Ireland Reaching Out
Week of Welcomes: 26th June to 2nd July 2011
The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO/IRO) project is an initiative for the economic, social and cultural development of the Irish people both at home and abroad. It is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to come home to Ireland to trace their roots, local Irish parish communities go the other way. At a town land, village and parish level, local Irish communities identify who left their neighbourhoods, and trace them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin.
The project is supported by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic Philanthropies, and by local government, national heritage and volunteer agencies. Through 2011, the area of South-East Galway has been designated as the national pilot project area and will host the inaugural “Week of Welcomes". The week is part of the pilot project which will soon become a major nationwide initiative with a website at www.irelandXO.org.
To initiate what the project hopes will become a lifelong relationship, the parish community, once it has identified its living descendants, will extend an invitation to a “Week of Welcomes” to be held in each parish every summer, with the objective of attracting 25-30 people back to each parish. The “Week of Welcomes” promises to be a fantastic experience, where people of Irish Heritage from around the world will gather to be welcomed and engaged by people in their local parish communities, in a place of common ancestry where a deep and real connection is shared. On visiting the community from which their people once came, they are introduced to the local history and the culture as it both once was and is today. Central to the project is the opportunity for people of Irish heritage from abroad to meet real Irish people as they live their daily lives, in a place where a deep bond of place (and often blood) is shared.
While it’s an opportunity for cultural renewal and discovery, the week also promises to be great fun. Special highlights include a “This Is Who You Are” Day, where participants learn about Irish history and the local history and heritage of the parish of their ancestors. Also included will be tours through ancestral parishes and local tourist hotspots, including Galway City and the Cliffs of Moher; and the “reunion games”, where everyone can play on the parish team, even if your athletic skills stretch only so far as “official commiserator”!
We encourage you to book for the week to get the full benefit of the programme and to maximise your enjoyment. It you cannot join us for the full week, you can opt for a shorter 3-nights stay. If you would like register to attended the Week of Welcomes or require more details on the programme of events visit our website at www.irelandxo.com