[caption id="attachment_80124" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Caption with Ancient jpg: Minister Paschal Donohue.[/caption]
By Ray O’Hanlon
When a structure is as old as pyramids, the ancient is something of an old story.
This for sure applies in countries such as Egypt.
It also applies to Ireland, where you can view structures older than the pyramids.
The very oldest can be cast as new when it comes to highlighting their existence, and their ageless value, and that’s what Irish tourism minister, Paschal Donohue, will be doing this week during his visit to New York.
Donohue is in the U.S. to launch a new Irish tourism initiative called “Ireland’s Ancient East,” which, according to a Tourism Ireland release, “aims to build on the wealth of historical and cultural assets in the east and south of Ireland.”
“The new initiative seeks to give visitors a personal experience of 5000 years of Irish history through a journey of discovery stretching from Carlingford to Cork and is intended to match and complement the Wild Atlantic Way in terms of scale and ambition,” stated the release.
“I am delighted to be here in New York to launch Ireland’s Ancient East. The government has just announced initial funding of over $2 million for a program to animate the great amount of history and heritage in ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ and allow us to build on the tourism assets we have in the east and south of the country,” said minister Donohue.
“With tourism businesses already mobilizing behind the new initiative, I believe that Ireland’s Ancient East will prove as effective and popular as the Wild Atlantic Way, and will ultimately deliver significant additional numbers of visitors, revenue and jobs to the region,” he said.
Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons sees success in the “ancient” pitch as a result of the very newest in terms of access to Ireland.
“Ireland has never been easier to get to, with more than 40,000 seats leaving eleven gateways across the U.S. each week,” he said.
“This growth in direct air capacity has allowed us to increase Ireland’s market share of the U.S. outbound travel market to Europe to ten percent, and deliver what we expect will be a third record year for Irish tourism from the U.S.
“Year to Date visitor figures through end of July are trending well at plus fifteen percent.”
And he added: “Armed with a very extensive program of campaigns highlighting Ireland’s Ancient East, The Wild Atlantic Way and Northern Ireland, and targeting audiences with strong potential for growth, the outlook for 2016 looks very positive.”
The pre-pyramid structures that can be viewed in Ireland’s “Valley of the Kings” in County Meath are 5000-year-old burial tombs that include the extraordinary burial mound at Newgrange.
Newgrange beats the oldest of the pyramids by about 500 years - and that qualifies it as ancient by any standards.