Mountmellick Heritage Society News

Mountmellick Heritage Society News

Mountmellick Heritage Society announces plans for a William Edmundson & Friends Gathering in the summer of 2015 in Mountmellick and Rosenallis, Co. Laois, Ireland.

Celebrating the life, teachings and sufferings of William Edmundson, the ‘Irish Hammer’ and Father of Quakerism in Ireland this Gathering will take place from 22nd to 26th July 2015 in the Irish townland William Edmundson called home and was laid to rest.

William Edmundson convinced and brought the first Quaker families in Mountmellick with him when he settled in Rosenallis in 1659. He spent many years in the US and Caribbean convincing people of the truth of Quakerism and was responsible for the first Friends Meetings in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and probably New York. William Edmundson was also the first Quaker to condemn slavery outright in 1675 – a century before the first Quaker movements to eradicate slavery in society. He was a truly incredible and inspiring man.

Celebrations include a William Edmundson Summer School, heritage walks, talks, discussions, tours, reunions, exhibitions, traditional Irish sport, music, dance, workshops, drama, and entertainment.

Experience the real Ireland! Mountmellick and Rosenallis are the ‘Gateway to the Slieve Bloom Mountains’ – one of the most unspoilt and least explored areas in Ireland. Take some time to enjoy hillwalking, fishing and traditiional music played in the pubs by local people for local people with visitors welcome to join in. The central location of Mountmellick and Rosenallis also make it the ideal base for visitors wishing to make trips to other parts of Ireland.

This Gathering is already attracting 8th and 9th great grandchildren of William Edmundson from around the world and those who want to celebrate and research their Irish and Quaker ancestry.

Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is also looking forward to assisting the communities of Mountmellick and Rosenallis in celebrating their connection to the founder of Quakerism in Ireland. Henry Healy of Ireland XO stated that “William Edmundson, the ‘Father of Quakerism in Ireland’ who settled in Rosenallis outside Mountmellick in 1659 obviously has many relatives overseas today and I think it’s an exciting project for the community to engage in, to identify and reach out to them and invite them back in 2015 for a celebration of their connection to Laois”

Anna Marie Delaney, Director of Services at Laois County Council is from Mountmellick: “The Edmundson Family Reunion is a very exciting and ambitious project for Laois and will have great benefits for both Heritage and Tourism in the County. Laois County Council is very excited about the proposals for 2015 and are looking forward to working closely with the community in Mountmellick and Rosenallis to deliver this event”