The Global Irish Festival Series, a Fáilte Ireland and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade initiative, aims to harness diaspora links for the benefit of local and community tourism.

Looking ahead to 2021, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon have announced funding of up to €100k for Kerry County Council through the Global Irish Festival Series, a joint initiative between Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide funding and support, through relevant local authorities, for events that tap into international diaspora networks to help attract overseas visitors.

The festival series is part of the National Tourism Development Authority’s recovery strategy for the tourism industry which will feed into the work of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce recently established by Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin.

Kerry County Council will receive funding to develop events to encourage Ireland’s diaspora to visit Ireland once the COVID-19 public health emergency passes.

“This is a hugely difficult and anxious time for the tourism industry, but it is important that we look ahead,” Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, said. “The Global Irish Festival Series will enable the local community in Kerry to build on their diaspora networks and deepen connections around the world that will help to generate tourism activity next year.”

The Global Irish Festival Series will support Kerry County Council’s An Turas Mór – The Journey Home festival, with up to €100k in funding. The festival will include a month-long heritage programme of special thematic events designed in collaboration with existing festivals in Kerry, including a series of participative GAA events throughout October 2021.

Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, added:
“In the face of the global challenge posed by COVID-19, it is important for us to re-affirm our sense of solidarity and common identity. The Global Irish Festival Series is an important part of reinforcing the connections between Ireland and our diaspora. We will work with our partners in Fáilte Ireland and the local community in Kerry to strengthen their deep connection with the diaspora.”

Speaking about the importance of festival series, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue, said that they are delighted to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade once again on the Global Irish Festival Series as they look at rebuilding the tourism industry and the vital contributions it makes to Irish society.

“The festivals and events supported through the series will help drive tourism to specific locations, including regional areas outside of current hotspots, creating new economic benefits for local communities and this will be hugely important as we move into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Welcoming the announcement, Moira Murrell, Chief Executive of Kerry County Council said Kerry is pleased to be part of the Global Irish Festival Series and will work with the Rose of Tralee network, the GAA and other groups to attract members of the Kerry diaspora back to the county for a showcase festival in October 2021.

“The fostering of linkages with the extended Kerry family overseas is a key goal of the Council and it will help drive tourism and economic growth in these challenging times.”

The Global Irish Festival Series will take place in 2021 on the Wild Atlantic Way in the new locations of Kerry and Mayo, alongside Limerick and Donegal where the festival series has taken place since it was launched as a pilot initiative in 2018.

The Global Irish Festival Series is funded by Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.