Waterford could be central to new “Viking Coast” tourism initiative
WATERFORD could be at the centre of a new world class tourism proposition which is currently being explored by Fáilte Ireland.
The national tourism agency is seeking to diversify its offering as part of the ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ initiative through the development of a specific ‘Viking Coast’ proposition which will seek to specifically attract tourists to the South-East based on the area’s extensive Viking heritage.
Fáilte Ireland has called for companies to register their interest in conducting a feasibility study into the idea.
If deemed feasible, it’s expected the ‘Viking Coast’ could be harnessed into a year-round tourism offering of international standard.
Waterford has heavily marketed its Viking heritage in recent times, with the success of the Viking Triangle proving that a huge appetite exists amongst tourists for learning more about such heritage.
A Viking themed festival is planned for Waterford this Easter, the details of which were recently announced by Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland Else Berit Eikeland.
The official unveiling of the world record breaking Viking sword created by local wood sculptor John Hayes of ‘Special Branch Carvings’ has also raised the profile of Waterford’s Viking offering.
The sword, which is 23 metres long, now forms an integral part of the Viking Triangle and is located on Bailey’s New Street near the existing replica of a Viking longboat.
Both the longboat and the sword are popular amongst both tourists and visitors for photographs.
‘The King of the Vikings’ virtual reality experience has also proved hugely popular since opening last May.
Controversially, Waterford was omitted from Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ tourism initiative which was launched in 2014 following a €10 million capital investment.
The route, which stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to West Cork, has been a huge international success.
Fáilte Ireland subsequently unveiled ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ which incorporates Waterford.
However, opinion on its overall impact remains mixed amongst those working in the hospitality sector as well as local political representatives.
It’s believed the ‘Viking Coast’ will seek to offer a more defined and distinct tourism experience as opposed to the broad ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ concept.