Bringing Elvis back home

A well-known local figure has taken up a campaign to create public awareness and acknowledge the Irish roots of ‘the King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley.

A well-known local figure has taken up a campaign to create public awareness and acknowledge the Irish roots of ‘the King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley.

Myles Kavanagh, from the Butts, is Kilkenny’s most well-known Elvis fan and impersonator. He is part of a national campaign that wants to erect a plaque in Hacketstown to commemorate The King.

Presley’s great-great grandfather was apparently from Carlow and emigrated during the 1970s. A barbeque was recently held where Elvis fans and lookalikes from all over came together to celebrate this fact and plan their campaign.

Carlow historian Micahel Purcell says that the singer’s ancestor William Presley fled Ireland for the US following a bitter dispute over (what else) land. William apparently went to Carolina, where in 1780 he had a son called Dunnan, whose grand-daughter Rosella had a child Jessie. Jessie named his son (born in 1916) Vernon Elvis, who later named his son Elvis Aaron Presley.

Myles, who with his wife celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary last month, trying to get the campaign going with a view to having Presley’s daughter, Lisa-Marie Presley, to come to Ireland unveil the plaque. He feels with the year of the Gathering in full swing, and recent celebrations of the Irish ancestry and heritage of former US president John F Kennedy and US President Barack Obama, that the time is right.

“Hacketstown could become the next Moneygall and be known internationally,” says Myles. He is now hoping for a little less conversation and a little more action towards acknowledging his hero’s ancestral home.