March 13th 2013

Music in a pub in Cork  Credit: James Fennell
Festival season in Ireland is in full swing with St Patrick's Day celebrations in Dublin leading the way with five full days of music, street theatre, family carnivals, comedy, street performances, and dance. But St. Paddy’s is just one of many spectacular events on tap during The Gathering Ireland 2013- a uniquely Irish yearlong celebration. 
 
Kilkenny Castle Credit: James Fennell
Throughout 2013, Ireland is opening its arms, hearts, homes, galleries, and festivals to hundreds of thousands of new friends, old friends and family from all over the world with all sorts of quirky, hip, quaint and cosy gatherings in villages, towns and cities across the island.
 
From inviting the world for tea to a national leprechaun hunt, the party is on in Ireland. Here’s our shortlist of ways you can be part of it.
 
Win A Free Trip
Paint your face, your bike, your entire house green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Great Green-off contest and you could win a trip for you and 5 friends to Ireland. Hurry, this ends March 24th. 
Derry ~ Londonderry Credit: Northern Irish Tourist Board
 
Celebrate A City of Culture
Derry~Londonderry made history when it was awarded the inaugural UK City of Culture designation for 2013. Feel the excitement of walking its 400 year old city walls, don't miss its museums, and make sure you include one of the many festivals that will take take place in this great city.
 
 
 
Pack Your Appetite
Sampling Oysters Credit: James Fennell
Each autumn, foodies flock to Dingle to indulge in the wonderful flavours of local food and drink at the annual Dingle Food Festival. Highlights include an extensive Taste Trail, outdoor market, cookery demos and workshops. There is also fun for foodies-in-training, with a programme of events for children. View details 
Dance  Credit: Brian Morrison
 
Find Your Roots
Celebrate Ireland's Family History Year by attending a clan gathering. There's the O' Sullivan Gathering in Kerry, the O'Neill Gathering in Tyrone and many many more. Join the fun,click here.
 
 
Calling All Redheads
In aid of the Irish Cancer Society, the seaside village of Crosshaven in county Cork will transform into a sea of redheads in August 2013. A festival of ginger loving madness, discover your natural hair-itage at Ireland's original and only Redhead Convention.
Star In Your Own Video
Send out a personalized Gathering invitation with the help of Tourism Ireland’s fun video app. Or, give your friends a surprise and include their name in this zany video with comedian, Andrew Maxwell. Go on, try it and sample a taste of Gathering-related excitement. 
Killarney Lake Credit: Failte Ireland
 
Summer Fares on Sale
Aer Lingus, the national airline of Ireland, has summer fares on sale to Ireland through March 20, 2013. Click here for details. Additionally, American Airlines has added a new nonstop route from New York (JFK) to Dublin with flights beginning June 12, 2013. Better yet, to celebrate, they’re offering a 20,000 AAdvantage bonus mile promotion. Click here to learn more. 
 
Lace Up Your Hiking Boots
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland Credit: Chris Hill
The Wayfarers is hosting a gathering of our own, with walking tours in both Northern Ireland and the Ring of Kerry. Each walk is hand-tailored to immerse you in the Emerald Isle’s rich cultural heritage, striking scenery, and stunning coastline, with plenty of opportunities to celebrate with the locals. Come join us.
 
Do you have the luck of the Irish? Click here, and enter to win one of three sets of Irish Linen tea towels. 
 
For a complete Gathering events schedule and Ireland vacation planning information visit TheGatheringIreland.com and DiscoverIreland.com

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