Lonely Planet Writer

Ireland brings Wi-Fi to wilderness for photos

Irish tourism authorities are hoping to bring Wi-Fi to the wilderness so that holiday makers can upload photos to social media from some of the country’s most scenic, but remote, locations.

The Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Atlantic Way. Image by Andrea Puggioni / CC BY 2.0

A new tourism action plan launched by the national Department of Transport and Tourism has set out a plan to provide online access at key sights along the country’s Wild Atlantic Way.

The 2,500 kilometre trail passes through nine different counties along the West Coast of Ireland, through breath-taking but often very remote locations. Of course, the more remote the location – the less likely the chance of Wi-Fi, something Irish tourism authorities are hoping to remedy at “signature points” like the Cliffs of Moher, Killary Harbour and Mizen Head.

Alex Connolly of Fáilte Ireland said it might not be feasible to provide online access across such a long trail, so they would start by emphasising key locations. He said: “Wi-Fi access helps ensure that visitors are sharing their in-holiday experiences across their own social media in real time – and marketing Ireland online for us. We know that peer to peer recommendations are a key influence in where people choose to go on holiday and that digital and social is where these recommendations happen.”

Mizen Head.
Mizen Head. Image by Jennifer Boyer / CC BY 2.0

Wi-Fi is already offered at all tourist information offices and the app for the Wild Atlantic Way was specifically designed with sporadic online access in mind. Much of the information from the app can be downloaded in advance so travellers will not need connectivity when they are on the road.

Fáilte Ireland has also just partnered with Google on a programme called ‘Trekker Loan’, which will map the places that Google’s vehicles cannot go. They have just completed a six month project to capture images at sites across the Wild Atlantic Way, which will be available online later this year. Mr Connolly said: “We know that Google Maps and street view are pre-holiday and in holiday planning tools for visitors so presenting all that we have to offer is critical.”