'To Be Irish' programme launches to connect Irish diaspora this Christmas

'To Be Irish' programme launches to connect Irish diaspora this Christmas

THE GOVERNMENT has announced details of its 'To Be Irish' programme, which aims to connect Irish people around the world in the run-up to Christmas.

The 16-day programme runs from the December 8-23, and seeks to celebrates and uphold the special connections between the Irish at home and abroad during the festive season despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Built around a dedicated online platform, ToBeIrish.ie, it will feature over 140 in-person, hybrid, and online events from all across the world. As with last year’s successful programme, its aim is to engage with our 70 million strong diaspora and their family and friends in Ireland - to share celebrations both traditional and new.

The Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D. today, December 1, launched the campaign, saying that he was "delighted to announce that To Be Irish returns this Christmas bigger and better than before."

"This Christmas will mark the very first opportunity that many of our diaspora are able to return home since the pandemic began," he said.

"ToBeIrish.ie has been developed for them and for those who will spend Christmas away from us, providing an opportunity to share their experiences and hopes of Christmas past and present."

The programme will showcase the best of what it means to be Irish during the holiday season through music, performances, sharing ideas and gifts. Everything from nostalgic Christmas recipes to extraordinary stories from Irish people living across the world.

Highlights will include Patrick Dexter whose cello playing during lockdown outside his cottage in Mayo brought comfort for people all around the world, who will perform classic Christmas performances of ‘Carol of the Bells’, Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil’ and a ‘Wexford Carol’ with 'Soda Blonde's lead singer, Faye O’Rourke.

'A Lift Home' series sees duos from Ireland’s entertainment industry (ft. God Knows, MuRli and TebiRex) buckle up and take a spin as they share authentic conversations while travelling across iconic Irish landscapes in Kerry, Limerick and Dublin.

Story-telling will play a large part of the programme, with contributions coming from the Irish Defence Forces, Aid Workers, Crosscare, Irish Embassies and Consulates, as well as curated series via historian Turtle Bunbury from all around the world.

With a proud tradition in craft and design, the To Be Irish platform is being used to help support and promote Irish designers and retailers this Christmas.

150 Irish crafts and gifts stores featured will celebrate the unrivalled creativity and quality workmanship found in modern Ireland, highlighting the best of Irish printmakers, illustrators, jewellery makers and much, much more.

"To be Irish is about Ireland reaching out to our diaspora at one of the most important times of the year and welcoming them in," Minister Brophy said.

"It’s an exciting opportunity to engage with our diaspora wherever they are and celebrate the best of the Irish Christmas that we treasure."

A full list of activities, events, stories and ways to partake in the programme can be found on www.tobeirish.ie