Wednesday 7 November 2012

Reaching Out goes nationwide

As you may already be aware, The Gathering 2013 and the Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) initiatives have formed a partnership to help bring 325,000 people home to their roots in Ireland next year.

While the partnership makes sense, I've heard some concerns among Ireland XO teams that once 2013 is over, people will assume their programme has ended.

Just to set the record straight... Ireland XO is an ongoing initiative that uses 'reverse genealogy' techniques to trace its diaspora. And the intention is that it should continue reaching out long after 2013.

The essence of the programme is simple enough. Instead of waiting for the diaspora to decide to trace their roots in Ireland, volunteers from local parishes are trained to proactively research the people who left their communities and then trace their living descendants wherever they may now be in the world. Hence the term 'reverse genealogy'.

Once located, these descendants are then invited to return to their ancestral parish where the volunteers provide a Meet & Greet service, taking them to places of interest including family homesteads, graveyards or land connected to their families.

As it progresses, the Ireland XO website will provide a profile for every parish in the country.

The programme is now rolling out beyond its early west coast focus with a view to connecting with more local communities and getting more volunteers on board. So if you fancy getting involved in reverse genealogy, check out these scheduled meetings:

Mayo: 12 November, 8pm-10pm at McWilliam Hotel, Claremorris.

Derry: 14 November, 8pm-10pm at Towers Hotel, 17-19 Butcher Street, Derry BT48 6HL.

Cavan: 15 November, 8pm-10pm at Slieve Russell, Ballyconnell.

Westmeath: 19 November, 8pm-10pm at Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar.

Kilkenny: 20 November, 8pm-10pm at Spring Hill Hotel & Conference Centre, Kilkenny City.

Kerry: 21 November, 8pm-10pm at The Brehon, Muckross Road, Killarney.