English Introduction to Iglis

IGLIS is a non-profit organisation promoting Europe's Celtic Heritage and, in particular, Ireland's wealth of historical sites, traditions, folklore and outstanding natural beauty. Especially for our English speaking visitors, this page is a short presentation of our cultural and artistic society, including activities such as outings, travels, visits, workshops, lectures and live shows (music, singing, dances and storytelling).

From then to now...

Originally started in Ireland in 1996, IGLIS was at that time a group of passionate tour guides and lecturers sharing a common interest in Ireland's Heritage and traditions. Among them was David Gourdant, tour-guide, lecturer and stage performer, with a dual nationality Irish and French. David went on to establish an incoming operator agency in Ireland, in 1999, dedicated to French visitors looking for tailor made tours throughout the island. When David left this agency in 2006, to come and live in France, he realised how little was known about France's abundant Celtic heritage outside of Brittany.

Together with some equally passionate people he met in France, David set out to promote Celtic culture, and Gaelic traditions, through lectures, music and storytelling stage performances. Very soon, as members and supporters grew larger in numbers, IGLIS was re-established as a cultural and artistic circle in France. With a small group of volunteers taking over the running of the association, it was decided to give IGLIS an official recognition in 2011, as a "Loi 1901" legal associative structure.

Since then, IGLIS is enthusiastically driven by volunteers, active members, and professional partners. Bringing people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds together, sharing a keen interest and affinities with European countries or regions, linked by a common Celtic Heritage, past or present. These include less obvious countries such as Germany, Spain and Portugal, the Southern part of Poland, Switzerland, the northern part of Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and even parts of Turkey!

 Activities, in France and abroad

Most of our activities take place in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, where active members of the association live. Regular events such as outings, visits, workshops, musical evenings, lectures take place. On occasion, some of these activities  can bring us to other parts of France. However, a special interest is given to Ireland, the all-inspiring land of the Gaels, where IGLIS takes its roots, and where a strong Celtic culture has survived far longer than any other parts of Europe... 

The beauty and diversity of Ireland's natural landscapes and ecosystems, as well as its modern day living traditions and folklore, all add to our particular interests for the island. Customised tours and activities in Ireland are regularly suggested to our members and sympathisers. These tours are designed by our most experienced members, and implemented by professional partners such as travel agencies or tour operators. Other countries such as Scotland, Italy or Poland have also been presented, with the same preferential rates as all of our tours.

Volunteer Office Members

Margaret Raesfeldt is our current president. Recently retired, Margaret dedicates much of her time to her art work... and to her paper work for the association! Born and bred in Ireland, she is now living in France for over 30 years.

Anna Osiecka is our treasurer and head secretary of the association. To prove - if needed - the rich diversity and background of our association, you will find that Anna is from Poland! Working in France since 2001, she shares her time between motherhood, her profession as a translator, and her invaluable commitment to the association.

David Gourdant is one of the main contributors to the success of our events and activities. As an experienced stage performer, among other skills, he is our artistic and events director, supervising our musical evenings, events, outings, and tours. David also performes professionally as a talented storyteller. With both Irish and French cultures, David has an in-depth knowledge of Ireland, where he grew up. Studying Celtic Cultures in University, and having worked as a tour guide and tour organiser, his experience is a great asset for our association. He has lectured in various schools, conference halls, workshops and for the Irish Tourism Board. You can find his personal page here.

Becoming a Member & Ethics

Membership is free and is open to all ages, genders, nationalities and faiths, to believers and non believers. We are a cultural and artistic association, our objectives are purely intellectual and recreational. We are non judgmental and non political, and we strongly disapprove of any sectarian or politically-driven ideas and propaganda within any of our activities and gatherings. The association IGLIS reaches out a warm and friendly hand to welcome every person who shares our interests and our ethics.

To become a member, simply click here, to submit your name, address, number and email, together with a brief introduction as to the reasons you wish to join our association.

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