A transnational gathering took place in October to try out new slow adventures currently developing in Leitrim, Ireland. Leitrim County Council welcomed project partners from Finland, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland and Sweden and Leitrim business clusters involved in the project case study, to Lough Rynn Castle in County Leitrim as part of the Slow Adventure in Northern Territories (SAINT) project. This is a three-year research project funded by the European Union’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. This project seeks to extend the marketing reach of businesses in the slow adventure tourism sector, in order to encourage more tourists to come to these areas to enjoy and experience the outdoors and engage with remote, wild and nature-rich places.
The aim of the visit was to give businesses from partner countries a taste of some of the Slow Adventures currently developing in Leitrim. The Leitrim business businesses collaborating on this project were Leitrim Cycles, Adventure Gently, The Edergole Kitchen, The Organic Centre and the Leitrim Surf Company.
On a lovely warm and sunny Leitrim morning Adventure Gently, who provide Canadian canoeing experiences from their base in north Leitrim met with the group at the new Boardwalk on Acres Lake in Drumshanbo and provided a guided tour by canoe of the Shannon Blueway. The group then travelled to The Organic Centre in Rossinver where local food business Edergole Kitchen provided lunch with locally sourced ingredients. Following lunch the group took part in a willow sculpture workshop where participants tried their hand at making willow brushes. That evening the group dined at The Cottage Restaurant in Jamestown where they experienced a subtle blend of Irish and European food with an Asian twist all using locally produced food.
On day two, following a project workshop, Leitrim Cycles, who provide both guided and self guided cycle tours from their Leitrim village base, met some of the group at Lock 7 on the Shannon Erne Waterway close to Ballinamore where they headed off to experience the sights and delights of the Shannon Blueway. The other members of the group opted for Stand Up Paddling and met with Leitrim Surf to explore the peace and tranquillity of the Shannon Blueway from the water. All the members of the group met again at Glenview House and Museum where host Brian Kennedy gave our visitors an insight into life in Ireland long ago. The two days of Slow Adventure experiences ended with traditional Irish fare at Glenview Restaurant where following dinner the international guests were treated to some entertainment with Edwina Guckian and Sean Nós ar an tSionann, the local traditional music and dance group. They learnt some Sean Nos dancing steps and some even tried the ‘Brush ‘ dance.
The business clusters involved in the SAINT project will continue to collaborate and work with partners in each region to create and market new slow adventure products throughout 2018.