Reaching out in Laois

At the Laois County Launch of Ireland Reaching Out in conjunction with Laois Partnership Company in the Portlaoise Parish centre on Thursday last, John and Marie Gleeson. Photo: Tim Keane
A large group of volunteers from the parishes of Laois came together on Thursday evening, April 4 in the Parish Centre Portlaoise for the launch of the Ireland XO Programme by Laois Partnership Company.

A large group of volunteers from the parishes of Laois came together on Thursday evening, April 4 in the Parish Centre Portlaoise for the launch of the Ireland XO Programme by Laois Partnership Company.

Ireland XO is the National ‘Reverse’ Genealogy Programme, an initiative that traces and encourages the descendants of those who left our parishes to return from around the world.

Laois Partnership Company are offering an exciting opportunity for people in Laois to get involved in an innovative training programme to help people to search for their ancestors in County Laois. The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) initiative is being run in association with the Laois Heritage Forum as part of their contribution to The Gathering 2013.

Henry Healy, gave a presentation offering practical tips on how to develop the Ireland XO initiative at parish level. The Moneygall man became affectionately known as “Henry the Eighth” after his ties to President Obama emerged,

Michael Brady, The Gathering Ireland, highlighted ‘the potential of the Ireland XO programme to further extend the great work of the Gathering in Laois through the Ireland XO Week of Welcomes programme where people are invited back home to their place of origin in County Laois.’

John Liston, Genealogist noted Ireland XO is about ‘developing a database to enable us to reach out to Laois diaspora wherever they are around the world’.

By joining any parish community online, Laois diaspora can seek direct genealogical research assistance from local people in the area who also volunteer to meet them on their return. Anyone with an interest in their community, local history, heritage, tourism or genealogy is invited to get involved and learn more about the programme.

Attending the meeting were representatives from Laois Partnership Company, Laois Heritage Forum, Laois County Council, state agencies, The Heritage Council, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Consultants, Heritage Groups and representatives from Community Groups who have expressed interest in launching Ireland XO in their areas.

The first training programme for all parish representatives will be held in Durrow, starting on Wednesday, April 10. A second training programme will be held in Mountmellick commencing in September

For further information contact: Liz Kennedy-Burke, Gathering/Ireland XO Animator, Laois Partnership Company, Email: lizkenn@gmail.com or Phone: 087 6381675.