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Shining a light on Loop Head’s maritime history

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WEST Clare’s maritime history and unique landscape will be showcased at Loop Head Lighthouse this May Bank Holiday weekend through its status as one of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland.

This weekend a flagship festival will take place at eight of the 12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland, an all-island tourism initiative that also includes lighthouses at Hook Head in Wexford, Valentia Island in Kerry and Donegal’s Fanad Head.

Loop Head will offer family-friendly events that include tours, storytelling and a local food and craft showcase.
On Bank Holiday Monday, a guided walk will be hosted along the peninsula from 11am, while there will be food-tasting stalls from 12 noon until 2pm.

“This three-day weekend festival celebrates the best of Loop Head’s stunning coastline through a series of events and workshops. The public will be able to enjoy the stories of our maritime past, explore the tower to discover its hidden secrets, get tips on being safe and enjoying our coast this summer and hear from experts from the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) about how navigation at sea works and about the technology at work in the lighthouse,” Martin Gleeson, Loop Head Lighthouse supervisor said.

Clare County Council, which manages the lighthouse in conjunction with the CIL, reopened the popular visitor attraction for the 2016 tourist season in March.

The lighthouse, which is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s, is a landmark location on the Loop Head Heritage Trail. It is also one of two Signature Discovery Points in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Meanwhile, a group of international media, including representatives from Germany and Belgium, visited Loop Head Lighthouse last week.

The press trip, Ireland’s EDEN – Discover Ireland’s Hidden Treasures, was organised by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Tourism Ireland and provides an opportunity to highlight the treasures of the Wild Atlantic Way with the hope that they will inspire their audiences to choose Ireland as their next holiday destination.

The journalists had time to take a Heritage Hack and discover the area on horseback, go dolphin watching, tour Loop Head Lighthouse, cycle, walk, enjoy great food and ‘craic agus ceol’ in local bars. The group also had a chance to see how the community of farmers, artists, fishermen and tourism providers work together to foster environmentally-sustainable responsible tourism.

Peter O’Connell

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