Boyne Valley Activities

EcoTourism Networking #RTD9

Responsible Tourism Conference 2015

Well Done To James Chilton and Howard Goodwin of ICRT.ie who held a very successful conference in Dublin for Responsible Tourism on Wednesday last. The variety and quality of speakers were second to none and the wealth of information vast!
I arrived at lunchtime as I had a prior engagement so the first speaker I saw was Caroline Warburton, National strategy delivery coordinator for The Scottish Tourism Alliance. She highlighted how tourists do not differentiate between providers of activities or accommodation when they are looking for things to do, they just want to know what there is to do and do it. Tourism is everyones’ business and the TS2020 initiative aims to bring all the seperate initiatives together under one common strategy. Whilst a work in progress Caroline confirmed that already there is a distinct change in the culture of tourism in Scotland with collaboration being key.
I also enjoyed Joanna Hayes‘ of ThisIsCavan.ie who spoke about how their Accessibility Initiative turned into a tourism initiative by chance as the benefits of raising awareness and providing better services attract a new market to the area. She pointed out that in many cases it is our attitude to disability more than anything that needs to change.
Rina Garrett of Errisbeo has whet my appetite for a visit to this Wild Atlantic hugging place with tales of Corncrakes, Trails and Arts to enjoy.
It was a day for the ladies as Siobhan Burke of Living The Sheep’s Head Way gave a rousing talk on how they focused on the collective advantage and cross promotion amongst themselves to create a place that people can enjoy for short breaks including a focus on foodie tours supported by the ‘Eating the Sheeps head Way’ book and much more besides.
The Sheep’s Head peninsula has been recognised as a European Destination of Excellence in recognition of the sustainable tourism on offer in this unspoilt part of the world.
Silva Dorang spoke on behalf of the Aviva Stadium who place strong importance on sustainability using rainwater systems, (the water from which is then used to irrigate the pitch)and waterless urinals for example! Silva confirmed that they saved over €1m in one year along from implementation of sustainable practices. Currently they are working with their local community – Sandymount Village , to create a ‘place to be’ community hub. Watch this space…
Dr Xavier Font had us all in stitches as he ran through some examples of ‘How To Sell‘ case studies. We now know that he is petrified of staying in a place with more than 5 recycling bins for fear of putting the wrong refuse into the wrong bin! 😉
He suggested that an eco tourism business, when preparing a sentence for copy, might focus less on promoting their sustainability practices and instead put what’s good for the customer at the start of the sentence and only end with how this was achieved sustainably (if at all). He likened the potential customers’ interest in a business’ sustainability practices akin to watching someone else’s wedding video… This caused some debate amongst the attendees yet is certainly worth consideration at the very least.
Collaboration and Story based trails were a recurring theme and no less so than with Martin Carey of the Mournes Heritage Trust who introduced us to the Trails and Tales available in the area including how they have created a Narnia walk (author C. S. Lewis apparently spent some time here), The fabulous Tollymore Forest, Stone Men trail and much more.
Cillian Murphy showed how ambition, collaboration and passion can create great things with the Loop Head Peninsula  (cool website by the way!) in Co Clare, explaining how they decided they needed to turn ‘The’ Wild Atlantic  Way’ into ‘Our’ Wild Atlantic Way!
Cillian cited the importance of differentiating between areas on The Wild Atlantic Way and the importance of involving the local communities so they feel part of it. Carefully collecting data and uploading every piece of information they collated they plan to create a widget that can perhaps be plugged into other sites including www.wildatlanticway.com
All in all it was a super day and the lunch sponsored by Failte Ireland was fabulous too. I shall definitely be going along next year!
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Responsible Tourism Awards Winners

Of course the 2015 Responsible Tourism Awards also took place on Wednesday evening and whilst I was unable to attend I could see on Twitter how exciting it was. The judges reasoning for their decisions can be found at /media/50639/irishrtawards2015_final_10.03.15.doc

Best Tour Operator for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD:Connemara Wild Escapes (Co. Galway)
  • SILVER:Cycle Inishowen (Co. Donegal), Whale Watch West Cork (Co. Cork)

Best Small Hotel or Accommodation for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD:Hotel Doolin (Co. Clare)
  • SILVER:Pure Camping (Co. Clare), Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat (Co. Leitrim), Tory Bush Cottages (Co. Down)

