Meet the Munster Vales - Ireland's newest tourism destination
Forget the Wild Atlantic Way. Ireland just got its newest tourism destination, an undulating piece of inland magic called the Munster Vales.
Incorporating five mountain ranges, 96 attractions, nine heritage sites and 1,100km of walking trails, the new tourism initiative was launched last week.
Oh, and it crosses four counties - Tipperary, Limerick, Cork and Waterford.
The idea is to develop and market the region as "Ireland's key inland visitor destination", say the team of local communities, tourism providers, development agencies and county councils behind it.
Taking in the Comeraghs, Knockmealdowns, Galtees, Ballyhouras and Nagles, the Munster Vales also lie at the heart of Ireland's Ancient East, Fáílte Ireland's initiative aiming to get visitors staying longer in areas they traditionally pass through.
It was officially launched as a brand in Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, by Minister for State at the Department of Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D.
Flagship attractions include the Rock of Cashel, Lough Gur and Glen of Aherlow - but there are also newer additions like the Waterford Greenway, the 46km trail (below) that opened this year as Ireland's longest off-road cycling trail.
Food is on the up in the area too, with Kevin Thornton recently launching a 'Tipperary Breakfast' with the Tipperary Food Producers.
"The vision for the Munster Vales is to promote this geographical entity as a place that provides unique tourism experiences and activities, which are swathed in legendary and ancient folklore, in a consistent and easily legible manner for the tourist," said Sineád Carr, its chairperson.
"I would encourage other communities to learn from this example and to recognise the benefits of working together to promote local tourism,” Griffin added.
See more at munstervales.com.
Read more:Kevin Thornton has reinvented the Irish breakfast - but will it tempt you to Tipperary?