Please check our Events Calendar for any upcoming events!
Join our tourism network!
If you’re from the Cambrian, Wicklow, Preseli or Blackstairs Mountains and would like to be a part of this network, please fill out the appropriate Expression of Interest form below. We’re seeking people from the hospitality sector, to arts and crafts, to visitor attractions, to local community members etc.
National Heritage Week 2023
17 and 19 August 2023
As part of National Heritage Week 2023 in Ireland, CUPHAT joined Killanne Development Group and Glenmalure PURE Mile on 17 and 19 August respectively. There was no better way to share some of the work that the Irish CUPHAT Team has been doing than at our two main digital reconstruction sites. The days were filled with aspects of both cultural and natural heritage, complimenting National Heritage Week’s theme of exploring the “traditions and practices, knowledge and skills passed down through generations”.
10 August 2023
Another year, another Eisteddfod! This year, CUPHAT, along with the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society, Aberystwyth University and the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales organised had a joint presence at the festival. On the Thursday (10 August) Eisteddfod goers and representatives of several organisations across Wales were encouraged to drop by the Aberystwyth University stand to listen and contribute to a fascinating and thought provoking discussion on “Tourism and the Viability of Welsh Communities and Tourism”.
Thanks to all who came over to join the event!
“Regenerative Tourism in the Coastal Uplands: Heritage, Place & Community” Community Conference
6 July 2023
CUPHAT’s final formal event was a community conference titled “Regenerative Tourism in the Coastal Uplands: Heritage, Place & Community” which took place on 06 July in the Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey.
The community conference highlighted the project’s work in communities across Ireland and Wales. Attendees:
- Heard about our work in tourism development, microenterprise and community support, citizen science, digital reconstructions, and engaging communities with their heritage
- Saw the highlights of our work related to the themes of Geology and Landforms, Biodiversity, Archaeology, and Community Lives
- Considered future directions and ways to continue this work into the future.
It was a great day, and all were welcome to drop by. Interesting conversations were had, including how the work of CUPHAT could continue into the future. Attendees were impressed by the breadth of CUPHAT work on display on monitors in the room and what the team had accomplished over the last year and a half. Go Team #CUPHAT!
Full CUPHAT Team Meeting
4 – 6 July 2023
Team #CUPHAT reunited in Ireland in early July 2023. The AU and DAT teams came over for 2 days of team meetings and site visits in Ireland. They were also treated to the new CUPHAT jackets which the whole team dutifully wore and modelled during their visit in Ireland.
The 2-day extravaganza was kicked off with team meetings in UCD, before driving down to our project areas and visiting sites on 5th July. Sites visited included Avoca, The Mottee Stone, Tomnafinnoge Woods, Bunclody, White Mountain and Killanne. It was a whirlwind tour, but it was wonderful for the Irish side to show the Welsh side the sites in the project areas as they did when the UCD team went over in September 2022.
The final day of the trip was the community conference, “Regenerative Tourism in the Coastal Uplands: Heritage, Place & Community” which took place in Ashdown Park Hotel. More details about the conference can be found above.
20 and 21 2023 June in Wales, 27 and 28 June 2023 in Ireland
CUPHAT organised four festivals in each of our project areas. They took place on 20 June in the Cambrian Mountains, 21 June in the Preseli Mountains, 27 June in the Blackstairs Mountains and on 28 June in the Wicklow Mountains.
The festivals were a chance to show and celebrate the contributions and input from the local communities to CUPHAT work.
Various events were running throughout the day, including the showing of historic videos, live music from local musicians and schools, demonstrations of Bento Labs and apps, bioblitzes, art workshops, the announcement of the regional winners of the CUPHAT Photographic Competition, and a talk about CUPHAT and your community. Attendees were encouraged to drop in and out throughout the day. There was even the opportunity to get your face painted and have balloon animals made!
Thanks to all who came down and supported us!
Debrief on CUPHAT’s Tourism Network
07 June 2023 in Ireland, 12 June 2023 in Wales
The CUPHAT-led Tourism Network meetings came to an end on 7 and 12 June in Ireland and Wales respectively. Network members were introduced to some of the heritage activities the CUPHAT team are developing where tourists will be able to ‘Live Like a Local’ whilst they are visiting.
In Ireland, the meeting took place in Rackards of Killanne and there was a member-led discussion on the reopening of Rackards of Killanne and future developments. The evening finished with a music session which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!
