The Irish in America


DAY 28: Cobh


I love Cobh. I wrote about the harbor town  in County Cork here. Cobh was the last of Ireland seen by millions of Irish leaving home for new lives in North America. For this reason, it was called the saddest town in Ireland.

068_CobhHeritageCentreToday Cobh’s streets are lined with brightly painted buildings and luxury cruise ships dock in the harbor. Housed in the Victorian train depot is the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells the story of the harbor and the people who left Ireland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

As a visitor from America, the exhibit is a powerful reminder of the hardships endured by my ancestors, especially those who left Ireland in the years surrounding the Great Famine. I suspect it is as moving for Irish visitors, as they consider their country’s history, as well as their own personal connections to those who left.

For many Irish Americans, there is no old homestead to return to in Ireland, no family to invite them “home” for a gathering. Too many years have passed, and those who emigrated were forgotten generations ago. But this doesn’t stop us from visiting Ireland and searching for our Irish roots. In keeping the emigrant story alive, Cobh celebrates the connection between Ireland and America.

Cobh will always be there to welcome us back, and that is why it is a special place for me.

Photos by Regan McCormack

Photos by Regan McCormack



DAY 5: Luxury Yachting in Ireland

In the past when someone mentioned “luxury yachting” I immediately thought of Monte Carlo, Richard Branson, sun-kissed and bikini-clad passengers soaking up warm rays on deck, champagne corks popping, and the smooth sounds of Michael McDonald playing in the background.

I certainly never pictured Ireland. But ever since Regan told me about Luxury Yachting Ireland, I’ve been intrigued. As I learned more about Mark O’Dwyer and his business, my conception of luxury yachting began to broaden, and I fell in love with the idea of cruising gorgeous Lough Derg with friends and family aboard a luxury yacht. I am looking forward to my next visit to Ireland so I can experience Lough Derg with Luxury Yachting Ireland.

YachtIt’s definitely a unique way to enjoy a gorgeous part of Ireland. Leave the rental car at the pier, sit back, relax, and let Mark show you the best that Ireland has to offer. By the way, Luxury Yachting offers Ireland’s first and only skippered luxury motor yacht. Here’s what you can expect from a Luxury Yachting Ireland Day Escape:

From 10am to 6pm we experience a unique piece of hidden Ireland, from local artisan food & drink tastings, to visiting one of the oldest operating Church’s, walking through the same door of Brian Boru, to a more exclusive private Castle tour.
This is an all-inclusive day to include all food & beverages on-board, tours, all tastings, 4 course restaurant lunch on the lake shore, guided walks, admissions, afternoon liqueurs and artisan chocolates. Our Gathering Day Escapes are a wonderful way to engage with or revisit authentic Ireland or to gather with friends and family for indulgence and pampering in an idyllic setting.   
– Skipper Mark O’Dwyer, Luxury Yachting Ireland
Lough Derg

Lough Derg

Please visit for more information. Click here to see photos of the yacht and the tours. Follow on Twitter for all the latest news. Mark also offers a fabulous three-day cruise for four…sounds wonderful!

The Gathering Day Escape is featured in March 2013 issue of Tourism Ireland E-Zine.


I wonder if I will receive a postcard?

Gathering postcards are on their way…

On November 9th The Gathering Ireland announced its latest tools to attract visitors next year. From the Press Release

The Gathering Ireland 2013 has partnered with An Post to distribute postcards to 1.8 million households in Ireland this November. The postcards are being distributed to encourage Irish families to invite someone home for the Gathering Ireland in 2013 and should land in people’s houses over the coming days. The initiative is an important part of the Gathering campaign in order to encourage invitations to be sent to the four corners of the world. Everyone is being asked to use these postcards to send a message to family, friends and loved ones abroad and invite someone home next year for the Gathering Ireland 2013.  

In theory this is a great way to spread the Gathering word. There are a lot of people in the United States who have not yet heard about The Gathering. For example, I had dinner with an Irish-American friend last Saturday and when I mentioned the Gathering, I saw a blank look on her face. She had no idea what I was talking about.  My friend has Irish heritage on her both maternal and paternal sides of her family tree,  she visited Ireland for the first time as a high school student as a participant in the Irish American Cultural Institutes‘s Irish Way program, and she later returned to Ireland with family. My friend  loves Ireland and looks forward to returning one day. She (and her family) are exactly the Americans The Gathering should target. A postcard inviting her back to Ireland might be just the incentive she needs to book a trip…

How do those in Ireland feel about the postcards? Will you send them? And who will you send them to? Do you feel pressure to send the cards (see Emeralds blog post about the cards)? Please share your thoughts on this initiative – leave a comment.

On the receiving end, I would love to hear from anyone outside of Ireland who finds one of these postcards in their mailbox. Let me know what you think of it – will you take them up on the invitation?

I hope my Irish cousins don’t waste one of their postcards on me. I have never waited for an invitation before to visit Ireland!

A bunch of McCormacks in 2011