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    Castles, Conquests and Vikings brought to life through tourism plans for Ireland’s Ancient East

    Castles, Conquests and Vikings brought to life through tourism plans for Ireland’s Ancient East

    Businesses across Ireland’s Ancient East help to develop ‘Castles and Conquests & Vikings’ visitor experience plans

    The stories behind Ireland’s Ancient East’s castles and Vikings are set to be brought to life through Fáilte Ireland’s long-term ‘Castles and Conquests’ and ‘Vikings’ tourism plans.

    Over 60 tourism businesses took part in a bespoke workshop at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny today to develop stories and experiences centred around the castles in their area, helping to create a more connected visitor experience in towns across Ireland’s Ancient East and, in turn, drive increased visitor numbers to the region.

    With Vikings, Normans and castles playing a fundamental role in the region’s built heritage, counties including Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and Wexford have been identified as having potential to evolve as areas with a strong cluster of attractions that can draw international visitors.

    This work will feed into the ‘Castles and Conquests’ and ‘Vikings’ tourism plans, which local tourism businesses and stakeholders are working closely on, and will play a key role in extending the season and increasing dwell time in the region.  

    Speaking about the workshop, Head of Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland, Jenny De Saulles said:

    “The stories and history behind the amazing variety of castles in Ireland’s Ancient East are a true gem in the region’s international offering. Vikings and Castles, and their storied pasts, are hugely appealing to our core overseas markets. In order to encourage them to visit the region and stay in the area for longer, we need to ensure that we can offer a really compelling visitor experience in terms of storytelling and bringing the area’s rich history to life – key elements of the Ireland’s Ancient East brand.

    “Visitor numbers and revenue generated by tourism across Ireland’s Ancient East are already on a strong footing through the brand, and the long-term ‘Castles and Conquests’ and ‘Vikings’ plans will help to bring even more visitors here. Thanks to all the local businesses who contributed to the plan - we will continue to work alongside the industry to improve visitor experiences across the region.”

    Castles and Conquests and Vikings are two of the key Ireland’s Ancient East Visitor Experience Development Plans currently underway and have been created to develop brilliant visitor experiences in the region so they are motivating and appealing to international markets.

    The castle experience will be brought to life by:
    • Guided tours in castles, on castle grounds, in local towns and overnight stays
    • Evening experiences - banqueting and dance as well as musical entertainment
    • Costumed interpretation and re-enactments
    • Integrated visitor experiences by curating links and sharing stories between visitor sites
    • Working with industry to tell the Wexford Norman Story 

    The Viking story will be enhanced by the development of new immersive visitor experiences which introduce the elements of fire and water, as well as the opportunity to meet real life Vikings

    Today’s workshop is one in a series of sessions taking place across the Ireland’s Ancient East region as part of the Castles and Conquests visitor Experience Development plan over the coming months.

    Tourism businesses and organisations who attended the worship today include:


    Ballykeefe Distillery, Carmel Nolan
    Flynn Hotel Group, Orla Murphy
    Griffin Group, Fiona Delahunty
    Jerpoint Park, Maeve O'Connell
    Kilkenny City Tours by Road Train, Ivan Sheridan
    Kilkenny Civic Trust, Anne Marie Hallinan
    Kilkenny County Council, Brian Tyrrell
    Kilkenny County Council, Grace Quinn
    Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel, Joanna Hannick
    Medieval Mile Museum, Grace Fegan
    Rothe House and Garden, Patricia Duffe
    Shenanigans Walks Kilkenny, Nevin Cody
    Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny, Valerie O'Sullivan
    St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower, Elizabeth Keyes

    Abbeyleix Manor, April Kent
    Abbeyleix Manor, Jane Kent
    Abbeyleix Manor, Alex Kent
    Experiencing Laois, Trudy Carmody

    Offaly County Council, Olive Farrelly

    Minella Hotel and Leisure Centre, Elizabeth Nallen-Bowen
    Tipperary County Council, Triona O'Mahony
    Tipperary County Council, Triona O'Mahony
    Tipperary County Museum, Marie McMahon

    House of Waterford Crystal, Clare Barrett
    House of Waterford Crystal ,David McCoy
    Local Link Waterford, James O'Donoghue
    Mount Congreve Estate Garden
    Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Gerald Hurley
    Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Lynda Lawton
    Waterford County Council, Orna Holohan
    Waterford Viking Triangle Trust Company,  Lauren Traynor

    Westmeath County Council, Una Doris

    Colclough Walled Garden, Alan Ryan
    Duncannon Beach Holiday Park, Philip Wallace
    Enniscorthy Castle, Rory O'Connor
    Heritage Tours Wexford, Catherine Keane
    Hook Lighthouse & Visitor Centre, Ann Waters
    Irish American Festival, Teresa Delaney
    Kilmokea House, Emma Hewlett
    Local Link Wexford, MaryB O'Leary
    Loftus Hall, Sinead Kilkenny
    Ros Tapestry Exhibition Centre, Marion Coady
    Wexford County Council, Sinead Casey
    Wexford County Council, Billy Byrne
    Wexford County Council, Siobhan O'Neill

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