Travel writ­ers hail Ir­ish ruin to ri­val Machu Pic­chu

Ma­jella O’sul­li­van, Irish Independent
19 April 2014

TWO of Canada’s most pop­u­lar travel writ­ers are sam­pling Ire­land’s new­est tourist at­trac­tion as guests of Tourism Ire­land.
The tourism body in­vited hus­band and wife team Dave Bouskill and De­bra Cor­beil to travel the 2,750km Wild At­lantic Way from west Cork to Done­gal so they would write about their ex­pe­ri­ences on their blog, ‘The Planet D’.
So far, they say they have been blown away by the UNESCO her­itage site on Skel­lig Michael, the ru­ins of the 12th-cen­tury monas­tic set­tle­ment, which is 1.6km off the south Kerry coast.
“It’s the most in­ter­est­ing ruin I’ve ever seen,” De­bra told the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent. “As an ex­pe­ri­ence I’d put it up there with Jor­dan’s Pe­tra or Peru’s Machu Pic­chu, but it’s even more in­ter­est­ing be­cause of its re­mote­ness and be­cause there are not so many tourists there.”
Known as ‘Canada’s ad­ven­ture cou­ple’, Dave and De­bra, who have been to­gether for 23 years and mar­ried for 15, have been on the road non-stop for six years. Their award-win­ning blog at http://www.the­p­lan­ is con­sid­ered one of the top travel blogs in the world and reaches an au­di­ence of about 800,000.
Their web­site alone at­tracts 200,000 vis­i­tors each month with 400,000 on Google+. They have 80,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter and 55,000 on Face­book.
Even though their trip to Ire­land is be­ing hosted by Tourism Ire­land, De­bra in­sists this does not com­pro­mise their ob­jec­tiv­ity. “We’re writ­ing for our own blog and it’s very im­por­tant that we are true to our au­di­ence. It’s our job to re­main ob­jec­tive and if we don’t do that peo­ple are just not go­ing to read it any more,” she said.
They also post pho­to­graphs and video­clips of their trav­els on so­cial me­dia and tweet about their ex­pe­ri­ences us­ing hash­tags #WildAt­lanticWay and #Plan­etDIre­land, which Tourism Ire­land is hop­ing will show­case the coastal route to a new au­di­ence.
To­day they will visit the Din­gle Penin­sula be­fore head­ing on for Clare and Gal­way. Their tour will fin­ish in Done­gal next week hav­ing passed through Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim.
Tourism Ire­land’s Canada man­ager, Jayne Shack­le­ford says an al­most 70pc in­crease in avail­able air­line seats be­tween Ire­land and Canada has pre­sented new op­por­tu­ni­ties for Cana­dian hol­i­day­mak­ers.
“Dave and De­bra’s Planet D blog is hugely pop­u­lar, so their visit is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a ma­jor im­pres­sion on their on­line fol­low­ers, as they ex­plore the Wild At­lantic Way and share their ex­pe­ri­ences,” she said.
“Blogs and so­cial me­dia are recog­nised as strong in­flu­encers for prospec­tive hol­i­day­mak­ers and we reg­u­larly work with them in pro­mot­ing the is­land of Ire­land.”

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