“We were steeped with the weather” was the most common conversation starter to grace the grounds of Carty Park, Walsh Island, Co Offaly on Sunday, August 4 for a Carty family reunion as the Cartys from Laois and Offaly came together.
Catherine and Joseph Carty had eleven children, Seán (RIP), Liam (RIP), Nellie (RIP), Moll (RIP), Lill, Joe, Brock, Jim, Anthony, Cáit and Dave who lives in Australia. These and all their future generations came to the event, which coincided with The Gathering 2013. The ‘Carty Party’ saw nearly 200 Cartys come together from Portarlington, Walsh Island and beyond with a feast of food and deluge of drink.
Preparations began months ago, and a Facebook page was set-up to keep people up to date. A gathering of Cartys was also held in Australia, Boston and South Africa for those who couldn’t make it home to Walsh Island.
Sunday morning, generations of Cartys began getting ready for the oncoming day. The soccer teams were picked, a water slide was created with four bales of hay and some plastic sheeting, marquees were erected, a caravan appeared, and barbeques and fridges were put up and running.
The day officially began at 2pm with the Rosary as each Carty sibling said a decade. The ‘Carty Party’ was then officially opened by Walsh Island’s own Patty Carty, Anthony’s wife, who cut the ribbon. Patty is known as the Mayor of Walsh Island. The party was then in full swing with Cartys, Ryans, Joyces and Dobbyns all celebrating the Carty name and history.
At 3pm Joe Carty’s bacon and cabbage was served with a famous Walsh Island dessert, custard and stewed apple, made by former Laois and Portarlington GAA player Damien Ryan.
The atmosphere became tense at 4pm, when the Carty Townies took on the Carty Culchies in a game of soccer, in what was dubbed ‘the battle of the day’. The referee was former Laois fullback and present Portarlington GAA player Cathal Ryan. The Townies won 2 to 1.
The barbeques were lit and the smell of cooked meat surrounded Carty Park as all the family came together to eat and swap stories of olden times and modern ways. Local band ‘Diva’ entertained the crowd with old time classics and songs currently in the charts.
Later in the evening, the atmosphere became tense again as the Townies and Culchies combatted once more. This time, it was tug-of-war in both female and male battles. The Culchies beat the Townies in the male crusade but the Townie women hold the crown for the female battle.
A great day and night was had by all the Carty Clan which, included the kids playing on the make-shift water slide, toasting marshmallows, dancing, singing and all round banter. It was 8pm before the heavens opened but by that stage all the family had taken salvage in the marquees.
All the family would like to thank Sinéad and Ann Ryan, Veronica Dobbyn, Martin and Joe Carty, and everyone who helped out.
A special thanks to Anthony Carty whose field was used and to everyone who travelled for the event.