The Gathering is a tourism- led initiative in Ireland, it aims to help organise the Irish diaspora to return to Ireland during 2013 to be part of organised local gatherings and events during the year. It is a government supported initiative driven primarily by Failte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority and Tourism Ireland (www.FailteIreland.ie). The Gathering is not a single event or a festival; it is a yearlong celebration of all things Irish and the reconnection with people abroad.
Gathering Ireland is a perfect excuse to reach out to those who went away, friends and relative to invite home. According to Niall Gibbons, the chief executive Ireland he said “there are 70m people of Irish heritage living abroad the year-long tourism campaign is targeted at the Irish diaspora” (McDermott, 2013). The Gathering is important for Irish tourism because the initiative offers the sector a powerful opportunity to benefit from extra visitor. To ensure that this happened, people had a major part to play in maximizing the potential of what the Gathering had to offer (www.FailteIreland.ie/news).
For the Gathering to be successful many productive partnership were established over the past few months to work directly with local communities to ensure that the initiative was a success across the county. More than 260 Gatherings were confirmed and a new way of meetings taken place throughout September and October, across the country to let everyone know how they could take part in the initiative.
It will also look at how Scotland got their own Gathering in 2009, and what Ireland could have learnt from them. Although Michael O’Leary called the Gathering ‘the Grabbing’ at the end of December 2012, he later admitted that he actually liked the Gathering. The more people were talking about the gathering, the more popular it became.