MANY hundreds of Wexford natives living abroad will visit home this year as active participants in The Gathering, the campaign of government and tourism bodies aimed at boosting our troubled economy by persuading people of Irish extraction to come back and spend a few dollars or pounds sterling on home turf.
The hurdle of controversy, heightened by the negative comments of Gabriel Byrne and others, has been scaled and the view at the other side is a good one, with almost 2,000 events logged nationwide to date, 76 of them in County Wexford.
This total is expected to grow significantly in coming months, according to Wexford County Council's Gathering steering committee, who encourage everyone with a planned event in 2013 to let the world know about it.
They stress that size doesn't matter; that there is no strict criteria dictating what makes an event a 'gathering'. If you can guarantee that at least one overseas visitor will be in attendance, that's a gathering.
'We are encouraging people to put these events up on the website to let people abroad know they are happening,' said Sabrina Kavanagh of Wexford County Council.
'So if you have an aunt or an uncle abroad coming to Ireland for a wedding or a party you can add it to the list of gatherings.'
Wexford events listed so far include everything from clan reunions to the world famous Festival Opera.