Notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly is being honored at a Tipperary event as part of the Gathering festival in Ireland.
An eleventh generation Kelly from Guatemala is amongst the visitors to the Kelly Clan Gathering in Dundrum House Hotel.
Junior Minister Alan Jelly and European Parliament member Sean Kelly, a former president of the GAA are also on the guest list.
The Sunday Independent reports that the genetic links ‘of one of Australia’s most notorious and controversial outlaws’ is the focus of the celebrations.
The paper reports that two hundred Kellys from Australia, Britain, America and Ireland are also attending the event outside Thurles.
The report says that Ned Kelly was born in Australia around 1854 and earned the reputation as both a cold-blooded murderer as well as a freedom-fighting folk hero.
He was captured and hanged in Melbourne in 1880 for his crimes.
The outlaw’s father was an Irish convict, John ‘Red’ Kelly, who came from Moyglass near Killenaule, Co Tipperary. He was transported to Van Diemens Land, now Tasmania, in 1841 for a series of local crimes.
The key speaker at the event is Aidan Kelly, the Clan’s chief recorder on genetic genealogy. The Aussie will present the latest analysis of the Kelly ‘Y-DNA Study’ on the genetic links of the male line.
He will also refer to recent studies on the DNA of Ned Kelly’s bones, tracing the maternal line, and how this work could help identify male family relatives in the Tipperary area according to the report.
Event organiser and spokesperson for the Kelly Clan Association Mary Kelly told the Sunday Independent: “While there is no denying that Ned Kelly was a notorious criminal to some he was considered a hero who was fighting oppression.
“But the purpose of our event is not to condone his reputation but to share the importance of genetics in tracing family connections and enable Kelly family members from across the world to meet and discuss their common ancestry.”
The three-day gathering includes a tour of the Moyglass area with visits to the site of the home of John ‘Red’ Kelly, the ancient site of the Church where he was baptised and the prison and police station where he was held.