“The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across every Nation and Region of the UK…”

The BBC reports the announcement of the first 74 locations on the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Route across the UK – starting at Land’s End, Cornwall, on the morning of 19 May 2012.  They have an interactive map too.  The torch will arrive in Northern Ireland on 3 June and will travel to Portrush, Londonderry, Newry and Belfast.

As the short version of the LOCOG press release notes

The cities and towns, in every nation and region of the UK, will hold evening celebrations as the Flame spreads the excitement of the Games ahead of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. The Flame will also make daytime island visits including to the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

The Torch Relay will start from Land’s End on 19 May 2012, carried by 8,000 inspirational Torchbearers. It will come within an hour of 95 per cent of the population of the UK.

The organising committee are looking for nominations for those 8,000 people to carry the torch along the route.

And this caught my eye in a post by the BBC’s director of London 2012, Roger Mosey

What we can spot is that Locog have made sure they cover a lot of the islands, which will pose interesting logistical challenges for them and for us.

The first three weeks include the Isle of Man, Orkney, Shetland and the Isle of Lewis, with Jersey and Guernsey towards the end of the tour. Even more significant is the reference to a possible visit to Dublin, which would mark the biggest departure from the original idea that apart from the lighting ceremonies in Greece this would be a UK-only relay.

The politics here are complex – not just involving the UK and Irish governnments but the executive in Belfast too.

The full press release confirms

LOCOG also confirms today that the feasibility of taking the Olympic Flame on a short visit to Dublin is being explored with all the relevant parties.

Adds  That might fit in with the Prime Minister David Cameron’s stated aim in today’s Irish Times

With both our countries depending on strong, export-led recoveries, it’s essential we keep building on these links, doing everything possible to tear down the barriers to trade.

To that end, from July of this year to October 2012 there will be an Irish visa waiver programme – enabling those with UK-issued visas to gain entry to Ireland. This should not only encourage tourists coming over for the Olympics to include Ireland on their trip, but boost trade between our countries too.

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