The Gathering: a year long calling from your ancestor's homeland asking you to return, even if you have never been, because Ireland knows if you are a part of the Irish Diaspora, then your heart surely belongs to them.
The Irish Government along with private partners, businesses and the tourism industry, have designated 2013 as The Gathering: a yearlong celebration of Irish music, heritage, festivals, sporting events that they hope will call home many of the Irish Diaspora around the world.
It begins in Dublin in January 2013 and festivals and events are sprinkled throughout the country until the end of the year. But The Gathering is not just carnivals and fairs. It is history lectures, genealogy sessions and clan reunions; a yearlong focus of discovering or rediscovering your Irish roots.
A country that over 160 years ago was tragically shattered by famine and poverty; bled dry of its people who were pulled away by a basic need for survival.
There will be many who cannot go but that does not mean if not there, The Gathering cannot be experienced. I expect the event will reach out through the Internet and we will hear more as the year approaches. I sense Ireland understands their Irish Diaspora have begun searching for their ancestors and in turn, the country is slowly opening its vaults.
PRONI and Irish Genealogy (a government sponsored website), are making more ancestral records available and free to the public. It is a constant appeal by the Irish Genealogical Society to the Irish Government, pleading their case that Irish descendents "own" their ancestor's records: a principle of public ownership and right of access.
Our desire to grasp hold of our family history and feel our ancestral heritage continues to expand and blossom. And it is refreshing that an entire country is calling us back.
To gather up its flock and perhaps open its vaults so we can experience a bit of our Irish ancestors at home and maybe...even abroad.
Keep searching for answers,