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Maximising the draw of the West

There is huge potential to significantly grow the number of visitors in the West from the UK – as well as forging stronger economic and cultural links between the two islands.

That’s according to the UK Ambassador to Ireland, who was speaking during a day-long visit to Galway this week.

Paul Johnston’s primary purpose was to officially open the Galway Chapter of the British and Irish Chamber of Commerce – but he also waxed lyrical on the joys of Conamara…after spending time there when plans for a foreign holiday in 2022 were derailed.

“When I was in Conamara, they quoted figures that they got a lot of French tourists, German tourists and clearly a lot of American tourists, but a relatively small percentage of the tourists came from the UK, and I think there is great potential to grow that,” he said.

“The fantastic scenery and heritage you have here; I’d like to see more British tourists come to Ireland. Irish people know Britain very well. They travel for sport, education, work, or they have family there.

“British people probably know Ireland a little bit less well and it is something we can build over time, not just Dublin and east coast but to get people over to the Wild Atlantic Way, to see the beauty of Galway and the other counties on this side of the island,” he added.

Emphasising potential for cultural tourism, he also namechecked Galway’s cultural institution – Druid Theatre and Garry Hynes, its artistic Director – who he met in Dublin last year during a staging of the Séan O’Casey trilogy of plays documenting the Easter Rising, War of Independence, and Civil War staged in one day at the Abbey Theatre.

It was a ‘fantastic’ production originally staged as part of Galway International Arts Festival and “one of the best things culturally I’ve done in Ireland”.

CAPTION: UK Ambassador to Ireland, Paul Johnston.

Read the full interview in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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