What are the chances of that? Nine complete strangers meet up for a fact-finding tour as part of the Celtic Routes initiative are wearing every colour of the rainbow of wet weather jackets. Well, you can’t miss an opportunity like that, can you? (Abbey Road) and weirdly, despite the weather; we created our own rainbows.
21st-23rd March 2023 saw seven small businesses meet up from the Welsh counties (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire) to share and fact-find the common issues and shared heritage with three Irish counties of Wexford, Waterford and Wicklow. This initiative is part of Celtic Routes Learning Journeys through an EU initiative…and what an inspirational journey it was…and on many levels.
We all board the ferry to Rosslare for three wild days. The itinerary was arranged to match businesses with the same theme as ours. Our businesses ranged from walking tours, healing centres, and outdoor pursuits. All of us promoting what Wales has to offer. We visited each business and had an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and frustrations. It was such a beneficial and different experience for all. We met the Irish businesses’ but also were able to network amongst ourselves between journeys in the minibus.
Meet Cathy, the driver; this lady was so much more than a driver! She beguiled us with her huge welcoming spirit whilst she drove her steed (minibus) like a wild thoroughbred, swinging around the country roads between the counties to the different host businesses, peppering the journey with facts, figures and historical information- never missing the opportunity to pass the porcelain- the essential tŷ bach stops!
The first day we steamed up to K2alpacas where we had an encounter with the fluffiest cutest animals, which were looked after by Alpaca Joe, whose love for these creatures shone through; did you know you can rent an alpaca for your wedding ceremony? No neither did I. What a great start, we dodged the rain and blue skies shone. Was it our rainbow that did it?
Evenings and lunches were punctuated with networking, conversations complemented by the most delicious local food chosen carefully by Oonagh Messette, who had researched some lovely places to eat and researched all the connections. Thank you. Despite the terrible weather forecast, gales and driving rain, we dodged showers and created our own rainbow- a metaphor for making the most of it; even with a dreadful choppy ferry crossing!
New Ross street focus with engaging Myles and a hake supper at the Clayton Whites Hotel
We visited paddle boarding and well-being centres, did a little mindfulness on the beach, had guided tours around the towns or sites, learnt about the myths and connections between our two countries and grasped every opportunity to forge connections with our fellow soulmates. Lorraine from Gallivanting.ie inspired us through her pre-dinner chat and abundant energy and an after-dinner inspection of her business wrapped car!
Are we starting a ‘Slow Tourism’ initiative? I think we are. It comes from the Slow Food movement; appreciating the rawness of the environment and the healing and well-being opportunities of being in a rich and ancient landscape- slowing down- connecting with the land. Scientists are researching the impact that the Bluemind movement has on humans through engaging with the sea and the impact of the environment has on one’s soul. With thanks to Lee from Dunmore East SUP and Yoga.
Moving forward, the passion we all share for promoting beautiful Wales, it’s amazing and extraordinary culture, myths and outdoor pursuit opportunities, are all central to our desire to help the tourist experience our wonderful Wales, from a different perspective. Our motto became ‘Stronger Together’. Thanks Lorraine.
(Caerdydd), (Snowdonia) Eryri and Anglesey (Ynys Mȏn) attract the fast tourists; we will aim to slow down the pace of the tourist’s path through Wales, by recommending each others businesses; encouraging visitors to stay a while longer and enrich their experience. Collaborations have been formed between walking tours and outdoor adventures businesses- a win-win combination…watch this space. Next meeting is a trip to Holidaynests for some alpaca healing. Can’t wait!
Those on tour were:- Ewan from VIP Wales tours, James from Llandysul Paddlers, Jackie and Lindsay from Holiday Nests and cute alpacas, Arfon from Teithiau Cerdded Dyfi Walking Tours, Simon from Aber Adventures LTD, Me from Aberdabbadoo and not forgetting Rhys from Llansteffan Heritage Walks. Lovely meeting you all. Xxx Who is going to write the Slow Guide to Wales then?
@Teithiau Cerdded Dyfi Walking Tours
@LLansteffan Heritage Walks Video by Rhys xx
@LLandysul Paddlers Centre