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Nationwide puts the spotlight on the Burren

RTÉ’S hugely popular ‘Nationwide’ will put the spotlight on the Burren next Monday.

The television show follows on the heels of Neven Maguire’s ‘Irish Seafood Trails’ on RTÉ One and Channel 5’s ‘Coastal Ireland’ which both featured the region last week.

Monday nights ‘Nationwide,’ which airs on RTÉ One at 7pm, will feature members of the Burren Ecotourism Network, who recently won the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2021’ accolade for community tourism.

Presenter Anne Cassin visited the area in late January and met three members of the Burren Ecotourism Network. Nuala Mulqueeney, Acting Managing Director of the Ailwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre in Ballyvaughan gave the crew a tour of the cave. The subterranean ramble was followed by a bird of prey display, where Anne had the opportunity of handling Jess, the barn owl. Nuala also told the presenter how regular Zoom meetings with members of the tourism network have been vital in maintaining spirits and connections during the lockdowns.

On the Flaggy Shore near Newquay, Oonagh O’Dwyer from Wild Kitchen brought Anne foraging to explain the many types of seaweed which are available along Irish shores and their nutritional benefits. Oonagh then treated Anne to a seaweed picnic which included dillisk tea and laver bread made out of a seaweed called nori.

Also featured in the programme are Cathal and Bronagh O’Rourke on their farm in Boston. The couple diversified into tourism recently and show visitors their traditional farming methods and the diverse natural landscape of the Burren. This year, the O’Rourke’s are launching Burren to Camp, a new accommodation product which includes the hire of bell tents and teardrop camper trailers.

In Ennistymon, the film crew met other local business people, including Jarlath O’Dwyer, CEO of the Burren Ecotourism Network, who has an office in the Digital Hub in Parliament Street.

“We were delighted to welcome the Nationwide crew to North Clare,” he said. “While many of the local tourism businesses look forward to opening again in 2021, the main questions that they all have are ‘When?’ and ‘Will we be able to stay open and avoid another lockdown?’. We are all being realistic and know that we will be dependent on the Irish market again this summer. Coverage like this on RTÉ will help to create awareness of all of what we have to offer Irish people, we just hope that the pandemic can be brought under control and that we can get on with our businesses as soon as possible.”

Media coverage for the Burren Ecotourism Network has been at an all-time high, since the Lonely Planet award in November, with articles appearing in over 40 different publications, both in Ireland and internationally.

Last week, Birgitta Hedin Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse and Viv Kelly of Russell’s Fish Shop at Fiddle and Bow were featured in the second series of Neven Maguire’s ‘Irish Seafood Trails’.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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