The Gathering—a series of events and festivals to celebrate Irish culture, history and genealogy—is building up a head of steam before it begins in January. According to the website for the Gathering, “throughout 2013, Ireland will open its arms to hundreds of thousands of friends and family from all over the world, calling them home to gatherings in villages, towns and cities…The Gathering Ireland 2013 provides the perfect excuse to reach out to those who have moved away, their relatives, friends and descendants, and invite them home.”
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has urged anyone interested in the Gathering Ireland 2013 to head along to one of the last two Town Hall meetings being held over the next week in Limerick and Kerry.
Some 7,000 people have attended 52 of these meetings since they kicked off in June, including at least 5,000 people in the last two months. Some 600 new Gathering events are now being planned at community level.
“The Town Hall meetings have been a great success. Thousands of people have attended, and loads of great events and Gatherings have been identified. The whole point of these meetings was to get communities involved right across Ireland, and the response has been tremendous,” Minister Ring said.
“I’m delighted that so many people took the opportunity to find out more, and to see how their families, businesses and communities can be part of it all. I would urge people everywhere to start making plans for their own Gatherings,” he said.
The Gathering Ireland 2013 provides the perfect excuse to reach out to those who have moved away, their relatives, friends and descendants, and invite them home…
The meetings are an opportunity for people to find out how they can get involved in the Gathering, and see how it can benefit their own region. They have also generated loads of new ideas:
- International Garda Festival, Longford -- Ireland’s first Ban Garda came from Co. Longford, and a Gathering is being planned to invite female police officers from across the world to Longford to participate;
- Dig Deep in Castlecomer -- A Gathering is being organised in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny to invite miners and people whose family members worked in the Castlecomer mines to come back for a reunion in 2013 and record their stories for posterity;
- Lighthouse Keepers’ Reunion -- Hook Lighthouse is one of the world’s most famous and photographed lighthouses. A gathering of lighthouse keepers from all over the world, including a visit to the lighthouse, is being planned by Wexford communities.
Gathering Ireland Project Director Jim Miley said: “The momentum is really building for the Gathering and the community meetings really were a big part of this. There are over 600 Gatherings already planned, and so many of those great ideas came directly out of the Community meetings. I would encourage people to extend an invitation to people they know overseas to come to their gathering. Big or small, corporate or community these gatherings will benefit communities.”
The final two Gathering Ireland 2013 Town Hall meetings are taking place as follows:
Tuesday 23rd October, Limerick Strand Hotel, Limerick;
Thursday 25th October, The Dingle Skellig Hotel, Kerry.
All are invited and encouraged to attend, so take this opportunity to get involved in The Gathering Ireland 2013, or to get further information on the Gathering, and find out how you can plan a Gathering in your local community.
For more information, visit www.thegatheringireland.com