Celtic Routes: Ireland-Wales tourism project raises £1.5m

Celtic Routes’ branded collection of tourism experiences aimed at encouraging visitors to travel to Ireland and Wales to discover the Celtic Spirit.

Carmarthenshire County Council has secured an additional £1.5m for a second phase of the Celtic Routes tourism project.

Celtic Routes is a partnership project between Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire County Councils and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority in Wales and Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford County Councils in Ireland.

“We’re as keen as ever to promote and foster Welsh links with Ireland; we have many similarities in terms of our traditions, culture and economies”

The successful bid was made on behalf of the Celtic Routes partnership to the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) which will take the project through to 2023.

Explore new experiences

Sunset at Three Cliffs in the Gower Peninsula, South Wales

“The Celtic Routes project aims to persuade visitors driving through each of the partner destinations who are en route to more established destinations to stop and spend time exploring each area and visit time and time again,” said Cllr Peter Hughes, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

The contract is partly funded via the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme 2014-2020.

“An exciting programme is planned which will enable existing and new Celtic Routes networks to develop and build on success so far and to work together to mitigate the effect of Covid-19,” Hughes added.

Celtic connection

A view of the waterfront in Waterford under a cloudy sky.

Waterford Harbour

Phase 2 will focus on developing the legacy of Celtic Routes by further enhancing the visitor experience working closely with the tourism sector.

Already businesses from Wales have been visiting Ireland to learn and share best practice with their Irish counterparts.

Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “The Phase 2 proposal will build on the strong foundations that have been developed to date and provide an opportunity for the initiative to fully deliver to its potential.”

A toolkit is available for businesses and destinations with guidance and ideas about how they can create their own Celtic experiences and contribute to the success of the project.

“We’re as keen as ever to promote and foster Welsh links with Ireland; we have many similarities in terms of our traditions, culture and economies,” said Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

“Now the UK has left the EU this form of co-operation is even more important and part of our ambitions within the Ireland Wales Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan. We want to continue to collaborate and work in partnership to ensure that we grow and prosper with the wealth of opportunities that the Wales-Ireland relationship has to offer.”

The funding was welcomed by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath, TD.

“As the tourism industry seeks to recover from the impact of Covid-19, the extension of this project, which promotes ongoing cooperation between West Wales and the sunny South East of Ireland, reminds us of the wealth of natural beauty, heritage and tourist amenities that are so important in contributing to regional development in both economies.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 10 March 2021