Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Region
The Map below shows the Route expected to be taken by some extra 600,000 overseas visitors, by the year 2020, thus increasing revenue in this Eastern Tourism Region by almost 25%, or an estimated €950m. Well that’s according to the spin from outgoing Tourism Minister Mr Paschal Donohoe, TD, but do read on as your rural future may very soon depend on it.
“View Ireland’s Ancient East Map Route.
Firstly we should understand that Fáilte Ireland is Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority. Their role is to support Ireland’s tourism industry and work to support and maintain all of our beautiful green island equally as a high-quality, attractive, tourism destination. Their work is to support / provide a range of practical business supports to help tourism services to better manage, market and grow already existing services, while working closely with other state agencies and representative bodies to encouraging further value added products.
They are required to promote the island of Ireland fully as a holiday destination, through domestic and overseas marketing (See DiscoverIreland.ie), while managing / financing, a network of nationwide tourist information centres, offering advice to those on holiday.
Ireland’s Ancient East
Ireland’s Ancient East is best described as a “Touring Region,” as opposed to a “Route,” like the “Wild Atlantic Way”. This new cultural and heritage trail stretches in circular motion from the Boyne Valley in the north-east, down through the midland of Meath & Tipperary, and east & south through Wicklow, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford & Waterford; eventually ending up in Cork city.
To-date only projects funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW) are seen as worthy of inclusion on this touring route in Fáilte Ireland’s marketing efforts. Private and non nationally funded, but nevertheless, attractive tourism enterprises are deemed not worthy of real note in attracting the visitor.
Examine the Map
Let us examine this Ancient East circular route more closely and ask two questions.
(Q1) Where does it start at its northern end ?
(Ans.) Our capital city Dublin.
(Q2.) Where does this circular route end, were you, the visitor, to complete your tour of the full Ancient East Region? (That is assuming visitors, do not head for the Wild Atlantic Way, from the halfway point shown as Cork city, thus bypassing midland Co. Tipperary altogether.)
(Ans.) Our capital city Dublin.
In November 2013, the local tourism group Hidden Tipperary published an article seeking the repatriation of the Derrynaflan Hoard. Same was published following numerous submitted requests having fallen on deaf ears, seeking to have same returned, on a three month lone, to its original home here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Suffice is to say that the then ruling politicians of North Tipperary (Fine Gael & Labour) failed miserably to support or progress the project.
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A ray of hope, however, appeared last week in the form of Tipperary Co. Councillors, lead by Templemore / Thurles Municipal District Chairperson (Cathaoirleach), Mr John Hogan, who once again issued a call for the Derrynaflan Hoard to be exhibited in Thurles, as part of this new Fáilte Ireland ‘Ancient East’ tourism drive.
Let us now try to imagine visiting the border between Canada and the United States with no Niagara Falls; Paris without an Eiffel Tower; Disneyland without meeting Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck; and yes Derrynaflan, Thurles without any Derrynaflan Hoard.
Imagine the disappointment of that presently illusive foreign tourist visiting Thurles tomorrow morning, with only six days to travel around Ireland’s Ancient East. “Where can I view the Derrynaflan Chalice?” asks the tourist. “Drive back to Dublin; its only 1 hour and forty minutes or some 151.5 km away.” says our local Tourist Guide. “Make sure you have a couple of Euro in loose change for the Toll”
To Fáilte Ireland; to our new in coming minority Government; to our National Museum personnel, please note; for our Ancient East circular tourism route to be successful, our towns and visitor centres require the real original attractions they rightfully own, in order to create a magnet for our discerning visitors. Same magnet attractions have been raided from our ancient, rural, and heritage-rich communities, simply, it would appear, to benefit an already thriving Dublin economy.
We here in Thurles, now no longer require a loan of the Derrynaflan Hoard, we want it returned back to its original home to stay. Other Tipperary’s Ancient East towns like Cashel, Carrick-on-Suir, Roscrea & Nenagh should immediately be discussing suitable premised (e.g. Closed Court Houses and disused Garda Barracks) to house other artefacts, raided from Tipperary.
To further remind our readers, these Tipperary historical items include amongst the many:-
(A) The historical Faddan More Psalter, a book of psalms possibly as old as the Book of Kells, dated around 800AD and found by turf cutters in 2006 in a north Tipperary bog.
(B) The Book of Dimma, supposedly discovered in 1789, in a small cave near the Devil’s Bit, Thurles, Co.Tipperary. The little known Book of Dimma, written possibly late in the 8th century at nearby St. Cronan’s Monastery, Roscrea, was preserved by Thady O’Carroll, Prince of Ely, and later, during possibly the mid-twelfth century, was encased in a rich gilt case. The book is a copy of the four Gospels written in old Latin and is representative of Irish ‘Pocket Gospel,’ manuscripts.
(C) The more recently discovered Viking Silver Coin Hoard and other artefacts, found close to the village of Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co Tipperary, during more recent road works and kept secret. (Found at a place called Liath Mocoemhoc near Two-Mile-Borris, Tipperary, from the reign of Feidlimidh, son of Crimhthann, before AD 847).
(D) The very recent find of 81 x 17th Century gold coins, a hoard found by workers during renovations to a building in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.
(E) An exceptionally rare collection of literature, taken from the Bolton Library in Cashel, by the OPW, just weeks ago; described by experts as one of the most important of its kind in England & Ireland; sent to boost a Limerick economy.
Thankfully for the people of Co. Kerry, Skellig Michael, or Great Skellig; the larger of the two Skellig Islands, west of the Iveragh Peninsula, was to big to move. Had it been possible, this latter UNESCO World Heritage site would today be found floating off Howth Head. The making of the 2014 epic film, Star Wars: “The Force Awakens” would have been, like our rural job opportunities, merely another feature of Dublin.
How we manage Ireland’s Ancient East over the coming years is of the greatest importance to the very future of Tipperary’s small & medium sized indigenous business enterprises and to Tipperary’s future employment prospects.
Perhaps the time has come to share this content on Facebook & Twitter Accounts. Send letters, post cards, make phone calls, send emails and texts to all public representatives with responsibility for tourism and business. Finally broadcast your views loud and clear on every radio station and newspaper in the land.
Time for rural Ireland to really sit up and start to compete.