Extensive line-up planned for Gathering initiative

As many as 70 public events have been lined up to mark Longford’s contribution to this year’s Gathering initiative.

As many as 70 public events have been lined up to mark Longford’s contribution to this year’s Gathering initiative.

The year-long event aims to attract around 325,000 visitors to these shores in a bid to encourage ex-pats living abroad to reconnect with their roots back home.

And now, it would appear Co Longford is doing its bit to ensure those plans are realised with over 40 engagements already earmarked.

News of the developments were discussed at last week’s county council meeting by a string of delighted local representatives.

“Apart from Dublin, we are one of the leaders with regards our website and the number of festivals that we are going to have throughout the year,” said Cllr Peggy Nolan. “There are over 47 at the minute and I believe that could rise to nearly 70.”

Director of Services Frank Sheridan illustrated the onset of two such occasions, a ‘Love Longford’ festival and heritage equivalent, as two events likely to play a large part in The Gathering campaign.

The challenge, he said, would undoubtedly centre on enticing people to Longford when so many other attractions are going on almost simultaneously.

In praising the efforts of Mr Sheridan, librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds and Longford County Council’s Ciaran Murphy, Cllr Nolan said the tourism initiative belied the region’s present economic difficulties.

“We have no PR about this but again, is a very good news story for Longford. It shows what the people of this county are made of. They were called upon to engage with The Gathering and to embrace our diaspora and invite them home. That is something to be proud of,” she said.

Co Mayor Cllr Sean Farrell, meanwhile, revealed a series of workshops to assist different interest groups about public relations, insurance and other areas is to take place next month under a team of professional trainers.