The Week of Welcomes event is an integral part of the Ireland XO programme - is all about forming lifelong connections by inviting the Irish Diaspora to return to their ancestral parish. The event can last a day or longer and is an opportunity for people of Irish heritage to explore their past and connect with the people and places of their forefathers. It is an opportunity for cultural renewal and discovery with an emphasis on enjoyment and fun.
Above all, the Week of Welcomes builds on the paper trail of researching the records that may only get you so far, by providing that final link of local knowledge. You get to speak to people from the communities of your ancestors and use their knowledge to perhaps finally discover that elusive headstone, or the spot where the ancestral home once stood, or even seek out some long-lost cousins.
But don’t worry – no matter what time of the year you visit, there will be local people here to welcome any returning parish Diaspora and not just during the annual Week of Welcomes.
If you come home, we will give you a sense of self; introduce and reconnect you to your ancestral parish and, in the process, provide an unforgettable holiday experience for you and any travelling companions – friends or family.
You can see highlights and videos of the Week of Welcomes 2012 here.
You can see highlights and videos of the Week of Welcomes 2011 here.
Read a short interview with Julie Fennell from Massachusetts, who has ancestral links to Ballinakill.
Ed and Marge O’Connor, Massachussetts, USA with a connection to Gort
“If this project goes forward and expands to other counties I would be most interested in County Kerry and County Louth. We will likely also visit Galway again given that we have so many new friends there.”
Vin & Ted Flynn, Australia with a connection to Kiltartan
Wonderful! We will be coming back for more, and have this one tucked away with our precious memories. We feel we learned a lot, but even more important, met some interesting people and made some good friends.
James (Jim) Kelly, USA
It’s hard to describe really. I never expected to find the location, or much less the remains of the house of my fore bearers. I’ve reached the end of a long journey. It’s very, very special.