Ireland’s Ancient East
The Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, together with Minister of State, Michael Ring TD, today (Tuesday 1th April 2015 ) officially launched Ireland’s Ancient East, Fáilte Ireland’s latest tourism initiative which will build on the wealth of historical and cultural assets in the east and south of Ireland.
Fáilte Ireland has spent the last year working in consultation with key stakeholders to develop the initiative including tourism attractions and businesses throughout the region. Following much consultation and deliberation, Ireland’s Ancient East will be crafted along four distinct thematic pillars:
• Ancient Ireland
The Dawn of Civilisation (including the prehistoric attractions of the Boyne Valley in Newgrange and sites such as the Brownshill Dolmen in Carlow);
• Early Christian Ireland
(including sites such as Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Mellifont abbey, Jerpoint Abbey, St.Canice’s Cathedral and Holycross Abbey);
• Medieval Ireland
(including Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, the Viking Quarter in Waterford, Hook Head Lighthouse, Trim Castle and the Rock of Cashel);
• Anglo Ireland
(including Ireland’s Great Houses and Gardens as well as sites such as the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Wicklow Gaol).
Speaking at today’s launch, the Minister of State for Tourism and sport, Michael Ring TD said:
“I am very pleased to welcome this new project and it is another great example of this Government’s relentless focus on growth in tourism. I believe that it will prove to be as significant a game-changer for the east and south of Ireland as the Wild Atlantic Way has been for the west. To ensure its success, it will be imperative that everyone in the region now get behind the initiative.
“I understand that Fáilte Ireland will be working directly with businesses and communities to bring this new brand alive. As an initiative firmly rooted in our past and our stories, it will be vital that local communities play their part to bring these stories alive and take full advantage of the opportunities provided by ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ ”.
As well as the traditional marketing of the new brand overseas, Fáilte Ireland will also be working with the local tourism industry to help them actively sell the new proposition to potential customers and overseas trade. Already, at this year’s Meitheal, the new proposition has been introduced to overseas buyers and selected Irish operators are pitching it to buyers at the marketplace sessions.
There are many treasures in the south and east that are older than the pyramids, set in an ancient green landscape – passage tombs, dolmens and Stone Age observatories that are found throughout Ireland’s Ancient East. Visitors can wonder at the meanings behind the largest concentrations of carved Stone Age artwork and Celtic gold artefacts in Western Europe as well as hear from the locals themselves the stories that infuse this landscape of ancient warriors and Celtic druids.
Early Christian Ireland
Visitors to Ireland’s Ancient East will also be encouraged to step into the Golden Age of Saints and Scholars and visit the university and monastery sites where Ireland’s pioneering saints and monks wrote some of the world’s greatest illuminated manuscripts, before spreading their learning and spirituality throughout a Europe locked in the Dark Ages.
Visitors will also be encouraged to explore the pathways of Medieval Ireland and uncover a rich tapestry of tales from this turbulent time. From the Viking Triangle of Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford, lush river valleys lead to the beautifully preserved Medieval City of Kilkenny and beyond.
In Anglo-Ireland visitors can discover the stories of a time of contrasts which shaped the lives of the now settled conquerors of Ireland and those they ruled over. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to experience what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries. Lavish gardens, opulent houses and market towns are all there for them to explore including the great estates at Powerscourt, Mount Usher, Avondale, Castletown, Emo Court, Altamont and Lismore.