By Kieran O'Mahony
UNION Hall has now joined the Seven Heads peninsula in a bid to be put on the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) map.
The pretty fishing village launched its own bid to be included on the popular tourism route, when the Minister visited West Cork this week.
Minister of State for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, and FÃ¡ilte Ireland officials met representatives from both Union Hall and the Seven Heads peninsula on Tuesday.
Both areas are hopeful that, following a review at the end of this year, they will be added to the 2,500km route that has boosted visitor numbers.
âWe were always looking for Union Hall to be included on the WAW route and we made a very strong case to Minister Griffin and listed all the important sights and facilities we have to offer,' said a spokesperson for Union Hall's group.
âThey told us they will be holding a review at the end of the year and will consider our case and see if they can fit us in, so we're quietly confident.'
In Courtmacsherry this week, Minister Griffin was given a guided tour of the possible route by local Cllr John O'Sullivan.
âWe're a bit disappointed in that FÃ¡ilte Ireland wouldn't give us more of a commitment after all our work, and we showed them how there is no reason why the peninsula cannot be added to the route,' said Mark Gannon, PRO of the campaign to include the Seven Heads on the WAW.
âWe were a bit concerned we would be fobbed off again but we are hoping we will soon have very good news for the people of the peninsula and that they won't be playing in the Championship â that we'll be back in the Premiership again.'
Speaking to The Southern Star, the Minister said he would like to see the Seven Heads Peninsula included. âIt's a very special part of Ireland and we need to ensure this process happens, and I hope it will happen without delay,' he said.
Head of WAW, FÃ¡ilte Ireland's Fiona Monaghan said she had a âvery engaging and robust discussion' with the committee: âWe're very heartened by the energy and enthusiasm and the numbers of things to see and do here.'
She promised to meet the group again in the next couple of weeks, and she said FÃ¡ilte Ireland would âforensically' look at the stretch of coast with the view to seeing how it can be included when the route is reviewed next year.
Â âWe also met with a number of tourism and community interests in Union Hall too, who have similar concerns in that the route doesn't come over the bridge into Union Hall,' she added.
Senator Tim Lombard said both communities had presented their cases very appropriately to the Minister and he saw the forthcoming review as a âpositive step'. Cllr Paul Hayes said he would have preferred something âmore solid', while Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan said it felt like âdÃ©jÃ vu' as they had made similar submissions in 2012.
Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony said she would also have preferred a bigger commitment from FÃ¡ilte Ireland, while Deputy Jim Daly, who also attended the meeting, welcomed the plan to review the route.