminiscences taken from notes received by the Chairman:

1. From David & Barbara Dalton, Hessle, East Yorkshire, UK:

We very much enjoyed our trip to Dublin, spending time with friends old and new. As we had two extra days with Howard and Jen we learned so many interesting facts about the city that we could almost be employed as tour guides. We practised our skills on Mattie so we trust she would agree!

The Ashling Hotel was excellent and the staff looked after us really well, Bernie was very knowledgeable and informative, the young musicians who played during the meal were brilliant, and we thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Kildalton College and the trip to Kilkenny.

Our time at Ryans was especially entertaining as we were sitting with the two Pats (Patrick and Patricia). They were delightful company and we found out that we had many things in common apart from the surname.

Special thanks to you Michael and all your helpers for all your hard work in organising such a successful weekend.

2. From Edna Redpath, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK:

Hannah and myself had a very good weekend in Dublin meeting old and new friends.

Bernie and Michael did a good job arranging everything. The AGM had two interesting speakers in Bernie and Mike, and the young boys’ music on Saturday night was a delight – a pity we couldn't all have danced to them, not just Maureen and Mattie – well done to them!

Hannah was over the moon that she enjoyed all of the food – being a vegetarian she does not always gets much choice.

It all went too quickly. Thank you and see you all next year God willing.

3. From Mike Dalton, Portland, Oregon, USA:

Hello Michael: Hope Howard J. got back home, rested and relaxed from early morning flight and hectic weekend.

Pleasant surprise to have an Irish member Bernie Walsh getting into genealogical research professionally, and having a renowned author, Michael Dalton, meeting with several members at the Ashling.

Upgrade of Ashling facilities and management was superior to 2005 experience. Thank you for mentioning family finder DNA options at the AGM.

Note from MND: The Michael Dalton referred to by Mike is the author of a fascinating book “Memories of my Native Sod”, an account of his childhood life in the townland of Curcreigh in Co Roscommon. In the book he observes a way of life and a farming population fast disappearing, typical of so many other townlands in the west of Ireland. Michael Dalton contacted me and sent me a copy of the book which we displayed in Dublin. As a result 10 copies were purchased by delegates and these were delivered by Michael on the Monday morning – sadly it was after I had departed for the airport so I never had the opportunity to meet with my namesake. All these Michael and Mike Daltons – it’s very confusing!

4. From Pat & Geoffrey, Robinson, Barrington, Cambridgeshire, UK:

We are glad that this year’s Dalton gathering was such a success, and we too enjoyed the weekend, although I regretted missing coming down in the coach with the group, and joining you in Kilkenny! But returning to Dublin and then going south again towards Waterford made little sense. We had a light lunch after leaving you, chatting with Gerard Dalton, with whom we got on well and arranged to meet again a couple of days later. On the Monday we caught up on our Dalton family news with my second cousin’s widow, Cathleen Dalton. It was Cathleen who had originally contacted Noel Nugent about our visit to Kildalton and she was delighted to hear how well it went!

On the Tuesday, we set out for Dungarven on the coast to meet Gerard’s sister-in-law and daughter, who joined us in their lovely garden and plied us with coffee and scones. Gerard showed us some interesting family photographs. My grandfather and his grandfather were at the same school in Carrick-on-Suir, and at around the same time we discovered! The following day we set out for Rosslare and the ferry to Fishguard for the journey home – altogether quite a trip!

Pat continues with more details of her discussions with Gerard Dalton about possible common Dalton family history and I am sure this will be the subject of a more detailed report from Pat in due course – MND.

We look forward to receiving more reminiscences and details of ongoing Irish Dalton family history research. Please send them to me (by email to and I will include them in a future issue of "Daltons in History".

Programme for the Weekend

Annual Gathering for 2013
Friday 26th to Monday 29th July 2013
Dublin, Republic of Ireland


Friday 26th July 2013

from 3pm.

Check in at the Ashling Hotel in the usual way and register at the DGS desk in reception. Light lunches can be taken at the Hotel.


The afternoon will be free for you to visit places of interest in Dublin. Subject to demand we will arrange visits to specific libraries and research centres – Bernie Walsh will be on hand to assist with this.


Dinner will be available in the hotel's Chesterfield Restaurant, or you may wish to explore what Dublin has to offer with its wide array of restaurants and bars. We will make suggestions for those not familiar with Dublin and ensure that all delegates are included in a DGS group.

Saturday 27th July 2013


The programme will commence with the DGS Annual General Meeting. This will be followed by talks about Dalton family history and the work of the Society. It will take place in the Kilmainham Suite at the Hotel.

Buffet lunch served in the Kilmainham Suite.


Another opportunity to visit places of interest in the city of Dublin. Again we will make suggestions.


The DGS Annual Dinner will take place in the Liffey Suite at the Hotel and it will be followed by entertainment.

Sunday 28th July 2013


We are arranging a full day tour to include visits to Kildalton College, formerly a home of Irish Daltons, and Kilkenny Castle. We are planning to provide transport for all by coach.


We have booked a private room for dinner at Ryan’s, a traditional Irish pub, noted for its excellent steaks. Ryan’s is just a few steps from the hotel and some may remember it from 2005!

Monday 29th July 2013


The conclusion of the DGS Gathering. Check out from your accommodation. Arrangements can be made for those who wish to stay over.

2013 Annual General Meeting Minutes

The DGS Annual General Meeting for 2013 was held in Dublin, Republic of Ireland in July. The minutes of the meeting are published here. These will also appear in the DGS Journal, Volume 59 for December 2013.

held at The Ashling Hotel, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
on Saturday 27th July 2013 at 9.45 am

1) Welcome and opening remarks by the Chairman
Michael Neale Dalton welcomed all delegates, both members and friends, to the meeting. These included a large contingent from the USA and also delegates from Australia, Newfoundland, Ireland and the UK. He looked forward to an interesting weekend with talks by Mike Dalton and Bernie Walsh, the annual DGS dinner and visits to Kildalton College and Kilkenny.

2) Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Sir Geoffrey and Lady Dalton; Ciaran and Collette Dalton; Eric Dalton; Raymond and Cheryl Dalton; Margaret Deyes; Mel and Dairne Irwin; Cecelia and Jerry Lange; Pam and Dave Lynam; Gerald and Margaret Milner; Alicia Riley and Alan Green; Jilly Warren and a number of other members.

3) Minutes of the 2012 Annual General Meeting and matters arising
These were accepted unanimously, and the Chairman signed them as a true record. There were no matters arising.

4) Chairman's report
Michael Neale Dalton referred to the most enjoyable 2012 Gathering held in Hull, Yorkshire, and organised by Howard Dalton, and he reported on a successful year since. He highlighted the interest shown by members with Irish Dalton ancestry in the present Gathering. He looked forward to the presentations on Irish Dalton family history and was pleased to welcome Dalton families from Dublin at the meeting. He paid tribute to the dedicated work of Mel and Dairne Irwin, who were standing down as Treasurer and Editor of “Daltons in History” respectively. Mel had been in post from 2006 and Dairne since 2007, and tribute was paid to their outstanding work on behalf of the Society. Successors were yet to be appointed. The Chairman also thanked all of the present committee members, who had worked as a stable and committed team over several years. He then extended special thanks to David Preston, Chris Pomery, and Martin Fitzgerald, all of whom had contributed greatly to the success of the Society in their respective consultant capacities.

5) Treasurer's Report
This was not yet available but the Chairman reported that the finances were in a healthy state, with income and expenditure more or less in balance as in the previous year. Details would be published in due course on the website, and also included in the next edition of the Journal. He thanked Mel Irwin for his work on behalf of the Society during his period in office.

