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19 Jan 2012

Millions of Americans read about ‘savage craic’ in the West of Ireland

Millions of potential holidaymakers all over the US are reading about the West of Ireland this month, on the travel pages of the hugely popular Huffington Post news website, which attracts an average audience of 34 million readers each day.

Richard Bangs – an Emmy award-winning videographer and travel correspondent for the Huffington Post – visited the West of Ireland late last year, as a guest of Tourism Ireland. The resulting series of features, entitled The Savage Craic of Western Ireland, has now been posted to the Huffington Post site and includes extensive video footage and photos of the west of Ireland. The series includes interviews with various locals he met during his time here, as well as articles highlighting the huge diversity, culture, unique experiences and world-class cuisine of a holiday in the west of Ireland.

Footage captured by Richard Bangs includes his trip to Inis Mór, where he interviewed local tour guide Michael Hernon; the docent of Dún Aonghus, Sheila Joyce; and Frances Beatty, of An Púcán craft shop in Kilronan. Bangs describes the “stunning” scenery of the Burren, including Poulnabrone Dolmen, as well as his time in Gus O’Connor’s pub in Doolin and his visit to the Burren Smokehouse. He also took in the flying Boat Museum in Foynes; and Westport, where he dropped in to Matt Molloy’s pub and also interviewed Lady Sheelyn Browne at Westport House, who told him the story of Gráinne Mhaol.

One of the largest news websites in the world, the Huffington Post has about 34 million readers every day. As well as featuring on the popular news site, the ‘Savage Craic of Western Ireland’ series will also be distributed across a variety of other online platforms in the US this spring, including various popular travel websites. It has been posted to Tourism Ireland’s Facebook page in the US, which has over 200,000 fans. Bangs is also undertaking interviews on various US radio programmes, describing for listeners his travels in the west of Ireland.

Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “We were delighted to bring Richard Bangs to the West of Ireland. The exposure for the series he has produced through the Huffington Post alone, with more than 34 million visitors each day, is fantastic. It is an excellent way to reach a wide audience of potential holidaymakers right across the US, raising the profile of Mayo and the West of Ireland and the huge variety of things to see and do, and encouraging more Americans to vacation in the west of Ireland in 2012.

“The United States is a tremendously important market for tourism to the island of Ireland, second only to Great Britain in terms of visitor numbers. And the good news is that Ireland ranks at number seven among in the list of aspirational holiday destinations that Americans would like to visit. The most recent CSO figures, for the period January-November 2011, show growth in visitor numbers from North America of +5.6% – an encouraging basis on which we plan to build in 2012.”

Richard Bangs has been nicknamed ‘the father of modern adventure travel’, having spent more than 30 years as an explorer and having published over 1,000 magazine articles, 19 books and numerous documentaries. Bangs was part of the founding executive team of Expedia.com, serving as its editor-at-large.