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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme welcomed Tour Guides from across the country for a familiarisation trip of the Ring of Gullion. The tour guides are training to become 'Blue Badge' Guides, qualifying them to take tours anywhere on the island of Ireland. These guides will be ambassadors for Northern Ireland and will be recognised experts in key subject areas.

Anne O’Callaghan, a Ring of Gullion Ambassador, organised the trip for the Tour Guides and she is also working towards becoming a local 'Blue Badge' Guide through training with the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme.  The scheme is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s programme to conserve and enhance some of the region’s most treasured landscapes.

Trainee ‘Blue Badge’ Tour Guides attend Familiarisation Trip of the Ring of Gullion
Trainee ‘Blue Badge’ Tour Guides attend Familiarisation Trip of the Ring of Gullion

The Ring of Gullion Partnership has already provided Ambassador training to 49 trainees over the last 4 years. Ambassadors have gone on to develop their own bespoke tours in the local area or used the training to enhance and refine their tourism service offering. They have also been instrumental in providing support to a number of key festivals including the Winter Solstice Festival and Lúnasa Festival, both of which are building momentum and popularity on an annual basis.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said “The Ring of Gullion is an area primed for sustainable targeted Tourism Development. This is down to the outstanding natural beauty of the area, its mythical reputation, and the fact that it is alive with legends and world renewed archaeological heritage. This is an area where the people are proud of where they come from and they are ready to share their stories, music, crafts, legends and craic!”

“Through the work of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme and Newry Mourne and Down District Council’s Tourism Cluster Groups; the ambassadors, community and tourism businesses are developing the skills and products they need to let everyone know that the Ring of Gullion is ready and open for tourism”.

The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme and the Council are progressing in their plans for 2019 with new tourism training courses, new events and even bigger festivals. This work would not be possible without the tireless efforts and support of local community groups, individuals, volunteers and businesses. The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme would like to thank all these individuals and groups for their hard work and support over the last few years and wish them and their families a healthy and prosperous New Year; it looks  forward to working with them again in 2019 and beyond.

Check out the Ring of Gullion website www.ringofgullion.org or call 028 3082 8590 for a full programme of events.

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