In Wales, the meeting was in Bargoed Farm and was a nice opportunity for network members to catch up with one another over the course of the evening, whilst hearing about the heritage activities being proposed.
Showcase Event for CUPHAT’s Regenerative Tourism Programme for Microenterprise & Community Groups in Wales
06 June 2023
The CUPHAT (Coastal Uplands: Heritage and Tourism) project held a Showcase Event at Bargoed Farm in Llwyncelyn on 6 June 2023 to celebrate the achievements of start-ups, microenterprises and community members from the Preseli and Cambrian Mountains. Over the past 2 months, CUPHAT, in collaboration with Menter a Busnes have delivered a Regenerative Tourism Programme to facilitate a collaborative space for participants from the Arts, Outdoor Recreation, Heritage, Food and Accommodation sectors to co-create circular designs and regenerative tourism offerings within their local communities.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland-Wales Cooperation programme, CUPHAT seeks to showcase the shared and distinctive heritages of the Cambrian Mountains and Preseli Mountains in Wales and the Blackstairs Mountains and Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. This programme was a response to feedback gathered from focus groups held in late 2022 from community members about the local challenges they faced. As a result, the programme targeted regenerative tourism, circular economy, design-thinking, routes to funding, creating compelling stories, and approaches to building partnerships.
At the Showcase Event, 7 participants from the programme pitched their projects to their peers, as well as to representatives from Welsh Government, Antur Cymru, Menter a Busnes, Ceredigion County Council and more.
Reflecting on the evening, Llŷr Roberts, one of the Directors of Menter a Busnes, said that “the CUPHAT experience has involved bringing individuals and businesses from the rural areas of the Cambrian and Preseli mountains together. I was delighted to hear that those supported valued the specialist advice and guidance on offer. The mentoring support has also played a key part in developing their ideas. Another critical success factor has been the opportunity to collaborate with other businesses from their areas. I enjoyed listening to individuals talk about the benefits of sharing ideas and experiences. They also mentioned that they are eager to continue working together, which is testament to the support provided.”.
Sallianne Tyrrell, manager of Rhiannon CYF, a small established business, participated in the programme. She said the programme had given her “An understanding of how far things could develop if we work together in collaboration.”
The CUPHAT Regenerative Tourism Programme team are now identifying next steps to provide support to microenterprise and community projects going forward. The programme also ran in the Blackstairs Mountains and Wicklow Mountains in the Ireland project areas in collaboration with Mary Cronin from UpThink Innovation Agency. A similar Showcase Event took place there in April 2023.
Using LiDAR to Explore Heritage in the Cambrian Mountains
27 May 2023
CUPHAT had a day-long event in Canolfan Cymunedol Mynach Community Centre, Pontarfynach, Devil’s Bridge, where participants learnt to identify archaeological features around Pontarfynach using LiDAR* and how to ground truth them in the field. It was a fun day with lots of new skills gained!
*LiDAR = Light Detection and Ranging
Heritage Tourism: Making Waves Across the Irish Sea
16 May 2023
CUPHAT hosted an Ireland-Wales symposium on 16 May 2023 in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford, to examine the learning, legacy, and wider policy implications of ERDF-funded projects. All projects in attendance had a focus on heritage, culture, community, and tourism in both countries.
Both an in-person and online event (though designed to be in-person), the symposium brought together representatives from CUPHAT, Ports Past and Present, LIVE, CHERISH, Ancient Connections, Celtic Routes and stakeholders from the heritage and tourism policy sectors in Ireland and Wales.
Throughout the event, spaces were created to answer the following questions:
- What have been the key achievements of these collaborative Ireland-Wales initiatives to date?
- What have been the main challenges?
- What learnings can we take from these projects to help shape future policy?
- How can we sustain and grow Ireland-Wales collaboration around heritage, culture, and tourism in the aftermath of Brexit.
The event was very informative, with valuable input, discussion and advice from the heritage and tourism policy sector stakeholders and the representatives from the Ireland-Wales projects.
Whole CUPHAT Tourism Network Meeting
26 April 2023
This online event was the first time that the Whole CUPHAT Tourism Network had a chance to meet up! Many members had met their over-the-Irish-Sea counterparts at either our October or March Learning Visits, so it was a chance for them to reconnect, but it was also an opportunity to meet the wider group, and this meeting provided a space for everyone to come together.
