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Thursday October 23rd 2014

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Clare Gathering Could Be a Record Breaker

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The Gathering Ireland 2013 will be the subject of a unique world record breaking attempt this June when the largest ever gathering of persons with the same first name is attempted in County Clare.

The Clare Volunteer Centre, supported by the Gathering Clare Steering Committee, is inviting people with the name Claire, Clair or Clare to travel to Ennis to participate in the potentially record breaking feat on 23rd June.

The largest gathering of people with the same first name is 1,096 Mohammeds as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival at Creek Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 10 February 2005. The previous record for a same-name gathering was created by 375 “Marias” in Spain in 2003.

The record breaking attempt forms part of the ‘Welcoming Claire to County Clare, Ireland’ project, one of the estimated 230 Gathering festivals and events taking place throughout County Clare during 2013.

According to Sharon Meaney, Manager of the Clare Volunteer Centre: “This is a family event where everyone from babies to grandparents is welcome to attend. You don’t have to be from County Clare, you may not have even heard of County Clare but you will share a name that is synonymous with being ‘clear, bright and famous’. What makes our event unique is that it will be a gathering of people with the same name at the same time in a location of the same name. We would ask people to bring proof of identity like a Driving Licence, Passport or birth certificate which can prove their first name as Claire, Clair or Clare.”

Ms. Meaney said the same-name gathering will form part of a weekend of welcomes featuring a free music event on the Friday 21 June in Ennis as part of the Love:Live Music event. The weekend also will feature street entertainment on Saturday 22nd June and a special edition ‘Welcome to Clare’ card which will offer special offers and discounts to various attractions countywide for the weekend. Volunteers will be on hand on the streets of Ennis that weekend to give out information and guidance to visitors.

Tracy Crawford of BallyO Promotions and Director of the new Ennis Roots Music weekend added: “As it is the year of the Gathering, we are thrilled to extend the Love:Live event to incorporate a weekend of events, of which ‘Welcoming Claire’s to County Clare’ will form part of.  We are all committed to getting the message out there, that if you want to visit Ireland, there is no better place to come to than County Clare”.

A short film is being filmed & produced by Martin O’Malley of Malbay Studios featuring volunteer and mother-of-three Claire Daly dancing in various locations around the Clare showcasing what the County has to offer. Well-known Irish dancer Michael Donnellan is providing Claire with dancing lessons to make sure she dances in tune, while Tess Purcell of Style n’ Mind is providing style advice as well as bringing together Clare-based fashion designers to dress Claire.

Commenting ahead of the video production and the same-name gathering on June 23, Claire said: “I was approached by the Clare Volunteer Centre who explained what they were trying to do in raising the profile of County Clare.  I was a bit nervous at first, but they have gathered together a team who are giving me a huge amount of confidence that this film is going to catch people’s imaginations. Michael Donnellan has been fantastic at tailoring the dance steps to suit me and hopefully this will be a dance that anyone can join in with”.

Filming will start in Shannon Airport and finish on the streets of Ennis taking in Killaloe, the Cliffs of Moher, Loop Head and Moyasta. For anyone who would like to get involved or for further details of the project, contact Sharon or Dolores on 065 68 66 800 or visit www.volunteerclare.ie.

Gathering Clare chairperson Gerard Dollard praised the Clare Volunteer Centre for its unique and innovative approach to attracting visitors to County Clare.

He added: “We have seen a huge response from community groups and organisations throughout County Clare to the Gathering Ireland initiative and we are confident that the County can now boasts one of the most extensive and wide ranging programme of events and festivals for 2013. We look forward to continuing our support for each of the events during the coming months and want to acknowledge the strong volunteerism ethos and community spirit that prevails across County Clare.”

Some of the other highlights of the Gathering Clare 2013 include the Ennis Phoenix Twinning 25th Anniversary (15–22 Mar), Ennis Book Club Festival (1-3 Mar), Sets By The Sea in Spanish Point (8-10 Mar), Gathering the Scattering in Ennis (4-6 Apr), 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), Scattery Island Reunion (12–14 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.facebook.com/ClareGathering2013 or www.twitter.com/ClareGathering.