Throughout 2013, Ireland is opening its arms to hundreds of thousands of friends and family from all over the world, calling them home to gatherings in villages, towns and cities. The Gathering Ireland 2013 provides the perfect excuse to reach out to those who have moved away, their relatives, friends and descendants and invite them home.
Maria Carr grew up in Dublin and Bray, County Wicklow. Twenty years ago Carr moved to Penticton and happily settled here. She runs a successful Okanagan Wellness and Event eMagazine and has a family in Penticton.
For the last 15 years Carr has been returning home periodically to keep her children in touch with Ireland and their family there. Meanwhile many of her friends in Canada have been asking her to show them the real Ireland, and this sparked the idea to bring a group home to Ireland in March as an official part of The Gathering 2013.
Not wanting to just do a typical tour, Carr has organized a unique event combining visits to Irish sacred sites. She has invited acclaimed Canadian teacher Cindy Smith from Alberta to teach the ‘Angel Empowerment Practitioners Course’ along the journey.
This month, Carr will be bringing 34 people from all across Canada to Ireland, many for the first time.
The ‘Celtic Angel Gathering 2013’ group will visit Cork, Kerry, Galway, Dublin and Wicklow.
“Most hotels and visitor centres gave us an extra discount when we told them we were part of ‘The Gathering’ and our enquiries got a big welcome and support from everyone along the way,” said Carr. “Our group has been invited by the mayor and Killarney town council to walk in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and they will be handing out Canadian flag pins.
Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton and city council has sent a gift over with the group to be presented to the Killarney mayor and town council. This will be one of the many highlights of the tour.
Many Irish celebrities have put their name behind this citizen-led Gathering such as Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis and Pierce Brosnan.
“Everyone has been so wonderfully helpful to our group’s plans for the tour, especially when learning we will be part of the Gathering,” said Carr.
Most of the Canadian group is from Penticton and the South Okanagan, as well as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. They are all so excited and looking forward to their trip of a lifetime to Ireland
In recognition of The Gathering Ireland 2013, the year when the Emerald Isle hosts a 365-day party of festivals and events, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin will burst with even more Irish magic as ‘The People’s Parade’ welcomes thousands of participants from all over the world to walk the city’s famous cobbled street.
For the first time in the parade’s history 8,000 people will have the chance to be part of the spectacular parade procession and over 300 Canadians are expected to be there at the heart of The Gathering — marching, dancing and jumping through the 2.5-kilometre route across Dublin’s historic fair city. Over half a million spectators will line Dublin’s streets cheering on the procession and soaking up the electric party atmosphere.
This festive feeling reverberates up and down the island of Ireland as parades in every shade of green, and all shapes and sizes get underway. It’s this exciting combination of colourful floats, marching bands, dancers, street performers and that inimitable Irish craic that makes Ireland the place to be on March 17.
Carr is planning a further Gathering 2013 tour from Canada for September of this year — the ‘Celtic Irish Artists Gathering Tour’ hosted by Carr and Penticton artist and teacher Viv McElgunn-Lieskovsky.
Carr’s family includes well-known Irish artists and art teachers who have a gallery in Dublin, so this tour is all about Irish art. The Celtic Angels Sacred Tour from Canada will return in March 2014.