It was an evening of discussion and experience sharing. The Welsh delegate visit to Ireland was reviewed and sharings were discussed with those present. The meeting also provided a space for exchanging ideas across the various stakeholder groups and areas.
There is still time to join the network if you haven’t already. Simply complete the relevant form and we’ll include you in future mail outs to the network.
Celebrating Our Shared Coastal Upland Heritage
20 April 2023
‘Celebrating Our Shared Coastal Upland Heritage’ was an online event that brought together our four coastal uplands areas and enabled community members to see how the CUPHAT team had digitised the objects they had brought to our ‘Twrio’ and ‘Celebrating our Heritage’ events in November 2022. It was also a chance to see some of the similarities and differences between the four areas and to comment on these. Contributors were invited to share more information about their objects/artefacts to the members of the event. This was also an opportunity for community members to tell us about other aspects of their area’s history and heritage.
Citizen Science in the Preseli and Blackstairs Mountains
15 April 2023
As part of Global Citizen Science Month (which takes place in April), CUPHAT organised a series of events that happened across our 4 upland areas. This third weekend of April had two parallel events in the Blackstairs Mountains and the Preseli Mountains. As with the previous Citizen Science Day, both events included activities such as talks, walks and having a go yourself.
Mapio Cymru, The National Library of Wales, and Pembrokeshire Coast joined CUPHAT in Brynberian Community Hall. An introduction to Citizen Science started the day and stands around the room enabled participants to learn about DNA analysis and see it in action, find out about the freshwater invertebrates in local streams and find out how Citizen Science Apps can help record pollution and river flows. Fieldtrips took place around Brynberian to partake in a bioblitz and to learn more about the archaeology in the area.
CUPHAT were joined by Wexford Bat Group, Killanne Development, Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club, Vincent Wildlife Trust, Local Authority Waters Programme, and Geological Survey Ireland in Rathnure Community Hall. Talks on ‘What is Citizen Science’ and ‘archaeology/ geology/ biodiversity and Citizen Science’ were given by project staff at various points during the day, as well as a talk by Ruth from Vincent Wildlife Trust Ireland. Stands around the room had more information and interactive elements that were available throughout the day. Two fieldtrips took place in the morning and afternoon, to White Mountain and to Forrestalstown Woods respectively, to try and spot some of the unique flora and fauna of the region, to hear more about the archaeological and geological history of the area and to try some of the Citizen Science apps first hand.
Using LiDAR to explore Ireland’s Hillfort Capital
13 April 2023
Cian Hogan, CUPHAT’s Archaeological Officer in UCD and Dr James O’Driscoll from University of Aberdeen presented on “Using LiDAR to explore Ireland’s Hillfort Capital” in Timmins Bar, Baltinglass on 13 April 2023. Organised by Deirdre Burns, Wicklow County Council’s Heritage Officer, Cian gave an introduction to LiDAR (standing for Light Detection and Ranging) and how to apply this technique to heritage research and James presented his findings from the Community Monuments Fund* project. There was a great turn out, with some interesting questions about the hillforts found in and around the Baltinglass area.
This event was recorded. You can watch the recording here: https://heritage.wicklowheritage.org/topics/events/talk-13th-april-2023-baltinglass-using-lidar-to-explore-irelands-hillfort-capital
*The Community Monument Fund (CMF) assists the conservation, research and interpretation of archaeological monuments by communities and private owners. The scheme is funded by the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and is administered in Wicklow by the Heritage Officer of Wicklow County Council. For queries contact Deirdre Burns, dburns[at]wicklowcoco.ie.
Showcase Event for CUPHAT’s Regenerative Tourism Programme for Microenterprise & Community Groups in Ireland
4 April 2023
CUPHAT held a Showcase Event at The Orchard Centre in Tinahely on 4 April 2023 to celebrate the achievements of start-ups, microenterprises and community members from the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains. Over the past 2 months, CUPHAT, in collaboration with Mary Cronin from UpThink Innovation Agency have delivered a Regenerative Tourism Programme to facilitate a collaborative space for participants from the Arts, Outdoor Recreation, Heritage, Food and Accommodation sectors to co-create circular designs and regenerative tourism offerings within their local communities.
This programme was a response to feedback gathered from focus groups held in late 2022 from community members about the local challenges they faced. As a result, the programme targeted regenerative tourism, circular economy, design-thinking, routes to funding, creating compelling stories, and approaches to building partnerships.
