Friday 29 July 2005

On the Friday morning, I was busy with preparations for the gathering and we had a committee meeting scheduled for 4.00 pm. I decided to use our palatial room for the meeting and ordered a tray of tea and biscuits for the seven of us. Kate and I went out during the middle of the day in the inevitable “soft rain” for some sight-seeing and shopping.  We took the tram (Luas) into the centre of town and visited the Old Customs House, which we missed last time, an historic building which has been restored to its former glory.  After a very welcome cup of coffee on O’Connell Street, we headed for Temple Bar and found Powerscourt Townhouse, the city home of Richard Wingfield, Viscount of Powerscourt. I then returned to the hotel to attend to a few more gathering details, leaving Kate on the shopping trail.

Our committee meeting was attended by myself, Pam, Millicent, Maureen, John, Howard J. and Mel.  Kate, David, Sheila and Dairne had kindly agreed to “hold the fort” downstairs during the meeting, and meet and greet delegates as they arrived, handing out programmes and badges.  They also mounted a display of the raffle prizes and informed delegates that we had chosen the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund as the charity to which we would send the raffle proceeds.  We had an extremely useful committee meeting, our first since July 2004, and agreed that it was most helpful to hold it on the Friday afternoon rather than squeezing it into the Saturday morning programme as previously.

During the afternoon and early evening, the main body of delegates arrived and we all met informally in the bar before about twenty of us took dinner in a dedicated area of the hotel restaurant.  After dinner delegates had an informal evening meeting each other and socializing.  I took the opportunity to catch up with Millicent – so much seems to have happened over the past year since we last met, particularly on the website and on the DNA project.  We had a very useful and wide ranging discussion.

Saturday 30 July 2005

Saturday saw us up bright and early in order to be ready for the opening of the conference at 9.45 am.  I set up the projector and laptop in the Liffey Suite conference facility before breakfast at 8.30 am.  Patrick Guinness, our guest speaker, arrived at 9.00 am and we checked out his slides – the technology all worked perfectly.  He then had the opportunity to meet members of the committee and, in particular, Millicent, who had been in email correspondence about the Dalton DNA project.  About 60 delegates attended the conference and, after I had welcomed everyone and opened our first ever DGS Irish Gathering, I introduced Patrick and he gave an excellent presentation on Irish Clan history, the use of DNA and options for the furthering of the study of Irish Dalton family history.  I had previously heard Patrick speak at the Guild of One Name Studies DNA Seminar in Oxford last year.  His talk was a “tour de force” which gave us all food for thought about how to develop our own Dalton studies using the powerful DNA data to direct us towards the most fruitful avenues for further research.

After a coffee break, we held the Society's Annual General Meeting.  This included reports from the Chairman, the Treasurer (given by the Chairman in the absence of Howard), the Secretary and the Editor.  All were able to give very positive reports on the Society’s activities during the past year.  After the re-election of the officers and committee, all of whom offered themselves again, we had Maureen’s Australian Secretary’s report, including news of the Melbourne meeting held in February 2005.  Finally Millicent gave the meeting her update from America, including reports on the development of the website, the expansion of the Dalton International DNA Project and, hot off the press, the plans for the DGS Gathering in New Hampshire in October 2006.  Millicent, Sam and Barbara had traveled via New Hampshire to check out visits and accommodation options for next year’s major international DGS event.  The AGM concluded with a summary of plans for meetings in 2006 and 2007.  The 2006 AGM will be held on Saturday 3 June, somewhere in Southern England and plans are in hand for 2007 with a Gathering and AGM in the Midlands and another Australian meeting, possibly in Queensland.

Following the AGM, we moved into the introduction to Irish Dalton family history.  Maureen started this off with a brief summary of how to set about Irish family history research, by giving some pointers to the main types of records available and where to find them.  Amongst the delegates we had no less than 13 separate Irish Dalton lines represented and a representative of each group then said a few words about the Irish Dalton origins of the group and the research work undertaken or planned.  This proved to be a fascinating part of the conference and it was a shame that there was not a little more time available.  All too soon it was time to draw the proceedings to a close.  The Chairman outlined the remainder of the programme for the weekend and invited everyone to partake in the buffet lunch, which by now was laid out at the back of the room.

After the buffet lunch delegates were free to tour Dublin and visit places as they pleased.  I caught up with Kate who was already out "on the town" and we went to Christ Church Cathedral and then to St Patrick's Cathedral, the Catholic and Protestant cathedrals in Dublin respectively.  Both were very interesting and the crypt at Christ Church particularly so.

