If you have ever travelled to Ireland, you will have most likely landed at Dublin airport, rather than Cork, Shannon or Belfast. You will have also been told to leave Dublin and visit the rest of the country, that the other cities and counties are completely different from Dublin and that you may miss out on your visit to Ireland by staying in the capital city.
It’s true that any trip to Ireland is better when not so Dublin-centric, for the simple reason that the real Irish culture and countryside lie outside “The Pale”. Galway city, Cork city and Belfast city, the larger towns Waterford and Wexford on the east coast and the smaller towns Wicklow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Kerry and Leitrim to name but a few are well worth the visit, but if it’s a city break you’re after, Dublin is the place with the goods.
Frank Magee, recently retired Chief Executive of Dublin Tourism said, Dublin accounted for 50 percent of all visitors to Ireland but only received a ‘minuscule’ portion of the marketing budget. The Irish Times reported that Dublin has the potential to be a popular city destination such as Barcelona or Rome, and should be promoted as a separate travel destination.
The fact is there is way more going on in Dublin compared with the rest of the country. There’s much more choice on offer when it comes to shopping, dining, entertainment and lifestyle. The majority of Irish come to Dublin at the weekends for the bigger gigs and bigger shopping sprees, and many move to Dublin for the better jobs and lifestyle.
Dublin is more cosmopolitan than other Irish towns and cities. There are much more people there and with a larger mix of people it is a hot spot for interesting collaborations in the arts which brings about many arts and music festivals, film festivals, world culture festivals and markets aplenty.
Dubliners are proud of their city and its history and culture, and welcome visitors to the city with a friendliness that is rarely seen elsewhere in Europe, with plenty of craic to be had. Mr Magee feels that this Irish characteristic is not reflected in the marketing of the country, that there were too many UK-based advertising agencies involved in putting together marketing campaigns for Ireland.
Magee wants a greater proportion of the tourism marketing budget spent on getting visitors to the city. It may not be great news for those outside the capital but without more visiting Dublin the rest of the country may suffer.