15 ways to improve Irish tourism

Irish tourism needs a new direction. We asked tourists and talkers their opinion - we want you to join in. Comment below on whether we should have more food markets, all-night museums and or just sell walks in the rain

Tourist market: the farmer’s market at  Dún Laoghaire is the type of event that appeals to French visitors. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Tourist market: the farmer’s market at Dún Laoghaire is the type of event that appeals to French visitors. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh


“US visitors want the History Channel experience in Ireland through specific events to plan their trip around. To see a historical battle re-created on Tramore beach enriches the way you see Ireland. To meet members of the Power clan at Dunhill Castle makes it more than a building.”
Deirdre Woodbyrne, New Jersey

“More innovative tours. London’s 1960s gangster history is proving a hit with tourists, with the help of an actor from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Norwich is riding the popularity of Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge film, Alpha
Papa, with a 90-minute guide to the East Anglian city. And Manchester has produced the Tour of Uninteresting Objects to look at: ‘the unregarded things that make a city’.”
Mark Hennessy, Irish Times London Editor

“Promote our home-made, locally sourced food and support small food producers. Linking a B&B like ours with our jams and home-made bakes enhances the visitor experience. The French, in particular, love wandering around food markets: we need more.”
Eithna Horan , Cornerstones B&B , Connemara

“Give us funding to build on the massive success of our four-day re-enactment event, which brought 60 visitors from France, the US, Russia and the UK and was attended by 5,000 Irish people.”
Steve Dunford, historian, author and organiser of In Humbert’s Footsteps,
Killala, Co

“Encourage restaurants and hotels to pass on the VAT decrease and discourage them from upping prices during local events. Make international flights more
affordable, so you don’t have to book a year in advance to get the discount. Help visitors make local connections to give them a reason to come back.”
Damian Stack, organiser of Stack Clan Gathering, Listowel, Co Kerry

“Promote occasional all-night openings and monthly late-night openings of museums, which have proved a huge success with both foreign and native tourists in Rome.”
Paddy Agnew, Irish Times Rome Correspondent

“Make it possible to hire a car around the country, not just at airports.”
Peter Ormond, chairman of Offaly Gathering

“The funding process for local events that attract international visitors is too lengthy. Organisations need more State support, and events need promotion abroad well in advance, to give visitors time to plan.”
Kate Bell, Hazelwood Heritage Society, Co Sligo

“Build another cable car or two. We have the small one at Dursey Island, in west Cork, but at Australia’s Blue Mountains tourists pay $35 for unlimited daily rides on the two cable cars and the railway. Ireland’s not short of scenic mountain ranges, but we could shout about them more.”
Jennifer O’Connell, Irish Times columnist, Australia

“Irish music sessions need to be more plentiful during the day and not always in pubs. Many visitors want to be in bed by 10pm, and many have children.”
Michael McGettrick, traditional musician, Galway

“Hong Kong has a terrific integrated public-transport system that makes getting around very easy, and the Octopus card, a stored-value electronic card, can be used on the subway system, ferries, minibuses and trams, as well as in coffee shops, restaurants, convenience stores and vending machines.”
Clifford Coonan, Irish Times Beijing Correspondent

Fáilte Ireland should, rather than giving grants to events for advertising, offer PR and marketing, getting articles about next year’s events into the media abroad.”
Tony Robinson, Art in the Open, Wexford

“Ads in the UK focus on Dublin and should be more about Ireland as a rural, family-friendly, comforting and safe destination with activities, walks in the rain and winding lanes.”
Mary McGuffog, Cheshire, England

“Give people a reason to come, like last January’s Tradfest and next year’s Croke Park football game between UCF and Penn State. ”
John Healy, Abbey Tours

“Make it easier to navigate Dublin by bus. There’s still no bus-route map, and the app is a Kafkaesque nightmare.”
Derek Scally, Irish Times Berlin Correspondent

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