They came from all over the county, they heard what The Gathering 2013 can do for community spirit in Co Longford and they gathered together some of the best ideas to promote the county. The end result will be to extend the hand of friendship across the world and showcase what this wonderful little county of ours has to offer when next year’s festivities get under way.
The Longford Gathering 2013 event took place at the Longford Arms Hotel last Tuesday night where representatives from the National Executive told all those present what next year’s event was all about and how to bring communities, parishes and the local diaspora overseas together, for what is guaranteed to be a very special year of celebrating all that is good about the localities in which we live. The ideas ranged from an international women’s day to celebrate the achievements of the first ever Irish Ban Garda Sarah McGuinness from Longford town, to literary treasure hunts celebrating the life and times of Maria Edgeworth, Padraic Colum and Oliver Goldsmith; the gathering together of the most internationally elite architects and conservationists to St Mel’s Cathedral and abundance of music festivals and cultural events, guaranteed to place Longford firmly on the table of best destinations in Ireland.
Longford native and broadcaster with RTE, Fran McNulty was MC on the night. Mr McNulty spoke about how he along with three other Longfordians in RTE decided to run the Longford Marathon earlier this year and how all four were now in the process of encouraging their fellow workers to run in next year’s marathon and see for themselves all that Longford has to offer. “That is how The Gathering 2013 works,” he said, adding that it was about speaking to people directly and asking them what they would like to do. “It is about people coming together and reaching out to family and friends; it’s about celebrating all the very best that this county has to offer, but the challenge will be to find that something that is unique and different.”
Mr McNulty went on then to speak about the ideas that emerged during last Tuesday’s event. “Firstly it was a very positive event and it was evident that those in attendance had a great pride in Longford,” he explained further. “Secondly, there was a real sense of a we-can-do attitude and I hope that people will continue feeding in their ideas. We have so much to offer in Longford; we have natural infrastructure that we do not exploit such as the canal and in actual fact there was a fantastic idea submitted where by visitors to Longford would be provided with an opportunity to experience ‘A Day in the Life on the Canal’. People were getting very excited about what could be achieved as the event wore on.”
County Mayor, Sean Farrell was also part of the proceedings last Tuesday night. “We have so much to offer in Longford, from Loch Gowna in the north to Lough Ree in the south,” he said. “As recently as last week, there were 1,500 people in Newtowncashel for the Celebrity Banisteoir match and they were people, who were not just from Longford; they were people who had an interest in the event and came to Longford to see it. This proves that it can be done and that we can do it.”
A Longford Steering Group has been established and viable ideas will feed back through the committee, which will then determine the events for The Longford Gathering 2013. Is féider linn!