New Literary Tourism Project to Provide Up To €10,000 to Support Developing Literary Tourism Products or Services 

  • New series of workshops announced in Galway, Mayo and Sligo
  • Local businesses and organisations urged to sign up
  • €10,000 fund available for businesses

Are you an entrepreneur, culture vulture, or community group? Join a Spot-lit workshop this month in Galway, Mayo or Sligo to discover how to create new products for the untapped literary tourism market in the West of Ireland and bring even more tourists to your region.

Spot-lit, a new EU Funded innovation programme, will shine a light on literary tourism over the next three years, with a focus on developing new literary tourism products or services.

Workshops are being held in Sligo at The Glasshouse Hotel on November 26th, in The Ellison Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo on November 27th, and in The Maldron Hotel, Galway, on November 28th. Attendance at the workshops is free of charge, though registration is essential at https://www.spot-lit.eu/spot-lit-literary-tourism-workshops/

The Western Development Commission (WDC) are the Spot-lit  Irish partners and through the programme are working to develop and support organisations and businesses in this culturally-rich region to grow, collaborate and engage with wider audiences and customers.

CEO Tomás Ó Síocháin of the Western Development Commission said: 

‘The west has a fantastic story to tell; an area of arresting physical beauty, centres of innovation and economic growth, however Spot-Lit is an opportunity to focus on some of the stories as yet untold. I would urge communities, groups and SMEs to engage with the Literary Business Support Programme, one aspect of the work of the WDC in supporting the Creative Economy.’

Focused on the coastal counties along Ireland’s western seaboard, the Spot-lit programme is open to small businesses, social enterprises, community groups and literary associations with a unique idea for the development of literary tourism in their area. A series of monthly engagement workshops, learning journeys, business advice clinics and individual mentoring supports will be available. Attendance at one of the initial workshops is essential for any organisation that wishes to proceed to the next stage.

Literary Tourism is an emerging niche sector within the wider cultural tourism sector, where places with literary heritage offer author and fiction-related literary tourism opportunities along with opportunities arising from literary festivals, trails and book shops.

In Ireland, this would include literary rich locations such as Sligo, synonymous with the poet WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Bellaghy in Derry, Cuirt International Festival of Literature in Galway, Doolin Writers’ Weekend in Clare.

Following on from the workshops, micro-enterprises/SMEs from the West of Ireland, which show potential for the development of their business and the wider region through literary tourism, will be invited to apply to the Spot-Lit programme.  The programme provides up to €10,000 per participating business to support their development over the project duration.

Further information on the Spot-lit programme is available online from www.spot-lit.eu or follow on social media @spot_lit_eu

//ENDS//

Notes for Editors:

Media Queries: Contact Allan Mulrooney, Head of Communication at the Western Development Commission on allanmulrooney@wdc.ie or +353 87 334 3713

Spot-lit is a new EU-funded programme for the literary tourism industry in the NPA Region.

Partners in this project include:

  • Western Development Commission (Ireland) (Communication Lead Partner)
  • Irish Central Border Area Network, Arts Over Borders (Northern Ireland) (Project Lead Partner)
  • Arts Over Borders (Northern Ireland)
  • Wigtown Festival Company (Scotland)
  • Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (Finland)
  • Lapland University of Applied Sciences (Finland)
  • Regional Council of Kainuu (Finland)
  • Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature (Iceland) (Associate Partner)
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature (Associate Partner)

About the NPA Region

The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 forms a cooperation between 9 programme partner countries. The NPA 2014-2020 is part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ERDF equivalent funding from non EU partner countries.  Despite geographical differences, the large programme area shares a number of joint challenges and opportunities that can best be overcome and realised by transnational cooperation. It is the programme’s vision is to help to generate vibrant, competitive and sustainable communities, by harnessing innovation, expanding the capacity for entrepreneurship and seizing the unique growth initiatives and opportunities of the Northern and Arctic regions in a resource-efficient way.

Regional Profiles 

Ireland, known to many as the land of saints and scholars, is today home to numerous writers, poets and dramaturgs. The Spot-lit region in Ireland is the West of Ireland coastal counties and is renowned for its literary heritage; it is synonymous with the internationally recognised poet William Butler Yeats, songwriter Percy French, writer Pádraic Ó Conaire and many more. The region celebrates its literary heritage through modern-day festivals and events such as the Yeats Summer School, Tread Softly Festival, Doolin Writers Festival, Letterfrack Poetry Trail, Baboro International Arts Festival for Children, and the Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering, amongst others.

The Kainuu Region in northern Finland is another partner region where Spot-Lit project partner The Regional Council of Kainuu is working with the literature associations. Cultural life in Kainuu is regarded as lively with year-round professional and amateur theatre, musical training, modern dance, music festivals and the Kajaani poetry festival. The Kalevala is a national poem of Finland featuring old Finnish ballads, lyrical songs, and incantations that were a part of Finnish oral tradition. Today, it inspires place names, business names, contemporary culture and art and is celebrated at events throughout the year. The Juminkeko Culture Center is of national importance and showcases Kalevala heritage. Significant literary figures from this region include Elias Lönnrot, Eino Leino, Ilmari Kianto, Veikko Huovinen and Isa Asp.

Uniquely rugged, Northern Ireland provides an untapped resource of literary talent, history and heritage. The birthplace of Seamus Heaney, the region has connections with Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde. A rich calendar of cultural and literary festivals and events each year include the Bard of Armagh, the Happy Days Enniskillen International Festival and The Wilde Weekend. Arts Over Borders present literary festivals which celebrate a strong sense of place, both rural and urban, throughout border communities and landscapes – what is now regarded as the northern literary lands.

The Scottish town of Wigtown is well known for its Wigtown Book Festival with a wide programme of over 300 events, but it is also Scotland’s designated ‘National Book Town’ due to its high concentration of bookshops. The Georgian townhouse Moat Brae also inspired the author JM Barrie, creator of Peter Pan and most recently the house opened in July 2019 as a visitor centre –  Peter Pan’s Enchanted Land –  along with a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling. Big DoG, a children’s book festival, also takes place in Wigtown. Scotland is also home to Robert Burns, Scottish poet and lyricist widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.