More than 2,000 people attended the Clare Gathering 2013 official launch and Expo at Glór in Ennis yesterday (Sunday).
Hosted by the Clare Tourism Forum and supported by Clare Local Development Company, the event featured exhibits on 100 of the estimated 250 Gathering festivals and events taking place throughout County Clare during 2013. There also was entertainment throughout the day including trad sessions, set dancing, singing sessions, face painting, Clare food sampling and a live performance from ‘Socks in the Frying Pan’.
Among those attending were a number of Gathering Clare Ambassadors, comprising well-known local personalities such as Munster and Ireland rugby star Marcus Horan from Clonlara, world-famous Irish traditional musician Martin Hayes from Feakle, Fair City actor Aoibhinn Garrihy whose parents are from North Clare, Kevin Crawford of Lunasa, singer Gari Deegan from Bunratty, and former Bishop of Killaloe Dr. Willie Walsh.
One of the centrepieces of the event was the lighting of the ‘Solas an Chláir’ – ‘The Light of Clare’, a commemorative limestone piece by Corofin stone mason John Goggin with design inputs from sculptor Shane Gilmore. A draw was held to determine what events the Gathering symbol will be present at during the 11 remaining months of the year (see list below).
Mayor of Clare Cllr. Pat Daly, who participated in Sunday’s launch said: “I was delighted to see hundreds of people stream through the doors of Glór. The public were genuinely impressed by the range and scale of the Gathering festivals and events being showcased at Glór. Furthermore, the sense of community spirit amongst exhibitors and participants bodes extremely well for the year of the Gathering here in County Clare. This community spirit and willingness to become involved are traits that have helped County Clare present one of the country’s most expansive and impressive Gathering Calendar of Events.
Commenting on yesterday’s event, Donnagh Gregson, Chair of the Clare Tourism Forum acknowledged the estimated 200 volunteers who hosted stalls to showcase their respective Gathering events as well those who helped to guide members of the public around the Expo.
She continued: “Sunday’s event was the perfect start to what I have no doubt will be a hugely memorable year for County Clare. Every corner of the County is represented by a Gathering event which is unique and something worth celebrating. I would urge people living in Clare to find out more about the events taking place during 2013, and to play their part in getting those living abroad and anyone with connections to the Banner County to consider a trip home during the next 11 months. The Clare Tourism Forum through its extensive network of tourism operators in County Clare, is committed to promoting and marketing Gathering Clare events and festivals during the year.”
Solas an Chláir’s Journey Around Clare:
February: The Concertina Cruinniú, Miltown Malbay (8th – 10th February)
March: Ennis Phoenix Twinning, Ennis (15th – 22nd March)
April: Gathering the Scattering, Ennis (3rd – 6th April)
May: Bodyke Summer Gathering, Bodyke (3rd – 5th May)
June: Carrigaholt Dolphins & Nature Festival, Carrigaholt (1st – 2nd June)
July: Celebrate Scattery Island, Kilrush (12th – 14th July)
August: Doolin Irish Craft Beer & Food Festival, Doolin and Dan Furey Weekend, Labasheeda (23rd – 25th August)
September: Clare Shout Festival, Kilkishen (13th – 15th September)
October: Clare Harvest Banquet, Old Ground Hotel, Ennis (October tbc)
November: Centenary of Conradh na Gaeilge, Inis (18th – 24th November)
December: Santa’s Workshop @ Aillwee Cave, Ballyvaughan (29th November – 22nd December)
Some of the other highlights of the Gathering Clare 2013 include the Ennis Book Club Festival (1-3 Mar), Sets By The Sea in Spanish Point (8-10 Mar), Gathering of High Nelly Bikes in Bunratty (27-28 Apr), The Burren Tolkien Symposium (9-16 May), Drumdigus National School Reunion (31 May), Boston Meets Boston (1-2 Jun), Ennis Roots Weekend 21-23 (Jun), Welcoming Clare’s/Claire’s to Clare in Ennis (23 Jun), Féile Chnoc na Gaoithe in Tulla (28-30 Jun), Clarecastle Village Gathering 2013 (12-22 Jul), Therapeutic effects of Irish Set Dancing in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease Conference in Feakle (5-11 Aug), St. Patrick’s Comprehensive 30 Year School Reunion in Shannon (10 Aug), Tulla Week Of Welcomes (17-25 Aug), Guinness Book of Records attempt for Largest Outdoor Traditional Music Event in Kilfenora (22 Sep), and A Centenary of Conradh na Gaeilge Inis (18-24 Nov).
For more on The Gathering Clare 2013 and the upcoming Expo visit www.clare.ie, www.facebook.com/ClareGathering2013 or www.twitter.com/ClareGathering.