The 25-Year OBT Family Reunion took place in Ballykisteen, Co. Tipperary on Saturday 6th August 2011. Tipperary was chosen as an apt location to commemorate Jerry’s hometown and those that stayed around on the Sunday were treated to a fascinating tour of the house that Jerry grew up in at the Glen of Aherlow.
As this was the 25-Year reunion, the organising committee, the planning in advance and thankfully the crowd that attended (over 140) was the biggest we have seen in OBT reunion history.
Family members came from all corners of the globe and on behalf of all of the family based in Ireland, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who took the time, effort and expense to travel from afar to celebrate this very special occasion, namely Mary O’Connell from Gold Coast; John Fenton & Caroline from Christchurch; Aidan Snr, Betty Lou, Erin, Shannon, Wilma, Kerry & Steph from Winnipeg; Chris, Doreen & their family from New York; Frankie Fenton and Allison McKenny from England.
In advance of this memorable event, the organising committee had great fun & complications in drawing up the enormous family tree. After lots of phone calls and emails, we counted 168 direct descendents of Jerry & Stasia. After the 10 siblings, the family has created 49 grand children, 100 Great-Grand Children and 9 great-great-grandchildren (and counting!). Each of the 10 families was predictably well-represented and it is brilliant that such a large family can be so close and I know that the annual OBT reunion (and the golf!) is the main reason for this.
As is always the case with OBT reunions, the golf takes centre-stage and this year was no different. With our Starter Mick Concannon sending golfers on their way on the first tee, we experienced all 4 weather seasons with one fourball calling it a day after 9 holes in the belief that Tipperary has officially entered monsoon season. They should have known that an O’Brien clan calling off golf due to bad weather is akin to a German Minister giving Ireland a write-off of its’ debts! As the golfing progressed, the sun shone through and more importantly true golfing talent also shone through, with young Conor Ferns winning in emphatic style with 41 points. Rumour has it that Rory McIlroy is very concerned already!
Once the golf was finished we had a very short window to get a group photo taken just before the meal. Our professional photographer Daragh MacSweeney took a great photo and we arranged for this same photo to be printed, framed and given to each family household before the end of the night. I hope that this photo will remain on the mantle piece of each household for many years to come to commemorate a great occasion.
While all of the golf was going on, Tara Sheahan & Norma Sheahan busied themselves preparing the dining room and they did an excellent job in making the room look amazing, with family trees, old photographs and commemorative memorabilia decorating the walls.
Ballykisteen Hotel did a superb catering job at the meal itself and the prize-giving, speeches and sing-song were lots of fun and went on until the early hours of the evening.
As is always the case at OBT reunions, there were a few people who bypassed any curfue and our previous captain John Concannon led the charge with the likes of Frankie Fenton & Gerry Hearne deciding to stay up until breakfast.
I would like to thank everybody for all the great help & support I received in organising this event but more specifically I would like to thank the other members of the organising committee of John Concannon, Stacey MacAuley and Mags O’Flaherty for everything they did to make this event so great.
I look forward to OBT 2012 on 7th July and wish Sean Hearne all the best in his year of captaincy.
OBT Captain 2011.