A Kiltimagh man and a New York politician with strong links to Westport are hoping to light up one of the world’s best known landmarks - Niagara Falls - in green and red for the first Mayo Day celebrations on May 2.
New York State Assemblyman Michael Kearns and Buffalo Fenian GAA clubman Padraic Walsh teamed up for the ambitious plan after Tony Hennigan, director of the diaspora group Mayo Manchester, tweeted out an appeal for Mayos across the globe to get involved in celebrating the day.
Mayo Day, launched by Mayo County Council’s Mayo.ie last September, aims to reach out to the estimated 9.3 million people around the world with green and red roots and encourage them to celebrate their shared Mayo heritage in their own corner of the world on the same day each year.
Mr Hennigan, who is planning a major Mayo Day celebration in Manchester, mentioned via Twitter the possiblility of turning some landmark world sites red and green for the day.
It did not take long for his appeal to make its way through cyber space to America’s east coast.
“Padraic contacted me straight away and then contacted the New York Statesman Michael Kearns to get involved,” said Mr Hennigan. “It has just snowballed from there. It is great to see the Mayo Diaspora getting involved in the celebration.
“This event in Buffalo plans to gain world wide coverage for Mayo Day,” he continued.. “It would be great to see other cities around the globe putting on their own unique event ... it does not have to be as ambitious as the Niagara Falls project.”
Mr Walsh emigrated from Kiltimagh to America some 10 years ago, and is very involved with promoting Irish culture and heritage.
“We have already made contact with Niagara Falls and are not anticipating any problems with staging the event,” he outlined. “The Mayo diaspora over here are already planning a massive party at the falls.
“It would be great to see the falls lit up in our county colours as they straddle both Canada and America where most of the 9.3 million people with Mayo roots now live.
“We are all really excited about the world’s first Mayo Day and getting everyone to celebrate around the world. It would be great to see our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, pop over again for the special day.”