RTE’s new primetime show, “The Gathering-Homeward Bound,” has big names to boast of. Bressie, Jean Butler, Fionnula Flanagan, and Brendan Grace are just some of the celebrities scheduled to appear.

Each episode of the show sees a famous Irish person who is currently living abroad return to their home or an Irish place with which they have close ties. The show hopes to prepare the community for The Gathering 2013 and to educate people about the various Irish places shown.

The first episode features comedian Brendan Grace’s return from Florida to the Liberties in Dublin. In later episodes, Bressie returns to Mullingar, rugby player Trevor Brennan goes to Leixlip, and Kerry GAA star Tadhag Kennelly returns to Listowel. Riverdance star Jean Butler goes to Westport and Fionnula Flanagan goes to Connemara.

The Gathering of Ireland 2013 is a yearlong celebration in which the Irish invite their family, friends, and connections abroad to come home to Ireland to celebrate with everyone.

While returning home or visiting an Irish place significant to them, the celebrities will visit spots of particular significance to them. Their reactions to seeing these places range from emotional to humorous. The celebrities will also learn about emigration from their chosen place by talking to local historians, visiting libraries, and viewing church records. They will help build bridges between family and friends who have not seen one another in decades. Each celebrity will create a video inviting the world to visit their chosen place for the Gathering in 2013.

In the first episode, Brendan Grace takes a horse and cart tour of his old neighborhood in the Liberties of Dublin. He meets with old neighbors and friends, former bandmates of the 60s showband era, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise O Muiri. Grace left Ireland in an emigration wave to the United States in the early 90s. In the episode he learns about other people who emigrated from the area. He also learns about the events and reunions that residents and community groups have planned for the Gathering.

The show will premiere on Tuesday, October 2 at 7 pm on RTE One. It will be available for a global audience on www.rte.ie/player.

The trailer for the show is below:


Irish actress Fionnula FlanaganJim Fiscus/Showtime