Bringing it All Back Home
Four new festivals, intended to embrace the diaspora, some 70 million, and entice them back to Ireland, were announced in August.
The Global Irish Festival Series is part of a partnership effort between the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and its tourism body, Fáilte Ireland. The first in the festival series “I.NY” will kick off in Limerick City on October 7 with a wide range of art, music, and historical discussions focusing on the close relationship between Ireland and New York City, over centuries of cultural interchange.
The second of the festivals is in Donegal from October 20-21, where the main theme will be the long tradition of Donegal people who sought work in Scotland over the centuries, often as migrant workers doing seasonal work like picking potatoes.
It’s back to Limerick for the Richard Harris International Film Festival, which will be held October 25-29. In addition to celebrating the star of stage and screen, filmmakers of the diaspora will have the opportunity to screen their work.
Last year’s Best Overall Short was The Observer Effect, by Garret Walsh. Donegal closes out the series with the Intergenerational Sporting Weekend, October 27-28, boasting a youth kayaking competition, a senior hurling match, and a tour of Glenveagh National Park.
Ciara Sugrue, executive of Fáilte Ireland’s international publicity and trade marketing, says the event will rejuvenate Ireland’s tourism economy. “The festivals and events supported through the series will help drive tourism to specific locations,” she noted, “including regional areas outside of current hotspots, creating new economic benefits for local communities.”
Ireland’s Diaspora Minister Ciaran Cannon, in his announcement of the event this past August, said, “Engaging with the diaspora through new channels, we are able to reaffirm the value of the global Irish diaspora, and reconnect them to the country of their heritage.”
Meanwhile, County Wexford’s New Ross is hosting its own Oktoberfest, which has been in the planning stages for sometime. The first annual Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre is planned for October 11-14. Following Danville, California’s O’Neill festival, which ran the entire month of September, the festival will showcase three of the playwright’s works and a screening of the 1913 silent film The Count of Monte Cristo, starring O’Neill’s father James. ♦