Tuesday, 30 June 2015

“Meeting the needs of the Visitor” Inishowen Tourist Office to open on Sundays

Inishowen Tourist Office continues to lead the way providing a valuable service to enhance the visitor experience here in the peninsula. Extending the opening hours from July 1st to meet the needs of the traveller, in terms of information and assistance is paramount to promote the excellent range of attractions, activities and landscape to explore. Whether it is face to face customer service assisting visitors plan their journey at the Buncrana office on a Saturday or Sunday, or updating those potential visitors online, Inishowen Tourism is proactive in their approach, and furthermore recognises that the tourism product is not based on a 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday programme of events.

The small business sectors are working irregular hours to support the tourism product here in the peninsula, and the team at InishowenTourism are responding to support both the members, and visitor expectations of a destination “open for business”. 

Tourism numbers have increased in Ireland, according to Failte Ireland. This rise is also reflected in the numbers of visitors within the peninsula since the launch of the “Wild Atlantic Way” in 2014. During the period January to April 2015, there has been a 40% rise in the footfall visiting the office compared to the same period last year. The two main market increases were from Germany, remarkably up by 117%, and US visitors by 104%.

Siobhan Kelly, Interim Marketing Manager at Inishowen Tourism stated, “Opening at the weekends, especially during the summer months, July and August, is about meeting the requirements of the visitor. The team are committed to showcase the peninsula as a "must see and explore destination” and therefore respond by “opening our doors” to suit the market we are serving”  she continued to say that 'there are only 2 other tourist offices in Co. Donegal opened on a Sunday and according to Failte Ireland's records only10 others throughout Ireland which are located in tourism hotspots like Dublin, Galway & Killarney. Sunday is a very important day for the domestic tourist who simply wants to jump into their car and go for a drive so we are opened and happy to assist.

Embracing all visitors’ needs both domestic and international, the travel advisors are more than happy to engage, and have specialist fluent speakers of our native language, French, and German. When planning a holiday or break away, visitors contact us online, or face to face at the weekend. With the introduction of the new opening times, Saturday 10am-5:30pm, Sunday 10am-4pm, office personnel are available to answer questions or give advice when other offices are closed, thus enhancing the customer service experience for the visitor. 

“Follow the Arts & Crafts Trail around Inishowen”

To say the words “Irish Crafts”, what would inherently come to mind? Possibly Hand knit Aran sweaters, Blackthorn walking sticks, or maybe a willow basket or patchwork quilt? Nowadays, the crafts of Ireland are so much more. For the discerning visitor to Inishowen, it is more fun to venture out and follow the trail around the peninsula. The craftsmen and women of Irish crafts began as far back as the Stone Age (some 5000 years ago) when designs of metalwork, baskets, and textile weaving, pottery and glass were created out of sheer necessity.

Monday, 29 June 2015

The Big Blue Box Volunteer Challenge – Wild Atlantic Way 2015

The Big Blue Box Volunteer Challenge is a unique fundraising cycle that took place June 5th- through 19th. The challenge passed through 35 towns along the Wild Atlantic Way route in Ireland. Starting in Moville, Co. Donegal travelling the west coast of Ireland to the south reaching Kinsale in Co. Cork.

Local representatives cycled from town to town with a Big Blue Box. When they reached each town or village, the local people of the particular community had the chance to place a symbolic item inside the box for the next town or village on route.

Ryan Tubridy broadcasting from Dunfanaghy along the Wild Atlantic Way

On Wednesday the 10th June some of the Inishowen Tourism Staff ventured from the office to Dunfanaghy in the hope of meeting Ryan Turbidy.  2FM Radio were broadcasting the Ryan Tubridy Morning Show live and we were hoping to meet the man himself and invite him to Inishowen.

In the second year of this discover Ireland Campaign instigated by Failte Ireland, the 2FM team broadcasted live from Westport, Rosses Point in Sligo and of course Dunfanaghy in Co. Donegal. Every year a new destination along the Wild Atlantic Way is picked and our aim was to get this show to Inishowen next year. On arrival to Dunfanaghy, in true Donegal style the locals and the weather welcomed the roadcaster and the 2FM Radio team with open arms. Ryan made every attempt to speak to the local children  and local business people, He was particularly interested on how the Wild Atlantic Way was having an impact on the area. The Locals spoke highly of the Wild Atlantic Way and have already seen an increase in visitors to the area. Ryan himself spoke very highly of the great tourism product in Dunfanaghy, participating in some activities himself and more importantly told all this listeners about his experience.

