WALES and Ireland have an unbreakable bond formed through a shared heritage of ancient crosses, sacred stones, and even St Patrick – or so the story goes – and it’s these myths, legends, and beautiful rugged landscapes that are central to a new tourism project between the two countries.

Celtic Routes is a branded collection of tourism experiences encouraging travellers to visit Ireland and Wales to discover the Celtic spirit by suggesting immersive and authentic experiences in West Wales and South East Ireland.

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The £1.7/€1.99million project brings six partners from either side of the Irish Sea together for the first time – Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Wicklow, Wexford, and Waterford.

It was developed to promote the natural, cultural and heritage assets common to each of the counties to increase visitor numbers and maximise their tourism economies.

Although each successful tourism destinations in their own right, the partnership encourages new and seasoned visitors to explore much wider areas, away from the major transit routes and well-known tourism ‘honeypots’.

Launched this week at Yr Egin in Carmarthen, the project has received £1.37/€1.59million from the European Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme.

Representatives of tourism businesses and organisations from across West Wales were amongst the first to discover their ‘Celtic Routes’ during the launch event, led by Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole.

“The links forged between the Welsh and Irish date back over the centuries – from links between our ancient saints to shared tales, myths, and legends,” he said.  “Indeed, the inspiration for the Celtic Routes brand goes back to our Celtic ancestors who experienced our world in three realms – the land, sea and sky and that is the ethos of the whole campaign.”

An ambitious marketing campaign is now underway targeting potential visitors from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and the USA.

A toolkit is being made available for businesses and destinations with guidance and ideas about how they can create their own Celtic experiences and contribute to the success of the project.

And a group of businesses from Wales will soon be heading off on learning journeys to Ireland to learn and share best practice with their Irish counterparts.

To take the first step towards discovering Celtic Routes, visit www.celticroutes.wales / www.llwybrauceltaiddcymru / www.celticroutes.irish online.

For further information about the project, contact Co-ordinator Sian Jones – RSJones@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01554 744370.

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