Mayo will become the only county in Ireland to claim a day all of its own tomorrow (May 2 ), when the first ever Mayo Day celebrations kick off in earnest across the globe.
One of the highest profile Mayo Day celebratory efforts will take place at the world famous Niagara Falls on the Canadian/USA border, when the impressive cascades will be illuminated in green and red at 10pm (Eastern Daylight Time )
The nod to Mayo at the iconic tourist attraction was initiated by Buffalo-based Kiltimagh native Padraig Walsh, and New York State Assemblyman Michael Kearns, who has Westport roots.
Other places across the world where Mayo Day events are taking place tomorrow include London, Manchester, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.
Back home, Mayo County Council is also lighting up some of the county’s own iconic buildings, bridges and other landmarks, while various music, cultural and sporting events with a ‘Mayo-ness’ theme are taking place in villages and towns countywide.
Flagship events are also taking place in Ballina, Castlebar and Westport and Irish TV is broadcasting a two-hour Mayo Day Live show from the Royal Theatre, hosted by Carnacon’s Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, between 8 and 10pm.
A fireworks display at the bridge at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar, at 11.30pm will bring the Mayo Day celebrations to an explosive conclusion.
Chief executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, said the day, organised by the authority’s Enterprise and Investment Unit, is about promoting the concept that the huge Mayo diaspora across the globe has a common connection.
“That DNA, the extended bond, is important. We think that in a world where communication is becoming easier and more instantaneous than ever before, the potential now exists to link the Mayo family in a way that wasn’t possible in the past.
“Those linkages will in time bring benefits to both the communities abroad and back home,” he said.
Joanne Grehan, of Mayo’s Enterprise and Investment Unit, said that in its inaugural year, the day has already grown beyond all of their original expectations.
“Everyone has embraced it so much more than we ever anticipated,” she said. “We have started a conversation with Mayo communites around the world, many of whom are new Mayo communities.
“The whole objective was to raise awareness about the county and to raise the profile of the county as a can-do, progressive location with a very progressive local authority.
“This is a way to invite people to connect with us, which they have in their abundance, and out of that, we are hoping that once we start this conversation, they will come and visit us, and they may come and invest here.”
For more information on Mayo Day events, times and venues, visit www.mayo.ie