PHOTO: Dunbrody Famine Ship (Courtesy Flickr.com/
The marketing of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way was a huge success for the country and has driven tourism up in the region. The country hopes to do the same with its Ancient East, according to the Irish Times.
“The Wild Atlantic Way route developed by Fáilte Ireland lit a fuse under the tourism industry on the western side of the country. Now, the tourism agency wants to repeat the trick in the east,” writes the Times.
The Irish Times’ Mark Paul discusses how the country is transforming places such as Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford and Meath, talking with owners and operators of local tourism businesses about their hopes for the Ancient East.
In Waterford, Brian Wickham, proprietor of the Cairbre House, “hopes a planned cycling and walking greenway in the area will attract more tourists, much like the Great Western Greenway has for Mayo: “[The Waterford Greenway] will do the same trick for here, please God.”
Joe O’Connell, a pig farmer, has a “lost town” on his land and uses his storytelling skills to engage visitors on highly entertaining tours that include tea and scones, and a demonstration of sheep or geese herding.
“Five years ago when we started this, we had no bus tours. Now we are doing 200 a year,” says O’Connell. “An attraction like this is made for Ireland’s Ancient East. It’s all about history, scenery, storytelling and the cup of tea.”
In Wexford, tourism is also beginning to increase and many attractions are looking to invest in their businesses, such as Sean Connick, who is trying to obtain grant funding to revamp the visitors center that welcomes guests coming to tour the replica famine ship he operates for the John F Kennedy Trust.
“The Wild Atlantic Way is magnificent, although Fáilte Ireland was always going to have a more difficult job in the east. But the Ireland’s Ancient East proposition is strong.”
For more on the development of Ireland’s Ancient East, read on here.