Fáilte Ireland is to examine the possible inclusion of a West Cork peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail.
The commitment came yesterday from Fiona Monaghan, who heads up the Wild Atlantic Way project for Fáilte Ireland.
She met in Courtmacsherry yesterday with a campaign committee representing a number of villages on the Seven Heads peninsula, located between Clonakilty and Kinsale.
Minister of state for tourism Brendan Griffin and West Cork-based minister of state for health Jim Daly were among the politicians present.
Ms Monaghan, joined by Fáilte Ireland programme manager Josephine O’Driscoll and colleague Marie Healy, said: “We had a very engaging and robust discussion with representatives of the ‘Campaign to include the Seven Heads on the WAW’.
“We’re very heartened by their energy and enthusiasm and by the number of things to do and see in this area, so we are committed to come back and meet with the local interests again in the next couple of weeks.
“We will forensically look at this stretch of the coast with a view to seeing how it could be possibly included when we do the review of the Wild Atlantic Way in early 2018.”
Both ministers also backed other politicians and councillors in supporting the local campaign committee.
The major tourist route skips the entire peninsula but runs through the village of Timoleague, 3km from Courtmacsherry.
Mr Daly said he was pleased by a commitment by Fáilte Ireland to review the route by early 2018.
He said his colleague Mr Griffin had asked Fáilte Ireland to engage with Cork County Council and the local campaign committee to ensure there were no obstacles to inclusion of the route on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Kerry-based Mr Griffin said: “I want to see the Seven Heads route included on the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s a spectacular part of the country — it will enhance the locality and enhance the visitor experience as well.
“We had a very constructive meeting with the campaign committee. It is important that we have local communities trying to develop tourism from the ground up — that’s the approach we need to take as a country.”
Local committee chairman, Barry Holland, said: “The outcome of the meeting was good, we certainly were able to make a very strong case about why the Seven Heads should be included on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Committee member Mark Gannon said: “We’re very thankful for the visit of both ministers who are very supportive.
“We are a bit disappointed that Fiona Monaghan wouldn’t commit to saying that the peninsula would be added but she did commit to meeting us in two weeks’ time, and we’re hopeful she will make a decision then to add us to the Wild Atlantic Way — there is no reason why she shouldn’t.”
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