FAILTE Ireland has denied that a re-branding of Killarney will detract from Kinsale’s role as the southern ‘gateway’ to the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW).
It had been reported that Killarney would be the new ‘gateway’ on the popular route, but Fáilte Ireland told The Southern Star this week that the reports were inaccurate.
‘We are creating a new destination positioning piece and refreshed brand for Killarney which aligns to the Wild Atlantic Way and recognises its potential as a base to explore the region,’ the statement said.
‘Kinsale is very much on the Wild Atlantic Way route which continues to be heavily promoted by both Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland and will continue to benefit from this. In addition, Kinsale is at the start or end point of the Wild Atlantic Way so it has its own unique selling points as part of the route.’
Fáilte Ireland said it is currently developing a ‘Destination & Experience Development plan’ for West Cork and this plan will also have a number of ‘agreed priority actions’ for the destination to build on its strengths.
Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan has welcomed this clarification from Fáilte Ireland as he said there were a lot of people in the hospitality sector in Kinsale worried about the proposal.
‘What it does do now is start an important discussion in how Kinsale should be recognised as the beginning and end of the Wild Atlantic Way as suggested in the correspondence from Fáilte Ireland. This is something I think would be very welcome for all of West Cork, if we could identify Kinsale as the real start of the WAW.’ Michael Frawley of The White House in Kinsale expressed concerns about the use of the word ‘gateway’ for Killarney in earlier reports.
‘Although they are not saying it’s the beginning of the route, a gateway to me represents the beginning of something and that could confuse tourists,’ Michael told The Southern Star.
Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at Cork Airport, which has benefited from Kinsale’s ‘gateway’ status, said that Kinsale is the natural start of the WAW and that cannot change. ‘We’ve always argued that the best way to experience the Wild Atlantic Way is from Kinsale and the most natural way to do it is to fly into Cork Airport and begin the route 20 minutes away in Kinsale,’ he said.