THE genetic links of one of Australia’s most notorious and controversial outlaws - Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly - is the focus of the Kelly Clan gathering in County Tipperary this weekend.
Two hundred Kellys from Australia, Britain, America, Ireland and even an eleventh generation Kelly from Guatemala are attending the event in Dundrum House Hotel, Thurles. Guests include Junior Minister, Alan Kelly and former GAA President, Sean Kelly, MEP.
Ned Kelly, was born in Australia around 1854 and earned the reputation as both a cold-blooded murderer as well as a freedom-fighting folk hero. He was captured and hanged in Melbourne in 1880 for his crimes.
Ned’s father was Irish convict, John ‘Red’ Kelly who came from Moyglass near Killenaule, Co Tipperary and was transported to Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania) in 1841 for a series of local crimes.
Key speaker at the gathering will be Australian, Aidan Kelly, the Clan’s chief recorder on genetic genealogy, who will be presenting the latest analysis of the Kelly ‘Y-DNA Study’ (the genetic links of the male line). He’ll also refer to recent studies on the DNA of Ned Kelly’s bones (tracing the maternal line) and how this work could help identify male family relatives in the Tipperary area.
Mary Kelly, one of the event organisers and a spokesperson for the Kelly Clan Association says: “While there is no denying that Ned Kelly was a notorious criminal to some he was considered a hero who was fighting oppression. But the purpose of our event is not to condone his reputation but to share the importance of genetics in tracing family connections and enable Kelly family members from across the world to meet and discuss their common ancestry.”
The three-day gathering, is being held at the Dundrum House Hotel outside Thurles, and includes a tour of the Moyglass area, including visits to the site of the home of John ‘Red’ Kelly, the ancient site of the Church where he was baptised and the prison and police station where he was held.