Here Ye, Here Ye,
Ireland's Year Of
"The Gathering" Is Now Taking Place
ifty journalists from around the world including Belgium, Germany,
India, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, and
the United States, arrived on a chilly Dublin day to celebrate
the New Year's Eve kick-off of "The Gathering,"
an international outreach to hundreds of thousands of Irish people
worldwide. The invitation is extended not only to people of Irish
decent, but also to people who love the Irish. All are welcome
in villages, towns, and cities scattered throughout the Emerald Isle
for the 2013 yearlong celebration, with over 2,500 unique events
taking place that includes the gathering of clans, festivals, and concerts.
Dignitaries from all over the world assemble at
Dublin Castle to welcome Ireland's six-month presidency of the European
Union. Photo: Beverly Cohn
School children hold a total of 40 blue balloons
commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the European Union which they
released into the air following a few speeches.
Photo: Beverly Cohn
The Defense Forces Band playing the Irish and EU
anthems. Photo: Beverly Cohn
The Methodist College Choir from Belfast sang the
beautiful "An Irish Blessing."
Photo: Beverly Cohn
This was a double occasion as international dignitaries
gathered in the courtyard of Dublin Castle to celebrate the 40th
Anniversary of the European Union and the beginning of Ireland's
six-month presidency of the EU. Following a number of speeches
and the flag-raising ceremony, school children released 40 blue
balloons signifying the EU's anniversary. The Defense Forces
Band played the Irish and EU anthems and the Methodist
College Choir from Belfast sang "An Irish Blessing."
Carrying lit torches, over 1,500 men, women, and
children joined in the parade which wended its way through the historic
streets of Dublin. Photo: Beverly Cohn
The joy of the evening is reflected on all the happy
faces. Photo: Beverly Cohn
250 Performers contributed their talent to making
this historic event memorable.
Photo: Beverly Cohn
The fireworks were dazzling and a befitting end
to the Torch Lit Parade. Courtesy photo
Holding hand-made torches, approximately 1,500
men, women and children and 250 performers such as fire eaters,
stilt walkers, and dancers gathered in Dublin's College Green
and delighted in participating in the Torch Lit Parade which
wended it way past Trinity College, The Central Bank, and nearby
Temple Bar and Grafton and O'Connell Streets ending
at St. Stephen's Green for a brilliant fireworks display for
which we thanked Mother Nature who suspended her blustery winds just
Following the parade, revelers gathered at St. Stephens
Green for a rousing rock concert. Courtesy photo
Irish musician and singer-songwriter Imelda
May headlined the concert. Courtesy photo.
Following the parade, an estimated 12,000 people
peacefully assembled at St. Stephens Green. for a rousing concert
with performances by Imelda May, Bell X1, and Ham Sandwich.
With a spirited celebration such as this one, it is no wonder Dublin
has been chosen the Number One city in which to bring in the
New Year. Think about that when you make your New Year's
plans for 2013.
With all of 2013 designated as "The Gathering,"
festivals abound and will vary in size and includes the St. Patrick's
Festival kicking off on March 14, 2013 culminating with "The
People's Parade on St. Patrick Day" on March 17 in which
up to 8,000 marchers from around the world will make their way
through the history-packed streets of Dublin where they will
not only pass historic landmarks, but those wonderful traditional music-filled
pubs, some of which are noted as gathering places for some of Ireland's
most famous literati including: George Bernard Shaw, Oliver
Goldsmith, James Joyce, C.S. Lewis, Bram Stocker,
Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and of course, William
Butler Yeats. If you would like to march in the parade with your
special group, check it out here: www.stpatricksfestival.ie.
Claire and Alan Hayes will definitely be participating
in the "Redhead Gathering."
Photo: Beverly Cohn
There are countless gathering opportunities, too numerous
to list, but several that sound like a hoot include the Irish Redhead
Convention on August 24 where up to 1,000 redheads,
will converge in Crosshaven, County
Cork for a weekend of craic (fun) during
which there will be prizes for the champion carrot toss competition,
best red beard, best longest hair, best family of redheads, and the
most freckles. There will also be a chefs' cook-off and in case you're
not a redhead, but would like to participate, you could win the "Best
Wannabe Redhead" prize. Other "Gatherings"
include gardening, twins, pilots, and just about sub group you can think
of. (More information: www.discoverireland.com)
Left: 343rd mayor of Dublin, Lord Mayor Naoise Ó
Muirí welcomes journalists for a lovely luncheon at the Mansion
House. Right: On August 17, with the participation of French and British
re-enactors, Steve Dunford & Elizabeth Keane's "Gathering"
is The Year of the French, In Humbert's Footsteps, and will
be an historical re-enactment of the French landing at Kilcummin, Co.
Mayo in August 1798.
