Wild Atlantic Way

  • Consumers spent an estimated €183m in restaurants and pubs in the North West of Ireland last year, according to the AIB Hospitality and Tourism Outlook for 2019.

    According to the Outlook, consumers spent in the region of €96m in restaurants last year, while pubs took in about €87m.

    It is estimated that consumer spending in hotels in the North West was €424m in 2018.

    While domestic spend made up the majority of this figure, at 60%, United Kingdom spend comprised a significant 27%.

    August is the busiest month for restaurants and hotels in the North West, while July is the busiest month for pubs, according to the Outlook.

    At the launch of the Outlook report a cheque for €2,000 was presented to the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation by AIB to support their on-going work with children and families in communities all over Ireland.

  • Mayo is a county that is blessed with stunning natural beauty and an array of wonderful places to see and visit - and one of those is the truly astounding Ballycroy National Park. One of just six national parks in the country, Ballycroy offers an unspoilt wilderness for hikers and walkers that matches any in Ireland or indeed the world. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, the 11,000 hectare park really needs to be seen to be appreciated. Midwest Radio recently visited the Visitor's Centre in Ballycroy to find out more about the centre and all that is on offer in the Park with Guide Margaret Flaherty. 

     

  • The recent heat wave and calm seas has allowed a group of rocks known as Bills Rock, situated 11Km south of Achill Island to be filmed. The cameras caught the magnificent rocky island outcrop from the air for the first time and were also able to go through a double sea arch and record it.

    Few visitors ever go out to the Rock which can be seen on the horizon from Achill Island. And of those that do, even fewer have sailed under the arches as the sea, tide and wind have to be just right to allow it to be done. The unusual weather system that Ireland has experienced over the past two weeks has allowed this to happen and we now can show this magnificent location in all its beauty.

    The rocks are an important habitat for wildlife and hosts colonies of puffins (7.1% of the total Irish population), storm petrels, kittiwakes, guillemots and other gulls. A large number of seals also live on the islands. It is now a designated SPA (Special Protection Area).

    It gets its name from an unusual source, a Danish sea captain by the name of Mathias De Bille. He was the captain of a Danish Navy frigate called the Bornholm that departed from Copenhagen on 14th December 1781. As the ship rounded Ireland’s north coast on 17th January 1782 a hurricane blew up and drove the Bornholm south along the west coast of Ireland. With its foremast and bowsprit gone the frigate was virtually uncontrollable and but for a tremendous feat of seamanship would have been lost at these rocks and under the treacherous cliffs of Clare Island. Somehow De Bille guided his ship to the relatively calm waters of Melcombe Bay near Newport in Co. Mayo. The weary captain had lost several of his crew during the storm and was horrified to discover that the remaining crew members were now stricken by malignant fever. De Bille also caught the fever himself and was befriended by a local merchant, John McLoughlin, who treated him in his own home. De Bille died there on St. Patrick’s Day 1782. He was buried in Newport with full military honours.

    Achill Tourism has recently launched The Achill Maritime Trail, a series of 19 story boards that are placed at various locations around the island and tell many stories of Achill’s long history with the sea. As well as the story of how Bills Rock got its name, the trail highlights tales of Grace O’Malley, ancient ship wrecks, the basking shark fishing industry and many more tales of triumph and tragedy. The video has shot on 27th June 2018 and features views that have never been seen before. It was filmed by Sean Molloy who travelled there with 2 local experienced local fishermen Gerry Hassett and Martin Kane.

     

     

    Check out Achill Tourism for more wonderful images and events in the area.

  • Funding of €1,150,000 has been announced today for the Céide Fields Visitor Centre in Ballycastle.

    Fáile Ireland will invest €860,000 in the project and this will be coupled with €290,000 funding from the Office of Public Works.

    The grant support, which forms part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategic partnership with the OPW, comes from its Capital Grants budgets and will replace the existing Céide Fields Visitor Centre with a brand new exhibition and interpretation centre.

    The space will replace the current 25-year-old centre and showcase new archaeological material and knowledge about Céide Fields and the surrounding areas.

    It is hoped the investment from Fáilte Ireland into the centre will help to significantly improve the visitor experience and almost treble visitor numbers from 33,148 to 90,000.

    Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring told Midwest News today that this is very welcome funding for the Céide Fields.

     

  • Mayo is not attracting the volume of tourists that many other counties along the Wild Atlantic Way are.

    That was confirmed yesterday by Fionnan Nestor Projects Officer with Failte Ireland. He was addressing Mayo county council’s special policy committee on Tourism and Food in Turlough Park House.

    The tourist brand The Wild Atlantic Way, a route that stretches from the coastline of Donegal down to Cork, is a very successful, relatively new tourist attraction that is now enticing up to 40 percent of all the visitors coming to Ireland.

    However, only one in ten of that 40 percent are actually visiting Mayo along the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Last year, (2017),  323,000 people visited county Mayo, in contrast 3 million people visited county Kerry and  800,000 visitors went to Clare.

