"Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.” ~ Sean O’Casey
Along with a record heat wave in July 2022, many Irish Americans came “home” to visit Ireland for some much-needed craic. Among them, was Kevin White (Irish America Hall of Fame Inductee 2017) along with friends and family. Kevin, whose ancestors came from Dungloe, and Jane, whose ancestors came from Dublin, organized the trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. As you can tell by the smiles and laughter, it was a wonderful trip for all on none other than the greatest island on earth.
On July 6, Kevin and Jane landed in Dublin and immediately drove up to Dungloe, Donegal, 250 miles, to Kevin’s ancestral home. The rest of the White family were scheduled to arrive on the 12th, which provided ample time to visit both family homesteads, in Roshine South and Falmore. They have visited Dungloe almost every year since 1993. Kevin’s great, great grandfather’s, James Boyle, home, currently owned by Jack and Martin Brereton, is located in picturesque Falmore overlooking the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Kevin and Jane have endeavored to purchase this respective property for literally decades! Jack and Martin are now close friends and exceedingly active within the greater Dungloe community. This particular property is where Kevin’s grandmother, Mary “Mariah” Boyle, was born. In Roshine South, about four miles from Falmore, sits the O’Donnell (Hugh O’Donnell) homestead, which is where Kevin’s grandfather, Patrick, was born in 1883. While in Donegal they stayed at the Waterfront Hotel (Town Center, Dungloe), which was just perfect in every way.
Upon returning to Dublin, Kevin and Jane were greeted by John and Katie Anthony, of Anthony Travel, who arranged the trip/tour; and, who happen to be very close friends of the White family, as well as Charlie and Rebecca Besser, of Intersport. Both couples wanted to celebrate the White’s 50th wedding anniversary, as well as their retirement from college athletics after a 38-year tenure, serving Loras College, The University of Maine, Tulane University, Arizona State University, the University of Notre Dame, and Duke University.
Unbeknownst to Kevin and Jane, some twenty close friends and former colleagues arrived shortly thereafter to join the celebration. These colleagues had all once worked for Kevin at various athletic departments across America and are now all industry leaders in their own right. Each serves in prominent leadership roles throughout college athletics today.
The Anthonys arranged for the Whites and their guests to stay at The Westbury and The Merrion Hotels, as well as visit the EPIC Center (Every Person Is Connected), whereby Dr. Declan Brady, renowned Genealogist and Historian, had prepared a deep dive study relative to Kevin’s ancestral background.
Each evening, the group was treated to world-class dining at venues such as Stephen’s Green Club, Sole, FIRE, and Bar Italia and enjoyed sightseeing around Dublin.
While in Dublin, Mark Daly, Chair of the Irish Parliament, greeted Kevin White, Jane White, and their son Michael White. Senator Daly hosted the group and treated them to an Irish Parliament session. Senator Daly also loved showing his guests the picture of his two favorite Irish Americans on his office wall – President Barack Obama and another Irish America Hall of Fame member, General Martin Dempsey (2016).
Kevin was also treated to a tour of Aviva Stadium, where Niall Rynne gifted him with an Irish Team Rugby jersey signed by the team! This was of course after Ireland had just defeated New Zealand for the first time in their history.
Once the rest of the White family arrived, they added some 25 out of 28 family members to the trip. Kevin and Jane’s five children, their respective spouses, and 13 of 16 grandkids (three little ones didn’t make the travel squad) were ready to join the party on Grafton Street. ♦
All photos are courtesy of the White family.