On Saturday evening we held the Society’s Annual Dinner at which 54 people sat down for a three course meal. We had the exclusive use of the Heuston Room in the Ashling Hotel and delegates were invited to a wine reception at 7.00 pm with the dinner itself commencing at 7.30 pm.  Our guests were Catherine and David Gibson-Brabazon, the owners of Mount Dalton, and our hosts for Sunday’s visit.  Before we sat down, Rev Margaret Engler, one of our delegates, said grace.  During the dinner, there was a little quiz based on the mistakes in the delegates list printed as part of the gathering program.  Wendy Fleming was the lucky recipient of a description of Irish Daltons printed on a scroll style sheet and purchased at Carroll’s, the Dublin purveyors of “tat”!  Toasts were proposed to David and Pam Lynam on the occasion of their 28th wedding anniversary, and then to absent friends.  Kate and her team sold raffle tickets and raised a total of 330 euros for the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund.  Catherine G-B drew the numbers for the numerous prizes, culminating with the star prize of two bottles of champagne.  After several re-draws, this was eventually won by Daveda Bundy.  Many thanks to all delegates for their very generous support for the raffle, which is much appreciated. DGS members still to be seen in the lounge as late as 12.30 am when we remembered that we needed to be up in good time the following morning for our trip to Mount Dalton.

Sunday 31 July 2005

Breakfast was served for delegates at 8.30 am in the Heuston Room, which by then had recovered from the previous evening.  At 9.30 am we set off via Maynooth and Mullingar for the village of Rathconrath and Mount Dalton, where we arrived at about 11.00 am.  12 delegates, ably led by Howard J, travelled on the minibus supplied by Michael Chawke Minibus Hire.  Everyone else was accommodated in cars. On arrival we were welcomed with coffee and delicious home made biscuits.  Everyone, which was a total of about 80 people, then squeezed into the Gibson-Brabazon’s drawing room where I opened the proceedings and then handed over to Catherine, who introduced Dr Ruth Illingworth, a history lecturer from the University of Maynooth.  Ruth proceeded to give us a superb account of the life of the Richard Dalton who built Mount Dalton.  He never actually lived in the place as he went off to fight for the Austrians and Marie Theresa as they built the Austrian Empire in the late 18th Century.  This was at a time when Catholics in Ireland were victimized and not permitted to serve their country in high office.  Ruth explained all this in considerable detail, setting the Daltons in historical context.  She spoke for an hour and a quarter and held the attention of her audience completely, as they sat spellbound listening to her masterly exposition.  After Ruth had answered questions from the floor, David G-B gave us a brief history of the house itself and what had happened to it and to the Mount Dalton estate, since it was built.  Included within this was the story of the spire, a magnificent monument on the estate which, alas, is no more.  Discussions about rebuilding it or building a replica were initiated and the DGS pledged its support to this project by canvassing individual support from members and perhaps making a donation from Dick Hamilton’s legacy to the Society.  Further investigation is to be undertaken into the feasibility and costings for such a project and the DGS will be kept informed.

It was then time for a delicious buffet lunch, which had been set out in the dining room next door.  This provided the opportunity to circulate and to meet those who had not been present on the Saturday.  These included members of the Gibson-Brabazon family, a Michael Dalton who lived locally and was the only known living Dalton relative of the Daltons of Mount Dalton, William Fallon, a local historian, and Brendan Dalton and his large family contingent (15 in all including children), who happened to be passing by on a boating holiday.  There was also the opportunity to view various displays arranged by Catherine.

When everyone had finished lunch, it was time for the inevitable group photograph on the steps at the front of the house, and then we went up the hill to the spot where the memorial spire once stood.  Most walked but, thoughtfully, David G-B provided tractor and trailer transport for the less able and those without suitable shoes for a country walk.  Fortunately the weather had improved and it was dry.  Up until now there had been plenty of intermittent showers, known locally as soft rain!  We returned to the house and, all too soon, it was time for tea and departure back to Dublin for most, but onward into remoter parts for others. This was not before I proposed a vote of thanks to Catherine and David for their hospitality and Eric Dalton from America made a presentation to Catherine of a facsimile first edition (1843) ordnance survey map of the area around Mount Dalton.

Most of the party who returned to Dublin, 23 of us, then went out for a very enjoyable dinner at Ryan’s, a pub and restaurant just along the street from the Ashling Hotel.  This included Lesley Barter who had flown out to join Kate and I for our week of traveling in south and west Ireland commencing on Monday.

