Date(s) - 14/09/2016
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Lackagh Parish Centre


From Clonbur to Allenstown, Co. Meath: Beyond and Back

Our September meeting took place on 14 September at 8pm at Lackagh Parish Centre. Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive Officer of the Health & Safety Authority, was our speaker, on the topic of migration from the West of Ireland to Co.  Meath. His talk was entitled From Clonbur to Allenstown, Co. Meath: Beyond and Back.

Martin grew up in Allenstown, Kells, Co Meath where the family moved in 1940. He was the eighth of ten children and the family had strong bonds with Cloghbrack upper and the parish of Clonbur where his ancestors resided for more than five generations. The language, the culture and the stories of the west were a dominant feature of growing up in a migrant community. The family continued to speak Irish as the main language of the household in Allenstown for another generation. They were regular visitors to the Clonbur area and cherished those trips back to the ancestral homeland.

Interest in family history was sparked when Martin’s children were in school and they wanted to know more about their ancestors for a school project. This created a real sense of awareness of how little the family really knew of their ancestors beyond a generation back. To rectify this and create a family reference of ‘who are we’, work began on a family history and genealogy in 2013 and has gradually taken shape.

Martin works as Chief Executive officer of the Health and safety Authority. He is a scientist, engineer, teacher, coach, mentor, manager and company director by day but long winter evenings are devoted to woodturning and genealogy. He is not a trained genealogist or historian but has endeavoured to bring his scientific discipline to the research process relying primarily on primary sources.

His presentation focused on the migration of twenty four families from Clonbur in spring 1940 to Allenstown in Co Meath. The years of anticipation, the planning, the hurdles and obstacles, the fears and worries, the journey, the joy, the heartbreak, the engagement with officialdom, the language challenge, the arrival and the new dawn, the sometimes friendly and sometimes not so friendly locals, the integration, the marrying into Meath society, the next generations, the impact on those remaining in Clonbur. The presentation covered the eighty year period 1936 to 2015.

Martin O’Halloran holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Physics and Mathematics from the University of London, an M.Sc.  in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin, a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health from the Robens Institute, University of Surrey, and a Diploma in Executive Coaching from the University of Strathclyde. He held senior positions in the Telecommunications industry in Ireland and UK, and  lectured in colleges and universities including DIT, UL, TCD, and IMI. He has acted as external examiner for Occupational Safety and Health programmes in UCD, UCC and IT Sligo, and is a Chartered Fellow (CFIOSH) and Honorary Vice President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, and a Chartered Director and Fellow, (C.Dir FIoD) (Institute of Directors): Executive coach.

He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and has been Chairman of the Association of Chief Executives of State Agencies (ACESA) and has also served on the Board of the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health and the Chartered director Network. His hobbies and leisure interests are gardening, woodturning and genealogy.

September 2016: From Clonbur to Allenstown, Co. Meath: Beyond and Back, Martin O’Halloran