Meetings will take place in Galway and Clifden later this month as part of a series of events organised by Fáilte Ireland to get local communities involved in the development of a significant new driving route for the west coast.
The Wild Atlantic Way, a route similar to the Great Ocean Way in Australia, is set to be Ireland’s first long-distance driving route for tourists, extending 1,400km from Donegal to west Cork. The tourism authority will hold a series of public exhibitions and consultation sessions on the proposal along the western seaboard, starting in Kinsale, Co Cork, next week and finishing in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, on December 5.
Meetings in County Galway will take place in the Salthill Hotel, Galway, on Tuesday November 27 from 12 noon to 3pm, and in the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden, on Wednesday November 28 from 6pm to 9pm.
Over the past three months, Fáilte Ireland, together with all the local authorities along the west coast — including LEADER companies, Údarás na Gaeltachta, and the Western Development Commission — has examined a range of route options for the Wild Atlantic Way and is now seeking the views of tourism businesses and communities on a preferred route which has been identified.
Funding of €1.8 million was announced earlier this year for a pilot stage of the Wild Atlantic Way project in Connemara, which is now under way.
“The next two years will involve a lot of hard work, developing a series of world class viewing points along the west coast, erecting directional signs, developing loops and itineraries in each of the destinations through which the route passes, and devising a comprehensive marketing strategy and campaign,” said Paddy Mathews from Fáilte Ireland.
“Most importantly though, we will be working with the local tourism industry so that they are ready to capitalise on the opportunities that will be on offer as a result of the Wild Atlantic Way.”
Fáilte Ireland published a route identification report on its website at www.failteireland.ie/wildatlanticway yesterday. This report contains proposals for a preferred route for the Wild Atlantic Way. Views and comments are being invited and should be received in writing by Friday December 14.
The process of developing this route will begin with the spine of the route — the single route that will lead visitors along the Atlantic coast — being identified, and later in 2013, this will be supplemented by identifying loops off the spine which will encourage visitors to circulate within the wider destinations along the west coast.
The Wild Atlantic Way is scheduled to be launched in 2014.