Arms of the Second GSI President

  • Arms of the second President of the Society

Tuesday 25th October 2005 was a special day in the history of this Society as it marked the 15th anniversary of the first meeting of the Founders’ Committee establishing the Society in 1990 under the chairpersonship of Frieda Carroll, FGSI, and it also was the date of the inauguration of our new President and to receive new Fellows of the Society and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the European Flag.

McCarthy Tony Jpeg

     Mr. Tony McCarthy, MA, FGSI

 “A Glorious Extravaganza”

An Inter-Faith Memorial Service was held in the historic Monkstown Parish Church as part of this ceremony to mark the election of our new President, Mr. Tony McCarthy, MA, FGSI.

In the ornate surroundings of the wonderful and architecturally unique Church of Ireland church in Monkstown, a lone piper, Mr. Tom Durkan led the dignitaries, including the new President, Vice-President and clergymen up the centre aisle of the church to take their positions. Then the Rector, Rev. Kevin Dalton welcomed Members and friends of the Society to a very special event in the history of the Genealogical Society of Ireland.

It was fitting that the proceedings commenced with a guided tour of this historic church building by Dr. Étain Murphy, author of “A Glorious Extravaganza – The History of Monkstown Parish Church. Dr. Murphy described the Society’s decision to host these ceremonies in this church as “inspired” as the church is the oldest in continuous use in the area having Parish Registers dating back to 1669, its connections with Betham and its place in the history of our country – all of interest to the genealogist and historian alike. The great Irish genealogist and onetime Ulster King of Arms, Sir William Betham, was a churchwarden in this Parish and his Arms are depicted in the stained glass window in the south transept.

Dr. Murphy pointed out the many genealogical and heraldic features of the building, including the many memorials around the walls of this magnificent building. These memorials tell of an age of imperial wars, world wars, civic and religious service and the private dedication of families in the parish to their beautiful church building. Indeed, like all buildings of its age, Dr. Murphy explained, this church too is in need of repairs to deal with damp problems in the fabric of the building at one end. A fund raising campaign has been established to acquire the estimated €4.1 million required for this restoration project.

Remembering Our Ancestors

In keeping with the wishes of the Members of the Society, a short Inter-Faith Service of Remembrance was planned for this event, however, because of religious commitments the Jewish and Moslem representatives were unable to attend. However, Fr. Seán Cassidy and the Rector, Rev. Kevin Dalton proceeded with a very moving and deeply appropriate inter-denominational service, in which, Sr. Bernadette de Lourdes, O.Carm, the recently deceased Vice-President of the Society and Rosa Parkes, the American civil rights activist were both remembered in prayer.

The Society at Fifteen in 2005

The Cathaoirleach of the Society, Mr. Rory Stanley, FGSI, provided a brief outline of the past fifteen years since the foundation of the Society on October 25th 1990 in Rochestown, Co. Dublin. Mr. Stanley brought us through the development of the Society from the local to the national and international organisation that the Society is today. In pointing to the Arms of the Society and its Heraldic Banner, the Cathaoirleach explained the significance of each and then invited the clergymen to bless the work and the insignia of the Society.

Our Second President

The Cathaoirleach invited the new President, Mr. Tony McCarthy, MA, FGSI to come forward as the piper led the Vice-President, Mr. James Davidson, FGSI and the Membership Officer, Ms. Hilary Byrne, MGSI up, once again, through the Church with the new Presidential Chain of Office and his personal Coat-of-Arms. The Arms were designed by Mr. George Lucki of Canada and painted by Heraldic Artist, Mr. Andrew Tully, of South Africa and were presented to the Society by the International Association of Amateur Heralds for this occasion. The Vice-President placed the new Chain of Office on the President as the Membership Officer presented him with his Arms. The organist, on recognising that Mr. McCarthy was a Corkman, immediately gave us a rendering of “My Own Lovely Lee”.

Click here to see the Arms presented to Mr. McCarthy

Following the inauguration of the President, the Cathaoirleach announced the winners of the Presidential Annual Journal Award. As befitted the occasion, the President then announced his two nominees to the College of Fellows of the Genealogical Society of Ireland. Garda Jim Herlihy, FGSI was present to receive his certificate of appointment from the President.


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