SIR – Contrary to the sentiment suggested in your article headlined ‘Forgotten Peninsula’ fears u-turn on WAW promise (February 2nd), Fáilte Ireland’s commitment to ensuring the Seven Heads Peninsula can benefit from the additional domestic and international visitors to the Wild Atlantic Way, has not wavered.
Rather, the National Tourism Development Authority has a very positive relationship with the Seven Heads Peninsula Tourism Group and we have been working closely with its members since 2017. Our joint goal is to develop the tourism potential of the area in a way that will not displace local businesses or walking and cycling visitors that already enjoy the untouched beauty of the local area.
The appropriate mechanism to include the Seven Heads Peninsula as part of the Wild Atlantic Way is currently being examined as part of a review of the entire Wild Atlantic Way route. This review will address a number of submissions from local groups seeking to have their area included on the Wild Atlantic Way route. It will identify the opportunities for each area and the best approach to maximise their tourism potential.
The recently-submitted proposal for Courtmacsherry and the Seven Heads Peninsula to be included on the route will be considered as part of this review. Following recommendations, a decision on how the area can best benefit from the Wild Atlantic Way will be made with Local Authorities in the coming months.
The commitment referred to in your article relates to one provided by Fáilte Ireland in 2017 to extend the current Wild Atlantic Way route to Courtmacsherry and I can assure your readers that this commitment still stands.
The Wild Atlantic Way was not designed as a stretch of tarmac. The signed route was designed to guide visitors out to the coastal communities of the western seaboard. The geography of the Wild Atlantic Way encompasses the physical route, the coastline to the West of the route, all accessible offshore islands and hinterland of the nine coastal counties of the West of Ireland – Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork.
The crucial factor to realising the potential of the Wild Atlantic Way is developing local experiences, attractions and activities to draw visitors off the route and to encourage increased dwell time and spend by visitors in the local communities. This is exactly what we’re seeking to achieve for Courtmacsharry and the Seven Heads Peninsula.
Finally, may I point out the Seven Heads Peninsula is a key component of the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork and we are currently developing a Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Haven Coast, which includes the Seven Heads Peninsula. The Visitor Experience Development Plan aims to entice visitors to less well known areas and attractions, especially in off-peak times, without compromising the environment or culture in the region.
In addition to this, the Wild Atlantic Way team continues to work with tourism businesses in the area to ensure they have the necessary supports and mentoring to maximise the ongoing opportunities that the Wild Atlantic Way presents.
I trust this clarifies Fáilte Ireland’s position.
Head of Wild Atlantic Way,