Laois has literally been left of the map of Failte Ireland new ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ initiative with the Rock of Dunamaise not even meriting a mention.
Failte Ireland’s latest rebranding exercise involves a repackaging of existing attractions as ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ with the Timahoe Round Tower listed as one of Failte Ireland’s ten chosen attractions
Surprisingly, the Rock of Dunamaise, which was recently listed at no 1 in a list of Ireland’s hidden gems, is not given a mention.
Tourism officer with Laois County Council, Dom Reddin said he had been in touch with Failte Ireland last week over the omissions.
“It was only announced last week, but the council were not consulted on it. I spoke to Failte Ireland last week and they said it included randomly picked places to give people a flavour of what is out there. We have already brought to their attention what we feel should have been included.”
While, Teddy Fennelly, Laois Heritage Society, said it was incredible that Laois could be ignored.
“It’s incredible, unbelievable that Failte Ireland could publish something that ignores all of what Laois has to offer and has been working towards over the last number of years. It’s typical of what went on years ago, but we thought we had remedied it somewhat.”
Brian Maher from Abbeyleix was also disappointed with Failte Ireland’s new initiative.
“It’s a very vague plan to start with, but it is disappointing that the whole of County Laois has been ommitted.
He continued: “I would welcome the initiative in the broadsense. It was an opportunity to show how Abbeyleix, as a planned town connects with Emo Court.”
Donaghmore Workhouse’s, Trevor Stanley said it was disappointing.
“On the face of it, it seems to be a glaring ommission. It’s disappointing not to get our share of tourism recognition. We’re never going to be a tourism hotspot like Killarney, but Laois has a lot to offer both in general tourism and the built environment such as the Workhouse and Emo Court.”
Minister for Foreign Affairds, Charlie Flanagan has said that the inclusion of the Timahoe Round Tower will open visitors up to the many attractions of County Laois.
“County Laois is choc a bloc full of hidden historic gems, Emo Court perhaps foremost among them. But the inclusion of lesser known attractions such as the round tower in Bord Failte’s 10 chosen attractions emphasises that almost every town and village in our county has a rich heritage covering all four pillars of the new Government initiative including Ancient Ireland, Early Christian Ireland, Medieval Ireland and Anglo Ireland.”
Minister Flanagan added: “The Wild Atlantic Way has had a transformative effect on the Western Seaboard and I am confident that ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ will be a similar success story.”