Damien is the chief Stack

Marisa Reidy

THE STACK clan now has its own unofficial 'chieftain' after the organiser of the weekend's Stack Family Gathering was honoured as part of the celebrations.

The chieftain elect, Listowel's Damien Stack, told The Kerryman that the weekend had far exceeded anyone expectations, with up to 400 people travelling to Listowel for the event - some from as far as Australia. Such was the success of the gathering that organisers have ensured visitors that the event will become an annual one.

The fun kicked off on Friday night with an informal gathering of Stacks from all over the world at the Listowel Arms - among them an 83 woman who had travelled from Melbourne especially for the event; a woman from Glin who had moved away 20 years ago and was anxious to catch up with friends old friends from West Limerick, along with hundreds of Stacks and Stack descendants who had come from the US.

Once acquaintances had been made on Friday night, the important business of the weekend got underway on Saturday when over 80 people set off on a bus tour around north Kerry, taking in Ardfert, and Kilflynn - formally known as Stackstown - and on to Crotta to see the old house once owned by the Stack estate.

Visitors also got a tour of Dirrha Bog and even got to foot some turf on Seamus Stack's bog, before returning to The Square that evening where over 400 people joined in the gathering celebrations.

"Half of those were from the States, others have come from the UK, Belgium, and all parts of Ireland. It was incredible to see so many people here for the event. It was like a night of the races," said the new chieftain-elect and event organiser Damien Stack.

On Sunday, the Stack clan enjoyed a genealogy roadshow, where Dr Andrew McDonald from Australia spoke of the history of the Stacks of Irremore, which he traced back to 1900.

Tralee auctioneer Eddie Barrett also spoke about his grand uncle, the famous Austin Stack, before Dr McDonald was presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage signed by An Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Minister Leo Varadkar.

Later that day, dozens of people set trees in the town park - a keepsake for the future generations of Stacks who will visit Listowel in years to come. Sunday's activities were topped off with a seisiun in John B's that night, where, after much discussion, it was agreed that the event would become an annual one.

"The interaction of people from all over the world was amazing and the feedback was so good that we're definitely doing it again next year," said Damien.


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