Campaigners in West Cork are stepping up their efforts to have a picturesque peninsula parish included on the Wild Atlantic Way route.
Villages on the Seven Heads are confident common sense will triumph with the inclusion of the West Cork peninsula on the tourist trail.
The ‘Campaign to include the Seven Heads on the Wild Atlantic Way’ meets tomorrow in Courtmacsherry with Minister of State for Tourism Brendan Griffin, West Cork’s Minister of State Jim Daly, and key Fáilte Ireland representatives Fiona Monaghan and Josephine O’Driscoll, along with TDs, MEPs, and county councillors.
Mark Gannon, PRO of the campaign committee, said: “We’re looking forward to an outcome that reflects the great tourist amenity that is the Seven Heads peninsula.
“We’re very confident that common sense will prevail and that the route proposed by the campaign will be added to the Wild Atlantic Way. We’re looking forward to working with Fáilte Ireland into the future.”
The campaigners say the peninsula meets all criteria for inclusion in the Wild Atlantic Way, and having the route going through the villages of Courtmacsherry, Lislevane, Butlerstown, and Ring will help to alleviate rural decline.
“We anticipate that the meeting will be positive and the delegation will see we meet all the criteria,” said John Madden, postmaster in Lislevane and campaign committee treasurer.
“The parish has so much to offer. There is great civic pride here, and a lot has been done to develop the villages, the road network, and the beaches. People should be offered the opportunity to see it,” he said.
“We hope they will look on us favourably considering that we did have the West Cork Coastal Route but now there are fewer tourists coming in since the Wild Atlantic Way was developed.”
Butlerstown publican Mary O’Neill also sees the importance of being included on the Wild Atlantic Way.
She said: “It is as if a bypass has been built around the village. The Kinsale to Clonakilty Coastal Route has been dwarfed by the marketing power of the Wild Atlantic Way.”
She added: “We hope that our area can be included as a loop on the Wild Atlantic Way. If we are included, I’m sure the decline in tourist numbers would be reversed and the natural beauty of the area could be enjoyed by many more.”
The peninsula sits south of the Wild Atlantic Way route from Kinsale to Clonakilty, with the trail to the peninsula cut off at Timoleague, 3km from Courtmacsherry. The existing inland route from Timoleague to Clonakilty bypasses the peninsula’s scenery, beaches, walking routes, tourist facilities, and rich maritime history.
Mr Madden envisages the post office in Lislevane, as well as being a point where tourists would have their Wild Atlantic Way passports stamped, could have a role in enhancing their experience of the area. “There would be the opportunity to interact with people on the Wild Atlantic Way route and give them advice on what to do and see in the locality,” he said.
Pius Lyons, a campaign committee member from Darrara/Ring, is confident about tomorrow’s meeting and that the committee’s objectives will be met. “I’m very hopeful there will be a good announcement. Being on the Wild Atlantic Way will help everyone, it’s for the good of the whole area.”
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