CLAIRES from as far afield as Hawaii and Australia have registered to participate in this month’s record-breaking attempt in Ennis to arrange the largest ever gathering of people with the same first name.
The Clare Volunteer Centre, supported by the Gathering Clare Steering Committee, is inviting people with the name Claire, Clair or Clare to travel to Ennis to participate in the potentially record-breaking feat on June 23.
Organisers have confirmed that 250 people from all over Ireland, the UK, Europe, Australia and Hawaii have so far registered to participate in the event with many hundreds more expected to sign up closer to the time.
The largest gathering of people with the same first name is 1,096 Mohammeds as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival at Creek Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on February 10, 2005. The previous record for a same-name gathering was created by 375 Marias in Spain in 2003.
According to Sharon Meaney, manager of the Clare Volunteer Centre, “This is a family event where everyone from babies to grandparents are welcome to attend. You don’t have to be from County Clare, you may not have even heard of County Clare but you will share a name that is synonymous with being ‘clear, bright and famous’.”
She added, “We are confident we can break this world record on June 23 based on the significant level of interest we have received from all over Ireland and throughout the world since we launched our campaign. The Electoral Register shows that there are 608 people aged 18 or over named Clair, Claire or Clare in County Clare, 262 in North Tipperary and 700 in County Galway so there is clearly a large pool of people in the region that can contribute to this world-record attempt. The Guinness World Records insist that the only proof of identity we can accept is a Birth Certificate,” confirmed Ms Meaney.
Gerard Dollard, chairperson of the Gathering Clare Steering Committee commented, “This event was one of a number of ideas generated during a community event held last July in the run-up to the year of The Gathering. We are delighted to support the event and see it brought to fruition as it is very representative of what The Gathering initiative is seeking to achieve. It also will deliver international profile to the county and provide a welcome economic boost to the local economy.”
The same-name gathering will form part of a weekend of welcomes featuring a free music event on the Friday, June 21 in Ennis as part of the Love:Live Music event.
The weekend also will feature street entertainment on Saturday, June 22 and a special edition Welcome to Clare card, which will offer special offers and discounts to various attractions countywide for the weekend. Author Claire Kilroy will host a writing workshop in De Valera Library on Saturday, June 22 at 11am followed by genealogist Clare Curtin from USA who is delivering a talk entitled ‘An American Perspective on Tracing Family’ at 2.30pm in the Clare Museum. Volunteers will be on hand on the streets of Ennis that weekend to give out information and guidance to visitors.
Persons who register to take part in the Welcome to Clare event will be entered into a draw to win a two-night stay at the five-sttar Lodge at Doonbeg. For further information, contact Sharon or Dolores on 065 68 66 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more visit www.welcomingclairetoclare.com or see Facebook (WelcomingClairetoClare).