The March 2018 lecture saw staff from the Foundation speak outside of the 'lower 48' states for the first time. Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt concluded this programme of events with a visit to the state of Hawaii.

Tour report by Gillian Hunt

The lecture tour in March 2018 was a whirlwind experience. Some basic statistics might convey the frenetic nature of our most ambitious tour to date. The programme ran from 3–21 March and covered 14 destinations in USA and Canada. It included seven new cities: Augusta GA, Louisville KY, Madison WI, St Louis MO, Omaha NE, Sacramento CA and Honolulu HI; plus seven other stops visited on previous tours including: Pittsburgh PA, Boston MA, Nashville TN, Chicago IL, Ottawa ON, Philadelphia PA, and Seattle WA.

It was an expansive itinerary by any standard. The staff, Gillian Hunt and Fintan Mullan, covered 7,483 miles in continental North America, or 12,730 miles when including Hawaii, with 17 connecting flights (from Belfast back to Belfast), in addition to several thousand miles driven by road in the USA. Logistically it was also the most complicated lecture tour undertaken to date.

Attendance was excellent, with approximately 2,000 people attending the 14 events, with some notable highs: Ottawa (244), Sacramento (240) and Chicago (200), having the largest crowds. In many other locations the events drew audiences of between 120 and 175 people.

2018 Lecture Tour 8

But the size of the audience matters little, from the largest to the smallest gathering we were thrilled to meet so many family historians pursuing Irish research with such enthusiasm and dedication.

One thing common to all the locations visited was the level of interest and genuine appreciation for our efforts shown by participants. The lecture tours, not unlike our conferences and courses, are perhaps the most rewarding aspect of our work in that we get to meet face-to-face with people from all walks of life with a genuine interest in tracing their Irish roots. The March 2018 tour was no different. We would like to thank everyone whom we met on the tour, whether host, organiser, volunteer, participant, or even helpful strangers we just met along the way.