Travel writers from seven countries – including Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, China and Austria – were in Londonderry at the weekend for the spectacular Return of Colmcille pageant.
The journalists – invited here by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – joined the thousands of spectators who thronged the city to witness the story of Colmcille brought to life. Over the weekend, the group also visited the ‘The Shirt Factory’ exhibition in the Void gallery, where a ‘pop-up’ museum showcased the city’s proud heritage as the one-time shirt-making capital of the world.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to welcome this group of journalists to Londonderry and Northern Ireland. The Return of Colmcille was a wonderful ‘hook’ to showcase the UK City of Culture – it will be highlighted to millions of potential visitors across the world, through the articles these journalists will produce when they return home. Media visits like this are an important part of our busy publicity programme, helping to raise the profile of Northern Ireland and ultimately helping us achieve our goal of increasing visitor numbers from overseas. The City of Culture is a major part of Tourism Ireland’s promotions and publicity drive around the world in 2013 and we look forward to highlighting lots of other major events still to come this year, including the Fleadh Cheoil, the Walled City Tattoo and the Turner Prize.”
Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to highlight Londonderry and the City of Culture in advance of the Return of Colmcille pageant included a specially-created page on the organisation’s website, Ireland.com – which featured the “Monster in Lough Foyle” viral film (viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube); a quirky poster ad targeting holidaymakers in Inverness; and a busy programme of social media activity on the GB Facebook page and Twitter feed.
During their time in Derry~Londonderry, the journalists enjoyed every ‘chapter’ of the Colmcille story and also attended the Columba Canticles, a new oratorio specially commissioned for the event, which was performed in St Columb’s Catherdral. They also took a trip along the Causeway Coastal route, stopping off at the Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Dunluce Castle.