Month-long Mayo festival taking shape

Living

DREAMING OF HOME A still from the Home to Mayo promotional video, in which a young emigrant daydreams about Mayo before flying back for the festival.

May will be Home to Mayo month

Ciara Moynihan

Talk about adding an ‘Oh!’ to the month of May. Next year’s merry month is set to be a massive Mayo experience for anyone visiting, thanks to a new ‘Mayo tourism and diaspora connection initiative’ called Home to Mayo.
Last June, Home to Mayo was accepted into the Global Irish Festival Series –  a joint initiative between Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ever since, event organisers have been busily putting together the month-long festival, which will be delivered by Mayo County Council’s Mayo.ie.
Home to Mayo 2022 will see a series of events celebrating the county, its culture, its history, its natural heritage and its people. Existing festivals will be incorporated, new events will be introduced, and participatory experiences will be created across towns in the county. ‘Home to Mayo’ will also include the internationally celebrated Mayo Day.
Events on the schedule already include Louisburgh’s Féile Chois Cuain, Achill’s Heinrich Böll Memorial Weekend, Claremorris Folk Festival, a Footsteps of Emigrants Festival, Féile Ealafona Iorras, and a gathering of seven clans in Kiltimagh.
The idea is to offer people with a connection to county the incentive to make the trip home and celebrate all things Mayo.
An online programme, available at www.hometomayo.ie, will be updated on a weekly basis, with new events being added as soon they register with Mayo.ie. The website also has plenty of information about the ethos of the event, as well as the history of Mayo Day.
The organisers promise something for everyone who comes home to Mayo, whether they are interested in tracing their family history, experiencing local culture, or exploring Mayo’s wild and beautiful coastline and islands.

Celebrating Mayo-ness
Commenting on the initiative, Minister Colm Brophy, said: “As Minister of State for the Diaspora, I am delighted to team up with Fáilte Ireland and Mayo County Council through the Emigrant Support Programme to launch this homecoming and to welcome members of our diaspora ‘Home to Mayo’ as part of the Global Ireland Festival Series in 2022.”
Michael Smyth, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, said he is excited about the ‘vibrant line up of events’, adding: “As Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council I would like to take this opportunity to personally invite family, friends, our diaspora and anyone with a Mayo connection from around the world home to Mayo next May to enjoy many of the festivities that will take place during the month-long festival.”  
Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue, also lauded the ‘fantastic line up’, which she is sure will ‘tap into international diaspora networks and will help attract overseas visitors both to Mayo and Ireland’.