Join the Fun at Ireland’s The Gathering

Irish Pub in Cork city (Image: Tourism Ireland)

A lively gathering at a pub in Cork City. (Image: Tourism Ireland)

Ireland’s The Gathering is a year-long “people’s party” designed to draw golfers, ex-pats, long-lost relatives and everyone else who loves the Emerald Isle back home.


There are more than 70 million people with Irish ancestry. With McAuley as a surname, I’m one of them. And even though our last Irish family connection dates back to the 1840s, I’ve discovered that the allure and romance of the Old Country is surprisingly strong.

Especially if you’re a golfer. In that case, there’s no Irish ancestry required — if you have golf in your veins, then playing Ireland’s famous links courses is like coming home.

And there’s no better time for a visit. Throughout 2013, Ireland is hosting The Gathering, billed as a “people’s party” made up of more than 2,500 festivals and special events showcasing Irish culture, sport and tradition.

Major happenings include Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival (March 14-18), which invites 8,000 international visitors to parade through the city’s streets; the launch of a new show from the makers of Riverdance at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre (June 27-Sept. 1); the Canada Come Home Gathering (Sept. 13-15), a celebration of the lives of the more than 6,000 people who left the town of Coolattin, County Wicklow, for a new life in Canada during the Great Famine; and the Irish Redhead Convention (Aug. 24), which will see the world’s largest collection of carrot tops converge in the beautiful seaside village of Crosshaven, County Cork.

Lahinch Golf Club logo (Image: Sharon McAuley)

The World Invitational Father and Daughter tournament includes a round at famous Lahinch Golf Club. (Image: Sharon McAuley)

Golfers can select from a wide variety of special events with ties to The Gathering. Ireland’s popular southwest coast will host both the World Invitational Father and Daughter Tournament (July 17-20), and the Father and Son Golf Tournament (Aug. 7-11). At Carton House, an upscale resort near Dublin, many of the world’s top professionals will compete in the Irish Open (June 27-30).

Whatever your connection to Ireland — as an expat, descendant or simply someone with an interest in the Emerald Isle — you’re invited to join in the celebration.

This post has been updated.