INTERNATIONAL visitors with an interest in their ancestral past are expected to converge on Tulla this weekend for the Weekend of the Welcomes.
The event, which runs from this Friday to Sunday, has proven popular with those who want to reconnect with their ancestral parish through the Ireland Reaching Out project, which the Tulla Reaching Out committee is actively involved in.
Jane Halloran Ryan of Tulla Reaching Out said last year 15 individual visitors from Australia, the USA, the UK and Ireland came to Tulla to trace their ancestral roots and this year they are expecting 22.
“This will be the third year. We started it two years ago for The Gathering and it has grown every year. There has been a very positive response,” said Jane, Ireland Reaching Out Volunteer of the Year award winner in 2013
“People continue to come back and many people will come over on their own and the next year they will bring their children or grandchildren or their brothers or sisters. It’s very positive in that regard.”
Jane said it is very appropriate that the Weekend of Welcomes would take place at the same time as Heritage Week 2015. She said visitors to Clare are usually very interested in exploring the history, heritage, fishing and traditional music of the area after they have investigated their family genealogy.
The weekend will begin with a launch of the IPB parish survey of the Knockjames and Glendree areas within the parish of Tulla.
The survey was done with a grant from IPB and takes an in-depth look at the two northern areas of Tulla parish. It documents the families who lived within these townlands, as well as the local field names and place names that continue to commemorate those families and the unique features of the landscape.
The survey includes a map for each townland depicting where the homesteads were located, some old homestead ruins still in the area, local place names that are given in Irish and in English, and families and family field names that are associated within each townland.
Organisers have said the survey could not have been done without the assistance of the senior community in Tulla and have paid tribute to them for their help and knowledge.
The survey’s launch will take place on Friday in the Tulla Courthouse at 8pm. Mike Feerick, founder of the Ireland Reaching Out project, will speak about the work that the project does. He will also launch the Epic Journeys Ellis Island project that Ireland Reaching Out has undertaken in the last year, of which Tulla is the pilot parish.
The Epic Journeys research project tells the stories of 71 people who set out from Tulla in the late 19th century and passed through the Immigration Station at Ellis Island, before scattering to all parts of North America to begin a new life. An exhibition highlighting seven of these stories will be hosted in Tulla Courthouse.
An online version of this project will soon be available on the Ireland Reaching Out website.
Refreshments will also be served on Friday night.
Saturday events will include a genealogy workshop with local Tulla librarian Ann McNamara in the Tulla Library at 10am. The workshop will discuss getting started on a family tree and local sources for research.
By Trevor Quinn