With greetings from three US Mayors, the President of Ireland, and members of the Irish, American, and global community around the world, the Big Irish Echo Campfire came together with great effect.
With speakers spanning 11 timezones, the Big Irish Echo Campfire kicked off with a pre-recorded address from the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
The virtual forum, which took place across 50 states and several countries, was the most expansive and most-inclusive gathering of Irish American activists in a generation. It featured 70 speakers, mayoral messages from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, musical interludes, and VIP interviews.
The theme of the event was Irish America coming together to survive the pandemic and to emerge stronger and better while ensuring that the bridge to Ireland remains open.
Speaker shared their views on major sectors including business, labor, pandemic lessons and the Great Hunger, theater, arts, politics, literature, sport, heritage, museums, Irish centers, Irish American community organizations, film, start-ups, travel and tourism, media, college partnership, Irish studies, philanthropy, and the Irish Peace Process. Big Irish Echo Campfire is a permanent online celebration of Irish America.
The event was made possible by many sponsors, led by Terry Cross of the new Hinch Distillery in County Down but including IrishCentral.com, TG4, Foras na Gaeilge, Tourism Ireland, NI Bureau, An Solas Nua in Washington DC, the AOH, The Irish American Writers, and Artists, the Irish American Partnership, EPIC - the Emigration Museum, Crescent Capital, the Society of the Friends of St Patrick, the Irish American Business Chamber & Network in Philly, Joseph Aquino of JACRES in New York and many friends across the US.
The entire event will be online and available to watch in short clips but it all available online now.
As Irish Echo publisher and the host of the event, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir pointed out "You will emerge bleary-eyed for sure if you watch the whole seven-hour Campfire marathon (Connla McCann [of Aisling Events] remarked as we closed up that she felt like she had just gotten off a transatlantic flight) you will also be inspired, buoyed up and convinced that, true to our Campfire mission, Irish America will not just survive this awful pandemic but emerge stronger and better while keeping the bridge to Ireland open."
He added "A big thanks to our speakers and guests and a special bow to those of you who chipped in to the Irish Echo's GoFundMe appeal to keep the presses rolling. With your help, we smashed through our $10,000 target."
Below check out of the sessions from the Big Irish Echo Campfire, including a short speech by Irish Studio owner Liam Lynch: