Tulla reaches out to Diaspora

Tulla reaches out to Diaspora


Blake Dickie and his wife Sarah Whitney in the graveyard on the hill in Tulla pictured with presenter Evelyn O’Rourke

TG4 will broadcast a special programme on the Ireland Reaching Out initiative and how local volunteers from Tulla helped reunite two people with their descendants in the Parish.

Tulla will feature in episode 2 of the Tar Abhaile (Come Home) series on Sunday 24 November at 9:30 pm.

Hosted by broadcaster Evelyn O’Rourke, the bilingual series follows local Irish communities as they welcome people from across the globe in search of their Irish ancestors.

Six Clare Parishes, including Tulla, are presently participating in a unique pilot project aimed at helping people of Clare heritage abroad connect with the Parish from where either they or their ancestors first originated. The Clare Ireland Reaching Out (IRO) Project is also being rolled out on a pilot basis in Kilrush, Ballyvaughan, Clarecastle/Ballyea, Kildysart and Kilmaley.

The Irish Government-sponsored initiative is a reverse genealogy project based on the idea that instead of waiting for Irish Diaspora, especially Irish Americans, to come back to Ireland to trace their roots, that communities or parishes would take the initiative and proactively search for and link with their Diaspora instead.

According to Jane Halloran Ryan of the Tulla Reaching Out Committee: “We are delighted to have been one of six communities around Ireland selected to be part of this TG4 series, which was filmed over the summer. The programme focuses on two people tracing their ancestry back to Tulla and learning more about their ancestral connections and the times in which they lived.”

“Our two participants were excellent,” she added, “one was adopted as a child and only recently discovered that he is over 90% Irish.  In addition, before he arrived in Tulla, he only had two blood relations:  two daughters of his.  He got to meet almost 29 cousins during the weekend that he was here.  It was a terrific story and he was just overwhelmed by it.  Our other descendant had a great-great-great grand uncle who served in Tulla as a curate during the Famine and died of cholera as a result.  Her story is very poignant for a number of reasons, not only because of her ancestor’s untimely death, but the fact that most of the rest of the family emigrated shortly after.”

The Tar Abhaile series airs on Sunday nights at 9:30 pm. It will run for 6 weeks on TG4 and via tg4.tv

For more on the Tulla Reaching Out project see www.irelandxo.com.