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Displaying items by tag: tourism

#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, 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
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#Inishbofin - Inishbofin has become the first Irish island to be recognised for its sustainable tourism efforts in an international awards scheme.

As The Irish Times reports, a number of the Connemara island's residents and local organisations will share in the Ecotourism award sanctioned by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Angling, sailing and stand-up paddle boarding are some of the aquatic activities that helped clinch the accolade that's already gone to sustainable seaside attractions in Spiddal and Clifden.

In other news, county councillors are mooting a programme of safety works on slipways across Galway, according to Galway Bay FM.

The move follows the controversial restriction of access to the slipway at Galway Docks last month in the wake of the Buncrana tragedy in March.

Published in Galway Harbour

#Tourism - A new report from the Scottish government says the marine tourism sector is worth £3.7 billion (€4.7 billion) annually.

And more than a third of that spend is on water-based activities from sailing and surfing to kayaking, angling and marine wildlife watching, according to BBC News.

Businesses in the sector who contributed to the Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey say they are optimistic about growth over the next five years, coinciding with the industry's five-year action plan as previously reported on

As such, the Irish marine sector will be watching with interest to see how Scotland's strategy could inspire a boost in this country's burgeoning aquatic tourism industry – much in the same way Ireland's sailing tourism sector inspired the Scots five years ago.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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#CorkHarbour - Spike Island's new interpretive centre is scheduled to welcome its first visitors this summer, according to the Evening Echo.

As previously reported on, Block B of the old prison building was earmarked for refurbishment as a visitor centre for what's hoped to be a major tourist attraction in Cork Harbour.

The first phase of these works, comprising a new pontoon and pier upgrades as well as a previously envisaged exhibition of military memorabilia, is now expected to be ready and open to the public by June.

A passenger ferry service from Cobh to Spike Island will also be running in time for the summer season.

The Evening Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour

#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. 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. has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#Tourism - A number of waterside destinations feature in a new Lonely Planet list of the top 21 things to do in Ireland - just in time for the St Patrick's Festival. has the lowdown on the tourism and travel guide's picks, which include the windswept coasts and breathtaking lakes of Connemara, the picturesque Dingle Peninsula, the 'unforgettable' Glendalough and the stunning sights around the Ring of Kerry.

And that's not to mention the rugged beauty of the Donegal coastline, the magnificence of the Causeway Coast and the remarkable history of Titanic Belfast.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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According to a recent report from leading marine industry body British Marine, domestic holidays in England that incorporate boating or watersports are some of the most popular tourism experiences.

Over 75% of Great Britain’s boating tourism experiences take place in England and in 2014, over 4 million holidays involving an on the water activity were recorded, representing a 9% share of the total English tourism market.

The research, conducted in conjunction with VisitEngland, shows that in England, more domestic holidays involved an activity such as sailing, watersports, canal boating and sightseeing trips that included a passenger boat trip than activities such as visiting a museum or historic house or castle:

· 2,260,000 went on a sightseeing trip, including passenger boat trips, contributing £744m to the UK economy

· 1,011,000 took part in a manual watersport, such as kayaking, spending £315m

· 967,000 went on a canal boat trip, spending £336m

· 391,000 went sailing, spending over £123m

· 110,000 took part in a motorised watersport, such as jet-skiing, spending £33m

This market is driven by the boating haven of the South West, which hosts over a third of all English boating tourism holidays, with canal boating in the Midlands, sailing on the Suffolk coast and sightseeing boat trips on the Thames all being named as popular boating tourism destinations and activities.

Alastair Wilson, Senior Researcher at British Marine commented: “It’s fantastic to see that the findings from the “Domestic Boating Tourism Market in Great Britain” report are so positive for boating tourism in England. We are continuing to see our members within the sector experience positive growth for their business. It is great to be able to celebrate these fantastic findings during VisitEngland’s English Tourism Week.”

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland's latest tourism guide for Voyages and Visits was officially launched yesterday (Thursday 14 January) at Belfast's Holiday World Show.

The guide contains all the essential navigational and practical information required to help in planning a voyage or visit to the eight inland navigations on the island of Ireland under the remit of Waterways Ireland.

Voyages and Visits is free and available to order in print or download from the Waterways Ireland online shop HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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