As we all grapple with new travel buzzwords, megatrends and responsible brands, West Kerry is still serving up original and unapologetically raw experiences.
“And some time, make the time to drive OutWest”. The opening of Heaney’s Postscript, which for many captures best what draws us all to the west and the wild parts of Ireland, and for me perfectly sums up my love of the Dingle Peninsula.
The Dingle Peninsula is one of Ireland’s most visited destinations. Hanging off the edge of Ireland, jutting into the wild Atlantic, Dingle town’s 2000 locals welcome over one million visitors a year. So what’s going on, what makes people drive five hours from Dublin to a remote outpost of West Kerry for once-in-a-lifetime vacations, lengthy pilgrimages and long weekends away from the capital? A better way to ask the question is, what is it that we are all missing that we seem to get in abundance in the West?
Beyond the Buzz:
Why the area is so appealing is not always an easy question to answer, and for many people the answer will be vastly different. For me, it’s about maximising the things I adore such as friends, community, belonging, wilderness and adventure. Being here, as a visitor or a resident, feels a lot like placing your hand on the scales and tipping it in the direction of these things.
It is true that the tourism landscape has recently changed and the industry is awash with buzz words grappling to define trends which demonstrate our desire to simply slow down, switch off, disconnect, re-connect, and drown out the noise of day-to-day life. One of my favourite things about West Kerry is its irreverence to being branded and siloed as any one particular destination.
The truth is that West Kerry and Dingle have been serving up this type of experience for generations of travellers and will continue to do so for many years. In this way, West Kerry is the original slow tourism destination.
The last two years have given us a fresh perspective of the things we feel we can’t live without freedom, connection, big views, open space, new experiences, loud gigs and quiet coffees. These are the things we missed most, and the things we find in abundance in the West.
There are so many reasons I implore you, as did Heaney, to get in your car and come OutWest. The wind, the light, the people, the pints, the wildness.
It is the combination of these elements that has led to this little town becoming a household name all around the world. One is now synonymous with kind people, wild landscapes, cosy snugs, world-class musicians and unforgettable experiences. Heaney’s words still ring true when it comes to exploring the west. Just slow down, take some time, go West and find out for yourself.
Barry Rogers is a tourism consultant who works for Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland and lives in Dingle, West Kerry.