Ireland's Diaspora Minister Colm Brophy was in New York and Atlanta last week to promote the return of the Global Irish Festival Series, which returns after a two-year pandemic absence.  

The series “places Ireland’s counties at the center of an effort to connect with their diasporas, and to build new relationships and ties that can boost tourism opportunities in each of Ireland’s counties,” according to a press release issued by the Irish government.

Brophy spent two days in New York not only re-launching the series in conjunction with Tourism Ireland, but also visiting with several local Irish groups, including the three main Irish immigration centers and the New York GAA, fresh off a successful Easter Sunday with the start of the Connacht Championship and the visit of the Sligo football team to Gaelic Park for a match against the New York all-stars which the visitors just about won.

The government’s press release added, “The minister’s visit was an opportunity to engage with Irish America in the wake of the Covid pandemic and to see at first hand the special community-based support measures put in place through the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Programme. The minister met with representatives from the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in the Bronx, the Aisling Community Center in Yonkers, and the New York Irish Center in Queens. He also met with Solace House, a crisis support agency, which provides counseling services for Irish across the New York area. 

“GAA President Larry McCarthy, and New York GAA Chairperson Joan Henchy, welcomed the minister to Gaelic Park in the Bronx on Tuesday, where they discussed the growth of the GAA in New York. GAA representatives also outlined their long terms plans for the future development of Gaelic Park.

“On Wednesday, Minister Brophy promoted Ireland as the place to visit this year by launching Fáilte Ireland’s Global Irish Festival Series at the Consulate General in New York.”

At the event, Brophy said, “Festivals play a key role in delivering memorable visitor experiences and providing both overseas and domestic visitors with a unique reason to choose a destination. This year, the Global Irish Festival Series takes place along the Wild Atlantic Way and it is wonderful to see its return after a two-year gap.”

The 2022 Global Irish Festival Series will kick off with Home to Mayo, a series of events incorporating existing festivals from May 1-31 celebrating Mayo’s rich history and natural heritage. Donegal Connect will take place from September 23-25, offering visitors a diverse itinerary of food, genealogy, sport, business, arts and culture. 

Global Limerick will take place from September 16 to October 31 and feature the world-famous Richard Harris International Film Festival. And closing the Global Irish Festival Series, An Turas Mór–The Journey Home, will take place in Kerry from October 1-31.

*This column first appeared in the April 27 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.

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