6) Secretary's Report
In the absence of Pam Lynam the Chairman reported that the total membership of the Society at present stood at 234. Of these 85 are UK members and 8 in the Republic of Ireland. The Secretary reported that she had dealt with queries, but there were no new UK members and just one resignation. She wished everyone a successful gathering and regretted that she was unable to attend. Finally she made a plea for members to advise any change of address and email. The Chairman thanked Pam for her continued dedication.

7) Election of officers and committee
With the exception of Dairne and Mel Irwin, the present officers and committee had all offered themselves for re-election with no additional nominations received. A re-election en-bloc was proposed by Wendy Fleming, seconded by Karen Dalton Preston and carried unanimously. The Chairman then announced that he was extremely grateful to past treasurer Howard Dalton for agreeing to serve as Acting Treasurer for a limited period until a replacement was found.

8) Reports by the Editors of the DGS Journal and of "Daltons in History"
John Dalton, Editor of the Journal, commended the publication as a positive way of furthering family history enquiries. He hoped that it was proving enjoyable to readers and made a plea for more genealogy from members for publication. Articles could be short, or longer, and special mention was made of the Miscellaneous Notes and Queries section which was proving popular. It was also possible to include illustrations. He urged members to put pen to paper and stressed the fact that the Society was best placed to help others if there was a steady stream of communication from members for inclusion in the Journal. The Chairman thanked John for his hard work on behalf of the Society. He also paid tribute again to Dairne Irwin for her dedicated period as Editor of “Daltons in History”. He then referred to the plans under discussion within the committee for taking “Daltons in History” forward, and foreshadowed the more detailed report due from David Preston under agenda item 10.

9) Report on the Dalton International DNA Project
Karen Dalton Preston and Michael Neale Dalton had dealt with a steady stream of DNA enquiries and test reports in the past year. There was still a need to encourage further testees, with the added advantage of special prices now available from Family Tree DNA. The Chairman looked forward to the presentation by Michael F Dalton following the meeting on the exciting recent discoveries made about Irish Dalton ancestry.

10) Report on the DGS websites
David Preston reported a most successful year with a record number of visits to the Dalton Databank website, and growing interest in the DGS on Facebook and on YouTube. Detailed statistics were presented as follows:
Dalton Data Bank 194,072 visits from 174 countries 9 updates added
DGS UK 16,425 visits from 147 countries  
DNA and North America 2,668 visits from 24 countries  
Facebook 76 "Likes"
62 Recommendations
73 Friends
(this is principally videos of presentations
from previous DGS Gatherings)
730 Views 29.5 hours

He then outlined his ideas for the future of the website. With the ending of the free Google advertising programme there would inevitably be a reduction in the number of visitors to the websites. He and Martin Fitzgerald had been working together to produce a format which could encourage an increase in membership by keeping up with the latest resources, and also restrict some elements to a “members only” access, because of the exchange of family history and personal information. It was hoped to have several persons in place to act as “moderators” in order for this process to succeed. The Chairman thanked David Preston for his keen and detailed involvement, and looked forward to these ideas coming to fruition.

11) Australian Secretary's report
Maureen Collins said she was glad to be back in Dublin once again and welcomed Helen Smith and Wendy Fleming from Australia. Membership loyalty had continued in the past year with a total of 33, including three new members, and finances were in a healthy state. There was one honorary member, Joy Chesson, and a complimentary Journal copy was sent to the Society of Australian Genealogists. There were currently no paid up New Zealand members, due to difficulties in making suitable arrangements for collecting subscriptions in NZ dollars. This is in the process of being resolved by the opening of a PayPal account in the UK.

Exciting plans for the formation of a museum in Orange, New South Wales, would include a Dalton exhibition in November, and there is the intention of holding another DGS Australian Meeting in the future. She had received email enquiries from members on possible Irish connections and hoped to further her research during her Dublin visit. The Chairman thanked Maureen Collins for everything she is doing for the DGS in Australia.

