The Steering Group says that it has already received a large number of Gathering event submissions to its Calendar of Events for 2013, which will be used as a promotional and marketing tool for County Clare. The Calendar will be profiled on the Gathering Ireland website, www.thegatheringireland.com, as well as distributed nationally and internationally.
Ideas already floated as possible Gathering Clare events include a Scattery Reunion, a revival of the Festival of Finn in Corofin, and clan gatherings throughout the county. Meanwhile, the Clare Roots Society has confirmed it is organising a conference, entitled ‘Gathering the Scattering’, which will take place in the Temple Gate Hotel on the 6 April 2013 and will be preceded by a week-long programme of events. Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board is also leading the way with Phoenix Week from 14th to 21st March 2013 when the 25th anniversary of the twinning of Phoenix and Ennis will be celebrated. Over 100 international visitors from Phoenix have already confirmed their visit to Ennis for the week.
Nationally, an estimated 7,000 people have attended 52 community meetings since they kicked off in June. 160 people attended a Community meeting in Ennis in July. Some 600 new Gathering events are now being planned at community level across the country.
“The reaction to date from members of the public, community groups and organisations throughout County Clare in relation to The Gathering has been impressive. The point of our public meeting was to get communities involved right across Clare, and this has clearly worked. There has been a similar reaction in counties across the country, which shows that the public recognises the real potential that the Gathering initiative offers for local communities and the economy,” explained Gerard Dollard, Steering Group Chairperson.
Mr. Dollard added: “We are continuing to focus on a number of headline events next year and the Steering Group is working through all the suggestions that have been received to date. Our key task is to mobilise and drive The Gathering throughout Clare by engaging, planning and coordinating community-based activity. We would encourage people to find out more about how their families, businesses and communities can be part of this initiative, and in doing so start making plans for their own Gatherings. We would also ask people to let us know if they are organising events or other initiatives and most importantly to register the details on the central website www.thegatheringireland.com. A lot of work remains to be done to ensure that Clare can derive maximum benefit from this national initiative. On behalf of the Steering Group I would urge everybody to get involved and play their part in making the Gathering an outstanding success for our county”
The Gathering Clare Steering Group is being led by Clare County Council and Shannon Development. The Group’s membership is drawn from various organisations including the Clare Tourism Forum, GAA, FAI, Irish Hotels Federation, Clare Roots Society, Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann, ICA, Chambers of Commerce, Vintners Federation of Ireland, Clare Sports Partnership, Clare Library Service, Clare Community Forum, Clare Local Development Company, Ennis Town Council , Clár as Gaeilge, and Love Live Music.
For further information contact Monica Meehan, The Gathering Co-ordinator, Tourism & Community Development Department, Clare County Council, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.