02 April 2014
My first study visit to Ireland

Just back from very successful visit to Ireland with 13 Norwegians who are the management committee for Peikestolen - the Pulpit Rock just east of Stavanger.  Theyw anted to visit sites where visitors are connected with remote of difficult features as they wish to take forward a visitor centre at their own amazing site.  the trip was long and complex and was greatly helped with the assistance of Failte Ireland and our excellent driver Harry.

Fists stop was the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare where we were me by site director Katherine Webster who did an excellent job of explaining how they manage 950,000 visitors to this robust site - glad we were there out of season!

Next a 5 hour drive north to Donegal and then west past Killbegs to the impressive 600m cliffs of Sliabh Liag.  There we met Marie Aine of Failte Ireland and Barney of the County Council who told us how the site was being developed as one of the signature sites for the Wild Atlantic Way.  This had a greater sense of wildness and remoteness to it and lets hope this isn't lost in the developments.

Overnight in Donegal and then next morning to the Giant's Causeway where we were met by Eleanor Killogh who explained the planning and development of the new centre that receives about 750,000 visitors a year.  Very bright and spacious centre with some interesting interpretation.

Then on the road again to Belfast and the amazing building that is Titanic Belfast.  We were met by Jamie Wilson the visitor experience manager who explained the development and functioning of the new centre.  Hugely impressive building and development budget.  We had a tour of the exhibition which got mixed reviews, some very appealing content and some slight disappointments.

On to Dublin and a meal with Paddy Matthews of Failte Ireland who told us more about the Wild Atlantic Way and how it had been largely inspired by the National Scenic Routes in Norway.  Overnight in Dublin then next day to Newgrange (I didn't go!) and home


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