New initiative urges Westmeath people to cross the Shannon

A new initiative has been launched encouraging tourists to ‘revive, refresh, rewind’ across the Shannon in county Roscommon.

The promoters want visitors, tourists, and people passing through the county to take a moment to enjoy what Roscommon has to offer, rather than passing through to somewhere else.

Last Tuesday, May 22, Roscommon’s Mayor Eugene Murphy launched the marketing initiative, which is led by Roscommon Community Tourism and intends to focus on the ‘Roscommon DNA’ and spirit of the community.

Well known people who share the Roscommon DNA include Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd, footballer Dermot Early, songwriter Percy French, and Ireland’s first president Douglas Hyde, as well as 2FM’s Ruth Scott, who describes herself regularly as a proud ‘Rossie’.

Looking over Lough Allen from the window of his office at the Arigna Mining Experience, manager Colm Keane, who is chairman of Roscommon Community Tourism Network, said “You wouldn’t think it was the same county as the southern part of Roscommon”.

He’s encouraging people from Westmeath and Athlone to consider Roscommon when planning a Sunday afternoon spin or a family day out.

Rathcroghan is older than Newgrange, there are major trails on the Shannon which are waymarked and offer fantastic views, and the Suck Valley Way is a smaller version of Mayo’s Green Way, he said.

And there’s Arigna, the only underground guided tour of a coalmine in Ireland, where the tour guides are all ex-miners.

“Roscommon has abundant unique attractions,” he said, adding that its scenery is “very, very different”.

There’s great value for money, he said, adding that there are hopes of setting up a discount scheme to further encourage tourism.

While the county gets a lot of passing trade, it’s his hope that more people will stop to “revive, refresh, and rewind” in the county’s restaurants, leisure, and tourist attractions.

He suggests Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, which he describes as “a fantastic facility” with a variety of different activities for all the family, including boat tours and play areas for children.

He pointed to the cooperation between businesses, farmers, the council and other organisations in making Roscommon an open and accessible place to visit.

The promotional campaign, which is being run in association with Roscommon LEADER Partnership, Failte Ireland, and Roscommon County Council will include new branding, brochures, what’s described as “a highly interactive website”, and a variety of social media and radio campaigns.

Meanwhile there is more information at www.visitroscommon.com/attractions

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