Photos: Beverly Cohn
If you're one of those people who growing up had trouble
using scissors or any gadget designed for right-handed people, then
The Left Hand Festival taking place August 9-13 is one
"Gathering" that portends much wackiness. It will take place
in Mullingar, in County Westmeath that by some lucky coincidence
means "town of the left hand mill." There are estimated six
hundred million left-handed people in the world all of whom probably
experienced bumping forks with the right-handed person sitting next
to them, or felt frustration in trying to use a spiral notebook or in
mastering tying shoe laces. You might say the left hand didn't always
know what that right hand sitting nearby was doing, but it always seemed
to be in the way. So, this is a great opportunity to both commiserate
and celebrate the wonderful world of lefties on International Left
Handers Day on August 13. By the way, some of the world's
greatest artists were left handed among them being Dufy, Goyen,
Kincade, Klee, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo,
(ambidextrous) Neiman, Raphael, and one of the greatest
masters, Rembrandt. So if you are left handed, you belong to
a very distinguished fraternity of some of the greatest artists in history.
The tombstone of William Butler Yeats in Drumcliff
churchyard in County Sligo. Photo: Beverly Cohn
|No trip to Ireland
would be complete without experiencing its rich literary heritage
and towards that end there are several fabulous literary gatherings
beginning with the Yeats Day Gathering on June 13
in Sligo. Artists from around the world are expected to attend
to celebrate Irish writers. Yeats had a deep connection to
County Slago from his childhood. Its coastline of many faces
sandy beaches, forests, rivers, and lakes such as Lough
(lake) Gill, home of the Isle of Inisfree, served
as a great source of inspiration throughout his adult life and the
subject of one of his most famous poems. It will be held at Hamilton
Gallery, 4 Castle Street, Sligo, County Sligo. +353.071.914.3686.
Left: W. B. Yeats historian Damian Brennan reads
passages from the iconic author's works in between courses of delicious
food prepared by his wife Paula. Right: Paula preparing one of her gourmet
dishes for an evening of Yeats and yummies at their beautiful Broc House.
Photos: Beverly Cohn
While in Slago, you must treat yourself to an
evening with Damien Brennan and his gourmet chef wife Paula.
They open Broc House, their lovely home overlooking the landscape
that inspired Yeats, for an evening of Paula's exquisitely
prepared food interspersed between courses by Damien discussing
the great poet's life and reading excerpts from some of his works. This
is truly a deliciously memorable evening. (www.yeatssligoireland.com)
Thomas Moore's famous poem, "The Last Rose
of Summer" will be celebrated at The Last Rose of Summer Bicentenary
Concert on June 22, 2013. Commemorating the 200th Anniversary
of this poem, the gathering will not only celebrate the poem's publication,
but also Mr. Moore's life.
'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone
No flow'r of her kindred
No rose-bud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh!
Jenkinstown Park, Jenkinstown, Co. Kilkenny Tickets:
+353 87 251 5465
On September 7 and 8, Galway will
host to another literary great in the Oscar Wilde Gathering that
will pay tribute to the life and works of this great writer as well
as exploring the strong connections between his writing and the west
of Ireland. His body of work is legion and includes the ever popular
"The Importance of Being Ernest," and "The
Picture of Dorian Gray." The phrase, "You should see the
painting in my cellar," crept into pop lexicon and is often used
when someone is complimented for aging well. (www.thegatheringireland.com)
Adare Manor's seductive golf course beckons to golfers
all over the world.
In addition to the few mentioned, there are gatherings
galore including a call to golfers who might want to tee off at the
Five Star Hotel and Golf Resort Adare Manor, named "Ireland's
No. 1 Parkland Course" by Golf Digest Ireland for the
seventh consecutive year. A course favored by golfers from around the
world, the 18-hole course is intermingled between lush mature
trees and a 14-acre lake anchoring the front nine holds, and
The River Maigue that wanders throughout the artistically manicured
greens. This exquisite property that has truly mastered the art of hospitality,
is in the center of Adare Village in County Limerick and
is surrounded by medieval ruins and a history that goes back centuries.
Main Street Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland
+353 61 605 200
Once you experience enchanting Ireland, you will
understand why for the second year in a row it has been voted "the
destination with the highest client satisfaction." This honor was
bestowed at an awards ceremony in Beverly Hills sponsored by
TravelAge West magazine, with Ireland winning
out over Great Britain, France, Italy, and Greece.
Also, good news for travelers is the temporary lower VAT rate
of 9% which is effective until the end of 2013 and applies
under the umbrella of the tourism industry, encompassing hotels, restaurants,
and special attractions.
So with travel season rapidly closing in, this is the
time to put Ireland at the top of your bucket list. If you need
help in planning a trip, contact your travel agent or www.discoverireland.com
who will be most happy to orchestrate the most appropriate vacation
adventure for you.
Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí has invited
mayors from all over Ireland, as well as the United States, to join
him in a "Gathering of Mayors." Photo: Beverly
345 Park Ave # 1701
New York, NY 10154
Magical, Mystical, Delightful, Enchanting; Ireland
– Land of Smiling Irish Eyes; A
Return to the Emerald Isle; My
Irish Dream Vacation; County
Cork, Ireland: Remembering the Famine; The
Aran Islands; The
Faces of Ireland