The Gathering, 2013

The Emerald Isle is promoting a giant homecoming called The Gathering Ireland 2013.

The year-long event “is about the people of Ireland throwing open our arms and inviting anyone with a connection to our country to come and visit.”

In addition to feel-good reunions and genealogy, the promotion is designed to boost tourism and other economic development. The number of visitors to Ireland was flat during the first half of 2012, though increased slightly in the second quarter, The Irish Times reported.

The timing of next year’s “Gathering” has special resonance in my family. My grandmother emigrated in September 1912; my grandfather in May 2013. Both were from rural north Kerry.

More on their centennial voyage, and next year’s events, in future blogs.