Fáilte Ireland unveiled its latest tourism brand at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone last Thursday. ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ will cover the ‘heart’ of the country, from Leitrim to East Clare, extending through Longford, Roscommon, East Galway, as well as parts of Westmeath, Cavan, North Tipperary and Offaly. Fáilte Ireland’s other key brands include the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin.
Speaking at last Thursday’s launch in Co. Roscommon, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said the new brand is good news for the midlands.
“Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will significantly enhance the midlands as a tourism experience and bring growth and jobs to the whole region.
“We have always been committed to ensuring that Ireland’s success as a world class tourist destination is shared among the regions. Some of the country’s finest natural assets are in the midlands, including spectacular lakes, walkways and blueways. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will bring these gems to life, offering a unique experience to both domestic and international visitors”.
The announcement of this latest tourism brand comes after what Fáilte Ireland described as “extensive research with consumers in Ireland, the US, the UK, Germany and France”. The River Shannon as well as activities like walking, cycling, angling and boating routes will be the central focus of the new brand.
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said the announcement will “transform” the region.
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said the tourism body would work closely with key partners and communities across the region to develop the brand.
Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has now become a tourism development zone and Fáilte Ireland have allocated €2 million to start the development stage of the brand, with further funding to follow. This initial investment will help to develop visitor experiences, support industry development and develop marketing campaigns for the region.