THE launch next March of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is a designated 2,500km route stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in West Cork, will quite literally put towns and villages along the West Cork coast on the map, encouraging visitors to stop off and pay a visit.
The initiative is designed to bring much needed life to the west coast by highlighting places of exceptional scenic beauty
The Wild Atlantic Way will make funding available for infrastructural improvements and for the enhancement and development of “Discovery Points” along the route will act as a huge draw to foreign tourists and Irish people who are looking to explore the dramatic and spectacular Irish Atlantic coastline.
There will be 23 Discovery Points in West Cork which will receive extra infrastructure funding at a variety of locations along the route including the Old Head of Kinsale, Timoleague Abbey, Lough Hyne, Cape Clear Island, Mizen Head, Sheep’s Head and Dursey Island.
Local Fine Gael TD Jim Daly said, “This initiative’s brilliance lies in its simplicity. All of the basic ingredients are already there; by putting directional signs in place and marketing the Wild Atlantic Way we are just making it easy for people to find their way around by pointing out the places of natural beauty, the viewing points or towns and harbours that should not be missed.
“As the Way becomes better know, we can expect tour groups and agencies to design looped itineraries which will allow people to explore the areas of their choice in greater detail. Other similar initiatives, such as the Ring of Kerry and the Causeway Coastal Route, act as significant draws to people visiting those areas and act as wonderful opportunities to discover the hidden local gems, beyond the main tourist sites.
“I am very excited by this initiative and what it will mean for the entire western region. It will bring the whole place to life and the designation of €8 million in Budget 2014, which will allow for the sign-posting and enhancement of 159 Discovery Points along the route, with the possibility of more to follow, will bring economic advantage and much warranted attention to our magnificent coastal communities.
“Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland will be marketing this route at home and abroad in a bid to generate interest and encourage people to drive or cycle the route. As far as scenery is concerned, we, undeniably, live in one of the most beautiful countries on earth. It is high time that the full potential of the west coast is revealed. I have no doubt that visitors will flock to the Wild Atlantic Way in droves to see for themselves the unspoiled beauty that Ireland is renowned for right across the world.”