Get Ready for the Party of Your Life
By Patricia Keegan
In Dublin, during its 2012 New Year’s Eve celebration, in spectacular style, Ireland launched its 2013 plans for the “Gathering” -- a unique celebration of what it means to be Irish. This is an open invitation to friends and family around the world to step across Ireland’s doorstep and embark on a great adventure. They will discover that the legend of Irish hospitality, the drama of its landscape, and the charm of the Irish, was not just a fairytale told by the leprechauns -- it truly is what makes Ireland unique in the world.
Former president Mary Robinson upheld this welcoming tradition by placing a lighted candle in her window, symbolizing the warm, Irish welcome. Ireland, the land of saints and scholars, bursts with a lively, young population of talented and creative people. In recent history, Riverdance left an indelible imprint when this dynamite dance production arrived on the world’s stage, and the singers ofCeltic Woman played our heartstrings with emotional Irish ballads. This, and so much more, showcases the creative power and poetry of a small island.
To walk the land, as one of the family, and partake of its attributes, has the potential to be life changing. One finds shop keepers and taxi drivers who enjoy a good “craic” (chat), sharing a laugh, a story, calling you “luv,” and making you feel at home. A good laugh is never far from the Irish perspective on life, a welcome adjustment that one makes with ease.
In preparation for the Gathering, Ireland’s Tourist Board continues to add to a packed calendar of local events, with music, dance, poetry, and story telling throughout towns and villages across the heart of Ireland. What promises to make the “Gathering” successful is that each town and community will choose how they will host their guests by bringing Irish clans back to their homeland. A good example of “clan gathering” is the initiative of Damien Stack, a businessman in Listowel, County Kerry, who is organizing “The Stack Clan Gathering” for July 19-20, in spectacular northern Kerry.
Damian says that in the 1800’s there were over 1,200 Stacks registered, and though the name remains one of the most popular Kerry names, there are thousands more scattered across the world. Damian is the fifth generation owner of the shop with the name “Stack” over the door. Throughout the summer he is greeted by tourists from Argentina, New Zealand, Canada, the US and other parts of the world, who stop to ask if he knows their people. So the Clan Gathering gives the Stack family a chance to meet each other, within a fabulous environment, in an atmosphere of festivity.
For information on how to become part of the Gathering visit TheGatheringIreland.com.
For information on traveling to Ireland please visit DiscoverIreland.com.