Lisa Hannigan performs at the NYC launchSinger Lisa Hannigan took to the stage yesterday in New York to officially launch I.NY, and our friends Richard Harris International Film Festival, as part of the new Global Irish Festival Series. Encouraging people with Irish roots, and those who simply enjoy Irish culture, to celebrate what it means to be Irish, Limerick and Donegal will play host to a number of special festivals and events that will be of particular interest to friends and family who want to experience Ireland at its seasonal best. The programme includes the Richard Harris International Film festival and I.NY which explores the breadth and depth of the connection between Ireland and New York through programming highlighting historical and contemporary stories of public service, sport, fashion, food, and more.

We are delighted to be a key part of this exciting new initiative, and were extremely pleased to be able to bring singer Lisa Hannigan to New York to celebrate this new initiative at the Irish Consulate in New York. Many of our 2017 I.NY alumni came to enjoy the occasion with us, including Gerry Leonard, Maura Kelly, Chris Byrne and Qool DJ Marv.

Speaking on the night, Irish Consul General Ciaran Madden commented; “The Global Irish Festivals series offers a wonderful opportunity for all of us to celebrate what it means to be Irish – whether that is by attending the great events here in the US or even better, by making the trip to Ireland. Culture is an enormous part of Irish identity and the projection of that identity globally. As a nation we are renowned for our writers, actors and artists, so what better way to connect with the warm heart of Ireland than by attending some of these festivals to enjoy the very finest traditional and contemporary culture and heritage that Ireland has to offer.”

David O’Donovan, Director of I.NY, said;

‘I.NY was created with the specific aim of capturing, retelling and celebrating the thousands upon thousands of personal stories that make up the complex Irish New York relationship. The Global Irish Festivals initiative is a natural home for I.NY and this innovative partnership between Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is incredibly welcome. We look forward to welcoming the diaspora home to Limerick and the Wild Atlantic Way to experience those stories – their stories – in 2018 and beyond.”

I.NY Co-founders Aoife Flynn and David O’Donovan speaking at the NYC launch

Rob Gill, chair of the Richard Harris International Film Festival, said, The festival is extremely honoured to be included in this initiative and by the confidence shown in the festival by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Failte Ireland. A key founding objective of the festival was to encourage the Irish film-making diaspora to return to Ireland to showcase their work at home. Into the future, the festival will continue to strive to not only encourage the diaspora to return but also to create audio-visual content at home, through the launch of an innovative writers’ room programme and media conference and summit”.

The event was hosted and supported by Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, all of whom are key partners in the Global Series. Speaking about this new initiative Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President Tourism Ireland USA and Canada ,said “We are delighted to join with Consul General Ciaran Madden and our colleagues from Failte Ireland in launching this exciting new Irish cultural offering which will be available both here and in Ireland. The links between Ireland and the US are many and we hope these new energetic and contemporary festivals will encourage those who hold Ireland dear to join us and to travel to Ireland to celebrate our shared love for all things Irish.

Zeb Moore (Richard Harris Film Festival), Consul General of Ireland Ciaran Madden, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr James Collins, Alison Metcalfe (Tourism Ireland), Mark Danis (American Air), David O’Donovan (I.NY)

Ms Metcalfe continued, “It has never been easier to get to Ireland and the Global Festival Series is yet another great reason to make the trip. Last year we welcomed a record 1.83 million visitors from North America to the island of Ireland, and the growth momentum continues in 2018 with a +11% increase in visitors for the Jan-Jun period. We are confident that our strategy for growth, extensive marketing programme combined with more airline seats, and competitiveness of the vacation experience around the island of Ireland, will deliver further record growth through year end and into 2019.”

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland, said, “We are delighted to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on The Global Irish Festival Series. An exciting initiative, the new festival series aims to motivate those abroad to reconnect by visiting their home county, enabling local communities across Ireland to deepen connections with diaspora around the world. The initiative is being piloted in Limerick and Donegal and with a host of events from sport to music and film, The Global Irish Festival Series is the perfect way to experience the Wild Atlantic Way this fall, and we look forward to welcoming our diaspora home to enjoy these great festivals and events.”

We all look forward to welcoming people home to Limerick and Donegal this October, 2018! Follow the Global Irish Events on social media with the #GlobalIrish