Six key Irish tour operators and Tourism NI (ROI) public relations team have visited Seamus Heaney HomePlace this week.
Drawn from Dublin, Newry and Kilkenny representatives from the businesses, which organise trips and itineraries for national and international groups, spent a day in the Bellaghy area, experiencing the landscape which so influenced Seamus Heaney and touring the new centre and exhibition which celebrates the late poet’s life and literature.
As well as HomePlace, the one-day familiarisation trip included time in Laurel Villa in
Magherafelt which specialises in helping guests with family history research and has become a mecca for devotees of Seamus Heaney.
The visitors also enjoyed a tour of Ballyscullion House with owners Richard and
Rosalind Mulholland who gave a unique and personal recollection of their connections to, and time spent with, Seamus Heaney. The day drew to a close with poetry, music and great food at The Old Thatch Inn, Castledawson
Speaking about the visit, Councillor Dominic Molloy, Chair of Mid Ulster District
Council’s Development Committee, said:
“These tour operators influence the destinations and itineraries for tour groups coming to Ireland from all over the world, so showcasing what we have to offer is an important element of our work to bring cultural and literary visitors not just to experience HomePlace, but also the rich heritage of the wider Mid Ulster area, including sites like The Hill of the O’Neill and Tullaghogue Fort”.
The tour operators which attended the trip were from Irish Welcome Tours, CIE, Little Irish Tour Company, Grand Tours, Brack Tours and A Touch of Ireland and the visit was organised with the support of Tourism NI.
Key Irish tour operators and Tourism NI (ROI) PR team, who visited Seamus Heaney HomePlace this week, (L-R), Mary McGee, Mid Ulster District Council; Niamh Egan, CIE; Damian O’Dornan, Little Irish Tour Company; Nuala Devlin-Saul, Brack Tours; Gwen Beveridge, Tourism NI (Dublin); Alison Groves, Irish Welcome Tours; Armando Borgatto, ATOI Ireland; James Mullen, Brack Tours; Mary Kelly-Borgatto, ATOI Ireland; Kati Lepisto, Irish Welcomes; Vivan Gleeson, Tourism NI (Dublin); Aoife Fee, Tourism NI (Dublin) and Shauna Moynagh, Mid Ulster District Council.