Community Stories  >  Case Studies

Hook Tourism

Tourism contributes some €5 billion annually to the Irish economy. But that figure tends to mask the impact of the sector at local level and the key role of communities in developing the fabric of attractions that comprise our tourism ‘offering’.
 
Hook Tourism is a perfect example. Formed over 50 years ago, this voluntary group is seen as a standard-bearer for the rural tourism movement and the drive to maximise the potential of the local environment.
From the outset, the focus of this innovative group has been on the protection and development of local resources and raising awareness of the area’s rich heritage; Bannow Bay where the Normans landed in 1169 and the Hook Lighthouse erected in the same century. The lighthouse was opened to the public in 2001.
 
Over the years Hook Tourism has undertaken restoration projects, initiated an annual seafood festival and developed sporting events as well as guided heritage tours of the area. The group also runs a tourist office and maintains a website highlighting local attractions.
 
In the course of its work, the group provides training and employment opportunities for people in the area.
One of the most ambitious projects undertaken by Hook Tourism is the restoration and operation of the Colclough Walled Garden Project at Tintern Abbey, on Wexford’s Hook Peninsula. The Abbey dates from 1203 and was once home to the Cistercian monks. It has proved a major draw for visitors to the region.
 
The restoration project will see this magical walled garden reopen as an organic fruit and vegetable garden, which will be open to the public. Apples, pears, plums, nectarines, peaches, cherries and apricots will be grown as ‘wall fruit’, while a number of original fruit specimens that have survived the ravages of time will be nurtured.
 
This project was supported by Clann Credo because of the very clear social dividend it provides to the local community, in terms of employment opportunities and the development of key local resources.
Clann Credo also provided Community Loan Finance to two other Hook Tourism projects, enabling the group to access funding under the LEADER and FLAG programmes.




Location: Tintern Abbey, Saltmills, Co. Wexford

Website: http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/tinternabbey/

"LEADER funding, and then being able to actually access it because we had Clann Credo as a backer, is what has made the difference to us being able to take on and realise the larger projects."