Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Fáilte Ireland capital funding approved for development at Malin Head Ireland’s most northerly point along the Wild Atlantic Way

Fine Gael Minister Joe McHugh TD, today (Tuesday 15/12/2015) welcomed confirmation from the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD that over €396,000 will be awarded to Donegal County Council for a second phase in the development of visitor facilities at Malin Head.

Minister McHugh, “I am delighted that Phase II of the Malin Head project has been given the go ahead for works to commence. This work will include: Road widening to accommodate passing bays and associated drainage improvements and surfacing; Extending existing car park facilities to incorporate twenty one additional car and bus parking spaces; and the development of a new toilet block.

“Malin Head plays a key role along the Wild Atlantic Way as Ireland’s most Northerly Point, it is a priority location along the route and brings great benefits from tourism figures, which are on the increase. These works will enhance the experience by providing essential visitor facilities and present new opportunities for businesses and tours for individuals and groups at Malin Head.”

“Progress however, has not been thanks to any one group – it is a direct result of the community effort and buy in from the collective. I have worked closely with my colleague Councillor Bernard McGuinness on this project and trying to drive it forward. There has also been a great deal of drive from Donegal County Council to get the project off the ground, collaborating with Failte Ireland and working hard to secure this funding.”
Also welcoming today’s announcement, Fine Gael Councillor Bernard McGuinness, “Today is a very important day for Malin Head, but also for the Inishowen Peninsula. We have seen the increase in tourist numbers coming to visit this area and the developments that have been confirmed today are essential if we are to develop Malin Head into its full potential. I want to acknowledge the work and commitment of the whole community, who have ensured that this project was kept on the agenda of Failte Ireland and Donegal County Council.”

Following on from this Fáilte Ireland will be working closely with Donegal County Council on a Malin Head Experience Development Plan that will incorporate the wider Inishowen area. The plan is necessary because while Malin Head is recognised as the main attraction that will entice visitors up to the most northerly point of the island, the site in itself will not be sufficient to retain them for long. The extended ‘dwell time’ that is much sought after will actually be achieved by the range of ‘Supporting Experiences’ that exist and can be developed within the wider Inishowen Peninsula. Donegal County Council will work closely with Fáilte Ireland on this Plan to help ensure the area reaches its tourism potential.

The funding builds on Fáilte Ireland’s ongoing work to develop the Wild Atlantic Way and follows a recent announcement that photo markers and information points are being installed at all the discovery points along the route, including those in Donegal.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Showcasing Inishowen and the Northern Lights to Diaspora

Inishowen Tourism showcased the Inishowen Peninsula off  in style on the 18th & 19th of November.  Diaspora and Tourism professionals from many corners of the world travelled to Inishowen to participate in the two day familiarisation trip  ‘Come experience the Northern Lights’.

Photo courtesy of Adam Rory Porter

We welcomed  our Diaspora guests, Travel Writers, Tour Operators, representatives from Fáilte Ireland, and also Tourism Ireland. At the opening reception Minister Joe McHugh joined Siobhán Kelly, the Marketing Manager at Inishowen Tourism in welcoming everyone to the area. The evening proceeded with a fantastic presentation of the Northern Lights by Adam Rory Porter. Gerard O’Kane of Donegal Photo Tours, Mark McLaughlin a member of the Buncrana Camera Club and Brendan Diver of Photos from Ireland, were also present. The gentlemen gave a great insight into how to prepare for your hunting, what a equipment you’d need to capture the Aurora Borealis and where to find the essential information before heading out on your adventure.

Luck was on our side that night and all the factors indicated there was a great chance of an Aurora Borealis display. The KP was above 5 which meant there was a high possibility of capturing a glimpse of the Northern Lights with the naked eye. The entire group jumped on the bus and headed to Dunree Military Fort in the hope of seeing those Northern Lights dance through the Inishowen sky. Our Luck had left us on arrival to Dunree and due to cloud cover the Northern Lights were nowhere to be seen. However a great night was had by all and there was a great sing song on the bus on the way back to the hotel.

The following morning the group ventured on the Inishowen 100 route along the Wild Atlantic Way with an action packed itinerary around the Peninsula highlighting some of Inishowen’s most scenic views, hidden gems and also  experiencing the all round hospitality. To quote Liam Campbell, the manager of the International Publicity Team at Fáilte Ireland, Liam told us, ‘We have so many highlights of our stay but the most enduring was the natural and generous hospitality and warm welcome we received.’

Some of the Participants at the Diaspora event: Photo courtesy of Brendan Diver

The trip was concluded with a fantastic night of entertainment at the well renowned Celtic Feast at the An Grianán Hotel. Tourism trade in Inishowen and across Donegal and Derry were all invited to attend giving them an opportunity to network with the Diaspora and tourism professionals. Through the evening individuals learned the history surrounding the Grianán Fort through story, music and dance. While enjoying the entertainment a feast fit for a king was served.

The two day Diaspora event was a great success with all participants giving wonderful feedback on all aspects of their trip. They returned home inspired by Inishowen’s natural beauty, hospitality and with warm hearts from their enjoyable experience. We look forward to working alongside these tourism professionals in the near future creating itineraries to welcome new visitors to Inishowen.