And so another walking tours season kicks off ! Today sees the arrival of my first walking group of 2012. I’m bringing them up to the wild and majestic northwest corner of Mayo – to the Mullet peninsula and its fabulous cliff-top walks. I’m sure they’ll enjoy themselves, even in this early March weather.
I know this is going to be a great year. The entire month of August is already booked out with walking tours, as is the first half of June. Days are being blocked in July and all looks good from here.
We in Ireland’s western regions need to put our very best foot forward when competing for a slice of the international walking (and general outdoor activities) market. We’re competing with destinations that can boast dry, warm weather, more or less all year round. What a pity it was, then, when I overheard a lady from Kerry tell some potential tourists to Ireland last week that travelling north of Galway was “not interesting”. How misinformed and disingenuous. Yes, we have fewer tourists in this part of the country than down in the better-known southwest, but perhaps our offer is all the better for that.
So here’s my simple proposal. Come here to the wilds of the true West – Connemara and Mayo. Sample one of our guided walking tours of this wonderful part of Ireland. You’ll meet far fewer tourists and enjoy real interaction with the locals in this lesser-known region of the West. Then, if you wish, go home and tell your friends and relatives it was “not interesting”. I doubt it.