South Tipperary Fine Gael T.D. Tom Hayes welcomed the British Ambassador, Dominick Chilcott, to Cashel on Friday to commemorate the one year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Rock of Cashel. Ambassador Chilcott had accepted an invitation from Deputy Hayes to visit the town as part of a weeklong series of events attended by the British Embassy, marking the historic state visit.
“I am well aware that the tourism industry, particularly in rural areas, is struggling like all industries at the moment, but what I have seen on the ground in the wake of the Queen’s visit is a serious boost in visitor numbers to the town. These extra visitors aren’t only coming from Britain, but from around the world. The exposure we as a country got from that visit internationally was obviously huge, and there’s no doubting that the Rock of Cashel had an impact on that audience,” said Deputy Hayes.
Rock of Cashel supervisory guide Elaine Moriarty said the number of visitors to the Rock rose by 48% in the months following the Queens visit. 2012 figures are also 10% up on the same period last year. While the royal visit can only partly be credited with this increase, Ms Moriarty says the increase in visitors to the Rock has come as a direct result of the Queen’s Irish State visit.
The Ambassador’s visit to the Tipperary town comes nearly 12 months to the day since Her Majesty touched down at the Rock, although this particular visit by a British dignitary was a little more low-key.
His visit began with a civic reception, hosted by the mayor, at Cashel Town Council. From there the Ambassador was brought to the Rock of Cashel to follow in the footsteps of the Queen herself. Staff at the Rock retraced the tour given to Her Majesty and shared stories of the visit with the Ambassador and Deputy Hayes.
Following that the Ambassador was brought on a horse drawn carriage tour of Cashel town with the Cashel Brass Band playing in the plaza to welcome him. The brief visit concluded with the Ambassador calling to Ryan’s pub, a popular spot with locals and tourists alike.