Friday 24 January 2020

Longford bites back at Eilis

Madam -- In response to an article by Eilis O'Hanlon, (Sunday Independent, January 29, 2012), in which she castigated the Midlands of Ireland and in particular the county of Longford, we at Longford Tourism wish to express our anger and astonishment at the views of Ms O'Hanlon.

We are aware that we are one of the smallest counties in Ireland, but this is also a county full of very big personalities. Visitors to the Longford Tourism Office always comment on how friendly the people of Longford are and how welcoming they find the county. Those who have relocated to Longford from Dublin, other parts of the country and indeed abroad have stayed, not because they don't have a choice, but because they like it here. This is the real Ireland, the authentic and hidden Ireland, and what visitors experience in Longford is the genuine hospitality that rural Irish people are renowned for.

We may not have grand houses or castles, great mountains or majestic ocean views, but we don't need them, what we do have here is authenticity. In Longford we have some of Ireland's most naturally beautiful countryside, totally unspoilt, a county steeped in history and folklore, unique and picturesque Irish villages, great people who are always ready to indulge in a bit of 'craic agus ceoil', rural traditions which are still alive and flourishing, wonderful festivals, ancient heritage sites, excellent restaurants and bars, boutiques and shopping outlets, a fantastic theatre that draws shows from all over the world, and the Royal Canal. We also have an abundance of lakes and rivers for visitors to enjoy a wide range of excellent water sporting activities, a dedicated outdoor adventure centre, the most impressive bootcamp and assault course in the midlands, a fantastic karting and paintballing facility which draws people from around the country, as well as some of the best angling that Ireland has to offer.

In addition, the current development of more walking trails to add to those already in existence in the county will be of benefit to the increasing number of visitors to our unique part of the lakelands and waterways of Ireland.

We have all of these wonderful things, and more, right here in Longford, in the heart of Ireland.

Longford Tourism has also recently launched its Tourism Strategy and Action Plan for 2012-2015. This plan, taken together with the County Development Plan, an exciting County Arts Programme, and the tremendous work by local community groups and voluntary organisations, is an accurate representation of life in Co Longford. We, the people of Longford, have pride in our county and are actively involved in the development and implementation of progressive plans for its future.

Our vision is to see Longford achieve the recognition it so rightly deserves as a unique, authentic, picturesque and valid tourism destination.

What we do not need is inaccurate representations being made by uninformed journalists.

Longford Tourism extends an invitation to Ms O'Hanlon to visit Co Longford, where she will be treated to an expenses paid stay and introduced to the actual 'delights' of our county.

Thereafter she can perhaps write an accurate article and not a fictitious one.

Micheal Carrigy,

Chairperson,

Longford Tourism

Sunday Independent

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