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18/09/2021

HOSPITALITY HEROES: Putting a 'beautiful town' on the Wild Atlantic Way at the top of people's minds

Shane Smyth is the Tourism Officer of Bundoran - an idyllic seaside town nestled at the southern tip of Donegal on the Wild Atlantic Way. Iconic Newspapers have crowned Shane as one of our Hospitality Heroes and would like to congratulate him on all his hard work in keeping his beloved town of Bundoran on the map.   

Shane came to the job in 2013 following an 11 year career with Dublin radio station Q102. He is originally from the town and has been responsible for the increase in brand awareness of Bundoran throughout the country. He is also brand ambassador for Discover Bundoran and hosts the Bundoran Weekly podcast.

Shane’s main job is to promote Bundoran via the Tourist Office, online, in the media (social and traditional) and to encourage visitors from far and wide. However that all changed at the start of the pandemic when he had to tell people not to come to Bundaron.

He recalls “this was completely against the grain of everything I was employed to do. Ordinarily the town would be packed with visitors for the busy Easter period, but we had to get the word out there and ask people not to come. We asked them to please stay at home and respect our community, because we were just as vulnerable as every other community in the country.”

Shane says his weekly online and social media posts were vital for keeping people in touch with beautiful Bundoran. He wanted to make sure the Donegal coastal town would be “top of mind” when it comes to holiday destinations for families, couples and singles.

Indeed it was and when the country opened up last summer, they ran another campaign called ‘Bundoran is Ready”, and in flocked the tourists for a busy summer season.

Shane believes holidays and breaks this year are all about getting to know our country. When I asked him what we should know about Bundoran, he was like an encyclopaedia!

Rolling off the tip of his tongue, Shane tells me “the main industry in Bundoran is tourism so there’s plenty of accommodation to cater for our visitors. It’s Ireland’s country music and surfing capital. We have our famous main beach, Tullan Strand and breath-taking coastal walks. It a great base for visiting surrounding areas along the Wild Atlantic Way, South Donegal, into North Sligo and Leitrim.”

Shane doesn’t like to overuse the phrase ‘hidden gems’, but he points out to me there are plenty in Bundoran and new ones popping up all the time. “Along our famous coastal walks, visitors can sit and enjoy a summer sunset and breathe in the fresh sea air. Or they can simply make a wish at the Wishing Chair whilst marvelling at the natural Fairy Bridges. These are centuries old but people weren’t aware of them until we started to promoting it a little bit better.”

He is looking forward to the town being enhanced with outdoor eating this summer and is very excited for Bundoran’s two new web cam. He says if you want to see a Donegal sunset tune into their website or come see it for yourself. For more details and informative videos by Shane on Bundoran visit https://discoverbundoran.com

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