An Irish-American couple, a teacher and a police officer from Philadelphia, tied the knot yesterday (5 March) in Tourism Ireland’s ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ garden at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show.
The couple, Roxanne Wilson and Frank Kennedy, were the lucky winners of the ‘Philadelphia Wedding’s Greatest Groom’ contest – which meant that they got to say “I do” and exchange Claddagh rings in the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ garden at the renowned flower show. The bridal party also enjoyed a special champagne reception in the garden, with Irish salmon and brown bread prepared by David Corbett, head chef of the Absolute Hotel in Limerick. The couple’s honeymoon is sponsored by Tourism Ireland – and, of course, will be to the West of Ireland, taking in a host of locations along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s largest indoor flower and horticultural exhibition, attracting about 265,000 visitors each year. This year, the centrepiece of the Tourism Ireland stand is a special garden exhibit called ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’. Modelled on Ireland’s newest visitor experience, the space features a replica of the Poulnabrone dolmen and has been designed to bring the wild landscape of our western seaboard to life for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the show.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “The wedding of Roxanne and Frank was a novel way for Tourism Ireland to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way – providing a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about the unique nature of our gardens, and of a vacation on the island of Ireland, to the thousands of visitors to the show.
“2013 was the strongest year ever for visitors to Ireland from North America – even surpassing the previous best year of 2007. We are undertaking a really strong programme of promotions right throughout 2014, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth. We are placing a major focus on highlighting the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route. We are also promoting key events, including Limerick City of Culture, the ‘Grande Partenza’ of the Giro d’Italia and the Croke Park Classic in September, which will see the University of Central Florida take on Penn State in their college football season opener. With direct flights from Philadelphia and great value offers available from our travel partners, our message for Americans is there has never been a better time to make that trip.”
Millions of people across the United States are seeing Tourism Ireland’s ads and holiday features this spring. The organisation’s St Patrick’s promotions include sponsorship of the live coverage of the New York St Patrick’s Day parade on the NBC network, which will feature 30-second Ireland ads and footage of Ireland – and will be seen by an estimated two million viewers. Golf and business tourism promotions, e-marketing and social media activity, consumer shows like the Philadelphia Flower Show, as well as a series of sales blitzes across the US and Canada, will keep the island of Ireland front of mind for potential travellers. In addition, positive publicity worth close to €100 million will be generated by Tourism Ireland in the United States this year.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland (second right), presents newly-weds Roxanne Wilson and Frank Kennedy with Claddagh rings, in the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ garden at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Also pictured is David Corbett, head chef of the Absolute Hotel, Limerick.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087-685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2013, we welcomed an estimated 8 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.