NI Tourism Minister: “I recently had discussions with the chief executive of Tourism Ireland and expressed my disappointment about how the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way stops at the border.”

Without wishing to undermine historian Hiram Morgan’s call for Irish Government action to preserve the cultural heritage in the seas off the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s worth noting the stated objective of that tourism initiative… The overall aim of the project is to develop a route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of Ireland in overseas tourist markets. Also worth pointing out that one of the armada wrecks he mentioned, La Girona, isn’t on the Wild Atlantic Way, having … Read more

Manchán Magan’s ‘Oddballs: A Novel of Affections’: Book Review

A skilled chronicler in travel narratives and documentaries of those who wander the fringes, Manchán Magan’s debut novel follows four characters on the fringe. Two of them, teenaged Rachel and her quasi-aunt Charlotte, collide after a long estrangement in New Hampshire, and take off on Charlotte’s Wiccan pilgrimage to ye olde England of, as a bemused or bitter Rachel puts it, ‘Merlin and Voldemort’. After a few detours, they wind up on a quasi-borrowed yacht that lands them off Co … Read more

Expect an influx of social energisers and culturally curious tourists in 2013 … as well as the G8 leaders

Slugger readers in Great Britain who fall into the marketing segments of “social energisers” and “culturally curious” should expect to see adverts tempting them across the shuck Irish Sea in 2013 to “explore the landscapes, history and culture we have on offer”. social energisers = 18-34, no kids; heavy social networkers; often living in London, Glasgow and Manchester; wanting urban holidays with friends; looking for daytime activities. culturally curious = 45+, living with partner/married; use social media but not heavy … Read more

Snap, Craickle and Pop: The Controversy of Popular Gaelicisation

Ever since Ireland was told that the black stuff might not be Irish, but rather a porter stout from Covent Garden, the country has descended into a frantic state of uncertain soul-searching and impassioned reflection to clarify once and for all what is actually ‘Irish’ (potatoes, Gaelic Storm, and Saint Patrick aside).   But now the most quintessentially ‘Irish’ institution of them all is under intense academic scrutiny, the much celebrated notion of ‘the craic’ (and that’s before considering the … Read more

“I wouldn’t suggest that the executive’s programme for government is quite so meaningless…”

The once and future Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, and Sinn Féin’s candidate in the Irish Presidential race, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA, is keen to promote his “strong  track record in seeking Foreign Direct Investment, leading important Trade Missions and attracting investment and jobs”.  But, as Mark Devenport highlights from the leaked draft programme for government, [as with so many things… – Ed] that’s only half the story. However, glancing at the draft obtained this week by my colleague Martina Purdy, you … Read more