At the Showcase Event, 12 participants from the programme pitched their projects to their peers, as well as to representatives from County Wicklow Partnership, Wexford Local Development, Wicklow and Wexford Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), Visit Wexford, Carlow Tourism, Wexford PPN, Ireland’s Ancient East, Fáilte Ireland, Design and Crafts Council Ireland, the EPA and Wicklow and Wexford County Councils.
Reflecting on the evening, local farmer Tom Burgess of Coolattin Cheddar, who joined the programme as an established enterprise, said it was “a thoroughly enjoyable experience, with a far-reaching exposure of the talent in the area”. Karen Codd, the Secretary of Rathnure Development Group and a community project participant on the programme, said it was “inspiring and thought-provoking to hear how other communities and businesses are approaching regeneration and growth”.
Tom Bermingham, from Wexford Local Development, said “it was great to witness the passion, determination, and resilience of the diverse range of businesses and community representatives at last night’s event. The LEADER Programme is a key funder of niche rural businesses and voluntary community groups and in preparation for the next round, we are currently in the consultation phase for the development of a high-quality local development strategy that reflects the needs of businesses and communities. I was delighted to meet the Wexford (Blackstairs) representatives to discuss how LEADER can assist in bringing their plans to fruition in the coming years. I also encouraged them to make their voices heard at our public consultation meetings in the coming weeks”.
Amongst the start-up participants who pitched on the evening was a local artist, Sally Dunne. She said, “the course leaders cultivated a very open, encouraging learning environment. I learnt a lot of invaluable lessons from my fellow participants who kindly shared their own expertise and experiences. There was a genuine community spirit. I have made contacts and developed some exciting opportunities as a result of this fantastic programme.”
Nicky Butler, who is also starting up a microenterprise in Wicklow, Tir na Glass heritage walking tours, said “it was great to have the opportunity to share my business and get to network and make connections with other people in the industry. I feel like some valuable connections were made”.
Hurley maker, David Moran who also pitched on the evening said the programme was, “a great opportunity for my business to open up new avenues and collaborate with like-minded people”.
The CUPHAT Regenerative Tourism Programme team are now identifying next steps to provide support to microenterprise and community projects going forward. The programme is also currently underway in the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains in the Welsh project areas and running in collaboration with Menter a Busnes. A similar Showcase Event is scheduled in Wales for June.
Citizen Science in the Wicklow and Cambrian Mountains
01 April 2023
As part of Global Citizen Science Month (which takes place in April), CUPHAT organised a series of events happening across our 4 upland areas. This first weekend of April was kicked off by two parallel events in the Cambrian Mountains and the Wicklow Mountains, with events in the Blackstairs and Preseli Mountains happening later in the month. All events include activities such as talks, walks and having a go yourself.
CUPHAT were joined by Mapio Cymru, National Library of Wales, Red Squirrels Mid Wales, West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre (WWBIC) and Coed y Bont in Pontrhydfendigaid Village Hall.
Two fieldtrips took place, one to Cors Caron (thanks to NRW for allowing access) to undertake a bioblitz and the other to Coed y Bont to learn about Red Squirrels. Stands were dotted around the room where you could learn about DNA analysis and see it in action, find out about the freshwater invertebrates in local streams and find out how Citizen Science Apps can help record pollution and river flows. Talks included an introduction to Citizen Science, placename recording and how to use LiDAR to record local archaeology.
Talks on ‘What is Citizen Science’ and ‘archaeology/ geology/ biodiversity and Citizen Science’ were given by project staff at various points during the day. Stands around the room, including the River Derry Bubbles Project, that had more information and interactive elements were available throughout the day. Two fieldtrips took place in the morning and afternoon, to Glenmalure and to Tomnafinnoge Woods respectively, to try and spot some of the unique flora and fauna of the region, to hear more about the archaeological and geological history of the area and to try some of the Citizen Science apps first hand.
Learning Visit to Ireland
3 – 6 March 2023
A successful return CUPHAT Learning Visit took place on the first weekend of March. This 4-day trip saw our Welsh delegates cross the Irish Sea to meet their Irish counterparts in the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains.
Similar to the first CUPHAT Learning Visit in October 2022, it was an action-packed 4 days with talks, visits, networking, reconnecting and plenty of food for thought!