Monday 1 August 2005

Breakfast at 8.30 am again in the Heuston Room and then it was time to bid farewell to old and new friends until we all meet next year, either at the AGM or at the gathering in New Hampshire or both.  All agreed that it had been a stimulating and enjoyable weekend and we now look forward to seeing Mary Lou’s and Barbara’s photographs, which they had been taking throughout to record the event and capture some of the atmosphere.

There was general agreement that the weekend had been a great success.  A  record number of delegates had attended.  We had enjoyed two superb presentations by external speakers.  No less than 13 separate Irish Dalton lines had been represented at the gathering and there was now every prospect that further research will reduce these separate lines and start to bring together Irish Daltons with common ancestry.  There is also the prospect of an increasing Irish membership of the Society and, and arranging a follow Irish DGS event, perhaps in 2008.  This along with support for the Mount Dalton spire project will be important issues for discussion by the DGS committee over the coming weeks.

Michael N Dalton

From Bernadette and Edward Walsh, County Wexford, Ireland

Both myself and my husband were delighted to attend the AGM in Dublin and, as we are brand new to genealogy, it opened our eyes to the amount of work involved in completing the family tree. The AGM was very informative and gave us the opportunity of meeting people who have the same interest as ourselves. Many thanks to all the committee for all their hard work in putting it all together and we hope to see you all again next year.

From Pamela and Jack Richard of Hertfordshire, England

We think the Dalton weekend went off very well and the lectures were brilliant.

From Daveda Bundy of Ohio, USA

The morning session was very interesting. I'm hoping I'll be able to connect more with the DNA information provided when I can see how it will apply to our particular Dalton line. The business meeting was interesting, as well, since it was all new to me. It seems Michael has a good handle on everything involving the DGS.

Dinner that evening was delightful and lots of fun. We really enjoyed our tablemates David and Audrey Dalton and Sally and Richard Young. Whoever sat us together did a smashing job. By the way, having the drawing for prizes was a wonderful idea; Cecelia and I felt honored to win the Jameson whiskey and the champagne. Sunday at Mt. Dalton was indeed amazing, a real treat. Ruth Illingworth, the historian was fascinating; the whole day was great.

Best of all was meeting fellow "Daltons", especially Millicent Craig and Wendy Fleming, two ladies I first met via DGS e-mail. Interestingly, Wendy took a seat just to my right at the morning meeting July 30. Neither of us knew about the other until I turned to my right and saw her name tag. What a special surprise, seeing my e-mail pal seated next to me.

Many thanks to Michael and Kate and to all the others who labored to make our Dublin Dalton gathering a memorable one.

From Mike Dalton of Oregon, USA

O'er hill, o'er dale, near and far, we Daltons from everywhere converged on Dublin, Ireland and then removed to a dale near Rathconrath, Westmeath where Daltons of yesteryear who came from France, mingled and became Irish in heart and mind. From Patrick Guinness DNA family manager we were told that we Daltons are an interesting lot with an occasional random stranger added to the genetic stew; while across the way there could be seen the home of the famous Guinness brew.

61 delegates we were with 15 more at Mount Dalton counting the groupings of Daltons with Irish descent many of whom are genetically linked to their English brethren. The annual dinner was capped by a charity raffle for London bombing victims wherein the raffle winners were bestowed Irish knick-knacks and Irish whiskey and champagne.

Our Sunday jaunt was to Kildalton estate at Rathconrath, Westmeath where Daltons of yore had built a house and a monument and had distinguished themselves in service to the countries of France, Belgium and Austria. A wonderful weekend!

From Sir Geoffrey and Lady Jane Dalton, of Hampshire, England

We thought the Gathering in Dublin was most enjoyable and a great success. I'm sure everyone agrees the visit to Mount Dalton was the highlight particularly with the lovely welcome from Catherine and the superb talk by Ruth Illingworth - a masterly grasp of her subject and delivered in such a clear and interesting way. What a treat!

However, no event is a success without meticulous and detailed planning and we're most grateful to you and others who were responsible for it all. Thank you very much from both of us.

From Rev Margaret Engler of London, England

Thank you so much for organising such a magical weekend. The hotel was good, the company was fun and the programme was outstanding. You must have put a lot of effort into it all - at just the right level, as well. Thank you.

From Gerald and Margaret Milner of Sussex, England

Just a brief note to say how much Margaret and I enjoyed the Dalton Gathering in Dublin. I hope you and Kate had a good time afterwards and that you are safely back home once again.

