'˜Why does the Wild Atlantic Way end at Muff, not Derry?'
A local man has questioned why the Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail ends abruptly at Muff and does not continue on to Derry.
Michael Canavan, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement locally, said that the original route included Derry as one of its main destinations.
The Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) has seen millions of visitors flocking to Ireland’s west coast since it was officially launched in February 2014.
However, Mr Canavan queried why signs marking the ‘End’ of the 1,600-mile WWA route was erected at the border at Muff along with another sign stating ‘Follow Coleraine for Causeway Route’, with no reference to the city linking the two routes.
“The Wild Atlantic Way was supposed to start in Cork and finish in Derry but instead of finishing in Derry they are finishing in Muff now,” he said this week.
“Nobody can understand why it stops in Muff. Then you have the signs for the Causeway Coast via Coleraine, ignoring Derry and Limavady.”
Mr Canavan said many in the hospitality sector were baffled by the fact that the route doesn’t include the city - the fourth largest in Ireland. “Derry is the capital of the North West,” he said.
A Tourism NI spokesperson said WAW was a Fáilte Ireland initiative, adding:“Tourism NI is unaware of any plans that originally included Derry/Londonderry as part of the Wild Atlantic Way. However, discussions are currently underway between officials at Tourism NI, Fáilte Ireland, Visit Derry and Derry and Strabane District Council about how to best connect and collectively promote the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route.”
A Fáilte Ireland spokesperson said: “The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.
The overall aim is to develop a long-distance touring route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of Ireland in overseas tourist markets.
“Fáilte Ireland currently have no plans to extend the Wild Atlantic Way, but are working closely with Visit Derry to better cross promote the Wild Atlantic Way, Derry, the Walled City and the Causeway Coastal Route.”
The Fáilte Ireland spokesperson added: “Fiona Monaghan, Head of the Wild Atlantic Way programme with Fáilte Ireland, had a first meeting with Visit Derry at the end of June with the next meeting scheduled for September and we look forward to working closely with Visit Derry on developing tourism together.”