Tullaghan coastline, Leitrim
North Leitrim doesn’t want to be hidden it wants to be wild.
All six Manorhamilton District Councillors are demanding North Leitrim be included in the Wild Atlantic Way tourism brand as they believe their area doesn’t suit the new Hidden Heartlands promotion category.
In a cross party effort, the councillors submitted a strong message ordering Fáilte Ireland to include the whole Manorhamilton district, “following the belated inclusion of Tullaghan as part of the Wild Atlantic Way.”
Cllr Felim Gurn said it is “scary” that the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) map includes “parts of Cork and Kerry that are 70-80miles from the coast and yet Tullaghan which has a 4km coastline had to be lobbied to be included.” He also noted that to travel the WAW from Donegal to Sligo you “have to travel through Leitrim.”
Cllr Frank Dolan said, “sadly with Fáilte Ireland common sense never applies.”
Leitrim County Council explained to councillors that the Hidden Heartlands brand was researched by Fáilte Ireland and this formed the basis of the geographical area of the proposition.
The council stated “Based on the depth of the data and analysis and the potential in investment it is clear that the best interests of the county can be served by working collaboratively with the strategic direction determined by Fáilte Ireland.”
The council also added that Fáilte Ireland have no plans to amend their propositions. They did agree to try and arrange a meeting for representatives with the tourism board.
Cllr Mary Bohan said she knows small towns and villages along the Wild Atlantic Way that have seen increased numbers since being included on the route.
All councillors agreed that North Leitrim is “different to the Midlands.”
Cllr Padraig Fallon said he thought they had been given assurances that North Leitrim would feature in both brands. He said they need to be in both to benefit.
He was told Leitrim County Council cannot dictate to Fáilte Ireland.
Cllr Justin Warnock said North Leitrim is isolated from South Leitrim because of Roscommon and “the best fit” is the Wild Atlantic Way.
Just up the road from Glenfarne, Leitrim finds itself on the edge of “Ireland’s Ancient East” in Blacklion, Co Cavan.
Cllr Padraig Fallon and Cllr Sean McDermott spoke about how Leitrim is always on the fringes and never marketed correctly.
They said in North Leitrim they have Glencar Waterfall that attracts over 100,000 people a year and yet it is not used as a flagship product.
The Councillors are seeking a meeting with Fáilte Ireland immediately to push their agenda and are also seeking support from Oireachtas members.