The Summer Solstice @ The Grianan of Aileach

Summer in the Northwest has begun in earnest; however the long clear evenings are already numbered. The Summer Solstice occurs depending on the shift of the calendar, sometime between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight – except in the Polar Regions.

The solstice is also known as the birthday of the sun. Worldwide, interpretation of this event has varied among cultures, but most mark the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around the time with themes of religion or fertility. 

Malin Head Marine Tourism Launch

A warm welcome was extended at the launch of The Malin Head tourism project, celebrated at the community centre, Malin Head on Tuesday 16th of June. It was formally opened by Mayor Ciaran Brogan following speeches and brief overview of the project. This projects aim is to develop facilities at Malin Head which is the first designated iconic signature point of The Wild Atlantic Way. Pictured at the site viewing platform were Chairman of Inishowen Tourism, Johnny McGuinness, Interim Marketing Manager, Siobhan Kelly, and Councillor Bernard McGuinness.

Friday, 26 June 2015

REMINDER from Donegal County Council

Deadline for inclusion in the County Donegal Heritage Week Event Guide

Dear All,


National Heritage Week takes place from Saturday, August 22 to Sunday, August 30, 2015.  On-line registration is open at www.heritageweek.ie.  Thanks to all of you who have registered your event(s) already.  The deadline for inclusion in the printed countrywide guide has now passed but the County Donegal Heritage Office will compile the County Donegal ‘Heritage Week' Events Guide again this year.  The information submitted on-line to The Heritage Council will be used to compile the pocket-sized county booklet that has proved so popular in recent years.  In order to have your event included, please ensure that your event is registered on-line on the Heritage Week website by this Friday, June 26.

Heritage Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of County Donegal’s built, cultural and natural heritage and to obtain some free publicity for events that you are planning.  This year's theme is Ireland's Industrial and Design Heritage.  If your event can address this theme, then all the better.  Events should be free of charge throughout the week.  Where this is not possible, organisers are asked to offer special concession rates.  I hope that you will organise an event(s) for ‘National Heritage Week’.  Register your event and check the
www.heritageweek.ie website to avoid events clashing with one another.

If you have any questions regarding ‘Heritage Week’ in County Donegal, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With best regards,



Joseph Gallagher
Heritage Officer,
County Donegal Heritage Office,
Donegal County Council,
Station Island,
County Donegal

Telephone: (074) 917 2576

Friday, 19 June 2015

2015 Visitors Guide Launch/ Open Day

Inishowen Tourism welcomed new and existing members to their Open Day on Wednesday 13th of May. The Launch of the 2015 Visitor Guide enabled local business providers to meet the team at Inishowen Tourism and gain valuable insight of the service.

New Team members have come onboard at Inishowen Tourism this year. The open day presented the opportunity to meet and greet business members in a relaxed atmosphere over a cup of tea/coffee and scone. Pooling ideas, sharing visitor experiences that enhance the promotional activity along the Wild Atlantic Way in Inishowen were all themes to discuss with members. Good communication is paramount to ensure that the visitor is satisfied with our products and services, and that business member providing this valuable service is supported in terms of the current and future product offering. With this in mind, a feedback sheet was available on the day to encourage business members to express their concerns and put forward suggestions with a view to activating these, and research new areas for future development.

Friday, 5 June 2015


Thanks to Inishtrahull Face Book page for publishing the following story. Check out their page here.

For Centuries, Inishtrahull’s solidarity has been of great benefit to the Island’s resident Fairies.
As darkness falls, Inishtrahull has always been said to become a very different Island where Inishowen’s wee folk can still hold their charm away from watchful eyes. But it was not always so, after years of turmoil and strange happenings, the original Islanders eventually accepted the customs and values of the Fairies and learned to live in harmony with them by respecting their ways and traditions, they knew all too well the Wrath of the Leprechaun.

The long nights of winter mean more frolicking time for the fairies and it is then when their winter festivals become more visible from Inishowen with the majestic beauty of the Northern Lights dancing in the sky above Inishtrahull Island. They are very fond of Poitìn and Whiskey and they love to dance.
The lack of large trees and other cover on the Island meant that the Island’s Leprechaun’s took sanctuary beneath the ground and so they constructed a vast network of underground passages and caves on the Island with various small entrance and exit points, many of which are still clearly visible today and were avoided at all costs by the Islanders.