Dungarvan is set to host the 2019 International McGrath Clan Gathering this week. This five day Global Festival of Heritage, History, and Culture has attracted visitors from around the world to the Co Waterford town. Members of this great Irish Clan are coming from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, UK, and Ireland.
It all starts on Wednesday 26th and continues to Sunday night June 30th.
A full program of activities has been planned for the festival. They include lectures, two heritage tours which includes visits to places of McGrath interest, BBQ, visit to the Gaeltacht, Traditional Irish Music sessions, wreath laying at Famine Memorial, Clan Parade, Film Premiere and the McGrath Clan Gala Dinner.
Event organizer Dan McGrath is very positive about what is on offer to visitors in West Waterford, he said that “many people live in cities and rarely are close to the sea so Dungarvan’s location just blows them away, they get to see some beautiful scenery. Dungarvan is a coastal town with top quality award winning restaurants and bars, visitors fall in love with the place. It’s also an area with a rich McGrath heritage which is so vitally important to the event.”
This is the 6th gathering of the McGrath Clan. The previous gathering was also hosted by Dungarvan and West Waterford in 2016. A very active promotional campaign which included an Olympic torch style journey around the world, saw the flag for the 2019 McGrath Clan gathering visit towns and cities, festivals, heritage centres, and famous sites. It started at the Ventura St Patrick’s Day Parade in California, and included the Golden Gate Bridge, Washington for July 4th, the Home Coming Festival in Tilting, Newfoundland, Parliament Building in Canberra, Elvis’ birthplace, Celtic Festival in Texas, Soweto in SA, and many more great locations. It was pictured with Congressmen, US Senators and Irish Government ministers.
Speaking about the event, Dan McGrath, Chairman of the McGrath Clan Association and Clan Chieftain said that he was “trilled to see the event back in Dungarvan and West Waterford. The area has proved to be the perfect location to host this global festival. It has a proven track record when it comes to big events. There is great excitement as members of the clan start to arrive in the town ahead of the gathering. It’s truly an international festival with visitors attending from around the world. All we hope is that they go home with great memories of the region, make life-long friendships and positively promote the McGrath Clan Gathering and the area.”
Guests at the festival will include Conor O’Brien, direct descendant of Brian Boru. The McGraths are descended from Brian Boru’s brother Etchtighern. Dr Joe Mannion, Chairman Clans of Ireland, will be taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the gathering.
The McGrath Clan Gala Dinner takes place in the Park Hotel, Dungarvan, on Sunday night, June 30th. During the course of the evening, the presentation of the Medal of Etchtighern, the highest honour that the clan can bestow on an individual, will take place. It will be presented to three members of the clan, Dan McGrath, California, John McGrath, SA & Ireland, and Steven McGraw, Virginia.
The McGrath Clan Association/McGrath Clan (Thomond) acknowledge annually the contribution of Clan members to society. This comes in many guises, some play an important leadership role, more give up of their time to carry out research, others do voluntary work and help those in need. You also have individuals who have performed at the highest level in their chosen field. Some have carved out a career in the arts world. We are fortunate to have so many talented individuals in our clan. It also acknowledges members of the public who have made a significant contribution to the clan.
A great line up of speakers from both Ireland and overseas will give talks during the three lecture sessions. The first and second sessions are been held in the SGC Cinema on Friday and the third in the Park Hotel on the Sunday afternoon.
The Liam McGrath Research Bursary will be presented during the gathering to Caroline Smiddy, who is a clan member. The Bursary is in memory of a clan member, the late Liam McGrath, who lived his later years in Dunmore East, having spent much of his life in the US, and carried out years of research and generously shared it with our clan members. The subject of the research was the famed Mac Craith Bardic School.
Due to the fact that inaugural Tune Fest is in Dungarvan next weekend also, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy some excellent traditional Irish music at various venues around the town.
The Park Hotel, Dungarvan, is the head-quarters for the event. There is a limited number of tickets available for the Gala Dinner on Sunday 30th and can be purchased from the hotel.
http://www.mcgrathclan.org for more details.