Donegal is acknowledged as one of Ireland’s most scenic and wild regions with extensive natural resources including flora, fauna, mountains, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, cliffs and sea. Traditional industries and employment patterns have changed, leading to serious unemployment. Tourism is viewed as a major economic opportunity but studies demonstrate considerable lag behind successful tourism destinations in the south and west of Ireland.
WHAT DO WE DO?
The aim of the programme is to encourage and support development of Donegal’s water-based leisure assets for the social and economic benefit of the community.
WHO DO WE WORK WITH?
The programme is hosted by Donegal County Council and works in co-operation with Donegal County Development Board, a range of State Agencies, local communities, local leisure clubs and the tourism industry. Participation by all of these stakeholders is crucial: government agencies own or control most of the natural resource; communities live there; clubs play there; tourism is a business – it doesn’t just happen.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
Successful tourism requires good organisation, resource management, product development, product marketing and sales. In order to sustain successful water-based tourism, resource management needs to take account of environmental sustainability and the leisure needs of the local community.
PROGRESS TO DATE:
1. Feasibility studies completed: angling; beach management; inland waterway boating; marina development; sea life centre; coastal visitor education centre.
2. Access negotiations completed: shared access to salmon and trout fisheries for local clubs and visitors; beach bye laws; maritime craft bye laws (jet skis and recreational boating).
3. Business proposals: two salmon fisheries purchased; one private marina constructed; three private marinas proposed with ancillary accommodation; business plans completed for sea life and coastal education centres.
4. Web site design: click on the links below or to the right for a range of information on studies and reports or for direct purchase of holiday products (angling being run as pilot).
5. External partnerships and learning: in addition to working within Co. Donegal, the programme has also been involved with a wide range of external agencies, universities and partners in Ireland, the UK and Europe, working on mutually beneficial projects including sailing, beach management, inland waterways and marine spatial planning. The programme also completed a national product audit on marine leisure for the Irish Marine Institute.
Download the Marine Institute Product Audit [PDF 8MB]
The Programme has also been working with the Interreg IVB IMCORE Project and Buncrana Town Council to explore the potential for a coastal education centre at Lough Swilly, focussing on marine spatial planning and coastal management. Feasibility study and implementation proposal have been prepared.
Download Swilly Feasibility Study [PDF 3MB]
Download Swilly Implementation Proposal [PDF 1.2MB]