I have 22 first cousins on my Dad's side of the family. Coincidentally of the 22 plus my two brothers, one sister, and me there are 13 boys and 13 girls. Last evening in Gleesons of Booterstown, 11 of us met for a get-together, a (very small) bite to eat, and a few jars. Lots of family chat of course, but also a very relaxed evening, the last time most of us met was at a funeral. There is an 18 year spread in our ages from the oldest (me) to the youngest (Anna O'L, who organized the evening).
It's important to keep in contact with family. The O'Loughlin's are a small family - my grandfather PJ O'Loughlin was an only child, and only one of my grandmother Kathleen (Hurley) O'Loughlin's siblings had children. My Dad has just one first cousin. Our O'Loughlin parents grew up in the parish of Tomacork just outside Carnew in Co Wicklow. The family home is at the exact centre of the Google map below:
It gives a sense of identity and a common linkage that is important to keep alive. Though no O'Loughlins live in Tomacork any more (my Mum and Dad live about three miles away), we had plenty of chat last night about Tomacork and Carnew. Many of my cousins had seen the "Who Do You Think You Are" programme about Graham Norton that was on TV recently. Norton's father was from Carnew, and a lot of the programme was based in Carnew. Hence the interest and chat last evening about our own ancestry.
Good to see all the cousins again - I hope that we meet in similar relaxed surroundings again.