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15 Oct 2012

Millions of Americans to tune in to Mayo and the Gathering

Images of Mayo and Dublin will be beamed into the homes of millions of Americans next spring, courtesy of Tourism Ireland. Filming for two different TV shows took place here recently, when Irish-American sisters and TV personalities Catie Keogh and Colleen Kelly – both based in Chicago – visited with their crews.

The sisters were here to shoot two programmes around the Gathering, which will air in spring 2013. Catie is the host and executive producer of the popular show 24/7 Chicago on NBC. Her sister Colleen will front a brand new programme called Family Travel with Colleen Kelly, due to air in 2013 on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), a non-profit public TV network with about 350 member stations right across the US.

The sisters were returning to their roots as their grandfather had emigrated from Derrykell, Co Mayo, many years ago. Filming took place at various locations around Co Mayo – including at the ancestral home of Grace Kelly outside Newport, Kelly’s Butchers in Newport, the Great Western Greenway, Westport House, Matt Molloy’s pub, Croagh Patrick and Ashford Castle. The crews then moved to Dublin, where they filmed on Grafton Street, at the Guinness Storehouse and even captured some hurling footage with their cousin, hurling legend Nicky English. During their time here, Catie and Colleen were presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage by Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons.

Both programmes will highlight the range of things to see and do here for an American visitor; they will also emphasise the strong ancestral links between Ireland and the US, encouraging people across the US to come home next year for ‘The Gathering Ireland’. Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “We are delighted that Catie Keogh and Colleen Kelly visited Ireland to film their TV shows. Their visit is a huge coup for us and the timing of both shows, which will air in the spring of next year, is an ideal opportunity to highlight the Gathering to a huge audience across the US. Millions of Americans have family links with Ireland and we are reaching out to those people, to encourage them to come home in 2013 for what promises to be a truly special year.”