Slí an Atlantaigh Fhiáin – the Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s first long-distance driving route. Stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, the route will offer visitors an opportunity to truly discover the West Coast. Following a comprehensive public consultation process, the 2,500km route has been finalised and includes 159 discovery points along the way. At this stage the route comprises of a main spine but in time, a series of looped itineraries will be created to further develop the experience for visitors.
“The Wild Atlantic Way is a really exciting project which I’m delighted to launch today. It’s the world’s longest touring route through some of Ireland’s most beautiful places, and is already proving a hit in our key overseas markets like Britain, the US, France and Germany.”
“It has massive potential to bring more visitors and more jobs to rural communities right along the western seaboard. That’s why we will soon be promoting it even further afield in places like Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.”
It was a shame to see that once again the wonderful opportunity to use the Irish Language was missed. We must remember that our visitors come not just for our Culture but also for our Language as well.
This was a famous quote by Patrick Henry Pearse who was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, nationalist and political activist and who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916.
International experience shows the packaging and branding of assets into defined touring routes increases visits from domestic and international visitors.
Touring routes also help attract more people, get them to stay for longer, make more repeat visits and spend more money, often in rural areas.
Internationally, touring routes are increasingly seen as a powerful regional economic development tool for rural areas and can deliver additional jobs and grow the local economy.
Slí an Atlantaigh Fhiáin – the Wild Atlantic Way route offers the traveller a great amount to see and do, including:
The wealth of things to see and do has also allowed Fáilte Ireland to customise experiences for different types of visitors. These include propositions such as:
‘Exploring on the Edge’ – showcasing the unique landscapes and micro-climates of the west coast, its flora, fauna, caves and mines, incorporating activities such as whale and dolphin watching, exploring unique seascapes by boat as well as local food experiences.
‘Culture at the Edge’ – opening up Ireland’s unique language, music and dance cultures, its unique Gaelic sports, traditional crafts, great festivals, island life (‘island hopping’), legends and Folklore.
‘Active on the edge’ – promoting the west coast’s great surfing locations, world class links courses, coastal walks, great sea and game angling and horse riding.
In essence, whatever activities or whatever length of route they wish to pursue, there is a personalised Wild Atlantic Way for every visitor.
A total of €2 million will be invested in developing 159 Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points throughout 2014.
Located all along the route, these Discovery Points will be distinct sites, large and small, each chosen for their potential to offer visitors an authentic and intimate experience of the natural and wild landscape and seascape.
Visitors will be able to stop off along the route and learn more about that place by means of on-site information and interpretation.
Ultimately, as Slí an Atlantaigh Fhiáin – the Wild Atlantic Way funding is invested, each point will have enhanced parking facilities which will serve as the arrival points for each site as well as large scale information and interpretative signage and picnic facilities.
They will afford the Wild Atlantic Wayfarer the opportunity to rest, catch their bearings and explore all there is to offer at each particular location.
All the 26 offshore west coast islands are Discovery Points and each of these will have branded ‘Embarkation Points’ on the route to provide direction and access to the islands.