Posts Tagged ‘Failte Ireland’

Dursey West Cork, Do We Really Need Beauty Interpreted for Us?

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

Cork County Council and Failte Ireland in October 2020 published a “Draft Dursey Island Visitor Management Plan”, within which is iterated very clearly on page three of the document; “Cork County Council is currently proposing to re-develop the Dursey Island Cable Car as a tourism destination“. To that end a Visitor Management Plan is to be developed and established so as to “control visitor numbers to an acceptable level given the sensitivity of the island“.

I am a tour coach driver guide since January 2016 and have been visiting the Beara peninsula, West Cork to fish since the early 2000′s. The beauty of Beara is its, ruggedness, its wildness and within the context of our modern world a relative lack of development, that is not to say that modernity has not reached Beara, it has just been limited. This mix of modern and old should be retained and strengthened to preserve what is a unique heritage and way of life, not in a time capsule way but sensitive to what is a special environment.

As a coach driver guide I love transporting people from all walks of life and diverse nationalities around Ireland, I feel privileged to do this job. However, although Ireland clearly has a successful tourism modal unfortunately it is based on a mass market “bums on seats” approach. The powers that be may deny that statement however a visit to the cattle market which is the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, Co. Clare or wading through the hoards of people at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, or trying to enter into Killarney mid to late afternoon on any given day during the summer months while negotiating fierce volumes of traffic will attest to Ireland’s international tourism marketing strategy, we target volume and in the process we sell a high quality product in a yellow pack fashion.

The Beara is special because it is underdeveloped within the context of what is recognised as a “modern” tourism destination, in short infrastructure is limited a key feature of which are the narrow roads and they are its saving grace, limiting traffic and access. I do the “Ring of Kerry” regularly and Beara does not need that particular business modal because it will kill its unique selling point of wildness that envelopes you, a wildness and inaccessibility that actually protects a unique landscape, home to rich marine and land based biodiversity.

The draft visitor management plan alludes to mitigating physical damage to landscape, biodiversity, littering and traffic the result of increased visitor numbers upon completion of the project. The key to mitigation is not to build at all. The Dursey cable car originally was put in place for practical purposes to facilitate local access to and from Dursey Island. Upgraded on a couple of occasions since its installation in 1969, the last time in 2004, the Dursey cable car in its current format does have a tourist appeal just by being there, its old school look lends to the excitement of the journey. The latch on the door and the feeling that one could fall into Dursey sound at any moment as one flies across give the experience an edge in a Father Ted sort of way which is “real Ireland”.

I have used the cable car to access fishing on Dursey Island and as the report states one might get stuck if the mainland electricity fails which happened to my friends and I one November evening just as it was getting dark, however Paddy the then cable car operator, lord rest him, got us back later that evening around when the lights came back on. We flew across in a gale, the cable car rocking and the waters in the sound a green/white glowing maelstrom of phosphorescence below, an experience we will never forget and still get great enjoyment out of narrating in full the tale as it transpired. We survived and so did the cable car.

The cable car/interpretive centre proposal for Dursey is a vanity project for Cork County Council and Failte Ireland which in essence will turn a practical piece of infrastructure into a fairground ride and through road widening and signage will signal the beginning of the end of what makes Beara attractive as a visitor destination, its ruggedness and inaccessibility. Present day visitors to Beara have to make an effort, this is the type of mitigation that works, why open up a place to the masses when it is already open albeit in a particular way.

Ironically by leaving well alone the right people will be attracted to Dursey, people who appreciate it because they made the effort to get there, to bird watch, fish, walk, whale watch or just take in the views. People who have just stumbled across the place by accident like I did back in the early 2000′s and have come back year after year because of its unspoiled beauty and solitude. That is the unique selling point of the place and that is how it should remain, if tourists want a fairground attraction they should visit Tayto Park, Co Meath. To pursue and build this project is folly, the product of misled egos who will spend €10 million of tax payers money under the pretext that it will benefit the country. The real benefits into the future both local, national and international for Dursey Island will be derived by leaving well alone…………………

Ashley Hayden, who wrote this piece has extensive business development experience within the Irish food service and tourism sectors going back to 1985, holds a BA in Geography and Economics and an MSc in Business, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship where he researched into the provision of Green Tourism Infrastructure with specific reference to angling. Currently he works as a tour coach driver guide and has done so since January 2016.


