'Soft opening' for new tourism office

Story by Olga Aughey

Thursday, 16th May, 2019 3:50pm

'Soft opening' for new tourism office

The new Tullamore Tourism Office

A new tourism office opened on the corner of High Street and O'Connor Square in Tullamore on Tuesday.

A full complement of local volunteers are secured to insure the office remains open five days a week, 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 3pm Saturdays.

However, planned state-of-the-art interactive screens and digital display boards have yet to be installed.

A grant to the value of €20,000 for the technology was secured under the Digital Innovation Programme 2018.

Tourism Officer Olive Farrelly said they have been inundated with visitors, both local and from overseas.

"We have been just so busy since we opened our doors. We've had many tourists but what's surprising is the number of local people calling in to see us to wish us well," Ms Farrelly tells the Offaly Independent.

"We have local volunteers from the community to man the office so we are very lucky," she continues.

"We're planning to have an official opening once the interactive screens and digital displays arrive - this deserves to be celebrated," says the Tourism Officer who hails the opening as a "good news story for Tullamore".

"We did have a soft opening on Tuesday but we will definitely be holding the official opening and we have a few things up our sleeve planned."

While the office is very much in its infancy, Olive foresees that a pattern will begin to emerge around what people will want to see in the county.

"Obviously we will focus on the 'big six' of Clonmacnoise, Tullamore Dew, the River Shannon, Slieve Bloom Mountains, Lough Boora and Birr Castle and Gardens.

"But we also want to talk to people first and find out what exactly they are interested in seeing.

"I have a feeling people will be coming to the midlands to do something a bit different and get away from it all. If it's water sports they want, we have the Canal and the Shannon. We want to make sure that people explore the hidden gems as well as the big sights."

Once the technology is installed, Olive says it will bring a whole new dimension to the traditional tourist office.

"I think people still like to speak with someone face-to-face, someone who has an intimate knowledge of the area. There's nothing like one-to-one knowledge sharing.

"And it's very important to have an overall portfolio for that."

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