From Pat and Geoffrey Robinson of Cambridgeshire, England

Just a quick little note to thank you very much for all you did to make the Dalton Society weekend in Ireland run so smoothly, and to render it so enjoyable. We hope that you both thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of your time in Ireland.

The 2005 Gathering and AGM in Ireland

Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July

June 2005

The DGS Gathering and AGM for 2005 is being held in the Liffey Suite, Ashling Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

FRIDAY 29th July 2005

4.00pm DGS Committee Meeting at the Ashling Hotel
Afternoon DGS Registration Desk open for delegates to pick up badges and information packs.


Informal Reception.

Dinner will be available in a dedicated area of the Ashling Hotel Restaurant.


SATURDAY 30th July 2005


Breakfast at the hotel in the Heuston Room.


Gather in the Liffey Suite


Presentation by Patrick Guinness on Irish Clan history, the use of DNA and options for the furthering of the study of Irish Dalton family history.


Break for coffee and biscuits


Dalton Genealogical Society Annual General Meeting

details and agenda published separately


Buffet lunch in the Heuston Room.


After lunch delegates are free to tour Dublin and visit places as they please.


Gather in the Heuston Room at the Ashling Hotel for a wine reception.

7.30pm The Annual DGS Dinner in the Heuston Room followed by a charity raffle.


SUNDAY 31st July 2005


Breakfast at the hotel in the Heuston Room.


We set off via Maynooth and Mullingar for the village of Rathconrath and Mount Dalton.


Welcome by Catherine and David Gibson-Brabazon. Coffee and biscuits in drawing room.

Dr Ruth Illingworth, a history lecturer from the University of Maynooth, to give an account of the life of the Richard Dalton who built Mount Dalton.


Buffet lunch in the dining room.


Tour of the Mount Dalton estate to view sites of historical interest to Daltons. Attendees may visit nearby castles and graveyard .


After a cup of tea, we journey back to the Ashling Hotel and the conclusion of our 2005 Annual Gathering.


For those staying over Sunday night, an informal dinner at Ryan’s pub and restaurant.


MONDAY 1st August 2005


Breakfast in the Heuston Room.


The manor at Mount Dalton is one of the few remaining historical Dalton homes in Ireland.  It is located in Rathconrath, County Westmeath just west of Mullingar.   The home was built in 1784 by a line of Dalton Counts and it's history has been reported in DGS Journal 29, pp 49-53 and in Daltons in History, Vol. 5, No. 12, Dec 2002, "Only a Sketch Remains".  (This refers to the obelisk monument that once graced the grounds).  The entrance is flanked by stone pillars and inside is a gatehouse that is covered with  colorful flowers in the summer.  On the site are the remains of the former Dalton castle and cemetery.  In recent years visitors to the Mount have enjoyed fishing in the small lake.

Gatehouse and Mrs. Doreen Gibson-Brabazon
Mount Dalton Manor

On Sunday, July 31, 2005 DGS member Mrs. Catherine Gibson-Brabazon and current owner of Mount Dalton will host a tour of sites in the vicinity of the Mount of genealogical interest to Daltons.  This area was the scene of many significant events in their history.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn first-hand of the turmoil that beset Daltons in this land.

Members will leave Dublin by auto about 10:00 am on Sunday, July 31, 2005.  Any who do not have transportation  may accompany those who do and who will be returning to the Ashling Hotel or to Dublin for the evening. It is about a 45 minute drive on the N4 from Dublinthrough Mullingar to Rathconrath, the location of the Mount Dalton properties.

Catherine anticipates that the members will arrive before 11:15 am when coffee will be served. Guest speaker, Ruth Illingworth, a lecturer at Maynooth University, will elaborate on the Irish Dalton family that lived at Mount Dalton and the history of the manor, and put it in historical context. Catherine will assemble a display of photographs, family trees, books and other items of interest to historians and genealogists.

Following Ms. Illingworth's talk, a catered buffet lunch will be served. Also attending this event will be the local historian and parish priest.

The afternoon will be devoted to touring the Mount Dalton estate to view the sites of historical interest to Daltons.  Attendees will then motor to nearby castles and graveyard and will finish the tour about 4:00 pm.  This will be followed by "a cup of tea" before returning to Dublin by about 6:00 pm.  Members will have a full evening available for their own pursuits in Dublin.  Others who will be heading west and south will leave the party after tea.

Catherine and her husband will attend the AGM dinner at the Ashling Hotel on Saturday evening July 30, 2005.  This is an opportunity for all to become acquainted with our Sunday hosts.

Do not miss this unique opportunity to learn the history of Daltons in the County of Westmeath, Ireland.