The West Coast of Ireland never looked so beautiful as it did on BBC2 last week.
Mony Halls 'Great Irish Escape' to Connemara has done more for that area in Galway than thousands of euro of advertising and marketing by Tourism Ireland.
The programme listing had slightly caught my interest on paper, and so I tuned in, an eye on the TV another on the laptop. But I soon closed the computer.
If I had watched the programme with the sound off I would have been 100% sure that the location was somewhere tropical, remote and a million miles away.
Instead I looked on, eyes glazed and listened with disbelief that this beautiful turquoise blue ocean crashing against an ancient rocky coastline, shadowed by the most luscious green landscape was in fact just 2 hours away from my cosy sitting room.
There had to have been some photo shopping going on and I have no idea when Mr Hall got this stunning weather for filming but according to him he was in Connemara, forgotten Connemara – the location of school child family holidays, a remote corner of Galway – the same location for Brendan Gleeson's dark and hilarious film 'The Guard.'
The great Irish Escape is no tacky show, there is big money invested in this project and it shows – sitting on my couch previously contemplating a holiday in Greece (hence the eye on the laptop), I really did take a u turn and ask out loud – why not Connemara?
|Monty Hall and Rueben|
Monty and his dog Rueben are helping the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group to examine how many whales, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks and even blue sharks visit the Connemara coastline. (If these water mammals seen this series it would surely attract more of them!)
Mussel cooking competition, scuba diving with congers, dolphin watching, otter spotting ...
I have no doubt that Connemara has been inundated with accommodation requests from the UK following this show and the area will enjoy much more positive searches with another six episodes to be indulged in on BBC2.
So this is obviously the way to go, forget the huge marketing campaigns on the back of buses, the posters, the radio and TV ads – lets promote it “by accident.” Get some movies filming here – look what Lord of the rings did for New Zealand.
My advise to those marketing the country is don't just tell them about Ireland – show them. Or better still let broadcasters show themselves, they may just see something that we are overlooking – lets maybe take a step back from the world known landmarks in Ireland and promote the lesser spotted ones, find something quirky, a different view – something new.
|Sharks off Connemara?|
Sharks in Ireland – who ever knew?
I didn't, but I do want to know more.
Monty Hall's 'Great Irish Escape' BBC2 8pm every Thursday until September 22.