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Follow the tartan trail to Ipswich for Celtic celebration The Gathering

Assemble your clan and follow the tartan trail to Ipswich this weekend for The Gathering at the Ipswich Turf Club, Saturday 21 to Sunday 22 May.

The Gathering is Queensland’s largest Celtic celebration and promises two family-friendly fun days of Celtic music, culture, food and entertainment including a pipe band championship, strongman games, highland dancing, heritage displays, Spanish fencing and more.

Economic and Industry Development Committee Chairperson Councillor Nicole Jonic said The Gathering would provide a significant boost to the Ipswich economy.

“In 2021, The Gathering generated direct and incremental expenditure of $585,671 to the Ipswich economy and $37,778 to the Queensland economy,” Cr Jonic said.

“It secured 650 visitor nights to Ipswich hotels and motels. The majority of these nights were generated by intrastate visitors (512) with $140,361 spent by these welcome tourists.

“People loved this event and the fact that it is bigger and better this year, spread over the entire weekend, will be huge for the region.”

Festival President Callum McSween said The Gathering was now in its thirty-first year and continued to grow in popularity.

“The Celtic cultures have so much to offer and enjoy. There is the skill of Spanish fencing, food flavours from Scotland to Spain, the drama of historic re-enactments, the pomp and pageantry of the pipe bands and the all-out brawn and might of the Highland strongmen,” Mr McSween said.

“Particularly over the past few years, The Gathering has significantly grown in popularity not just amongst ex-pats and those with Celtic heritage.”

“Our colourful festival is undoubtedly entertaining and offers something for all ages which has been embraced by locals and visitors alike,” Mr McSween said.

“Last year’s event ran for one day but as we had such great attendance and feedback, we are offering an expanded program in 2022 which will see two full days of activities and experiences.

“Patrons can come along and sample haggis, learn how to play the bagpipes, witness the colour and spectacle of the Queensland Pipe Band Spectacular and, if you’re a strong laddie or lassie, you can even participate in the strong man style Highland Games.”

The Gathering 2022

The Gathering brings the wider community together in celebration of Celtic music, culture and performance.

In the spirit of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, against the historic backdrop of Ipswich, visitors will witness the colour and spectacle of the Queensland Pipe Band Championships, featuring 250 of Australia’s pipe band competitors.

Celtic music and dance lost arts, and a medieval re-enactment will also feature at this annual Highland gathering of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, French, Spanish, Cornish Celtic cultures.

Visitors can also sample Haggis, learn how to play the bagpipes, and even participate in strong man style Highland games, featuring the iconic caber toss.

Program highlights include for the 2022 festival include:

  • The Queensland Pipe Band Championships
  • Celtic Attire Fashions of The Field
  • Lost Arts Discovery Centre where you can learn how to make a kilt, even how to play the bagpipes
  • Highland Games, national strongman competition
  • Patting a “hairy coo” a.k.a fluffy Highland cow or Irish wolfhound

Gates open 11am Saturday 21 and 9 am Sunday 22 May at the Ipswich Turf Club.

The full event program and tickets are now available at

The Gathering is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. The event is proudly sponsored by Ipswich City Council and Bishopp Outdoor.

Read also:

>>> Celebrate Reconciliation Week with Kupmurri cooking at Ipswich Community Open Day

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