To look at my family tree, I will start my journey in Dublin where, I will visit the courthouse where my great great grandfather participated in trials of a few famous folks. I will then head North where the family farm used to be. In Dublin I want to go on a literary pub crawl to see the pub where Brendan Behan hung his hat. I named my son after him, as I was reading “Borstal Boy” just before I had him. Dubbed “the drinker with the writing problem”, he was quite a character from all accounts.
The Gathering promises to be the greatest Irish get together of all time and it continues to build momentum and excitement. Ireland is inviting Canadians to come and “be part of it” with Gathering festivals and events happening throughout the year.
The Gathering offers anyone with links to Ireland (including the 70 million people worldwide who now claim Irish ancestry ), or indeed anyone who shares a love of Irish heritage and culture, to come home and immerse themselves in Ireland’s culture, art, sport, adventure, music and clan Gatherings taking place in towns, villages and cities nationwide throughout 2013.
The Gathering Ireland spectacularly launched in Dublin on December 31st with an action packed New Year’s Eve celebration. But the party doesn’t end there as over 2,500 events and festivals are set to take place over the coming months and, this year, travellers can savor a unique opportunity to revel in the very warmest ‘céad míle fáilte’ from the Emerald Isle.
Among The Gathering highlights coming soon include; the St Patrick’s Festival, the “People’s Parade” inviting 8,000 international visitors to walk in the capital’s big event; the Canada Come Home Gathering, a special event which charts the experience of over 6,000 people who left Coolattin Co. Wicklow for a new life in Canada during the Great Famine; and the Irish Redhead Convention which will see the largest gathering of carrot tops converge for a festival of ginger fun.
Travellers can take in the great outdoors during the Glen of Aherlow and Dingle Walking Festivals and the competitive Irish spirit will be fired up by the Celtic Cup 2013 International Lacrosse tournament; the Welly Throwing Championships and the World Mini Games amongst others.
For music fans, Sets by The Sea and The Sea Sessions offer a diverse musical line-up to be enjoyed against the backdrop of Ireland’s stunning coastline; Vantastival is the only campervan-focused music festival in Ireland; and the Beatles Festival on the Lough is a must for lovers of Liverpool’s fab four (whose roots, of course, are Irish!)
Family Gatherings include the Acton Clan Gathering, where Canadian Lyle Acton, whose great great grandfather left Ireland in 1840 to settle in Ontario, invites his distant relatives to meet in Co. Mayo; plus Gatherings of the Powers, Gallaghers, MacKenna, O’Reilly, O’Sullivan and Stack clans.
Elsewhere, the International Quilt Festival will transform Galway City into an Irish Quilter’s Village created especially for the event; and the notorious Bog Snorkelling Championships, where swimmers navigate 120 meters through an Irish bog, has to be seen to be believed …. plus much, much more!
I’m going to Ireland to find my roots ….when are you going? Drop me a line and tell me about it.
All images courtesy of Tourism Ireland