In 2013, Ireland opens it’s arms to the world in the form of a gathering. The gathering is a year long event which will see every city, town and village play international hosts and extend a “Céad Míle Fáilte”, (a hundred thousand welcomes) to the world. Come one come all and explore your links to the Emerald Isle. The Irish people have been scattered to the four corners of the globe for hundreds of years and on New Years Day the call goes out from the Áras an Uachtaráin to bring our descended brothers and sisters home.

The gathering will showcase the Irish culture and Ireland’s history with reunions, genealogy roadshows, historical tours and talks, cultural festivals and other traditional events over twelve months of celebrations. Entertainment will also be available in the form of street events, concerts, tours, food festivals and heritage trailing.

Not all events have been finalised but here’s a rundown of a few you can expect.

 10th January 2013 300th Galway trad sessions gathering.

21st January 2013 The Silicon Valley gathering of entrepreneurs.

31st March 2013 The Seattle Vikings Rugby Tour gathering.

21st June 2013 Pirates and slaves gathering in Baltimore, Cork.

28th June 2013 Sea sessions gathering, surf music festival in Bundoran, Donegal.

14th August 2012 The Rose of Tralee gathering, Tralee, Kerry.

27th September 2013 Macroom Food Festival gathering in Cork.

The list goes on and on, International Lacrosse, Dingle Does food, Famous Faces gathering, Sligo Jigs and Reels, The Stack Ancestry, Going for Goals, Who do you think you are roadshow gathering and much much more….

If you have left Ireland over recent years due to lack of work or financial reasons, now is the time to come home and share your stories with family and friends. Come home, see the family, see what Ireland is doing with your own eyes to secure a future for the next generation. For those who have relatives or friends abroad, why not organise your own family or ‘clan’ gathering. Host a street party or local event, make sure you give all who visit a reason to return time and time again!

Image by Failte Ireland

To date there is an astounding 1700 events organised nationwide and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Some of these festivals would be considered ‘a little bit crazy’ but isn’t that what it’s all about!

Lefthanded Festival, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Town of the 1,000 Beards Festival, Galway

One gathering event which really caught my attention was the ‘Meet to Compete’ event which will be hosted in the capital over five different locations. This event will encompass 25 sports from across the world and is sure to be a big crowd puller.

‘Meet to compete’ video teaser
The gathering is not just open to the Irish or their relatives, the country is opening it’s doors to the world and inviting everyone who has an interest in sharing a great memory to come and join in the fun.

So if you are related to or like the idea of meeting an Eithne, Ciara, Órla, Seán, Fionn or Setanta, maybe passionate or maybe just curious about Ireland and everything Irish, then the Gathering 2013 is definitely for you. From Mizen to Malin, across the Rebel county to Rosslare to the capital and everwhere in between, there’s something going on for for all to enjoy.