The brand elements including the name, logo and what the brand stands for were developed following extensive research with consumers in Ireland, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. Over 10,000 consumers were interviewed in the process, giving Fáilte Ireland great insight and confidence that Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has the potential to be both appealing and motivating to visitors.
Lough Derg Blueway, Portroe, County Tipperary.
What consumers were attracted to about the new brand is that it will bring to life the Midlands' rich natural assets including its many lakes, walkways and blueways. It will also leverage a growing tourism trend for soft activities by encouraging visitors to be ‘active in nature’ and to explore the region off the beaten tracks through a range of activities including walking, food, cycling, fishing, and boating routes.
The River Shannon will be a central focus of the brand with a Shannon Master Plan currently being developed by Fáilte Ireland in partnership with Waterways Ireland to drive tourism opportunities both on and off the water and in the towns surrounding it.
Another asset for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will be the Beara Breifne Way, which spans the whole region, and where a compelling walking and trail experience will be developed to international standards. The Activation Master Plan will see a number of towns along the route identified as walking hubs to support this ambition and drive visitors into nearby areas.
A series of food networks and trails will also be developed as part of the new brand. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will cover the ‘heart’ of the country, from Leitrim down to East Clare and extending through Longford, Roscommon, East Galway, as well as parts of Westmeath, Cavan, North Tipperary and Offaly. The new brand will complement Fáilte Ireland’s other key brands - the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will now become a tourism development zone with Fáilte Ireland allocating investment and resources across the region. An initial €2m has been allocated to start the development stage of the brand, with further funding to follow. This first round of investment will help to develop visitor experiences, support industry development and develop marketing campaigns for the region.