The Louth Tour Guide Network, formed in recent years through the assistance of the Louth Leader Partnership, hosted a very successful showcase of what some of their members have to offer to a number of existing accommodation providers in the county and those already involved in promoting tourism in Louth last week. Blessed with a day of sublime spring sunshine last Tuesday they were able to show off a lot of what is good and unique about Louth with a number of very interesting tours.
With the aim of developing local tour guiding in the County of Louth, each one of its members is an independent operator, fully trained and there to help develop the tourism product that this wee county has to offer, in the way that only a local can.
The day started off at Dundalk stadium, from here the guests were bussed out to the Hill of Faughart. Where Dundalk man Paul Lynch, gave a tour of one of the most historic hills in the country, the birth place of one of Ireland’s three patron saints and the burial place of the last high king of the country are just some of the reason for it’s importance.
Next up was a tour of the Poc Fada from Michael Kinahan, local GAA and hill walking enthusiast. He elaborated on how this national event is unique to our county and full of Legends, History and Hurling.
John Lambe of the Lumpers bar then hosted the entourage, laying on morning elevens while explaining all the work that was going on in the Ballymakellet area in terms of the development of hill walking trails, the Lumpers walking group and their up coming walking festival on the May bank holiday weekend.
Liam Mc Cauley is one of the most experienced and established of the group with his company Irish Tour Guides. He brought everyone to the historic church in Grange and also explained the local connection with St James and how the Cooley Camino has real connections with the world renowned route in Spain.
One of the highlights of the day was the lunchtime stop in Greenore, where Anne Larkin and her husband Brian, along with other locals were bedecked in Victorian garb. They offered those on the tour a sample of the wares from the local distillery before taking them on a packed tour, including a very informative walking tour of the village, the railway museum that they host in the co-op and the story of the worst naval tragedy to have hit Carlingford Lough, when the Connemara sank with the loss of 94 souls.
Thankfully, all had a tasty lunch in the tea rooms before David Patton of Food Tours gave a lip smacking presentation on what his company can provide in terms of day long food tours of the area, which visit a number of artisan food producers.
Finally, it was on to one of the jewels in the Louth tourism crown, Carlingford. Here Shane Reenan of Louth Adventure tours took a number of willing guests out on to the Lough on his rib, for a taste of the “white knuckle ride”, just one of the many products that he has to offer.
Those involved enjoyed their day immensely with great feedback coming the way of the tour guides and although it was only a taste, it was a great showcase of what tourism attractions this county has to offer and the benefit of visiting them in the company of qualified local guides and what they can bring with them to enhance the experience.