A very successful and well attended launch event was held in the Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam on April 27th for the Irish-American Link Conference.
The duty of officially launching the 5 day conference fell to Councillor Michael Maher, Mayor of County Galway. On wishing the conference every success, Mayor Maher was particularly happy to see two day tours bookending the conference. He expressed his belief that the tours would showcase local heritage and history across the county, which often can be overlooked by many visitors.
Many thanks to Johnny Ryan Photography for providing photos.
Guest Speaker at the launch was newly elected Labour Party Chairman, Colm Keaveney, T.D. Deputy Keaveney drew parallels between Tuam’s upcoming quadricentennial celebrations of the granting of a charter incorporating the town in 1613 and the charter granted to Plymouth, Mass, where the Mayflower landed, with both charters being granted by James I. He also highlighted a more recent and tragic link, the death of Tuam woman Anne Marie McHugh in the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. He went on to congratulate all those involved in organising the conference and expressed his expectation that the event will be enjoyable and successful.
In her address of welcome, Anne Tierney, President of The Old Tuam Society, expressed her delight that the conference was occurring in Tuam as the Society is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. “One of the guiding objectives of the Society in those seventy years has been to raise awareness and understanding of the history and rich heritage of Tuam and its hinterland.” She also pointed out the opportunity the conference gives to local heritage and history organisations in the West of Ireland to showcase their localities events and services.
Welcoming the launch, Mayor of Tuam, Mary Loftus congratulated the Old Tuam Society on taking the initiative to develop and host such a significant event in the town and hoped it would provide a welcome boost in visitors and business to the area.
Dr. Anne Rodda, representing Professor Christine Kinealy of Drew University, New Jersey, U.S.A., said “The University is delighted to be taking part in this ground breaking event, that brings local experts and academics together to exchange views from the West of Ireland and America on a variety of aspects of their history.”
The conference is being co-hosted by The Old Tuam Society, Galway County Council, Centre for Irish Studies (NUI, Galway) and Drew University.