15th October

'Ireland's Ancient East' initiative spans 5,000 year history

An initiative to promote Ireland's history and culture spanning millennia, aims to bring international attention to the east and south coasts. 

Ireland's Ancient East will offer visitors a 'personal experience' of 5,000 years of history that attracted settlers down the ages. Stretching from Newgrange and the Boyne Valley in the northeast, through the midlands via Kilkenny's medieval mile to Waterford's Viking Quarter and Cork's cultural attractions on the south coast, this latest initiative from Ireland's tourism agency aims to match and complement the Wild Atlantic Way brand in scale and ambition.

Sea Stallion of Glendalough

Sea Stallion of Glendalough, a replica  of a Viking longboat built in Dublin in 1042, in Dublin Bay during a visit to the city in 2008 as part of a 'Viking Ireland' exhibition. Photo Gillian Mills

Research conducted by Fáilte Ireland suggests Ireland's Ancient East has the potential to attract an additional 600,000 overseas visitors (20% growth) to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25% to €950m by 2020.

Launching Ireland's Ancient East, Minister for Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe noted the "relatively compact area" being promoted:

"This will allow us to seriously build on the assets we have in the east and south - and the significant investment which has been made in tourism attractions in the region over the last few years."

Speaking at Ireland's travel trade workshop this week which hosted 277 of the world's top travel and tourism buyers, Failte Ireland's CEO, Shaun Quinn said reaction to Ireland's Ancient East had been "incredibly enthusiastic.

"This confirms our belief that Ireland's Ancient East is a brandthat will have strong resonance in our key overseas markets, and should significantly transform tourism in the region from a transit zone to a compelling touring region."

Ireland's Ancient East is based on four distinct theme pillars:

Ancient Ireland: The Dawn of Civilisation (including 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; Dunbrody Famine Ship and Wicklow Gaol)

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