In the south Wicklow Mountains, the group visited Avoca – seeing some of the red kites flying overhead that were reintroduced to Ireland from Wales! – Aughrim Town and Country Market, Rathgall Hillfort, Rathwood Garden Centre and the Chocolate Garden of Ireland, Coollattin House, Tomnafinnoge Woods and Shillelagh. In the Blackstairs, the group was warmly welcomed by Rathnure GAA Club where delegates had a go at hurling, before heading on to Cow House Studios, Myshall Village, Borris Viaduct, Rathanna Village before finishing the evening with a trad session in The Dying Cow. Some of our Welsh delegates even took part in the session singing some of their original songs! Speakers over the weekend included representatives from Fáilte Ireland, local tourism advisors, Wicklow County Council, Wicklow Uplands Council and Visit Wicklow as well as from the various establishments we visited. It was a great weekend and it was rewarding to see connections made in the October visit being reacquainted over the visit. Thanks to all who made it possible!
The next steps for the participants will be to come together at an Ireland-Wales whole CUPHAT Tourism Network meeting, which will take place online in April, to debrief about the Learning Visits and to share any learnings with members of the network who were unable to attend the events.
Oral History Training Workshops
27 January (Ireland), 18 February (Wales) 2023
CUPHAT organised free oral history training workshops on both sides of the Irish Sea. Community members from the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains attended the Irish event held in the Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely on 27 January, while a similar workshop aimed at the people of the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains took place on 18 February at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
Attendees were introduced to issues of project planning, ethical considerations, interview techniques and potential outputs, and discussed plans for local oral history projects on a wide variety of topics.
The CUPHAT project are conducting 80 oral history interviews with people from across the four project areas in Ireland and Wales.
Tourism Network Meet-Up in Wales
07 February 2023
CUPHAT’s Welsh Tourism Network met again on 07 February in The Hafod Hotel, Devil’s Bridge, to discuss the Cambrian Mountains area, the sector they represent, what they would like from the network, and what they can bring to the network. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses were done to help guide these conversations. The upcoming Learning Visit to Ireland was also mentioned, with attendees encouraged to sign up for the networking and learning experience.
The network is still open to new members. If you’re interested in joining, please fill out the relevant Expression of Interest form below:
Foel Drygarn and Gors Fawr Workshop
02 February 2023
CUPHAT and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) have been collaborating on an interpretation project focusing on digitising and reconstructing Foel Drygarn Hillfort and Gors Fawr Stone Circle in the Preseli Mountains. On 2nd February, a workshop was held in Maenclochog Community Hall to share our progress. We had fantastic community support with the room bursting full of people. The evening started with a talk from Jessica Domiczew (DAT) on the sites and she showcased the digitised version of Gors Fawr Stone Circle and the artefacts from Foel Drygarn Hillfort which reside at Tenby Museum. The evening then followed with a talk by Peter Lorimer from Pighill Heritage Graphics who has been commissioned to reconstruct Foel Drygarn Hillfort. Peter joined virtually and shared his impressive work with us. Keep following CUPHAT to see more reconstructions as they are revealed throughout the coming months.
Tourism Network Meeting in Ireland
02 February 2023
Another meeting for the Irish side of CUPHAT’s Tourism Network took place at The Orchard Centre, Tinahely, on 02 February 2023. At this meeting, the types of tourists and tourism that the network would like to attract to the area were discussed, as well as the upcoming Learning Visit where the Welsh delegates will travel to Ireland.
The network is still open to new members. If you’re interested in joining, please fill out the relevant Expression of Interest form below:
Drop-in events in the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains
26 & 27 January 2023
Two more drop-in sessions were organised in the Preselis and Cambrian Mountains with PLANED and Cambrian Mountains Initiative (CMI) respectively for interested community members living in and around these areas. This time they took place on 26 January in Caffi’r Caban, Castell Henllys (Preseli Mountains) and on 27 January in Tregaron Memorial Hall (Cambrian Mountains). These sessions enabled interested community members to learn more about CUPHAT, to meet and chat with the team, to share anything they’d like to highlight in their area and to have their say about heritage tourism in their local areas. Communities were also made aware of the Citizen Science days that CUPHAT are planning in April.
Exploring the Cambrian Mountains through LiDAR workshop
19 January 2023
CUPHAT had a great turn out for the ‘Exploring the Cambrian Mountains through LiDAR’ workshop. It was a fact-filled workshop that covered everything from archaeology to geology to trees! Our own Jessica Domiczew from DAT ran the workshop and from her, attendees learnt about what LiDAR is (it stands for Light Detection and Ranging), how it works, data processing and what features can be identified in the Cambrian Mountains when using it. Attendees were also shown how they could explore their local area at home using publicly available LiDAR data, a fantastic resource which is only going to get better with the Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Wales-wide LiDAR survey.
CUPHAT School Visits Starting
17 January 2023
Visits to schools in our 4 project areas by the CUPHAT team will be starting in January 2023. These will start in Wales, kicking off on 17 January. The team will visit 5 schools over 10 days and will be working with the pupils to collect environmental data, explore their ‘cynefin’ and write poetry inspired by the upland landscapes.
We invite the pupils of these schools to come prepared with any questions they’d like to ask the CUPHAT team and to get ready to share with the team what their favourite things are about the areas they live in. School visits will also be happening in Ireland. We anticipate that they will start in February 2023.
Tourism Network Meet-Up in Wales
12 January 2023
CUPHAT kicked off their 2023 public events with a Tourism Network meeting on 12 January. It took place in Dyfed Shire Horse Farm in the Preseli Mountains. Members were delighted to have a bowl of cawl to warm them up whilst discussing the Preseli area, the sector they represent, what they would like from the network, and what they can bring to the network. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses were done to help guide these conversations. The upcoming Learning Visit to Ireland was also mentioned with participants encouraged to sign up to the event.
Since this meeting, we are pleased to share that our hosts for the evening, Dyfed Shire Horse Farm, were nominated in the ‘Rural Enterprise’ category for the prestigious Countryside Alliance Awards, aka Welsh Rural Oscars, and have since won! These awards celebrate rural businesses that go the extra mile, support their local economy and are the unsung heroes in every community. Congratulations to them and all their hard work!
The network is still open to new members. If you’re interested in joining, please fill out the relevant Expression of Interest form below:
Site Visits in Wales
9 and 10 January 2023
Prospective sites in the Cambrian Mountains and Preseli Mountains were visited by the Welsh CUPHAT team in early January. Like with the Irish sites, the sites were determined by consultation and feedback from the communities, and by reading the literature on the cultural and natural heritage of sites in the areas.
Stops included Hafod, Cwmystwyth Mines, Pen y Bannau and Cors Caron in the Cambrian Mountains, and Tregynon Waterfall, Foel Drygarn, Gors Fawr and New Moat in the Preselis. The CUPHAT team was also joined by Cambrian Mountains Initiative (CMI) on the Monday. It was a fun and informative two days, and the team were able to discuss the potential of developing these sites, with the benefit of being on-site at these locations.
Site Visits in Ireland
5 and 6 December 2022
The Irish CUPHAT team visited some of the potential sites to highlight in the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains. These sites were determined by consultation and feedback from the communities, and by reading the literature on the cultural and natural sites in the areas. It was a whistle-stop tour, with stops including Baltinglass Abbey, Glenmalure, the Meeting of the Waters and Avoca, Coollattin House, Tomnafinogue Woods, Scullogue Gap, Killann, Ballycrystal and Blackrock Mountain, Caim, and Forrestalstown Wood. It was great to be able to get out and about, and see the potential of each site. Luckily (or unluckily) the CUPHAT team got there before the snow started falling at the end of that week. Talk about perfect timing!
‘Twrio’ (Wales) and ‘Celebrating our Heritage’ (Ireland)
Wales: 16 and 17 November 2022 | Ireland: 21 and 22 November 2022
Memories of times past were shared as members of the public brought old photographs, postcards, documents, and objects to four CUPHAT heritage events in Wales and Ireland.
A busy programme of events involving live talks, music, audio, and film footage entertained the attendees, who responded enthusiastically to the call to have the heritage of their areas preserved for future generations. Across four action-packed days, members of the CUPHAT team were kept busy digitising, recording, and photographing some of the many items which people had brought along.
The two Welsh events took place at the Tregaron Heritage Centre and Maenclochog Community Hall on 16 and 17 November respectively. The people of the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains came out in large numbers for the events styled ‘Twrio’ (Rummage), which recalled the 1990s Welsh TV series of that name. A harp recital by local by local pupil, Malen Fish-Jenkins, broke up the busy programme in Tregaron.
