WILD Atlantic Way overseers Fáilte Ireland are now being urged to include Listowel as a loop of the proposed route in a bid to capitalise on increased tourism.
Fáilte Ireland are to spend €25 million in the coming years on marketing the main network of roads along the west coast as the 'Wild Atlantic Way' tourist route; in the same fashion as the Great Ocean Road in Australia and the Great Pacific Highway in the United States.
The proposed route, which runs from Derry to Kinsale, via the north Kerry coast and the Dingle, Iveragh and Beara peninsulas, went on public display at the Carlton Hotel in Tralee last week.
Tourists interests in Ballybunion were delighted that the town will become a major stop on the tourist trail, however, interests in Listowel are now calling for the town to be included on a special ' loop' from the Wild Atlantic Way in north Kerry.
James Kenny, a member of the steering committee that successfully lobbied Fáilte Ireland to bring the route through west Clare and north Kerry, is now calling on the agency to include Listowel.
"We're delighted the route was brought through west Clare and north Kerry, hugging the coast, as we had been fighting for. Our only remaining concern now would be to have Listowel included on a loop or spur of the Wild Atlantic Way," he said.
He said the town has a fantastic range of tourist attractions. "Combined with
our new status in the Historical Towns Initiative we stand to make great gains in tourism in the coming years, so it is vital that visitors coming into north Kerry along the Wild Atlantic Way would be fully aware of everything on offer here."
Controversy has been caused, however, by the omission of one famous part of the north Kerry coast. Kerry Head is not included as part of the route and locals are urging Fáilte Ireland to revise its decision on the headland. The agency believes the road is not adequate for heavy tourist traffic, however, locals reject this assessment.