In this blog I am making a diversion from my usual theme. I would like to spread the word about something special that is happening this year in Ireland, known as ‘The Gathering’.
The Gathering, is a year long event, or series of events, planned to take place in towns and villages all over Ireland in 2013, to celebrate everything about which Ireland likes to be proud. Ireland hopes to reach out to its huge Diaspora all over the world, and invite them home to discover or re-discover the richness of their Irish Heritage.
Many people may know that Ireland has a very small population – about four million. But not so many will know that the Irish Diaspora, is estimated to be over 70 million. Or as our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) commented recently, Ireland has a population of about 70 million, of whom only four million live at home.
Ireland has had periods of very troubled economic, social and political history, some phases of which resulted in the hemorrhaging of its population. Vast numbers of its people emigrated to USA, Canada, UK and Australia. Now of course there are generations of their descendants who have grown in numbers and who still consider themselves Irish. It’s hoped that many of these people will return to Ireland to share in the celebrations, meet their extended families and connect with their roots. No doubt, for many, this will be an exciting and unforgettable experience.
Of course, in our current distressed economic times, this initiative has arisen from economic necessity, as Ireland is now in the throes of another population outflow, mainly of its young, educated and skilled people. Many of those who live here are suffering; I don’t need to explain the current economic recession. The Gathering, it is hoped, will bring much needed money into the country with its visitors. Some cynics have criticised the idea, describing it as money grabbing. But isn’t every tourist initiative intended to make money? That doesn’t make it bad or greedy.
Here are some links that provide information about The Gathering events this year:
Celebration of the Dingle Dolphin – 30 years in Dingle Harbour – living free:
See also Fungie the Wild Dingle Dolphin playing in Dingle harbour with his friends:
The Gathering, countrywide: