Senator Micheál Carrigy and Chairman of Longford Tourism has been crowned one of Iconic Newspapers’ Hospitality Heroes. Hospitality Heroes series is an initiative where we recognise those who are heroes in their field.
Micheál Carrigy is chairperson of the County Longford Tourism Committee since 2012. This committee was very instrumental in bringing the branding of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands to what it is today.
Micheál recalls “we felt that the midlands were left out in promotions with Failte Irland and that Longford didn’t really fit into Ireland’s Ancient East. After lots of lobbying we now have our own dedicated brand – Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. So now Westmeath, Roscommon, Offaly and Longford are branded together for the midlands”.
Research has shown that tourists love the midlands woodlands, walkways, cycle paths, hikes and river activities which Longford has in abundance.
When making a break for Irelands Hidden Heartlands in Longford, you can discover the lakes, the Royal Canal and the River Shannon for boating or angling. It’s a county rich in history, literature & culture with fine food and dining.
Longford really is yours to uncover and that’s what Center Parcs Ireland thought when they opened last year in Newcastle Woods in Ballymahon. Carrigy tells me that Center Parcs not alone provided a large number of jobs, but "it has also brought a lot of positivity to County Longford. It’s great that people are coming to our county on their holiday and it’s up to us to up our game to put on additional activities within our county to get people to stay longer.”
Up their game they have, as Longford is developing a new Famine Trail and links around the Royal Canal. They are also developing routes in North Longford to bring us back in time to the famous Battle of Ballinamuck and the War of Independence. There will be an interpretive centre and tours with stories of Kitty Kieran and how she first met Michael Collins in her Longford home.
Micheál is urging people to come visit Longford and learn about this significant part of our Irish history there, "it in all on the ground where we can walk in the footsteps and through the sites of our ancestors".
In the next 12 months the longest green way in Ireland will be developed along the Royal Canal and will incorporate the National Famine Way, which will be like the Camino in Spain. This is something I am up for doing, according to Micheál it can be cycled in one day, jogged in two days or walked in three days.
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