Thursday 23 November 2017

Bates clan reunite at Kilmore gathering

By Sara Gahan

Members of the Bates clan at their gathering in Kilmore Quay.
Members of the Bates clan at their gathering in Kilmore Quay.

The descendants of John Bates from Grange, Kilmore, who died in 1801, arrived at the fishing village of Kilmore Quay from different parts of Wexford for three days of fun and reminiscing.

Ten years ago the descendants of Mark Bates - John's son who left the family homestead in Grange to head to Nova Scotia in 1810, held their very first Bates clan reunion in Kilmore, where they were joined by many relatives from Canada.

'This year we decided to focus on the local Bates families around Wexford rather than Canada, trying to establish connections with them,' said organiser Richard Bates.

More than 70 relatives travelled from Kildare, Kiltealy, Askamore, Camolin, London and even one from Canada, where they enjoyed different activities held over three days.

The families enjoyed a Meet and Greet in the Stella Maris Centre Friday evening, before diving into a weekend of events.

Other activities over the weekend included a group photo shoot at Little Strand, the Irish premier of Canadian film 'Time and Tide', Bates-All Bash buffet and entertainment and round table sessions about the family history, update on the family tree and how to maintain links with their Canadian connections.

The weekend ended with a Mass at St Peter's Church, Kilmore Quay celebrated by Fr Thomas McGrath, where deceased family members were remembered, followed by a wreath laying ceremony in Grange cemetery.

'In particular, we remember Selica Mesher of Bateston at the Mass, as she actually re-established our family links from across the Atlantic,' said Richard.

There are over 500 direct descendants of Mark Bates in Nova Scotia and that branch of the family tracked their Kilmore connections 47 years ago, when Mark's grand-daughter Selica wrote to the Wexford People trying to trace her roots.

Richard said back then Bebe Bates of Kilmore responded to her piece from the newspaper, telling Selica all about the Bates from Kilmore.

'That is how we got the reunion started. We only have one every ten years, so hopefully we will have another one,' said Richard.

The Bates family would like to thank Patricia Bates from London, for the presentation of the family tree, which she worked on over the years.

Wexford People

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