The following week, attention turned to the other side of the Irish Sea, as the Nicky Rackard Community Centre in Rathnure and Rathdangan Community Hall played host to their first events of the CUPHAT project on 21 and 22 November. Again, there was a large turnout from the local communities in the Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains, who brought along material with a special significance for them. Local, young musicians Malachy, Holly, and Leah Byrne, playing the banjo and tin whistles respectively, kept us entertained in Rathdangan.
Some of the weird and wonderful items that were ‘rediscovered’ include guns (in both Ireland and Wales), pony trekking memorabilia (in the Cambrian Mountains), clogs, a butter mould and a 1884 ‘sampler’ (in the Preseli Mountains), a pike, postcards and memory cards (in the Blackstairs Mountains) and a public dancing licence, musket ball, a cannonball, and two 1842 ‘samplers’ (in the Wicklow Mountains).
Many thanks to all who took the time to come to these events, and who shared their stories and heritage with the CUPHAT team. We hope to have the digitised items on the website as soon as possible!
Tourism Network meeting in Ireland
14 November 2022
A meeting for the Irish side of CUPHAT’s Tourism Network took place to update members on the recent Learning Visit to Wales. It was held in The Orchard Centre, Tinahely.
Participants of the Learning Visit to Wales, which took place 21-24 October, shared with the rest of the network how it went, and answered the questions that were collated by the Irish side prior to the trip. Possible sites for the second Learning Visit were also discussed.
This was also an opportunity to welcome new members to the network. The network is still open, and we’re seeking people from the hospitality sector, to arts and crafts, to visitor attractions, to local community members etc. If you’re interested in joining, please fill out the relevant Expression of Interest form below:
Drop-in Events in the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains
10 and 11 November 2022
Drop-in sessions were organised in the Preseli and Cambrian Mountains with PLANED and Cambrian Mountains Initiative (CMI) respectively for interested community members living in and around these areas. They took place on 10 December in Café Celt (Preseli Mountains) and 11 December in Mynach Community Centre (Cambrian Mountains). These sessions enabled interested community members to learn more about CUPHAT, to meet and chat with the team, to share anything they’d like to highlight in their area and to have their say about heritage tourism in their local areas.
Focus groups for micro enterprises, potential entrepreneurs, and community groups
8 & 9 (Ireland) and 22 & 23 (Wales) November 2022
On 8 and 9 November, the CUPHAT team ran focus groups in Kiltealy and Tinahely to engage with coastal upland communities in the project areas of the Blackstairs Mountains and Wicklow Mountains. Similar activities were also held in the project areas of the Preseli Mountains and Cambrian Mountains in Wales later in the month, on 22 November in Pontrhydygroes and 23 November in Cilgwyn.
The aim of the focus groups was to better understand the perspectives and experiences of community groups, prospective entrepreneurs and established small businesses relating to and engaging with tourism in their communities. We were delighted by the very good turnouts by the community to these events and were encouraged by the levels of positivity, enthusiasm, and the valuable contributions.
A diverse mix of county council representatives from multiple areas, community members and small local business owners came together and shared their knowledge, views, advice and even made new connections with one another. They were also able to shed light on the key issues in the different local areas around tourism. The information gathered from these focus groups is being used to directly inform the approach and design of a blended learning programme that the CUPHAT team is running in early 2023 to support sustainable heritage-based tourism for microenterprises and community groups in the project areas of Ireland and Wales.
We’ve learned that some of the shared challenges for communities include footfall in the area, public transportation, staff retention and issues around legislation. Individuals mentioned that all of these challenges can lead to tourists not spending enough time or money within the local areas themselves. Some of the key opportunities that were identified include the use of themed and signed trails to help tourists navigate upland trails and link these to the communities, more restaurants, accommodation and other businesses and activities to attract tourists to stay longer, as well as user-friendly maps of offerings in the areas for both locals and tourists. Knowledge and promotion of historic and heritage sites were also mentioned as a need in these areas due to locals in the focus groups discovering some through one another.
The CUPHAT team now have a better understanding of what community members would like to learn more about and what support might be needed to help them enhance or establish their businesses, community projects and strengthen their relationships with each other. We want to thank everyone who showed up to the focus groups for their time and inputs. The next step is to use this knowledge to further engage with these communities through our upcoming programme aimed to set these businesses and communities for success.
