THE launch of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500km touring route from Donegal to West Cork which aims to attract more visitors to the West Coast takes place place in Dublin this Thursday.
Despite the route showcasing the Atlantic coast, the launch will take place at the Fáilte Ireland headquarters in Dublin City Centre.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring told The Clare Champion holding it Dublin was the fault of the national media, something echoed by organisers Fáilte Ireland.
“It is a scandal,” he claimed. “That is the trouble with the national media, it is Dublin orientated and that is one of the reasons we have to have it in Dublin.” He also noted that holding the launch in the capital would not guarantee publicity.
The Minister has promised a series of other launches along the route.
“We will be doing a number of launches around places where it is and we will do them over the next few weeks but the reason we are doing it in Dublin now is to try to get a bit of national publicity for it. Our problem is that we can come down to Galway, Mayo or Clare but we won’t get the national media to come down,” he said.
“We had a number of meetings around the Wild Atlantic Way. We had them in Clare, we had them in Donegal and Mayo and all the areas. We are going to have a number of launches because the reason we are doing that is to raise awareness of it in the areas along the route but there is no point having it there unless we get the national media to try to sell it for us as well,” he added.
Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins told the ‘Champion that he is delighted that the route is being promoted but added that he would have preferred to see the launch in Shannon Airport.
“I would much rather it was launched at the Atlantic side of Ireland. I think we have suffered in the west to an extent, because of the good motorway which leaves parts of the west of Ireland within a two and half hour drive from Dublin. As a consequence many tour operators offer tours to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher and so on from Dublin. The obvious place to launch the way one would have imagined was in Shannon, an airport on the Atlantic side of Ireland. Shannon should be the focal point for entry for tourists coming to the Wild Atlantic Way,” he stated.
Mayor Arkins said he hoped that Clare would get a lot of benefits from the route and is “particularly hopeful that funding will become available to repair the damage done to sea defences, roads and promenades by the storm so that when the when the time comes we will have a Wild Atlantic Way to show rather than a Atlantic wild way or a wild safari.”
“Nonetheless it is good news. The sign and promotion of the route are very welcome and hopefully Clare tourism should benefit,” he concluded.