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Let Me Take You Home Again: The Gathering

TheGatheringontheStLouis.JPG

The Gathering on the St. Louis: Irish and Irish-American passengers en route to Ireland onthe S. S. Louis, circa 1935. Courtesy Archives of Irish America, New YorkUniversity


According to the website www.thegatheringireland.com, The Gathering 2013, launched by the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Tourism in May 2012 and supported by Fáilte Ireland (National Tourism Development Authority) and Tourism Ireland, is the biggest tourism initiative ever launched by Ireland. Its intent is to give an economic boost to the country which has staggered in recent years under the weight of failed banks and the burst real estate bubble. The programs and events planned for the year are designed to encourage an estimated 70 million people of Irish ancestry who live around the world to visit the country and reconnect with their families and their heritage. A total of 3,144,800 people visited Ireland between January and June of 2013, an increase of about 8% from 2,982,400 for the same period last year. The number of North American tourists from between April and June grew about 15%, from 305,700 to 350,800, compared to the same months in 2012.

In 2009 about 36 million people in the United States claimed some Irish ancestry either as immigrants themselves or from some more distant relation. With that range of generational links the connections that Irish Americans feel to Ireland and family there varies widely. In the Oral History Program at Glucksman Ireland House one of our objectives is to learn how or if our participants connect to their ancestry. Do they identify as Irish American, how do they share their heritage with their children, what do they know of their family origins in Ireland, and how or do they stay in touch with Irish relatives? In this year of the Gathering we thought it fitting to share some of the recollections and stories we have heard over the past several years about visits home and how those trips helped to shape the individual’s sense of self, family, and heritage. Visiting Ireland is an emotional and illuminating experience for most whether the contact is made as a child or as an adult or whether it is organized by parents or self-initiated. Either way the experience is a personal one and the journey home begins long before the visitor steps foot on Irish soil.

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Let Me Take You Home Again: The Gathering

Production Staff:

Linda Dowling Almeida, Producer, Writer, Narrator

Michael Stallmeyer, Producer, Engineer

Music:

  • "My love is in America/Lisdoonvarna," Strings Attached, Mick Moloney

Photo Credits:

Irish and Irish-American passengers en route to Ireland onthe S. S. Louis, circa 1935. Courtesy Archives of Irish America, New YorkUniversity

Voices:

All of the interviewsused in this podcast are drawn from the Archives of Irish America at New YorkUniversity and have been recorded as part of the Glucksman Ireland House Oral HistoryProject.
  • Gabriel Byrne
  • Mike Farragher, Jr.
  • Thomas Lynch
  • Jim Murphy
  • Claire Grimes
  • Jim Boucher
  • Michael and Eileen Farragher
  • John Patrick Shanley

© 2013 Glucksman Ireland House, New York University

This podcast is made possible in part with funding from theLeon Lowenstein Foundation.