A photo taken by Declan during an early morning drive through the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney - just one example of the beauty Ireland offers.


A hundred thousand welcomes to you!

Failte Ireland Tourism 2011 recently released a new promotional video, that I just came across on the Cliff’s of Moher facebook page. Based upon the music, I’m guessing Failte Ireland is targeting young people who may not have a particular thing for Ireland, but are simply looking for a great holiday destination. To be fair, I suppose those of us with a thing for Ireland do not need a video to coax us to visit! Hey – whatever works, because Ireland is most definitely a marvelous holiday destination and it also happens to be in great need of a boost in tourism these days, considering the current economic situation.

Having lived in Ireland for a year during 2001-2002, and visited too many times to count since then, it was my personal observation that toward the end of the Celtic Tiger boom years Ireland was becoming a bit cynical about its tourist trade and had begun to take its visitors for granted. However, I have noticed in the last couple of years, since about 2008, a resurgence in the once famous Irish hospitality and welcome. People seem to be truly happy that you have come to visit their country, glad to meet you and talk to you and yes, appreciative of the tourist dollars you’re bringing in, knowing that times are hard for just about everyone around the globe these days.

Another recent upside for tourists is that since the housing boom has gone bust, rampant construction has come to a halt just in time to leave the unique beauty of Ireland intact. This was something I was beginning to worry about a few years ago as I watched more and more housing estates – and even a few strip malls – filling up the countryside between the cities. And not to completely dismiss the boom years, one of the positive byproducts of the Celtic Tiger and Ireland’s participation in the EU, are the new motorways that make traveling around the country much quicker and more convenient than the quaint country roads. The charm of meandering along winding, country boreens is still there for our enjoyment, but it is nice to now have the option of hopping on a motorway and zipping across the country with an ease that was not available in years past.

So, I urge everyone to consider a visit to Ireland, a country that has a lot to offer, both old and new, along with a renewed enthusiasm for its visitors. Here is a nice overview of the sites and delights of Ireland 2011 !