On yesterday’s day trip, our group had the opportunity to go to on tour of the Cliff’s of Mohr as well as the city of Galaway. The day started off bright and early to catch our tour bus and off we were to our first stop: the Cliff’s of Mohr! With this being one of the few times to leave the heart of Ireland or Dublin, I was excited get out of the city and explore the beauties of nature. On our way to the cliffs we stopped at a rest stop called the Barack Obama Plaza which included not only a historical museum, but also statues of former president Barack Obama as well as former first lady Michelle Obama. Everyone in our group got quite a chuckle out of this because it appeared that the Irish really love Obama. While we may have found it cheesy, the reasoning behind recognizing our former president was very interesting. Opening in 2014, the plaza is named after former U.S. president Barack Obama whose third great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney lived in Moneygall, Ireland and eventually emigrated to the U.S. in 1850. I found our rest stop to be not just useful but also made it worthwhile stopping. I can’t say it is everyday you see a Barack Obama Plaza!
After our pitstop, we continued on to our intended destination: the Cliffs of Mohr! During our two hour stop here, we got to walk along the path a see the beautiful sights of nature and the cliffs. Peering below the path, I was able to peer down at a peace full body of water as the waves lulled me to calmness. As a stark contrast to the city, the smell of water, breeze in my hair, and the green pastures of grass was a nice break from the bustle of Dublin. It was very much needed. As someone who likes exploring national parks and scenic places, I was blown away by how beautiful the country of Ireland is.
With travel being halted for almost three years, I often think about countries, places, and economies that rely on tourism as their source of income. For example, take an ecosystem. An ecosystem is a carefully curated system that relies on everything else to function in homeostasis. When a species becomes threatened, this puts everything else that relies on one another at risk as well. It’s no different from our human community where every citizen of a city relies on its own resources and interacts with its environment. Much like the delicate system of an ecosystem, places that rely on tourism can be threatened as well. The invasion of COVID-19 had one of the worst impacts on the tourism sector for all places alike. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 63% of experts don’t believe tourism won’t fully recover until 2024. As tourism comes back in larger numbers, I see that many places have felt the resounding effects. As I wandered the streets of Dublin and Galaway, I saw many shops boarded up, graffiti covering the empty buildings, and many signs apologizing for having to close their doors for good. With the lack of business during those hardships, it is hard to say if tourism will completely recover. Whether it may or may not, I think it will be interesting if I were to return in a couple years and see the differences in business. I wonder if new attractions will be in place or if places will continue to struggle.
If I were charged with making a sales pitch about tourism in Ireland I would highlight different categories. For example, there are a ton of excursions outside of just Guinness and Temple Bar. If I were to travel on my own, I would love to know different scenic places to visit, coffee shops, restaurants, as well as small businesses to support. For me, when I plan an excursion I like to see various categories and pick what I want to do or see. I would also pitch incentives for tourism. For example, maybe a hotel or hostel one is staying at could offer coupons or a free small item (food, cup of coffee, etc.) for visiting a business. This could attract people to come and visit these places. By word of mouth, people can tell others about their experience and hopefully attract others to do the same.
With a long day trip, we were all very tired and quite literally napped the entire bus ride (myself included!). Too bad many of us want mohr sleep!