|Posted by waterfordorigins on June 6, 2013 at 6:10 PM|
I am sure that our new found Power friends from far and wide are all starting to return to familiar beds and routines after the busy few days at the Power Clan Gathering. I feel that I am now only catching my breath and stopping to reflect on the days that we spent together at Dunhill Co Waterford and beyond and I have some pictures and musings to share with you as you settle back.
There was lots of thought and effort put into the programming but it’s only when people arrive that the plans really come to life and it was wonderful to see the energy and enthusiasm that our visitors brought with them. Setting off from Harney’s in Dunhill on the 31st May, to the strains of a lone piper, seems like a long time ago now so much has happened.
The sun was starting to break through as we made our way towards the castle along the Anne Valley walk – a twisting path with meandering river Anne tripping along beside as we shook hands and strolled, swopped stories and travelled through the generations – walking and talking – passing the time with our gaze firmly set upon the castle in the distance. Along the way the local children turned a tune and played games from another era. Treats of gorse tea and recipes were shared. Dragonflies competed for attention as they sparked across the water and our path, and a pair of swans protected their nest as we ambled by. A stop at a bench handcrafted in memory of Fr. Val Power of Newfoundland from local craftsman Noel Whelan provided a welcome rest and a blessing from Fr Paul inviting all to enjoy “the outdoor cathedral”. We marched on in anticipation across the bridge to the sounds of fiddles and flutes – and we are nearer – now through a tree lined avenue and up and around to the grassy way into Dunhill Castle the ancestral home of the Powers. A little girl piper welcomed us on.
The castle strangely alive with Mediaeval knights, monks, watchmen, ladies in waiting, musicians and weavers. Then the Baron of Don Isle himself made a welcome appearance and the words of his rousing speech bridged both time and ocean…
“My fellow kinsmen and women. Today is a very auspicious day. Today is indeed a very historic day. It has been no less than 364 years since the rallying cry of the Powers of Dunhill was answered to such great effect.
On that last occasion the Powers of Waterford stood shoulder to shoulder in ferocious defiance of the foreign invader in defense of this ancient castle of Dunhill. That was a glorious but a black day in the history of the Powers and the sacred blood of your ancestors lies in the ground beneath your feet, their bodies in the holy ground of the graveyard beyond.
In this Year of the Gathering, I sent out a Rallying Call from Dunhill, the ancient Seat of the Powers of Ireland. You will be glad to hear it is not a Call to Battle but a Call to Celebration and it seems that the call has echoed in the four corners of the known World.
I am aware that some of you have crossed great oceans and at great cost to be here. I am also aware that some of you have taken a great leap of faith and crossed the River Suir from the noble Kingdom of Ossory. Be it known that for you all your journey is ending where your ancestors journey once began.
I’m sure that this castle, which is over 800 years standing, has seen many homecomings, celebrations and festivities in its time. However let me guarantee you that the likes of the homecoming celebrations and festivities that I have laid on for you over the coming days have never been seen before.
You who carry the Power name, either within or without, have settled in many lands both near and far. And for many generations you may have lived and died under the protection of another flag. But Ireland, Waterford, Dunhill will always be your motherland, your ancestral home.
And so, from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the good people of Dunhill, I say to you WELCOME HOME”.
Knights on horseback – an Irish wolfhound watched over – seaweed bread and tea and an atmosphere of welcome and friendship as we gazed to see the river Anne find its way all the way to the Atlantic Ocean at Annestown.
It was the tree planting ceremony that really brought home to me the depth of emotion and importance of this homecoming and gathering. Each tree planted, now a living family tree, holds a story, a memory, a namesake. Together they become a living Garden of Remembrance which remains in your absence to be nurtured by the vital elements that keep us all alive wherever we are in the world.
The sun now with us – the evening kicking in and we started to walk back along the valley in the knowledge that a hooley awaited us that evening at Harney’s Pub. A feed of bacon and cabbage, apple tart and cream, and a dance at the crossroads but that’s another story entirely...
I hope that you settle back and stay in touch –
My parting glass for this day is from “Beannacht” a blessing by Irish poet John O’Donoghue
‘may the nourishment of the earth be yours
May the clarity of light be yours
May the fluency of the ocean be yours
May the protection of the ancestors be yours'