Leeds and Birmingham hosted phase two of The Gathering’s British road show this week. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring spent the day in both cities having previously visited Manchester and Glasgow earlier this year. Minister Ring met with Irish communities and business networks and urged them to come home for The Gathering or to encourage their networks of family, friends and colleagues to organise their own Gatherings in Ireland during 2013.
Irish Post CEO Niamh Kelly, Dermot Keehan from The Embassy of Ireland, Tourism Ireland's Judith Cassidy, Minister Michael Ring TD, Pat Wright from Irish in Birmingham and Irish Post Marketing Coordinator Sarah Murphy
He said: “I am asking people with Irish connections in Leeds, Birmingham and across Britain to get involved and play a part in Ireland’s renewal and recovery. But you don’t have to be Irish to come — everyone is welcome. Gatherings are already being planned by the Irish community overseas, including family reunions, clan gatherings and corporate events.”
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said The Gathering should appeal to the tens of millions across the world who claim Irish ancestry, as well as those who feel linked to Ireland by friendship, affinity, business and education. He said: “Millions of people in Britain have family links with Ireland and Minister Ring is helping us to reach out to those people, to encourage them to come home in 2013 for what promises to be a truly special year.”
Earlier this year over 100 people from Irish associations attended Gathering road shows in Manchester and Glasgow. At least five gatherings have been confirmed from the Manchester event and more are expected. One of these is a Manchester-Mayo Gathering, proposed by the Manchester-Mayo Tourism and Business group. Another Manchester resident is proposing to lead a party to Knock next year.
The Gathering, which will kick off at the New Year’s Eve Festival in Dublin, is an Irish Government initiative aiming to attract visitors to Ireland next year. Throughout 2013 there will be clan gatherings, festivals, special sporting events, music and concerts taking place across the country.
For more details about The Gathering go to www.thegatheringireland.com