MORE than 40 events in Carlow have already been confirmed for The Gathering which kicked off at midnight on New Year's Eve.
' Exciting gatherings have been planned across the county to celebrate and showcase what we are most proud of our communities, families, sports clubs and our rich culture and heritage,' said Eileen O'Rourke from Carlow Tourism.
Carlow County Council and Carlow Tourism are hoping to circulate details of Gathering events planned for Carlow early this year.
Carlow's Kathryn Thomas was in town recently to officially launch the event along with the Carlow Gathering Steering Committee.
The variety of events range from a Gathering of wood artists from around the world in the Wood Study Centre, near Bagenalstown to the International Pan Celtic Festival which returns to Carlow Town in 2013, even bigger and better than last year and with a specific Gathering theme.
A number of clan gatherings are planned throughout the year featuring family names including Nolan, Amond and Ryan.
Numerous communities are embracing the initiative with a series of events ranging from a traditional music weekend in
Leighlinbridge to a Welcome Home Festival in St. Mullins and school reunions in Bennekerry and Tullow.
Carlow's excellent range of outdoor activities will receive significant profile during the year with a range of themed sporting events focusing on golf, karate and squash.
Carlow's First International Bridge Congress will take place in Carlow Town over the May Bank Holiday Weekend while Outdoor Carlow, organised by two local walking clubs – Blackstairs Ramblers and Tullow Mountaineering Club – for September highlights the county's many walking routes.
Some other 2013 Carlow Gathering highlights include:
Carlow Arts Festival Éigse and the National History Festival of Ireland in June, the world U-21 Snooker Championships in August and Carlow 800, a celebration of the 800th anniversary of the construction of Carlow Castle with many events throughout the year and a dedicated festival at the end of August.