The German travel writers at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa. Pic: George Maguire

A GROUP of influential travel writers from Germany enjoyed a visit to West Cork recently as part of a fact-finding trip to Ireland.

Invited by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa the group were here to experience at first-hand the fantastic tourism product on offer in West Cork.

During their visit went seaweed foraging by kayak near Skibbereen and enjoyed a spot of whale watching off the coast of Baltimore.

Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, also included a guided coastal walk along the Seven Heads Peninsula and a walking tour of Kinsale, where they stopped by Perryville Garden Tea Room for afternoon tea and lunch at Fishy Fishy restaurant. They also visited Caherbeg free range pork farm in Rosscarbery and Ummera Smokehouse in Timoleague.

They stayed at the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa as well as Castletownshend Castle near Skibbereen and at Hayfield Manor in Cork city.

Zoe Redmond, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Central Europe, said, “They were hugely impressed by the wonderful scenery in this part of Ireland, the high quality of the cuisine and local food produce, as well as by the friendliness of the people they met.”

She added that Germany is a priority market for Tourism Ireland and is the third-largest source of visitors to the island of Ireland.

In 2011 421,000 German visitors came to Ireland, an increase of 11 per cent on 2010.