12) North American Secretary's report
Karen Dalton Preston reported to the meeting as follows:
Facebook - Recognizing the value of social media, there is now a DGS presence on Facebook. It is hoped that this will put the Society in front of a younger audience and help to attract new members. There are currently Facebook pages for the DGS, for DGS North America and for the Dalton Data Bank. There are also two very active Facebook group pages for descendants of specific Dalton family lines.

Membership - As at July 2013, there are 90 North American members (85 in the US, 5 in Canada). Of these, 30 US members submit their dues by PayPal and 11 members have opted to renew automatically via a PayPal annual subscription. 8 new memberships have been received in the past 12 months. However several new members who joined in the previous year failed to renew their membership. Those members who were sent renewal notices, but who failed to renew their memberships have had their membership status changed in the Member Database and have been noted as "cancelled for non-payment of dues".

Corporate Entity & Tax-exempt Status - DGS North America continues to be a non-profit corporation, registered in Nevada, and a tax exempt 501(c) 3 entity under US IRS tax code. Our Corporate Registration was renewed in December 2012, and we are in good standing through to December 2013, when our annual renewal fees will again be due.

Financial Report - As at 15 July 2013, cash in hand in the DGS North America bank account was US$3,265.97, and there was balance of $716.43 in the PayPal account. A balance of $2,500 must be maintained in the DGS North America bank account to continue qualifying for all monthly account maintenance fees to be waived. On 15 July 2013, the total cash balance stood at $3,982.40 and DGS North America continues to be a 501(c) 3 tax exempt non-profit entity in good standing with the IRS.

The Chairman thanked Karen Dalton Preston for her most comprehensive report.

13) Irish Secretary's report
No report submitted. [Note subsequent to the meeting: Ciaran Dalton advised that he wished to stand down as Irish Secretary and Bernie Walsh accepted an invitation to take over this post. The DGS thanks Ciaran for his work as Irish Secretary and in particular for the very successful and much enjoyed DGS Gathering held in Birr, Co Offaly in 2008. Ciaran will remain as the Clan Chieftain of Clan Dalton, which continues to be registered with The Clans of Ireland.]

14) Forthcoming gatherings and AGMs
It was announced that the 2014 gathering will take place over the weekend of Fri/Sat/Sun 12/13/14 September in Norfolk, and will be based at the Park Farm Country Hotel near Norwich. Further details will be published on the website and in the next issue of the DGS Journal. It is planned that the 2015 gathering will be held in Virginia, USA, probably in September; and that there will be a return to South Wales in 2016.

15) Any other business
Michael Neale Dalton highlighted a new book entitled ‘Memories of my Native Sod’ by Michael Dalton from Co Roscommon, which described life on farms in the west of Ireland in early days. [Note: 10 copies of this book were purchased by members following the meeting.] He looked forward to the Annual Dinner to be held in the Liffey Suite in the Ashling Hotel that evening. 16) Close There being no further business the meeting was formally closed at 11.10 am.


Kildalton and Kilkenny

On Sunday 28 July, as part of the 2013 DGS Gathering weekend, we visited Kildalton and Kilkenny. Here Michael Dalton gives some more details about these places and their Dalton connections.

On the Sunday of the 2013 Gathering weekend we will be exploring the south east corner of Ireland and making our way in the morning to Kildalton College near the small village of Piltown in the southern part of County Kilkenny. There we will be given a guided tour of what until 1971 was called Bessborough House, built in the mid-1700s and now an agricultural college. At the end of the morning we will drive the short distance to the county town of Kilkenny where delegates will have some free time to have lunch and look at the old part of the city with its quaint narrow streets. There will then be a guided tour of historic Kilkenny Castle, for centuries the seat of the Butler and Ormonde families. Later in the afternoon we will return to Dublin in time for dinner at Ryan’s, just a few steps from the Ashling Hotel.


