Killaloe plans Irish Gathering 0
At a preliminary planning meeting in Killaloe on Jan. 23, KHR volunteer and project co-ordinator Maria Mayville holds up a calendar displaying the dates reserved for a weeklong Irish celebration set to take place August 2013 in Killaloe./Emily McPhee
Local business owners and interested citizens met at the Killaloe township building on Jan. 23 for a preliminary meeting regarding an Irish gathering to celebrate Killaloe’s roots.
The Irish Gathering is set to take place from Aug. 17-25, 2013. Originally it was simply going to be called The Gathering, but it was decided at the meeting to call it the Irish Gathering to avoid any confusion.
The idea for the festival stems from a nationwide celebration happening in Ireland called The Gathering 2013. Throughout the year Ireland will be opening its arms in order to encourage Irish descendants to return to their homeland and celebrate their heritage.
This also seems to be the hope for the Irish Gathering in Killaloe. The meeting was headed by Killaloe, Hagarty, Richards volunteer and project co-ordinator Maria Mayville, who is also hoping to bring the popular food festival Taste of the Valley to Killaloe to kick off the weeklong celebration.
Mayville recently submitted a proposal to the county and says she hopes that Killaloe will be included in the Taste of the Valley circuit.
But regardless of whether or not Killaloe is accepted, Mayville says they will kick off the Irish Gathering with a variety of food vendors and a walking tour of Killaloe. “Everything is going to happen whether we get Taste of the Valley or not,” she says.
The Irish Gathering committee used the meeting to help solidify plans for the festivities, and various figureheads took the initiative to spearhead tasks such as finding entertainment, contacting food vendors and organizing sports and games.
Included in the list of activities planned for the week is an Irish parade with puppets, dancers and family floats, as well as a golf tournament in which various clans compete against each other, a ghost walk where attendees learn about the history of Killaloe and hear spooky stories, and a tour of both the Killaloe and Brudenell cemeteries. It will also have a road hockey tournament, a dart night, two dances, lots of live music, an interfaith celebration and more.
In honour of its many Irish settlers, the village of Killaloe will be decked out in green regalia with banners in the streets and an array of Irish flowers, leprechauns and fairies.
Mayville says they are currently trying to pair up with their sister city Killaloe in Ireland and hopes they will be able to exchange pins, letters, and other memorabilia.
Local business owner Dan Harrington said of this idea, “I think it would be great to have one of their flags flying next to ours in the park.”
And in this spirit he also added, “Anybody who puts an Irish passport on my counter would get a gift.”
Business owners also agreed to post pictures of the history of the town, comparing what their buildings looked like before with how they look today. Mayville is also asking local Irish families to start gathering old photos, family trees, and other mementoes to share at the celebration.
Overall the committee seemed very enthusiastic about the upcoming Irish Gathering. Of course there is still a lot of planning ahead and a lot of help needed. Mayville says, “If existing volunteer groups get involved that is what will make this all work.”
The next planning meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome. For more information or to get involved please contact Maria Mayville at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-757-1566.