    Efforts are now to get underway to develop two separate Visitor Experience  Development Plans for Mayo to expose it’s unique selling points to tourists.

    One of the plans will cover The Clew Bay area, stretching from Achill to Aisling Falls, and the other will look at the Erris coastline.

  • Simon Clark and Rachel Winter have reached North Mayo’s Mullet Peninsula, on their 2,200-mile, clockwise-circumnavigation of Ireland’s coastline. Running 15-25 miles per day, they have covered 1,500 miles. With no support team, they run with all that they need on their backs, and often camp out in bivi bags. Simon, who is keeping up with his architectural business en route, and Rachel, Ecologia’s former Administrator & Volunteers Coordinator, are fundraising in aid of Ecologia Youth Trust’s work with orphans and vulnerable youth: aiming to raise over £10,000, their total is currently £4,127.

    Around the country, they have been protected from rain-driven storms on many nights by being given refuge in the homes of friends; in hotels, B&B’s, and holiday homes, by accommodation providers keen to support their charitable efforts; and even, on some of the wettest nights, in cow sheds, stables and the floors of community centres.

    Simon and Rachel started running from Dublin’s iconic O’Connell Bridge, on the 7th August. In the west, the Wild Atlantic Way and small coastal paths are making their route even more dramatic. Staying as close as possible to the shore, they hope to finish back in Dublin and return home to Findhorn, Scotland by early March.

     

  • One of the last big festivals of the year kicks off in Sligo next week - but you won't need your wellies.

    Nearly 300 performers will take to the stage in over 80 performances, over 6 days, and it's all indoors.

    Sligo Live this year celebrates 14 years of quality music on the Wild Atlantic Way.

  • The good news keeps on coming for the world renowned Céide Fields in Mayo. The centre, which celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary this year was awarded the prestigious award, The International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens, earlier in the year. 

    On Monday it was announced that the centre would be receiving over €1million in funding from the Fáilte Ireland and the OPW for upgrading the centre - you can find out more on that here http://bit.ly/2IF403C.

    With all of that happening we thought it would be an ideal time to head down and find out more about one of the jewels in the crown of the West of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Check out our video now.

  • It’s three years since a €3 million euro Signature Discovery Point was announced for Keem Bay in Achill, but there’s no sign of the project being delivered.

    That’s according to Achill-based Councillor Paul McNamara who questioned council management on the issue again this week, at the monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District.

    It's the second signature discovery point in Mayo, following developments at Downpatrick.

    The Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point at Keem Bay would include a viewing platform and looped walk, and is expected to provide a major tourism boost for Achill Island.

    However- despite a public consultation process three years ago – Councillor McNamara claims Mayo County Council has now taken a back seat on this project.

     

     

     

  • The Wild Atlantic Way is this week awash with influential media from across the globe, as they undertake a tailored itinerary to learn more about the Wild Atlantic Way and Mayo.  The overseas media visit was designed, hosted and managed by Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland.

     The top magazine and online journalists from India (Outlook Traveller), the US (Swanky Retreats), Canada (Skyscanner), France (Paris Match), Belgium (L'Aveni), Denmark (Isabelles Magazine) and the Netherlands (Zin) have a combined readership/audience of over 1.2 million.

    A bespoke itinerary was devised by Fáilte Ireland for the media who will spend five days taking in the many activities, culture and heritage of Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way. 

    Speaking about the trip, Liam Campbell, Fáilte Ireland’s International Publicity Manager, commented –

    “Mayo offers so much to visitors– from incredible walks with breath-taking views to fantastic water sports, we are sure these international media will be more than keen to put the Wild Atlantic Way, and indeed Mayo in the minds of their readers when they return home.  

    “From visiting bustling Westport town, once voted the Best Place to Live in Ireland to discovering the Lost Valley to see how life was in bygone days, the group were given a truly immersive experience to bring the Wild Atlantic Way and Mayo to life.

    “These trips are a wonderful opportunity for overseas media to come and experience at first hand the Wild Atlantic Way and they are pivotal to positioning this successful Irish attraction in front of a global audience.  We trust that the visiting media will enjoy their time along the Wild Atlantic Way and encourage their many readers and followers to take the same journey and put it firmly on their ‘must-visit’ list.”

     The attractions which were highlighted to the group included:

     

    • A visit to the bustling town of Westport, including experiencing Irish traditional music at Matt Molloy’s.
    • A guided cultural adventure with the Bourke family in The Lost Valley, through this area of special scenic importance, as designated by the EU.
    • Turf cutting demonstration and sheep dog herding at Glen Keen Farm.
    • A scenic drive exploring Achill Island.
    • Cycling on the Great Western Greenway from Achill Island to Mulranny.
    • Walk along the Claggan Mountain boardwalk and coastal trail at Ballycroy National Park.
    • A 5km guided looped walk of the stunning headland at Erris Head.
    • Exploring Céide Fields, with its extensive stone age monument.
    • A visit to Ballycastle and to explore Downpatrick Head.
    • A quick stop at Rosserk Abbey one of the finest and best-preserved Franciscan monasteries in Ireland.