One of Ireland’s leading diaspora initiatives has launched a new network of regional partners to connect people of Irish heritage abroad with their places of origin.

Ireland Reaching Out is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organisation connecting people of Irish heritage with the local community in their place of origin in Ireland and online through its platform,

It has established an Irish Partner Network to improve the service offered to diaspora as they visit Ireland, north and south. One of the first organisations to join the network is the Tower Museum, which will cover Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Down, Armagh and Antrim.

Ireland Reaching Out plans to build on the increase in people tracing their Irish roots during the lockdowns, and who wish to travel to Ireland as the country begins to reopen. As well as the Tower Museum, Visit Castlebar and Ballyhoura Development CLG, Ireland Reaching Out is now seeking other interested regional heritage and tourism groups to join.

Families looking for activities to do together in Derry and Donegal can now access a specific section of the recently launched Summer in the North West website and app where a host of fun options have been added.
The Family Fun section aims to offer visitors and locals a convenient and joined up way to get active together. Whether it’s tours, dancing or water sports you’re after, the website and app offers a one stop shop where you can see where is open and what’s happening and plan your days out. From outdoor adventure, “pop up” shows, summer clubs, local festivals and cultural experiences to online activities for a rainy day at home or in the caravan, there’s no shortage of fun to be had.

Hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council with partners in Donegal County Council, Summer in the North West brings together what’s happening across the North West to make it easy for locals and visitors to access.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, launched the service earlier this month. “Summer in the North West aims to offer a joined up platform to make it easier for families and friends to try something different, go somewhere new or see something different in the region,” he said. “We are one of the most diverse regions on the island boasting a host of outstanding natural escapes and vibrant cultural experiences.”With the Walled City of Derry, Sperrins, Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route all on our doorstep, you’ll never be short of an epic view or a tranquil spot to get away from it all.”Maybe you’ll find yourself trekking with alpacas at the Wild Alpaca Way, kayaking at midnight, wandering the Cathedral Quarter Antiques and Vintage Trail or taking in a leisurely lunch after a gallery visit.”As part of the Summer in the North West programme, local arts and festival groups are offering a broad range of outdoor activity including four new outdoor shows from In Your Space Circus and Echo Echo which will tour the NW through August.

Rachel Melaugh from In Your Space Circus explained more: “In Your Space Circus are delighted to be getting out and about this summer and bringing some socially distanced, safe and fun street theatre to local audiences.”We’ll be popping up with some of the best of Irish Circus, spreading the love with our Trippy Hippies and our Olympic goddesses – The Land Syncro Swim team will be back with their brand new show ‘The Big Splash’ – making serious concrete waves.”You won’t want to miss it, we are thrilled and so grateful to have been given the opportunity to develop new work in such a challenging time for the arts and we are so looking forward to taking to the streets again.”

John Kerr, Arts and Culture Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, added:”These summer commissions are an initiative of the NW Audience Development project delivered in partnership by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council and approved for delivery by the North West Regional Development Group (NWRDG) in conjunction with and supported by the Executive Office and the Irish Government.” This promises to be a lot of fun and supports our aim of supporting delivery across wider areas and connecting with new audiences”

For more details and links to individual programmes, opening times, booking and access information to make your summer story visit​ and go to the Family Fun section. 

Why not download our App for your handy guide, available now by searching What’s On Derry Strabane in the Apple or Google Play store. Follow @WhatsOnDS on social media and share your #SummerStories.