BRANDING Clare as the home of traditional music and dance can draw extra visitors to the county, a local representative has affirmed.

Clare County Council have been urged to examine the options “for positive brands at the various access points to the county,” in a proposal lodged before the local authority by Cllr Pat McMahon (FF).

Acting Head of Tourism with the Council, Deirdre O’Shea outlined that the Council presently is involved with “positive destination brands” such as the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Shannon Estuary Way, the Lough Derg Blueway, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark as well as the incoming Burren Discovery Trail.

All of these she explained encourage visitors to stay longer, engage more with the region’s offering, benefit local communities and businesses, drive sustainable tourism and give locals a sense of pride of place. “In direct response to the motion requested, we will continue to liaise with Fáilte Ireland and State Agencies on the provision of additional directional signage to the above trails and ways”.

Senior engineer, John Leahy flagged that signage on main access points to the county on the national road network are controlled and designated by Transportation Infrastructure Ireland.

Speaking at Monday’s Council meeting, Cllr McMahon referenced the “decimation of the hospitality sector in the past two years” as he argued that branding could help to give it a lift. He spoke of counties in England where a symbol or line is used to describe each area, “it leaves a seed of what the area is famous for”.

Marketing Clare as “the home of traditional music, song and dance” was suggested by the Newmarket-on-Fergus native. He recalled sitting in glór where one person alongside him remarked, “by God you don’t appreciate what he have in Co Clare”. He concluded, “We’re world champions when it comes to traditional music and Anthony Daly in 1995 brought huge positivity on it”.

When it comes to branding Clare, a professional approach is needed, Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) believed. “We need a consistent message from Flaggy Shore all the way to Loop Head and over to Lough Derg”. He continued, “We fly the flag for what we are, we know our unique selling points for each area. Change is not an easy thing, it doesn’t happen often”.

Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) maintained everything that could be done to promote Clare must be done, “it’s something we’re a little bit bad at times, that’s telling people our story”.

Addressing the meeting, Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) took his colleagues on a tour of West Clare as he mentioned The Little Ark, Loop Head Lighthouse, Vandeleur Walled Garden and the Cliffs of Moher. “Last weekend the All-Ireland one act drama festival was on in Ennis, some people were delighted with the town, the streets and the shops, that’s nice to hear, that is what tourism about”.

“It is very easy to say we’ll talk to another agency, that is one way of delaying delivering a project,” Council Chief Executive Pat Dowling noted of references to Fáilte Ireland and the TII. “It’s our county, we need to try and work with them to deliver the project,” he stated.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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