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New festival series to try entice the diaspora to visit Ireland

The first events receiving funding from the scheme will take place this October in Limerick and Donegal.

Image: Shutterstock/Bartosz Luczak

A NEW TOURISM initiative will aim to encourage members of the Irish diaspora home to visit has been launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Fáilte Ireland.

The scheme will provide funding and supports, via local authorities, to local and community event organisers in a bid to attract overseas visitors.

The pilot of the initiative will see over €200,000 granted to four events along the Wild Atlantic Way in Limerick and Donegal this October.

Fáilte Ireland’s head of festivals Ciara Sugrue said the festival series will “help drive tourism to specific locations, including regional areas outside of current hotspots”.

In Limerick, the Global Irish Festival Series will support I.NY, a festival exploring the deep connection between Ireland and New York City, and the Richard Harris International Film Festival which marks the life and works of the county’s most famous actor.

In Donegal, it will support the Sporting Weekend, which celebrates the county’s connection with football, and a Genealogy and Traditional Music weekend which remembers ancestors who travelled to Scotland to work in the 20th century.

Minister of State for the Diaspora, Ciaran Cannon, said that this scheme would improve local communities’ ability to deepen connections with those of Irish ancestry abroad.

He said: “By improving engagement with the diaspora through new channels, we hope they will feel affirmed and valued as a part of the global Irish diaspora, and in particular, connected to the county of their heritage.”

Sugrue added that as these events take place in the “shoulder seasons” each side of summer, “they will also help tourism operators to trade for longer”.

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Sean Murray

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