As Ireland gears up for The Gathering Ireland 2013, Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins is calling on Americans to visit the “Old Country” and celebrate their Irish roots.
Recently the President spoke to travel blog, Gadling, about his time spent in the US, his affinity to the country, and Ireland’s rich resource, its Diaspora.
The site forthrightly asked the President, “Why should Americans visit Ireland now?”
His response was to the point and went directly to what the consumer / traveler is truly concerned about - value for money, finding their roots, and that world famous Irish charm.
Higgins said, “They would find Ireland a great value right now. In my memory, I've never seen such values on hotels and guesthouses and so forth as there is right now. It's also great value because part of the excesses of the Celtic Tiger years has been blown away.”
With over 42 million Irish Americans it’s not surprising that Ireland has become a major destination for genealogy vacations.
He said, “By now the original census materials from the 19th and 20th centuries have been put up online and digitized. So it'll be possible for people to trace where their ancestors came from - even on a brief holiday.”
Finally he touched on the famous Irish welcome from the country of Cead Mille Failte (“A hundred thousand welcomes”).
Ireland’s new president ended by saying, “There's incredible warmth towards people who come from the United States to experience Ireland. And it's a beautiful country to visit and the people have time to stop and talk to you. With the Celtic Tiger, there was a certain emphasis on getting things done, but now we've gone back to the best of ourselves and I very much welcome that.”
Jackie Kennedy’s granddaughter has uncannily similar looks