Next on tourism menu? I'm up for the Foddering
A gourmet Gathering would play to our strengths and our image and give the punters what they want, writes Brendan O'Connor
So, smartasses like you and me and Gabriel Byrne were totally wrong about The Gathering. Did you see the figures? Tourism in the summer up 6.7 per cent. Yanks and Canadians up a whopping 20 per cent on last year. By year's end, The Gathering will surely have reached its target of an extra 325,000 tourists.
In fairness to the naysayers, we didn't say it wouldn't work. Our arguments were loftier than that. What we tended to question was the thinking behind it, and how it might be a bit cynical. And in fairness it was. But these things have a way of turning out okay, and in the end, once human beings got involved, The Gathering turned into quite a warm phenomenon. Local communities knocked a bit of crack out it and people put flesh on the bones of what might have seemed like a cynical idea.
So what I'm saying here is that I was right in theory but wrong in practice. Will that do you for a climbdown?