independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Links to St Patrick could draw tourists

John Manning

Published 21/01/2014 | 05:32

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SKERRIES could exploit its links with St Patrick to attract new tourism to the town with even the legend of a 'silhouette' of the patron saint on an island off the Skerries coast highlighted as a possible draw for the tourist.

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Cllr Ciaran Byrne (Lab) has called for the greater development of heritage tourism in Skerries, and in particular, the town's 'history and significant topographical features associated with St Patrick located on the coast and the islands off Skerries'.

Cllr Byrne acknowledged the work going on by Skerries Tourism and his council colleague, Cllr Tom O'Leary (FG) on a new website called visitskerries.ie and a raft of new ideas to attract tourism business to the town and said his proposal was different but 'complimentary' to that work.

He said the town had a long history and had a lot of medieval history that could be exploited for tourism purposes, as well as an 'established link with St Patrick'.

Cllr Byrne said there was even a 'natural occurring phenomenon' in certain light on one of the islands off Skerries that appeared to show St Patrick in silhouette 'complete with mitre and hat'.

Cllr O'Leary welcomed the idea and acknowledged Cllr Byrne's work in the tourism sector in the town. Cllr O'Leary said that he had been working with Skerries Tourism on various ideas for a number of months and he believed that sites like the 'Napoleonic Tower' provided the potential for a 'wonderful tourist attraction'.

He said the town had 'bigger potential than we can imagine' in the tourism sector and he welcomed council officials committing to a meeting with Skerries Tourism to discuss the whole issue.

Fingal County Council is currently working with Fingal Tourism and the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) on the preparation of a Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Fingal.

Survey work currently being undertaken in preparation for the Strategy will highlight strengths and weaknesses in the county's existing tourism infrastructure and provide detailed information on opportunities for investing in this infrastructure, according to the council.

The local authority said its officials would be 'happy to meet with local groups with a view to improving interpretation of and interest in aspects of local history such as Fingal's association with St. Patrick'.

Fingal Independent

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