translated by E. Walsh
A. Please see the section " History and origin ".
Q. When and where will the next gathering of the clan be held?
A. Well, the '99 World Gathering is now over, and it was a HUGE success. So was the 2004 gathering.
There was an interim gathering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA in 2001 AD, and details appeared at this website under "Clan Happenings." Our Goban Saoir crossed the Atlantic to attend.
There are frequent minor gatherings (75-150 people) in Ballyholland, Ireland, but they are not announced, because of short scheduling, and also that they might take away from the next World Gathering. However, if you are going to be in Ireland, please do contact the Goban Saoir and let him or her know your plans, so you can attend one of these events if there is one to attend, or at least so the family will be able to meet you. You will be very welcome, to be sure.
We try to hold a World Gathering every five years. We used to aim for Saint Ciaran's Day, September 9th, but that meant students and families with young children couldn't attend, because of school. Lately gatherings tend to be in late August. The date is usually announced about nine months before the event.
Q. Will there be any young people at the gathering?
A. Yes! Our earlier gatherings in the first weeks of September probably made it difficult for young people to attend, but the last two gatherings have surprised us. Lots of young people attended, and they all had a good time. Night life in Newry has appeared out of nowhere since 1994, and the city has really become a vibrant, European city, pound for pound the equal of any.
Q. We're coming to the gathering. Where will you put us?
A. Unfortunately, the Clan Committee cannot make the arrangements. You must do that. Newry now has lots of hotel rooms, and there are B&Bs in and around Newry. Some groups rented "self-catering cottages." These are just houses you can rent by the week, usually outside the city. For a group, this can be a great deal, especially since you have your own kitchen, and don't have to eat in restaurants.
Camping in Ireland can be rather damp, so we don't recommend that. Accommodation in Ireland tends to be expensive, compared to most other places. There are no hostels in Newry, but there is one in Armagh, and one in Carlingford within taxi range. You might also stay in Dublin and commute by bus.
Q. How can I become a McAteer?
A. The most common way is through either birth or marriage, but of course, both of these would necessarily exclude most of mankind, and that would be a great shame, so it would.
Another method would be legal name change, and registration with the clan. The head of clan should be contacted before you actually change your name, just as a matter of form.
There is a fourth way. In ancient tradition, there exists a recourse for whole families at once. Formerly, a group or family who were victims of persecution could apply to the Goban Saoir (head of clan), and be taken into the clan, "en masse". Thus they would live under the name, banner, and protection of the host clan. Although this has not been discussed at recent gatherings, precedent clearly exists, and the Goban Saoir would certainly be obliged to entertain your petition. Please see "Registering."
Q. Where do McAteers live today?
A. The largest concentrations are in Northern Ireland, chiefly around Newry, and Ballyholland, and in Scotland, around Glasgow. While we are not a large group anywhere, McAteers seem to be fairly urban in Canada, and the United States. In Canada, they are concentrated around Toronto and Vancouver (although there are McAteers as far east as Quebec, where some are French speaking). In the U.S., along the eastern and western seaboards. There are apparently a number of families in Australia, and New Zealand, but we are unsure of their distribution there. Elsewhere, the name seems to be quite rare. Some are reported in Sweden, China, and Japan, and we could find only one in each of France, Belgium, or Holland.
Q. Who can I contact to trace our family roots?
A. Addresses for recent heads of clan can be found under " Registering ..." section. The head of clan, and the Clan Committee will be able to put you in touch with a number of helpful sources in Ireland. You might also try the Ulster Historical Foundation, at 12 College Square East, Belfast, BT1 6DD, Northern Ireland. They will do research for you. See Related Sites for more sources.
Q. I'm having a hard time tracing my family. Have you any suggestions?
A. Yes; three suggestions. First, get help! Contact your local genealogy club, or link up with someone who has more experience, so you do not lose a lot of time "reinventing the wheel," or making some of the sad mistakes we have made. Too, there are genealogy courses available on Internet, and most clans have a clan genealogist who will be happy to advise you.
Next, remember to be patient. Genealogy is like gardening - it comes together slowly. Sometimes all you can do is plant the seeds and wait, and that takes time (and persistence).
Finally, remember what it's all about. You are trying to find your roots - because we all need roots. Why not come to the next World Gathering, and grow some new roots? There is something very satisfying in having your own personal connection to the "Old Sod"; in being able to pick up the phone and hear a friendly Irish voice at the other end. It will make your life and someone else's a little richer, and it can only help you in finding your original roots.
Q. Are the McAteers a big clan?
A. No. We seem to have always been a small, peaceful bunch of individualists, with a leaning toward skilled trades, and the arts. Although world figures are not available, Ireland and Scotland seem to have the greatest concentrations of the family. There are just over 500 families in Ireland, not counting related names, such as those mentioned under "History". There are probably fewer than that number, in Scotland and England.
Canada has at most 150 families, and while it looks as though the United States may have a lower per capita population, with around 500 to 1000 families, the U.S. may well represent the largest nationality within the clan. Interestingly, the difference in accent between the U.S. and Canada is said to derive from early British ownership of the continent - the English sent the Scots and Irish north, and kept the warmer climates for their own, so the above statistic may be quite reasonable. There are probably a couple hundred more families in Australia and New Zealand, and there are a few in Japan and Sweden.
Best estimates put our population between that of the Giant Panda, and the Red Kangaroo, which puts us squarely among the worlds endangered species. If you know a McAteer, please do what you can to encourage him to reproduce.
What does it mean to be a McAteer?
You must also dedicate your strength, your heart, and your voice to your fellow man."
Even for the family of St. Ciaran McAteer, this seems a strict regime, and the editor must confess to feeling some unease when quoting it. Courage, Cousins!
Our name is Such-a-one. Are we related?
Is there a McAteer coat of arms?
However, the Clan Committee has come up with a very pleasing and appropriate crest, which contains a quill and scroll, symbolic of our strong bardic tradition; a chisel and chisel driver, which represents our craftsmanship, and that of our Celtic forbears; and a ship surely carrying our own Saint Ciaran Mhac an t'Saoir and a company of his fellows, on their way to founding the most significant institution of Western learning throughout the Dark Ages. The crest may be proudly displayed by any clan member.
Does our clan have a tartan?
The tartan of the kilt or of the belted plaid (great kilt), identified not only its wearer's family, but his politics and church as well. You might say the tartan was woven into the social fabric of Scotland. So the kilt and tartan represent a Scottish departure from the traditional Celtic dress of earlier times, and after 1600 AD, Scottish and Irish dress had little in common.
However, it is well established that McAteers emigrating to Scotland in earlier times, changed their name to MacIntyre, and that MacIntyres immigrating into Ireland often became McAteers. Whether or not you accept the theory of an original link between these two families, there certainly developed a number of links, and today we know of quite a few McAteers who are known to wear the MacIntyre tartan on great occasions. And where would you find a finer tartan?
Why don't you have graphics, frames, or Java in your webpage?
Graphic images can be huge, and they can cause long waits, but we have added some in anyway, by way of concession. We experimented with frames, but they did not fit in well with what we are doing. We did go so far as to use colours, though (having received complaints about our "plainness"), and if your browser allows colours, we hope they will make your visit more pleasant. Breaking the original page up into separate pages decreased download times and allowed us to colour each page differently (this was also to represent the many shades of green of the "Emerald Isle").
Later, we received complaints about the "riot of colour" at our site, so we have
now adopted a background colour close to that of parchment, in memory of Saint
Ciaran's "Book of the Dun Cow."
Homepage; top of page.