A year of celebrations: Gathering festivals & events line-up announced

Hundreds of festivals, events & special Gatherings to welcome thousands of additional overseas visitors next year


Details of hundreds of special festivals and events planned to celebrate the Gathering Ireland 2013 have been announced.


The events cover a huge range of interests from sport, culture, food, music and heritage and will enhance a growing calendar of home-grown Gatherings.


The special events were announced at a Gathering event in the Guinness Store House hosted by Pat Kenny, and attended by representatives of community festivals from across the country. Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Michael Ring were present to lend their support.


The new events are expected to welcome approximately 80,000 extra visitors to Ireland in 2013, as part of the overall target of 325,000 overseas visitors.


Some of the events are brand new, but all will have a special Gathering twist. They include a GAA International Gathering Tournament, the international Irish Food Expo in Dublin, a Gathering Riverdance Festival, a Gathering Cruise in Kinsale and Dingle of 100 visiting yachts, an FAI Diaspora World Cup, and a special four-day racing festival at Leopardstown.


The Gathering 2013 will be rung in on December 31st by Imelda May and Bell X1 at a special New Year’s Eve Festival in Dublin. Some of the highlights for 2013 include:


The Gathering Riverdance Festival: Irish dancers the world over will be invited to the home of traditional Irish dancing for a 3 day festival celebration of Irish dance with workshops, master classes, nightly performances of Riverdance and events taking place in various venues around Dublin, culminating with a world-record attempt at the longest Riverdance performance along the banks of the River Liffey.


The Diaspora World Cup 7th -9th June: An Irish World Cup soccer tournament has been organised to mark the Gathering. FAI Clubs throughout Ireland also organising their own international Gathering Tournaments.


The People’s Parade at St Patrick’s Festival 14th – 18th March: The 2013 St Patrick’s Festival is offering up to 8,000 Ireland-lovers around the world a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the iconic St Patrick’s Day Parade in a very special celebration of the Gathering.


GAA International Gathering Tournaments: The GAA will host three international Football, Ladies Football and Camogie tournaments in 2013 over 3 days, with the finals being held in Croke Park on 27th July, while An Aer Lingus international hurling tournament will take place in Galway from 18th-21st September.


The Gathering Cruise Kinsale & Dingle – July: A Flotilla of 100 visiting yachts from UK ports including Glasgow, Liverpool and Holyhead will gather in Kinsale for a Welcome Reception and sail from Dublin along the East coast, finally gathering in Dingle for a Gathering Cruise farewell reception.


Tribal Oyster Feast-Off: Members of the tribes of Galway living in North America are invited to compete in an Oyster eating competition at next year’s Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.


IRFU Club Gatherings, January to December: The 230 IRFU clubs nationwide are irganising international Gatherings tournaments, inviting overseas clubs to their communities throughout 2013.


Choral Gatherings: Over 50 overseas choirs are expected to attend a packed calendar of choral Gatherings next year with The Messiah Gathering in Dublin 12th- 15th April, Cork Choral Gathering 1st- 5th May, the Mayo Choral Gathering 23rd – 26th May. The inaugural ‘Limerick Sings’ will take place over the June Bank Holiday weekend. From 9th- 18th August, the Kilkenny Arts Festival Choir will join forces with choirs from Kilkenny’s twin cities: Leicester (UK); Moret-Sur-Loing (France) and Xuzhou (China) for a gathering of voices. The Sligo International Choral Festival in November will round up a year of choral Gatherings.


Jazz Gathering: A special Jazz Gathering at next year’s Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is expected to attract over 1,000 music students from around the world for a weekend of free jazz education, including free tuition from some of the most famous names in Jazz. It also offers them the opportunity to perform and be involved in one of Europe’s top jazz festivals.


Speaking at the launch, Minister Varadkar said: ‘The Gathering is an open invitation to the world to come to Ireland, whether or not you’re Irish. These events announced today will run at various times throughout the year and ensure that there’s always something fun to do, no matter when you visit. They come on top of the 1,700 community Gatherings and festivals already being organised’.


Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring said: ‘I’m delighted to say that our sporting organisations have really mobilised behind the Gathering – not just at a national level but most especially at community level and I’m delighted to see some of our well known sporting heroes embracing the project and making their own plans for the year’.


Project director Jim Miley said: ‘Aside from the economic aims of the project, the Gathering is first and foremost an opportunity for us to celebrate the best of Ireland: our culture, our music, our sport, our heritage and our spirit. Individuals and communities throughout Ireland have taken the Gathering concept to heart and are busy planning their own gatherings and we’ve over 1700 local events confirmed to date. These larger- scale special Gathering events will punctuate what is shaping up to be a really brilliant year for Ireland, offering further reasons for our friends and family overseas to come home and celebrate with us in 2013’.


Date: 2. 12. 2012