WATCH: Mayo is making movies, and its first release is mouthwatering
"There are things that you can't explain. Things that you can only witness, enjoy and appreciate. I think Achill is one of these."
So says Francois Colussi, French-born star of a mouthwatering new short film showcasing the rugged, spray-in-your-face magic of Mayo.
Colussi is a kitesurfer who moved to Ireland in 2006. He came in search of the perfect wind and water, and found them on Achill Island. Today, he runs Pure Magic kitesurfing schools there and on Dublin's Dollymount Strand.
"I fell in love with the landscape from day one," he says, providing the voiceover to National Geographic-style footage of the Wild Atlantic Way (below).
"It's always changing... for me it's the best place in the world."
Released as the summer tourism season gets into full swing, the short adventure film is the first in a series of five commissioned by Mayo.ie, featuring poetic profiles of local heroes set against the backdrop of the county's epic scenery.
Video is a mega-trend booming across social media and tourism marketing at the moment, and the productions, shot and edited by creative agency Cut Media, will be released throughout 2017 on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Upcoming shorts feature Westport-born triathlete Con Doherty (June 6) and GAA stars Aidan O'Shea, Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle (June 20).
“Mayo is home to outstanding landscapes and the most welcoming people in Ireland, combined with truly immersive tourism experiences," said Joanne Grehan, Director of Services at Mayo County Council.
The films were developed "to portray the very essence of Mayo and its very many people, places and parts," she adds. "And they certainly do that.”
Mayo is home to some of Ireland's most iconic tourist attractions, from Ashford Castle and Croagh Patrick to Wild Atlantic Way highlights like Westport, Dún Briste, the Céide Fields and the Great Western Greenway.
There's more to the county than its signature hits, however, and the idea is to bring a broader sense of the place and character of the county as a whole to viewers, inspiring visitors not only to stay, but to linger a little longer.
Cut Media, based in Glasgow, is an inspired pick in this regard.
Several of its productions have been viral hits, with ‘Danny MacAskill: The Ridge’ reaching over 50 million views on YouTube alone.
With a huge diaspora in North America and elsewhere, it's hoped that Mayo.ie's videos will be widely shared, inspiring holidaymakers from all over.
“The Mayo.ie films were a joy to work on,” says Stu Thomson, director with Cut Media. “Everyone made us very welcome during the shoot and we’ve tried to incorporate that genuine warmth of the people in this film.
"While these films are profile pieces on athletes, we wanted to tell authentic Mayo stories through people who know it best."
For more, see mayo.ie/visit or #WildMayo.