This is the year of The Gathering in Ireland, an effort to get the diaspora to return to their roots. Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is a tourism marketing campaign, but one that could help you in your research. In you have not already done do, you should visit their site. Early on there was not much there, but the activity has ramped up lately. They are adding new parish administrators, as well as a meet and greet program to help reconnect you to your ancestral homeland.
Even if you're not planning a trip to Ireland this year, you should check out this site and the message boards to see if you can connect to other family members. You can post a query on one of the parish message boards to see if anyone else is looking for the same family. Just a note about queries…in your subject line use the name and locality of the ancestor you are searching. A subject of "looking for ancestors" is not particularly helpful <g>.
In a newsletter this week, an announcement was made about a joint venture with 23 & Me for DNA testing. The concept is to be able to match you with the people in the local area where your ancestors resided. The key to the success of this effort will be the number of people living in Ireland who are willing to pay the €75 to have the testing done. I have already been tested by 23 & Me, primarily for the medical and health reasons and have not spent much time with the genealogy part. I have been contacted by people who say we have a match, but the relationship in most cases is 3rd to Distant cousins with less than a 1% match. Not something I'm likely to be able to document. Still, if enough people are tested, I can see the benefit of this for those who do not know where their family resided in Ireland.
If you're interested in visiting Ireland to do some research, and visit the area where your ancestors lived, why not consider the Dublin Research Trip in October, 2013. It's a great opportunity for directed research as well as taking advantage of the activities for The Gathering.
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