IT MAY defy geographical convention, but following the news that parts of west Limerick are to be included in the Wild Atlantic Way, Fáilte Ireland has now confirmed that southeast Limerick is to be included in Ireland’s Ancient East tourist trail.
The trail will include sites such as Lough Gur, the Ballyhoura Cycling Trails and Kilmallock’s Dominican Friary.
The Limerick attractions will join Newgrange and the Boyne Valley, Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Kilkenny’s Medieval mile, among other sites across the east and midlands.
The Ireland’s Ancient East trail is geared to maximise the history and heritage in the region and bring it to greater international audience and is intended to match and complement the Wild Atlantic Way in terms of scale and ambition.
Based on research in overseas markets, the initiative is aimed at particular market segments overseas who have indicated they would be more likely to come to Ireland to explore new landscapes, history and culture or to connect with local heritage and nature.
Fáilte Ireland’s research suggests that an initiative themed along these lines has the potential to deliver an extra 600,000 overseas visitors ( a growth of more than 20 per cent) to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25 per cent to €950 million in total by 2020.
A spokesperson for Ballyhoura Fáilte welcomed the news and said: “With the great amount of history and heritage in such a relatively compact area, ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ is a great opportunity to boost tourism. This will result in a fantastic economic boost to the Limerick region.”
Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, Jenny de Saulles commented: “We are happy to confirm that we will include areas of Limerick and Cork East of the N20, with product that is aligned with the brand, in the ‘Ireland Ancient East’ project.
“In this way, we can include the product within the Ballyhoura territory that meets the brand criteria, in particular the key heritage and cultural assets that deliver 5000 years of history in a lush green landscape with storytelling at their heart.”