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22 Apr 2016

Minister Michael Ring welcomes actor Richard E Grant to Mayo

New Tourism Ireland promotion with actor Richard E Grant to reach 5.5 million people across Great Britain ~

Tourism Ireland has teamed up with actor Richard E Grant and Smooth Radio, the third largest radio brand in Britain, in a new promotion to showcase Ireland to British holidaymakers this year.

Tourism Ireland is working with Smooth Radio to produce a series of five short online films. Viewers will see Richard E Grant immerse himself in our culture and meet the locals, showcasing some of the many wonderful experiences on offer here – including Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way. Tourism Ireland worked closely with Fáilte Ireland, to agree the locations to feature in each film. Filming took place in Westport today (22 April) and Minister Michael Ring welcomed Richard E Grant to the town.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, said: “The Wild Atlantic Way has truly captured the imagination of those, from home and abroad, who are looking to explore the west coast of Ireland. In recent months we have seen the roll-out of Tourism Ireland’s special Star Wars campaign, which highlights the beauty of Skellig Michael and the Wild Atlantic Way, and last weekend, the popular TV programme, Top Gear, took the Kerry section of the route for a test drive. This week we welcome renowned star, Richard E Grant, along with Smooth Radio, to Mayo, to promote the region to legions of fans across Britain; a market which is of exceptional importance to Irish tourism. Getting the message out about the welcome that awaits British visitors to Mayo, and further afield, and the spectacular beauty that exists along the Wild Atlantic Way, is essential to encouraging the continued development of that market in the months and years ahead. This will further support the tourism industry in Mayo and help secure local jobs across the sector.”

The campaign – which will be rolled out in two phases – will reach about 5.5 million people across Britain. The films will be promoted on the Smooth Radio website and through on-air mentions. They will also be shared via social media – targeting Tourism Ireland’s audience on Facebook (430,000 fans in Britain alone) and Twitter (67,000+ followers).

Richard E Grant is a great fit for the Tourism Ireland campaign and its key audience of ‘culturally curious’ holidaymakers. His appearances in British films and TV series like Withnail and I, Downton Abbey and Hotel Secrets (which featured Ireland in the first series) have cemented his popularity and made him one of the best-known faces on British television.

Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s Deputy Head of Great Britain, said: “Our newest promotion has been specifically designed to highlight holidays and short breaks in Ireland to our ‘culturally curious’ audience in Great Britain. These are independent, active sightseers, who are typically looking to visit new places and expand their experience by exploring landscapes, history and culture. We are really excited to be working with Richard E Grant and Smooth Radio, as they are a great fit with this important demographic. This is just one element of our extensive promotional programme that we are rolling out this year – aimed at boosting travel to Ireland from Great Britain during 2016.

“Great Britain is the largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland and we have seen excellent growth in British visitor numbers so far again this year, with the latest CSO figures indicating a +21% increase for the December 2015 to February 2016 period.”


  Minister Michael Ring (centre) welcomes actor Richard E Grant to Westport. Also pictured is Darren Quinton, Tourism Ireland.

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 220,000 people.
  • In 2015, we welcomed approximately 9.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.7 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in ten language versions around the world, which attracted about 16.5 million visitors in 2015.