Lough Derg lakeshore villages report a good tourist season

Enjoying the Taste of Tipperary BBQ and garden party in Larkin's of Garrykennedy on Sunday
From Terryglass to Garrykennedy, Lough Derg’s lakeside villages have had a good summer, with Irish and foreign tourists taking time to visit Tipperary.

From Terryglass to Garrykennedy, Lough Derg’s lakeside villages have had a good summer, with Irish and foreign tourists taking time to visit Tipperary.

Some operators and business people put the increase in business being down to a general upturn in the economy with the region benefitting as the major cities, especially Dublin, come out of recession.

“Dromineer has had a good summer,” said Rita Ryan of the Whiskey Still pub and restaurant. “We have seen an increase in boat users.”

She also said that with the British bank holiday last weekend, they had a number of UK visitors and this had given an extra boost to business as Irish families got ready for a return to school.

“Last year we had the world sailing championships here and we were wondering how this year would go, but it has been a good summer,” she said.

Maura Boyle of Larkins pub and restaurant in Garrykennedy said they were now seeing “light for the first time in five or six years”.

While boat users were down, with the extra flights at Shannon Airport, they had tourists from Switzerland, Austria, America and France. “We wouldn’t be open only that VAT remained at 9 per cent. That was a massive help,” she said.

Maura said that the economic upturn in Dublin was drifing down to places like Garrykennedy and they were seeing the benefits of it over the summer.

Larkins was part of this year’s inaugural Taste of Lough Derg food trail and Maura pointed out how important food tourism was and how important it was for people to use local suppliers and help each other out.

“We had 80 people booked in for A Taste of Tipperary last Sunday. That is another indication that things are improving,” she said.

However, she also stated that a lot of “hard work and perseverence” went into keeping the business open during the bad times.

Meanwhile, at the far end of the lake in Terryglass, Mairead Ryan of Paddys bar and restaurant in Terryglass said that while it had been a good season, the region needed its own Wild Atlantic Way type of attraction.

“We need a plan. We have the heritage and the nature we just need something to bring it all together and market it,” she said, highlighting that there was no official walking trail north of Nenagh.

Mairead pointed out that the northern end of the lake also suffered from not having its own hotel, but that Coolbawn Quay lakeside villages had been good to them.

They had also developed a hens party business that was working for them and they hoped to add to it.

“We can’t stand still,” she said.

Kevin Whelan of Nenagh Walking Tours, also reported a good season with visitors from Britain, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France among those to take his history walk around the town.

Kevin has three walks lined up for Heritage Week, with a walk this Saturday at 8pm, one on Sunday at noon and again at 8pm. All walks leave from the old town hall at Banba Square.