Thanks to the dedication of a number of volunteers, Roscommon Tourist Office is a hive of activity this summer.
Based in the County Museum in Roscommon town, the office is open six days a week, from Monday to Saturday. It opened in late April and, all going well, will remain operational until September.
The office is run by Roscommon County Tourism Action Group, a sub-committee of the Roscommon Chamber of Commerce.
It is being run under that group’s auspices because of the state’s failure to adequately promote tourism here, a local councillor has claimed.
“Fáilte Ireland have nothing to do with it (the tourist office),” Cllr. Kathleen Shanagher, a member of the Action Group, said.
“Five or six years ago, they walked away and left the county. How can a state body pick and choose over other counties – that they won’t help Roscommon? It is not acceptable. Why is that allowed to happen?”
Because of that, a voluntary committee was established, and last December Roscommon Town Team had an Open Night which was aimed at recruiting volunteers. Twelve people came on board and the office is now faring well, Cllr. Shanagher said.
“The numbers are up: there are more people coming into Roscommon,” she said. “They are venturing away from the Wild Atlantic Way and are coming inland. There seems to be an awful lot of camper vans around!”
David Molloy, another member of the Action Group, said that almost 2,000 people visited the tourist office last year, and that similar numbers were expected during the current tourist season.
“The queries received in the office are hugely varied,” Mr. Molloy said. “A lot of people are asking about their roots.”
Roscommon is well placed to deal with genealogy queries, with a wealth of facilities locally, including the General Register Office in Roscommon town and the County Roscommon Heritage & Genealogy Centre in Strokestown.
“Between all those resources, there is a fair chance people are going to get some kind of information,” Mr. Molloy said.
Walking tours of Roscommon town, led by Gerry Shannon, a local volunteer, also recently commenced. The next one will take place on Saturday, June 18th (11 am until 12.15 pm) from the tourist office.
The Action Group would like to acknowledge the sponsorship of the following businesses, individuals and organisations in Roscommon town: AIB, Angie’s Attic, Area 51 Computers, Brisknet, Casey’s Centra/Supermacs, Hannon’s Hotel, John Harrison Memorial Trust, Cllr. Shanagher, Molloy’s Carry-Out Off-Licence, Permanent TSB, Roscommon County Council and Roscommon Leader Partnership.