By Suzanne Pender
“WE HAVE no castle, that’s where all the tourists are,” reflected a local councillor as the annual comparison between tourism in Carlow and Kilkenny was aired at last week’s council meeting.
Raising the issue, cllr John Cassin remarked that Carlow appeared to be “lacking in tourists” this summer and wondered if there was more the county could do to advertise itself.
Cllr Adrienne Wallace suggested the provision of a free bus link from Kilkenny city to Carlow, while cllr Arthur McDonald reflected on what he felt were missed opportunities in terms of the River Barrow. “Instead of having people doing things that’s knocking the Barrow and stopping what’s happening, we should be trying to get more spent on it; we’ve seen the benefit it’s having in Kildare,” said cllr McDonald.
Cllr Ken Murnane praised the work of Carlow Tourism and its “great work”, adding that the tourist office was “an absolute credit to them. People need to look up Carlow Tourism and see everything that they do”, he said.
Cllr John Murphy said that Carlow has no castle and “that’s where all the tourists are”. However, he felt that while “15 or 16 coaches” could be outside Kilkenny Castle, that often doesn’t relate to spending, with tourists often whiling away an hour in the castle and grounds and then “going again”.
Cllr Cassin stated that his comments were not meant as a criticism of Carlow Tourism and the wonderful work it does, but more a question if, collectively, more could be done in Carlow to promote tourism.