In 2009 my aunt and uncle organized a reunion. A Faherty family reunion. To thank them for all of the work they had done for us I came up with the idea to have some t-shirts made for them and David and I.
Now the shirts are a comfortable cotton wear with FAHERTY’s UNITE 2009. It means something to only us. Or so I thought.
As we walked about Donegal town to savor the Irishness of an Irish town at the end of their work day we had a few encounters. One was Margaret. Margaret was sitting on a wee chair between the door ways of a couple of ‘shops’. She had on a safety vest. And a container in her lap to collect money. I saw the label that she was collecting for the elderly. Yesterday folks were collecting for the disabled and we gave. The man was very appreciative. Today I stopped to talk to Margaret and asked her what she was collecting for. She said this is their one day a year collection. They use it to take meals to the elderly and take them on trips. Of course David donated, and then I did as well. We talked for a little while. I told her about my job in the states. After we shook her hand and bid her farewell we made our way around the triangle/diamond. Just taking our time to go in the shops and watch the life of this town happen. When we triangled our way back to her she had some folks talking to her and I was going to pass with a hello so I didn’t interupt. But when she saw me she said “these are the people I was talking about”. The couple was very nice. And they tried to help direct us to some people for my aunt. But the people they thought might be able to help with her family name were people she had talked with yesterday. The lady laughed and said “sure and isn’t it sometimes better to not know who your grandfather is!” We all agreed that sometimes not knowing things is okay.
She was a total enjoyment.
And we walked on. We both have our Faherty Unite t-shirts on. Though I have my awesome new Ireland jacket on over it. We stepped in to an alley to check out some shops. I hear “Faherty’s Unite!!” I wasn’t sure I heard it correctly until I heard it again. I turned and there was a gentleman approaching, all dressed for business and such. He yelled again “Faherty’s unite” and I put my fist in the air, and he returned the salute as he approached. He asked about the shirts. I told him my aunt and uncle had a reunion for our family. He said he would be very interested in any reunion. He is George O’Flaherty. And regardless of what version of Faherty we go by they all come from O Flaighbheartaigh. I told him that my family came from the Aran Isles, Inishmore and he said “as did mine”. He is George, in English. Seoirse in Irish. He would love to come to any Faherty, or O Flaighbheartaigh gathering. He insisted that we all came from the same, the correct, Irish version. He made sure that I understood, we are all the same. Regardless of how you spell your name, or say it.
Our family motto is: FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD.
And there was a sign that hung over the west gate of the city of Galway that
“From the ferocious O’Flahertys may God protect us”
Ferocious Fighting O Flaighbheartaigh…..
We are known for our generosity and are refered to as the Generous Givers of Gifts. David will attest to this after this trip. Seoirse asked if I knew why we were known as being so generous. I said no. He said when the Ferocious Fighting O Flaighbheartaigh won at battle they would return with the head of their enemy as a gift. I am glad I do not have to bring back the heads of any enemies. I prefer to not have any enemies. But there is a part of me that loves that we are the Ferocious Fighting O Flaighbheartaigh’s. And I will do my best to hold up the family trait of being generous.
Then, as if that was not miracle enough. God you keep giving me gifts. We, the O Flaithbheartaigh fought for and with, oh I can hardly stand it…..
That’s right! Grannia, Grainne, Grace O’Malley.
The Queen herself.
Oh God I can hardly stand it!
I knew the O’Flaherty’s were warriors for the Queen. I knew the Queen had married ‘one of us’. But I did not believe we were the same family. He assured me that yes, I am.
He gave me his card, wrote his home town on it. Asked me to email him. I told him I would. Tomorrow.
So the O Flaighbheartaigh clan remains loyal to the Queen.
The Irish Pirate Queen of Ireland.
The Queen and I.