Choosing Ireland as a Sea Fishing/Angling Holiday Destination

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Sea fishing in West Cork Ireland.

A key element of a destination marketing project I am undertaking to evaluate what motivates tourist sea anglers/fishers to first consider, then choose, and finally travel to a particular destination. With Ireland in mind I would be very grateful for any views/comment/opinion received under the following headings;

  • What is your primary motive/reason for considering a destination sea angling/fishing holiday?
  • What do you look for in a sea angling/fishing destination holiday?
  • Which is more important to your decision making process, trade advertising or word of mouth?
  • Which are more relevant to your information search, trade magazine articles, internet articles, or word of mouth?
  • Is Irish angling holiday information easy to access and accurate?
  • Do you prefer traveling as an individual or within a group?
  • What is your optimum length of sea angling/fishing holiday and what time of year suits best?
  • How much of a factor is cost?
  • Why choose Ireland?
  • If you have previous experience of a sea angling/fishing holiday in Ireland might you supply a brief overview of how your actual experience matched your pre – holiday expectations.
  • If you have previously had a sea angling/fishing holiday within Ireland, have you returned and why?

Relative to this project a tourist angler includes Irish nationals and non nationals permanently resident abroad, and all those resident in Ireland who travel and fish within Ireland spending at least one bed night away. Any information received will be treated with the strictest confidence. Please also supply name, age, country of origin, and number of years angling.

Email information to:

An alternative user option, click on link to Survey Monkey:

As a third option I have left the comments box open.

Hoping to reach a quorum of 100 individual returns, your input is much appreciated.

Thank you to all respondents.


Don’t Blow our National Asset.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

As all of us are fully aware Ireland is experiencing the full effects of possibly the deepest economic recession in its history. With unemployment touching 500,000, in reality 20% plus of our working population and not the lesser figure so often quoted by the establishment and politicians, Ireland really needs to start looking at its key natural resources and managing them correctly. Rod and line sea fishing is such a resource with tourist anglers contributing upwards of €150.00 per rod day, guided bass angling easily doubling that figure, while staying on average 11.8 bed nights (Failte Ireland 2008).

UK tourist angler John Holmes from Blackpool with a 2.36 kg specimen ballan wrasse caught off Kilmore Quay.
Co Wexford, home to a host of sea angling opportunities encompassing boat and shore fishing, includes in its population people such as Jim Hendrick (arguably the best professional bass angling guide in the country), and Paul Noble (who recently took a bronze medal in the 2011 World Long Casting Championships while casting in the 175 gram lead category.), also boasts the largest charter boat fleet of any port in Ireland located in Kilmore Quay, with a further two top class vessels working out of Duncannon.

A European bass fishing Mecca on a parr with what is on offer along the north eastern states of the USA, and still lucky to have reasonable off shore reef and wreck fishing between the Tusker Rock and Hook Head, when are the powers that be, politicians, individual anglers, groups, vested interests, and associations going to get their collective finger out and develop something world class from this sadly underutilised, definitely unrecognised, and totally mismanaged pot of gold.

This writer is fully aware of how our bass resource might be improved and has highlighted, with as yet no real official response, the need to reform our inshore passenger boat legislation to allow guided small boat rod and line fishing in the open sea. This one activity will generate substantial direct and indirect jobs and become a flagship angling product if the politicians and legislators would only take the idea seriously. You know where I am.

Also, I am aware of a famous bass angling location south of Rosslare Harbour which has always been targeted, got wiped out in the sixties and seventies, started to come into its own since the commercial bass ban was adopted post 1990, but in recent years has seen a resurgence in nefarious activity from both commercial and angling interests which threatens the future viability of the mark.

I am calling on Wexford County Council to consider building a bass angling interpretive centre at this location (not my idea); Montauk Point in the USA I believe has one. In one fell swoop a marker will have been laid down recognising the significance of the bass resource to Co. Wexford, with the added benefit of seriously curtailing illegal and overfishing fishing in the area. Money well spent guys; again you know where to contact me.

First published in People Newspapers, Tuesday 27/09/2011.