The Lalor name has a long and proud association with Laois and when the clan held its rally 10 years, ago photographer Alf Harvey was on hand to capture the event.
It certainly was a momentous occasion as a former paratrooper and homicide detective was unanimously elevated to the position of Chieftan of the O’Leathloblair clan.
The Leinster Express reported that Tom Lawlor, a native of Shanahoe now living in Abbeyleix, was appointed as Chieftain at the 16th annual clan rally.
From the outset, the powers bestowed on him were outlined, including the authority to declare war on any tribe that showed hostility to the Lalor clan.
The only son of the late John and Bridget Lawlor, Tom emigrated to the United States in 1962, after graduating from Patrician College, Ballyfin.
After serving as a paratrooper in the US Army, he joined the New York Police Force (NYPD).
He spent 16 years in the force, finishing as a homicide detective.
He embarked on a major life change in 1984, when he and his wife Brigid returned to Ireland to open Norefield, a guesthouse in Abbeyleix.
The clan gathering began with an U14 ladies’ football match in Fr Breen Park on Friday evening.
The AGM took place on Saturday morning followed by a historic tour of Portlaoise in the afternoon, guided by John Hartford. One of the highlights of the tour was a stop off to view the recently erected statue of James Fintan Lalor at County Hall.
Refreshments were enjoyed afterwards in Whelan’s in Ballyroan before the banquet on Saturday night in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel.
On Sunday a ecumenical service was celebrated by Rector Canon Patrick Harvey in Ballyroan Church. Another visit to Whelan’s followed before lunch in the Manor Hotel rounded up proceedings.