Kildalton’s connection with the Dalton family goes back to the late-1500s, Daltons having arrived in Kilkenny as early as 1382. It is known that William Dalton who died in 1591 lived with his family in a castle on the Kildalton estate. It is recorded that in 1641 the Dalton family owned 3,223 acres of land. However with the rise of Oliver Cromwell and his successful invasion of Ireland in the Civil War following the execution of Charles I in 1649, the fortunes of the Daltons of Kildalton were turned around and Cromwell rewarded one of the leaders of the invasion, Colonel John Ponsonby, with the Kildalton estate. Ponsonby was created Earl of Bessborough and renamed Kildalton Castle Bessborough. The original castle was destroyed and replaced with a fine new mansion in 1744, Bessborough House. Some members of the Dalton family continued to live on the estate as tenants of the Earl.

DGS member Pat Robinson is descended from this Irish Dalton line and has researched the trials and tribulations of her Dalton ancestors in some detail. The latest issue of the DGS Journal includes a fascinating article written by Pat entitled “Daltons of Kilkenny” (DGSJ Vol 57 Dec 12 pp 24-27) which gives a much fuller account of the history of these Daltons.

Kildalton College today

The photographs below were taken on my visit to the College in November 2012:

Kildalton College situated in Piltown, Co Kilkenny opened in 1971
The imposing 18th Century mansion - Bessborough House, now Kildalton College
In the grounds on a fine autumn day
The rear elevation of the property
Autumn view from the gardens

Kildalton and Kilkenny

There is a brief history included in the current publicity material for Kildalton College, which, although making little mention of the Dalton connections, gives an interesting account of the development of today’s buildings. The following extracts will help the reader to appreciate the story.

Kildalton was a very different place before the main house was originally built in 1744. Sir John Ponsonby changed its name to Bessborough House in honour of his second wife Elizabeth, known as Bessy. Sir John died in 1678 and it was his successors who were responsible for the fine mansion constructed of blue Kilkenny limestone that we see today. It took 11 years to build and was completed in 1755. The architect was Francis Bindon from County Clare. A wing with a new dining room was added in about 1870 and the entrance hall and porch were reconstructed as well. Among the many objects of interest that were to be seen in the house were paintings by eminent artists of the day and two sets of elk or moose deer horns, reputedly the largest ever discovered.

In 1923 Ireland went through much disorder and unrest and a number of large houses including Bessborough were burned to the ground. Lord Bessborough had wisely taken the precaution of moving his best pictures elsewhere. By 1929 the house was restored with the compensation received from the courts, but the Ponsonby family did not feel secure enough to return. They sold the house to the Oblate fathers who in 1940 opened Our Lady’s Scholasticate at Bessborough House, a new training facility and seminary. They built a new wing on the west side of the house to provide a lecture hall and a dining room. A further wing was added in 1944 on the east side, providing a chapel, a dormitory and bathrooms. The Oblates worked their own bakery and dairy, kept poultry, cattle, pigs and sheep, and grew potatoes, grain and other crops. They also had a very good orchard. Major construction took place in 1960 when an old building projecting out from the main house northwards was demolished and replaced with a three storey wing containing 92 single bedrooms and associated facilities.

By 1970 numbers joining the order had decreased and the Oblates decided to sell the property. It was purchased in 1971 by the Department of Agriculture and opened as Kildalton College. With the accommodation and the working farm already there, this was a match well made for training young farmers and horticulturists.

The College today has become a centre of excellence and provides courses in Equine Studies, Machinery, Agriculture and Horticulture. It is linked to the local Institute of Technology in Waterford to make it a progressive learning facility in the South East of Ireland.


Kilkenny is famous for its castle which stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles.

The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (c.1146-1219) during the first decade of the thirteenth century. Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James (c.1360-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in c.1391, and lasted until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. The buildings have been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1969, and many important programmes of archaeological excavation, conservation, and restoration have been carried out there since then.

Kilkenny and Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle from the Parade
View of the River Nore from Kilkenny Castle grounds

We look forward to an interesting tour on the Sunday of our 2013 DGS Gathering to Kildalton and Kilkenny.