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Displaying items by tag: Wild Atlantic Way

#ValentiaFerry - There are concerns over the future of the Valentia Island carferry service as the vessel of more than 50 years will no longer meet marine safety requirements, reported RTE Six One News.

Islanders of the Co. Kerry island say that tourism would collapse if State funding is not met to fund a replacement ferry that is expected to cost in the region of €3 million. The figure is beyond the reach of the island community, however the operator of the ferry, Valentia Island Ferries say they can contribute €1m but they are seeking State assistance for the remaining €2m.

The service linking Reenard on the mainland to Knightstown on Valentia Island only takes seven minutes, was established by five island families in 1996. Richard Foran of Valentia Island Ferries said that last year they carried 100,000 cars and that represented around 250,000 passengers.

While the island can be accessed by a bridge on the western end, the islanders and tourist alike benefit from the ferry service that reduces the distance to Cahersiveen by 13 miles. The loop created is according to the islanders essential to the Skellig Ring and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Published in Island News

#SkelligRing - The Skellig Ring in Co Kerry features in Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions for globetrotters to explore on 2017.

“Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline,” as the popular travel guide’s Best in Travel report puts it, rounds out a list that includes such breathtaking destinations as French Polynesia, Chilean Patagonia, mountainous New Zealand and the Azores.

And unsurprisingly, the biggest draw to this corner of the Wild Atlantic Way is the majestic Skellig Michael, set for another bumper tourism year in 2017 on the back of its inclusion in the new Star Wars movie series.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#MarineWildlife - Sightings of the deadly Portuguese man o’ war along the West Coast have prompted calls for caution among coastal users, especially surfers and other beachgoers.

TheJournal.ie yesterday reported that as many as 15 of the toxic sea organisms that resemble jellyfish had been spotted on various beaches in Co Mayo and Co Clare.

Further sightings have been made along the Wild Atlantic Way as far south as Co Kerry and as far north as Donegal, according to The Irish Times, which carries Dr Tom Doyle’s warning for the public to steer clear of any specimens they might discover washed up on the shore.

The marine biologist with NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute emphasised that the creatures harbour seriously painful stings in their blue tentacles that have even killed three people worldwide.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#SeaStack - A famous sea stack off the Co Mayo coast has been climbed for the first time in more than 25 years, as Independent.ie Travel reports.

At the end of August, Iain Miller and his climbing partner Paulina Kaniszewska reached the top of Dún Briste, off Downpatrick Head, in what was the third attempt by the former to summit the 50m rock.



One of the more breathtaking spots along the Wild Atlantic Way, it's also considered a particularly dangerous climb that should only be attempted by experts.

But for Miller, the rewards for scaling the summit of a place that has seen fewer visitors on record than men on the moon were more than he could put into words.

Independent.ie Travel has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#WildAtlanticWay - Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan has announced almost €1.125 million in funding from Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation for two key projects along the Wild Atlantic Way.

A grant of is being made available to Galway County Council will receive €896,000 for the Connemara Greenway, while a grant of €225,000 is being allocated to the Office of Public Works (OPW) towards the first phase of development of new visitor facilities on Great Blasket Island.

“I am delighted to announce these grants today as these two important tourism attractions will provide a serious contribution to the future success of the Wild Atlantic Way," said the minister last Wednesday (13 July).

"Tourism moves in a very competitive global market and capital development is one means by which we can ensure that we are fighting fit to win a good portion of overseas visitors and, thereby, gain a return on this investment through increased revenue and jobs regionally.”

The grant for the Connemara Greenway will fund a new section of the route from Cloonbeg to Athry, running adjacent to Ballynahinch Castle, with a view to completion in May 2017.

This development is part of a wider plan for the Clifden to Oughterard Greenway that will link up with the planned Greenway from Galway city to Oughterard – ultimately resulting in a 78km Galway to Clifden Greenway offering a cycling experience from city to coast with international appeal for cycling enthusiasts.

The Blasket Centre, meanwhile, is located on the Wild Atlantic Way at the halfway point of the Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula. It was developed as a heritage and visitor centre honouring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until 1953.

Currently there are no visitor facilities on the island but the new grant will assist the OPW in their overall development of the site by funding new facilities and services on the island, expected to be completed later this summer.

“These grants are an investment in the visitor experience on the ground," said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn. "While the Wild Atlantic Way has been warmly received at home and abroad, it is still an evolving project. It is vital that we continue to invest in the project to ensure that we open up its full potential.

