Pierce Brosnan describes it as a year where we “celebrate what it is to be Irish”.
Liam Neeson says: “Whether you’re first, second-generation or even with no connection to Ireland, you should visit in 2013 for a unique experience.”
Niamh Gallagher is one person who’ll definitely be coming. In 2007, Niamh’s “Global Gathering” broke the previous record for biggest number of people with the same surname attending a clan gathering. It even made ABC news in the United States.
It’s a tall order to top a Guinness World Record, but she and all the other Gallaghers are aiming to do just that when they stage their next clan reunion in September 2013 in Donegal.
Of course, this time around, the Gallagher clan will be riding on the wave of The Gathering 2013, which is reaching out to Irish communities and those with Irish heritage to bring them back to Ireland for a massive shindig – and everyone else who just fancies joining in for the craic!
Each Irish person will offer a slice of hospitality in their own way. The Gathering means a different thing to every person, town and community in Ireland – but it means something to all of us.
After all, a party invitation, extended to some 70 million people with Irish connections was always going to be popular.
And it’s captured imaginations all over the world. Colleen Haller-Koss from Bay City, Michigan, began planning her trip as soon as she heard about it.
“I visited Ireland for the first time some 17 years ago with my mum and big sister,” she wrote on the Tourism Ireland blog. “Mother was born in Holywood just outside of Belfast. She passed away three years ago, but I know she would love for me to go back home for another wee visit with the family and meet new people as well.”
Bigger, better festivals
Besides the street parties, tea parties, and reunions of all types, there’s always a festival around the bend in Ireland, whether it’s for walking, racing, families, food or flowers…
During the Gathering, we’ll have our big, glitzy fireworks and blockbusters festivals – but they’ll be even bigger.
As Niamh Gallagher says: “2013 is just the beginning – a template for the future. And we can do this while having fun and giving enjoyment to others.”
The bottom line is even if you have the biggest, smallest or even no connection at all with Ireland, The Gathering is an invitation to get over here and make a connection.
We’ll be waiting, so RSVP.