Ambassador Castro was visiting the Inishowen peninsula following an invitation from Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue T.D. as part of a programme of events to celebrate Europe Day on May 9.
Donegal County Council’s, Mary McBride (Project Manager), Catherine McLaughlin (Planner) and Mary Daly (Communications) for the Trail Gazers Project met with the Ambassador and Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue T.D. and gave a brief overview of this innovative multi-million euro walking and recreational trails project at eight European locations, where Donegal County Council is the lead partner. The Ambassador heard how two of the partner trails are based in Spain, the ‘Via Verde del Plazola’ in Navarra, Spain and ‘La Caldera de Taburiente’ on the Canary Island of La Palma.
The Trail Gazers team were joined by Donegal County Council’s Chief Executive, John G McLaughlin and Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Jack Murray who formally welcomed Ambassador Castro to the county.
The Atlantic Area Trail Gazers Project includes trails in spectacular locations, the visit by the Ambassador and Minister was timely as they heard about the several major steps which were made following a three-day meeting last week on the Canary Island of La Palma.
The Trail Gazers project aims to determine the impact of significant investment which has been made over the years into developing walking and recreational trails across the Atlantic Area on sustaining rural communities and will explore innovative ways that this impact can be enhanced.
One of the many highlights of last week’s three-day meeting with partners from each region was a workshop with Stakeholders and Trail Ambassadors from La Caldera de Taburiente to discuss opportunities in adversity post the Volcanic eruption on the Island last September.
Project Manager for Trail Gazers, Mary McBride from Donegal County Council said after the three-day meeting and the meeting with the Ambassador and Minister, ‘in what has been a very few years for everyone, it is very rewarding to see so much of the project work being advanced and near completion. The shared learning and tools developed as part of the Trail Gazers project will enable the future management and harnessing of trails across the Atlantic Area, but also demonstrates how this shared learning/toolkits can also be applied to any tourist asset/setting across the Atlantic Area’. ‘It was fantastic to meet with partners after two years of on-line meetings and the discussions around opportunities in the face of adversity brought a very real-life meaning to our project with regard to sustaining local communities’ Mary added.
For more information on the Trail Gazers project, check out our website www.trailgazers.eu. Trail Gazers is co-financed by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund.