The unique event runs from August 22 to 24, with hundreds of ‘red tops’ expected to attend from as far away as New Zealand, Germany, and the US.
Last year, the Gathering event attracted crowds of more than 2,000 people and also raised in excess of €15,000 for the Irish Cancer Society, which is once again the convention’s charity of choice.
What began as a joke between red-headed siblings Joleen and Denis Cronin has now become a cult event.
Internet rumours that climate change might lead to redheads becoming extinct have been routinely rubbished, and the organisers of the convention intend to award certificates to genuine redheads this year.
Joleen said: “A lot of what we do at the convention empowers redheads to be proud of our uniqueness and differences.
“We also give Certificates of Genuine Foxiness for all registered redheads and it is wonderful to see attitudes change in a positive way, especially from children who may have been teased or bullied for being different. The weekend provides so many opportunities for redheads to meet, share life experiences and make great friends.”
Tongue firmly in cheek, organisers have this year arranged Ginger Speed Dating session “to combat any threat of extinction”.
The convention promises more red-haired fun than you can shake a stick, or even a carrot, at — events include the carrot-tossing championships and prizes for the best red beard, the curliest red hair, and so on.
The crowning of the new King and Queen of the Redheads will add some gravity to proceedings while, on a more serious level, RTÉ’s award-winning web series Cuckoo will be screened.
Cuckoo tells the story of Niamh, a redhead who recognises herself after seeing a digitally aged photo of an abducted child. Lead actress Pagan McGrath and producer Marie Caffrey will hold a question-and-answer session for viewers during the weekend.
According to convention organisers, those with red hair account for only 0.6% of the global population, but Ireland has the second highest proportion of redheads worldwide at 10%.
Anyone interested in registering for this year’s convention or simply viewing the line-up of events can do so by visiting www.redheadconvention.ie.
A dedicated venue, The Foxygen Stage, will showcase with a line-up of flame-haired artists and performers including Orla Gartland, Karrie O’Sullivan, Christine Deady, and Rua, while local venues host more entertainment.
Reports that Mick Hucknall of Simply Red might make an appearance are unconfirmed. And untrue.