The Ireland Reaching Out Programme
Our Heritage Group accepted an invitation to become involved for a period of time in an interesting and exciting pilot programme, the "Ireland Reaching Out" (IRO or Irelandxo) Project. This is an Irish Government sponsored programme established to connect, on a parish-by-parish basis, people of Irish heritage living abroad, with those living in Ireland. The national pilot project was organised within thirty parishes in South-East Galway. It aims to expand the geographical communities as they are today into global "virtual" communities, facilitating intimate and richly rewarding contact between members of the Diaspora and the home parishes.
In June of 2011, the parish of Clontuskert organised a festive "Week of Welcomes" to which were invited thirty members of the parish's Diaspora (i.e. emigrants of the parish - or their descendants), to visit the area for one week. Participants were welcomed to the parish through a comprehensive selection of tours, activities and events. The purpose was not only to acquaint people with their parish of origin, but to give them the opportunity to learn more about their Irish Heritage, through history lectures, craft sessions, sporting and work activities. It was a life experience to be remembered.
For several months, the group re-examined the documents researched for the book and the headstone inscriptions in the local three cemeteries, to find the names of people who once lived in this parish. They also distributed survey sheets to the people of Clontuskert. They discovered the names of more than one hundred and seventy people who have emigrated from this parish and whose descendants live abroad.
If any person of Clontuskert descent has not been contacted, please let the group know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.