"We have great natural landscapes along the west coast but we must also ensure that we have top class tourism infrastructure, whether facilities or interpretation, to match them.”

Minister O’Donovan also recently launched a new Fáilte Ireland Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects, which will provide a pool of €65 million in investment to develop new, or boost existing, tourism experiences and attractions across Ireland.

The scheme, which will run from 2016-2020, is now open for applications from the public, private and voluntary sectors including community groups. Under the scheme, capital grants in excess of €200,000 and up to a maximum of €5 million will be available.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#CoastalNotes - Donegal's history and relationship with the coastline are celebrated by a new coastal trail launched earlier this month.

As the Donegal Democrat reports, a special training programme has been developed for business owners and others along the new Atlantic Coastal Trail to "teach the people of this county to be proud of the story of Donegal", in the words of Údarás na Gaeltachta's Meadbh Seoige.

The Gaeltacht authority is one of a number of partners in the initiative to promote the county's "maritime leisure and seafood experiences" as highlighted by Donegal Cathaoirleach Terence Slowey.

"We’re working on where we fall short in visitor numbers," explained Donegal County Council chief executive Seamus Neely. "One statistic is that as little as 12% of tourists who visit the Wild Atlantic Way actually travel north of Galway city."

The Donegal Democrat has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#WildAtlanticWay - Virtual reality views of some of the top destinations and attractions along the Wild Atlantic Way are now online, showcasing Ireland like it's never been seen before.



As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 360-degree virtual tours were launched by Fáilte Ireland at the ITB Berlin travel fair in March, and promised an immersive experience for users of new VR gadgets like the Samsung VR and Oculus Rift.

But anyone with a smartphone and an inexpensive attachment like Google Cardboard can also explore the full list of breathtaking activities that includes surfing beneath the Cliffs of Moher and sea stack climbing at Donegal's Slieve League, according to the Irish Examiner.



The virtual reality videos can even be viewed on any computer desktop – simply click and drag on the screen as the videos play to see the sights from all angles.

The 360-degree virtual tours launch comes as news emerges that only a fraction of potential visitors to Ireland are aware of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Just 7% of tourists surveyed by Fáilte Ireland new of the initiative promoting the attractions of Ireland's Atlantic coast, according to Galway Bay FM – with officials promising to improve this figure to 20% amid calls for more towns along the route, like Salthill in Galway, to highlight their place on the map.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#WildAtlanticWay - Very soon potential visitors to Ireland will be able to see the Wild Atlantic Way like it's never been seen before – in virtual reality.

Independent.ie reports on the new Fáilte Ireland initiative, launched at the ITB Berlin travel fair earlier this week, to provide 360-degree virtual tours of some of Ireland's most breathtaking coastal sites.

Users of brand-new virtual reality gadgets like the Samsung VR and the Oculus Rift will be able to fully immerse themselves in attractions such as cycling across the wilds of the Burren, or surfing at the foot of the Cliffs of Moher.

But the experience won't be limited to early adopters of technology, as the VR video tours will also be available on YouTube for anyone with a computer to explore at the click of a mouse.

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#Tourism - Galway's status as the only city on the Wild Atlantic Way is at the centre of a new six-year tourism blueprint for the City of the Tribes.

As the Connacht Tribune reports, the Tourism Sustainability Strategy 2015-2021 – developed from search commissioned by Galway City and County Councils – recommends that a 'master brand' be created to capitalise on the city's unique position in the West of Ireland.

Plans include developing and marketing Galway as a transport and accommodation hub for the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as creating new spin-off cultural and heritage trails, and extending the tourist season with the likes of new city-based festivals.

The Connect Tribune has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#WildAtlanticWay - Popular travel YouTube duo the Vagabrothers have been posting clips from their current trip along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way - including a "super relaxing" kayaking adventure off West Cork.

As TheCork.ie reports, Californian brothers and self-professed vagabonds Marko and Alex Ayling paddled in the company of Atlantic Sea Kayaking's Jim and Maria Kennedy as part of their extensive tour of the country at the invitation of Tourism Ireland.

Once back on shore, the Aylings were treated to a surprising seaweed lunch at the Union Hall café run by the Kennedy's own daughter.

The video above is just one of a series that's taken the brothers surfing in Strandhill, cliff-jumping in the Aran Islands and tucking into an oyster feast in Co Galway.

And it comes as Lonely Planet recommends the Wild Atlantic Way as the world's best offbeat coastal road trip, according to Galway Bay FM.

The whole of the Vagabrothers' Irish adventure so far can be found on YouTube HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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