Best Transport Initiative for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD:An Taisce Green Schools Travel and Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark Partnership (Co. Clare)
  • SILVER:Cycle Inishowen (Co. Donegal), Rock Farm Slane (Co. Meath)

Best in a Marine or Coastal Environment

  • GOLD:Dolphin Watch (Co. Clare)
  • SILVER:Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours (Co. Kerry) and Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre & Nature Reserve (Co. Kerry)

Best Destination for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD:Loop Head Peninsula (Co. Clare),
  • SILVER:Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark (Co. Clare), Sheep’s Head & Bantry Tourism Cooperative (Co. Cork), Mulranny, Co. Mayo (Co. Mayo)

Best Cultural Heritage Attraction

  • GOLD:Cnoc Suain (Co. Galway)
  • SILVER:Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange & Knowth) (Co. Meath), Mizen Head Signal Station & Visitor Centre (Co. Cork)

Best Local Food Initiative

  • GOLD:Archways B&B (Co. Wexford)
  • SILVER:Burren Smokehouse (Co. Clare), Orchard Acre Farm (Co. Fermanagh)

Best Adventure Activity Provider for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD:Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks (Co. Cork)
  • SILVER:Life Adventure Centre (Co. Down), Boyne Valley Activities (Co. Meath)

Overall Winner: Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks (Co. Cork)

Congratulations to all winners!
 

Boyne Valley Activities

Boyne Valley Activities 
Boyne Valley ActivitiesBoyne Valley Activities are a vibrant new activities company set on the banks of the River Boyne in Trim,Co Meath. We offer a wide range of activities that cater for the young and old. We  do everything from white water rafting to indoor paintball to medieval river tours and archery.
Check out our Blog with them on our EcoTour here >>
Tel: 086 7342585 – 086 7342586
Email: info@boynevalleyactivities.ie
Web: www.boynevalleyactivities.ie
Facebook: Facebook.com/pages/Boyne-Valley-Activities
Twitter: Twitter.com/BoyneActivity
Watch the boys on YouTube >>



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Eco Tour of Ireland Day 3

Boyne Valley Activities Tuesday 23rd September

As I negotiated my way from Lough Bishop House through the diversion at Delvin to Athboy I suddenly realised that I was being beeped at! Who knew me in Athboy I wondered? James Murray  of BoyneValleyActivities.ie that’s who! James had obviously been checking out our photos and had recognised the Opel Mokka S kindly sponsored for our trip by Ferrybank Motors, Wexford and beeped me to follow him to the first of their two centres.
Boyne Valley Activities are based, as the name suggests, along the Boyne River Valley with a base in Trim, Co Meath and just outside Athboy at Drewstown House also. They run a number of activities to suit various ages and levels including their 10 meter tree canopy challenge course set deep in woodlands.
Two of James’ instructors (Gav and Fergal) were on hand to give us a taste of this high ropes course which is quite challenging thus all participants must first make it up the climbing wall before they are allowed to continue. You can view videos of the lads completing the course in no time at all and flying down the zip wire on our YouTube Channel here >>.
I am not a great swimmer – actually I would not call myself a swimmer at all as I cannot go out of my depth. So James had a tough job to convince me to get into a canoe with him to sample the beauty of his medieval tour.
But convince me he did and we hopped (rather ungainly on my part) into a reassuringly large Canadian Canoe (specially brought out for scaredy cats like me!) and as we travelled up river he pointed out the various and many castles and ruins along the riverbank. He has a deep local knowledge which he continuously improves and is a natural storyteller – now I know where the two Irish phrases ‘P*** Poor ‘ and ‘Hasn’t a bucket to p*** in’ come from! (Apparently people used to sell their pee as a cleaning agent..I’ll leave it up to James to fill you in)
This is a really relaxing and unique way to see the heritage of the area and also perfect for wildlife lovers like myself.
Boyne Valley Activities is run by both James Murray and Dara Llewellyn  and they cater for school tours, corporate groups, team building days and individuals interested in trying out Kayaking, White Water Rafting, Archery & High Ropes in a safe and controlled environment.
Next year I will be able to swim and boy am I going Kayaking!
For contact details and social media links to Boyne Valley Activities Click Here >>
Listen to our ‘Cuppa Tae’ Chat here: https://soundcloud.com/ecoactive/a-chat-with-boyne-valley-activities

EcoTour Kindly Sponsored By

Ferrybank Motors Wexford Sponsor Eco Tour Ireland