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Sweeney History



L to R: Maybeth McFarlane (a Swiney of Moyagh of Doe Branch). Fr. Peter O'Dwyer O.Carm. Clann Chaplain. Captain Mingo Sweeney (Banagh Branch) now Chieftain of Banagh. Morgan Sweeney of Colorado. Marquisa de Casacagal (a Madrid Sweeney). General Joe Sweeney Dungloe (Doe Branch) and Loughlin Sweeney (Fanad Branch and now Chieftain of Fanad). Also one fo the organisers but not in the photo was JAmes Johnstone Sweeney of Achill.

In the early seventies a group of Sweeneys came together and formed a Clan Association. Among them were Loughlin Sweeney Dublin (Fanad Branch), Capt. L Richard Mingo Sweeney of Nova Scotia (Banagh Branch), The Marquis Mac Sweeney of Mashanglass in Cork and his son Patrick. Maj. Gen. Joe Sweeney of Dungloe (Doe Branch), Morgan Sweeney of Colorado, Marquisa de Casacagal (a Madrid Sweeney) Maybeth McFarlane (a Swiney of Moyagh of the Doe Branch), James Johnstone Sweeney of Achill and Clan Chaplin Fr. Peter O'Dwyer O.Carm. In 1977 the Grand Council of the Clan was formed and composed as follows:

Chief, Chieftains & heirs: Vacant.

Commander of the Clan: Capt. R. Mingo Sweeney of Bolger's Park.

Grand Seneschal & Deputy Commander (Tanist to the Commander) Loughlin J. Sweeney.

Grand Constable: Major General Joseph A. Sweeney.

Grand Almoner: Morgan J. Sweeney.

Grand Marshal: Major J.M. MacSwiney.

Grand Genealogist: D.E. McSweeney.

Capt. Of the Galloglas Guard: Chev. John R. C. Sweeney.

Loughlin Sweeney,
MacSuibhne Fanad.
In September of 1979 the Grand Council of Clan Suibhne at a meeting in Dublin resolved to appoint as follows:

Chevelier Loughlin J. Sweeney, KLJ to be Head of the House of Fanad and thereafter known as MacSuibhne Fanad.

H.E. the Marquis Eoin MacSwiney of Mashanaglass, KM, KCN, to be Head of the House of Doe and thereafter known as MacSuibhne na dTuagh.

Capt. Richard Mingo Sweeney of Bolger's Park, GCLJ, KMLJ,OL to be Head of the House of Bannagh and thereafter known as MacSuibhne Banagh.

Marquis Eoin's son Patrick a young man in his twenties sadly died. Two years later The Marquis passed away, leaving Doe Castle without a MacSuibhne na dTuagh. This was the situation until the early nineties.
When the present Clan Association started in 1991, we held our first rally in Donegal with the official opening in Sweeneys Hotel, Dungloe. We were delighted to have the assistance and guidance of Loughlin, MacSuibhne Fanad on that occasion. Because of distance Capt. Richard Mingo Sweeney was unable to attend but was represented by his and our good friend Lawerence Kent Sweeney of Nova Scotia and as there was no MacSuibhne na dTuagh the committee decided, while accepting Loughlin MacSuibhne Fanad and Capt. R. Mingo as MacSuibhne Banagh, to rotated the chieftaincy of Doe at each rally, thus giving the committee the opportunity to honour various individuals who excelled in Clan activity.

Capt. R. Mingo Sweeney, MacSuibhne Banagh.

Mrs Kathleen Sweeney (or Mrs Dessie as she was affectionately known) was duly selected to act as Hon. Chieftain for the occasion. Mrs Dessie, who was a sister in law of Maj. Gen. Joe Sweeney, has since passed to her eternal reward, may she rest in peace. Her contribution to those early proceedings will long be remembered.

At our rally in 1995 we had been offered assistance by Tom Sweeney of Dublin who had a keen interest in clan activity and the committee appointed him Hon. Chieftain of Doe for the occasion.
His lecture 'From Doe to Derryveagh proved a riveting experience and the highlight of the official opening. Tom went on to serve a second and third term in 1997 and 1999. Tom continues his work in researching clan history and writes much on that topic.

The late Mrs. Dessie pictured with her
daughter Sr. Mary Dolores, a member
of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny in war torn Sierra Leone.

Tom Sweeney, Hon. Chieftain, MacSuibhne na dTuath '95-'99.

Tom Sweeney of Pennsylvania, Hon. Chieftain for 2001 Reunion.

In 2001 we decided to show our appreciation to our friends in the United States and we have asked Tom J. Sweeney of Pennsylvania, who will be well known to past rally visitors, to act as our Hon. Chieftain for the occasion. He has graciously accepted the invitation to serve this term and we wish him every success.

He has just complete an extensive work on Leabhar Clainne tSuibhne recently published (see merchandise page) and has produced a CD of the Sweeney Clan march. His writings on Sweeneys have been published in leading American journals. We are certain he will be a great asset to the clan and we look forward to meeting him and his family once again at the September rally. Already he has discovered more interesting Sweeneys for the Clan Association in various parts of the United States.

But we must never forget those people who had the foresight and the pride in the name Sweeney and their ancestors to come together in 1977 and lay the foundations that we the present association are building on. That is why it is so important to document those early days lest the facts be lost in the mists of time. Clann Suibhne owe these people so much.

Our aim is the same as that of the first association: the furtherance of clan activity, and much was achieved during those earlier years. They did Trojan work to sow the seed of renewal in the Sweeney clan and much of their plans were carried out, including the erection of plaques at Doe and Banagh with the able assistance of the Donegal Historical Society. Our present association were pleased to assist in having the Fanad Plaque installed at the Flight of the Earls Centre at Rathmullan in 1995 with the cooperation of Jim Deeney of Rathmullan Development and the workers at the Centre. It was the wish of that first committee that this plaque would be mounted on the Carmelite Priory when it was restored but alas, that has not yet happened. This project is very much in the minds of the present association and we hope to make progress in the near future.
The passage of time and indeed distance from the nerve centre of the clan here in Donegal took its toll and it is certain that much more would have been achieved had it not been for these factors. The present association are mainly based in Donegal and nearer the hub. It remains to be seen how much will have been achieved when history is to be written, but so far it is making a very definite mark on clan organisation with members world wide in every country in the world. The internet has made all this possible.
Surely our aim in entering this new millennium should be to foster harmony and friendship among our fellow kinsmen and to act unselfishly in that pursuit for the good of the clan. And remember, we all can play our part.

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Sweeney Clan 2003 Web Site by John Michael Sweeney