2,500km Kinsale to Inishowen route to boost tourism

Fáilte Ireland to invest €10m in route to highlight 500 visitor attractions

The shore of Lough Swilly on the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

The shore of Lough Swilly on the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

What was described as the world’s longest way-marked-trail, a 2,500km Irish coastal route called the Wild Atlantic Way, was officially launched by Minister for Tourism Michael Ring this morning.

The route from Kinsale, Co Cork to Inishowen in Co Donegal, is Ireland’s first long-distance touring route.

Fáilte Ireland is to invest €10 million this year in the route to highlight up to 500 visitor attractions, offering more than 1,500 activities, 580 festivals and events throughout the year as well as some 17 trails and 50 looped walks.

In addition the route will pass 53 blue flag beaches, and 120 golf courses including some of the best ‘links’ golf in the world.

Activities along the Wild Atlantic Way are to be grouped into customised offerings to encourage additional tourists to Ireland.

These include:

* ‘Exploring on the Edge’ - showcasing unique landscapes and micro-climates of the west coast, its flora, fauna, caves and mines, incorporating activities such as whale and dolphin watching, exploring unique seascapes by boat as well as local food experiences.

* ‘Culture at the Edge’ - opening up Ireland’s unique language, music and dance cultures, its unique Gaelic sports, traditional crafts, great festivals, island life (‘island hopping’), legends and Folklore.

* ‘Active on the edge’ - promoting the west coast’s great surfing locations, world class links courses, coastal walks, great sea and game angling and horse riding.

A number of ‘brand ambassadors’ have also been appointed to promote activities and events along the way. Anne Ferguson of OceanAddicts in Kinsale, Co Cork, is a brand ambassador for scuba diving holidays.

She hopes the marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way will make a big difference to her business and other companies along the route.

Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of the Wild Atlantic Way said: “the enthusiasm out there for this project is impressive, not only amongst tourism businesses but also in the wider community. The key to success for this initiative will be its authenticity - not just the places but also the people of the Wild Atlantic Way”.

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