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03 Apr 2012

Minister Deenihan presents New Zealand blogger with Certificate of Irish Heritage

Popular New Zealand blogger Ms Paddy Patrick was presented with the Certificate of Irish Heritage by Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan T.D. during her recent visit to Co Kerry.

Paddy, who won a trip to Ireland through a competition organised by Tourism Ireland in New Zealand, was the first person in Ireland to be presented with the certificate (President Barack Obama was recently awarded his certificate by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, during the St Patrick’s Day reception in the White House). The certificate, run by Fexco in Killorglin, is an acknowledgement by the Government of an individual’s historic link with Ireland.

Genealogy and roots tourism is a key focus for Tourism Ireland and the organisation is leveraging publicity for the Certificate of Irish Heritage – particularly in markets where there is a strong Diaspora network, like Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the United States. Orla Saul, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: "The Certificate of Irish Heritage is a wonderful way for people around the globe to celebrate their Irish roots. As part of Tourism Ireland's promotions this year – particularly in markets like Great Britain, the US, Canada and Australia – we are targeting the Diaspora and those people who are interested in tracing their ancestry. In the second half of this year, Tourism Ireland will promote The Gathering Ireland to the 70 million people across the world who feel linked by family, friends or otherwise with Ireland. The Gathering will be our biggest ever tourism initiative and will be an invitation to the world to connect with the people of Ireland in business, the arts, sports, communities and public life.”
Tourism Ireland’s ‘Join a Clan’ campaign in New Zealand offered its fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter the chance to win a trip to Ireland by submitting a short description of their connection with Ireland; the aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of Ireland as a fantastic holiday destination amongst online audiences in New Zealand. The winning entry, by Paddy Patrick, told the story of her great-grandmother’s emigration from Co Fermanagh to New Zealand. 

During her recent visit to Kerry, Paddy’s itinerary took her to the Killarney National Park and Muckross House as well as the Gap of Dunloe. She also visited the Dingle peninsula, including Gallarus Oratory. Paddy’s travelogue and photos of her time here, showcasing some of our wonderful scenery and attractions, have been uploaded to her blog “Paddy’s Wagon” and to her Facebook page.

Orla Saul continued: “Our social media campaign proved to be an effective way for us to engage with online communities around New Zealand, really bringing our message of fun and friendliness to life. Paddy Patrick got to enjoy a whirlwind tour of some of the best iconic experiences in Kerry and around the island of Ireland; and through sharing her experience with other potential holidaymakers around New Zealand, we’re hoping they’ll also be inspired to begin planning their own trip to Ireland.”