On Wednesday 5th october, Fáilte Ireland partnered with Iarnród Éireann and the Sligo Food Trail – Harvest Feast Season, in bringing all Sligo has to offer to a group of VIP writers as part of a series of new initiatives to stimulate regional dispersion and seasonal extension along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The media VIPs boarded a ‘Sligo Food Train’ from Connolly Station to Sligo, where passengers sampled ‘Sligo Food’ and also received information on the Sligo Food Trail as they made their journey to the Wild Atlantic Way.
The focus for Failte Ireland is to help businesses and regions broaden the so-called ‘shoulder seasons’ immediately prior to and following the main summer season in tourist destinations. This is especially important along the Wild Atlantic Way, where many businesses close outside of the peak months.
To this end, Failte Ireland is supporting the Sligo Food Trail by partnering with Iarnród Éireann in bringing high profile food writers and bloggers by train from Connolly Station to Sligo where they will be treated to a 24 hour ‘Foodie’ Experience in and around Sligo for this Sligo Harvest Feast event.
Speaking about the importance of developing tourism along the west coast in the shoulder season, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of the Wild Atlantic Way, Fiona Monaghan stressed:
“The Wild Atlantic Way has been incredibly popular with the domestic market and we believe there is great potential to grow activity outside of the summer season. We have been working with hundreds of businesses along the route – who have traditionally experienced a short tourism season – to help them become ‘autumn-ready’ and grow their trading season. With an emphasis on some of the quieter places, we are working to boost visitor traffic all along the route and especially beyond the usual hotspots throughout this autumn.”
Jane Cregan, Events & PR Manager for Iarnród Éireann commented:
“We at Iarnród Éireann are delighted to be partnering with Fáilte Ireland and the Sligo Food Trail on the ‘Sligo Food Train’. We have seven services each way daily between Sligo and Dublin, and taking the train is a relaxing, cost effective and environmentally friendly way of exploring all the beauty that Sligo and the North West has to offer with fares starting at just €14.99 each way and with free WiFi onboard it makes sense to take the train.”
During their stay in Sligo the group have a packed itinerary of things to do including taking a guided seaweed walk along Lissadell Beach with renowned seaweed expert Dr Prannie Rhatigan; tour Lissadell House and walled vegetable garden; visit Ireland’s first Oyster Museum.
Anthony Gray, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland and Chair of Sligo Food Trail said:
It gives me great pleasure to work closely with Fáilte Ireland under the ‘Wild Atlantic Way – Extend the Season’ campaign as a platform to grow business to members of the Sligo Food Trail. This gives both my business and indeed all others in Sligo and its surrounds a chance to showcase our amazing county. Award winning Sligo Food Trail has 70 members and continues to grow, with an abundance of amazing experiences and top class locally produced Food and Drink.
Mr Gray went on to say “Sligo has made great ground in food tourism in recent years and continues to grow in stature as THE Foodie and Tourism destination of Ireland. Situated along the Wild Atlantic Way with rugged coastline and unspoilt scenery Sligo has equally become a haven for outdoor adventure with excellent products such as surfing in Easkey and hiking Benbulben and much, much more.
I wish a warm Sligo welcome to all visitors to the Sligo Food Trail during the Harvest Feast Extend the Season campaign – Sligo Food Trail ‘the secret’s in the mix’!’ Mr Gray concluded.