New tourism initiative to encourage diaspora back to where they came from

Global Irish Festival Series aims to boost local and community tourism

The Global Irish Festival Series will be piloted along the Wild Atlantic Way in Limerick and Donegal this October Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

The Global Irish Festival Series will be piloted along the Wild Atlantic Way in Limerick and Donegal this October Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

 

A new tourism initiative encouraging Irish emigrants and their descendents to attend a festival in the county they came from in Ireland has been announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Fáilte Ireland.

The Global Irish Festival Series will be piloted along the Wild Atlantic Way in Limerick and Donegal this October, with €210,000 in funding provided for four festivals and events.

In Limerick the initiative will support I.NY, a week-long examination of the relationship between Ireland and New York city running from October 7th to 14th, and the Richard Harris International Film Festival, celebrating the life and works of the Limerick-born actor, from October 25th to 29th.

Donegal’s Genealogy and Traditional Music Weekend, which remembers Irish citizens who emigrated to Scotland on October 20th and 21st, and an Intergenerational Sporting Weekend to celebrate Donegal’s connection with football on October 27th and 28th, will also receive support.

Announcing the Global Irish Festival Series, Minister of State for the Diaspora Ciaran Cannon said he hoped the initiative would help the global Irish feel more “connected to the county of their heritage”.

“By improving engagement with the diaspora through new channels, we hope they will feel affirmed and valued as part of the global Irish diaspora.”

Fáilte Ireland’s head of festivals Ciara Sugrue said the initiative would stretch the benefits of the summer tourist season, and aid local communities who experience less tourist traffic.

“The festivals and events supported through the series will help drive tourism to specific locations, including regional areas outside of current hotspots, creating new economic benefits for local communities,” she said.

“As these events take place in the ‘shoulder seasons’ each side of the summer, they will also help tourism operators to trade for longer.”

The initiative will also see a US launch in September at the Consulate General of Ireland in New York, in partnership with Tourism Ireland.