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This report investigates the social and community impacts of the Gathering in Counties Kerry and Westmeath. Data were collected from local communities, event organizers and key informants in each county using on-line surveys, focus groups, interviews and surveys. The key finding is that the Gathering has had a significant positive impact on communities in the two counties. This impact can be seen in terms of strengthening community spirit and civic pride, building connections both within and outside local communities, enhancing skills of community members, the development of a strong sense of place and memory, and the identification by communities of the tourism potential of their area.
It is also notable that while this was a national tourism project, actually only 8% of those who organized events were from the tourism sector, the research shows how as it developed the Gathering became as much about communities as about tourism. While the research does not identify many negative effects it is notable that only 27% of community respondents attended any Gathering events and 45% believed that the Gathering did not affect the average person. The research provides many interesting insights which are useful in terms of reflecting upon the impacts of the Gathering overall and in the event of planning any future Gathering project.
Mottiar, Z., Quinn, B. and Ryan, T. A study of the social and community impacts of the Gathering in counties Kerry and Westmeath. , School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, DIT, 2014.