21 – 24 October 2022
The beginnings of a cross-Irish Sea tourism network between Wales’ Cambrian and Preseli Mountains and Ireland’s Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains is well and truly underway. Participants from Ireland went to Wales on a 4-day trip to learn from and exchange ideas with their Welsh counterparts.
It was an action-packed 4 days with activities including talks, visits and, you guessed it, networking (!). In the Cambrian Mountains region, participants visited Constitution Hill, travelled to Devil’s Bridge via the Rheidol Railway, stopped off at the Cambrian Mountains Food, Drink & Craft Fair 2022 in Bwlch Nant yr Arian, and visited the Tregaron Heritage Centre and Rhiannon Gold Centre. In the Preseli Mountains region, participants visited Dyfed Shires Horse Farm, Nevern, Tafarn Sinc and Castell Henllys. Participants also heard talks from Cambrian Mountains Initiative (CMI), PLANED, Visit Pembrokeshire and Pentir Pumlumon during the course of the 4 days.
The participants of this Learning Visit acted as representatives of the tourism network from both Ireland and Wales. The next step is to have another meeting in both Ireland and Wales for participants of this Learning Visit to share the information they have learnt from these 4 days with the rest of the network. Members on the Irish and Welsh side can then discuss the best ways for them to move forwards. Following the success of this Learning Visit, there will be a second Learning Visit in early 2023, with participants from Wales going to Ireland. We can’t wait to see this network grow!
Tourism Network – meetings in Ireland and Wales
17 October 2022
CUPHAT organised meetings in Ireland and Wales to start the conversation of having a cross-Irish Sea network. This enabled members from each country to come together and have discussions relating to their area, their sector, what they would like from the network, and what they can bring to the network. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses were done to help guide these conversations.
Participants included local community members, accommodation providers, activity providers, food/drink/hospitality providers, and local council and committee members. Some of these participants will be involved in CUPHAT’s first Learning Visit which will involve representatives from the Irish side of the network going over to Wales to learn from and exchange ideas with the Welsh members of the tourism network.
Community Forum Events in Ireland
20 – 29 September 2022
The Irish CUPHAT team were busy at the end of September organising community forum events in the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains. A series of 5 events took place in Baltinglass on 20 September, Tinahely on 21 September, Rathdrum on 22 September, Bunclody on 27 September and Kiltealy on 29 September. The events were for all interested community members in and around these areas. They were an opportunity for communities to get involved and tell the CUPHAT team what’s important in terms of cultural and natural sites and sustainability aspects, as well as getting to meet members of the team they will be seeing more of in their communities. It was great to see so many members of the local communities attend to have their say!
Full CUPHAT Team Meeting
6 – 7 September 2022
At the beginning of September 2022, the UCD team visited the AU and DAT teams to have whole team and work package meetings. PLANED and the Cambrian Mountains Initiative were also there to welcome us. It was an intense couple of days, filled with meetings, getting to know yous, conversations with stakeholders, and visits to specific sites in the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains. . Site visits included Strata Florida, Pwllpeiran, Castell Henllys, and Bluestone Brewery, and the weather held up for it all! We learned a lot from one another, and are ready and raring to get the CUPHAT project well and truly off the ground. #GoTeamCUPHAT
UCD = University College Dublin | AU = Aberystwyth University | DAT = Dyfed Archaeological Trust
Pembrokeshire County Show
17 August 2022
CUPHAT was at the Pembrokeshire County Show on 17 August 2022 as part of the PLANED stand. It was a fun day where show-goers were encouraged to take part in the Hen Bethau Anghofiedig (Forgotten Old Things) activity and we were able to have discussions with numerous people about the project. We now know that many people are interested in taking part in the oral histories part of the project and are keen to get more information about the sustainable aspects. Thank you PLANED for hosting us at your stand, and to all the show-goers who came and talked to us.
31 July – 07 August 2022
CUPHAT, along with some other Ireland-Wales projects such as CHERISH, LIVE, and Celtic Routes were at the Eisteddfod Festival in Tregaron, Wales, in early August. It was a magnificent week with daily competitions from the CUPHAT project giving members of the public the opportunity to win themselves a CUPHAT hoodie or t-shirt. We’d like to thank the organisers of the Eisteddfod Festival, our fellow Ireland Wales projects, PLANED, Cambrian Mountains Initiative, Pentir Pumlumon, as well as our own CUPHAT volunteers for staffing the stand and keeping us company at the festival. Thank you to all!
Community Information Evenings
22 – 29 June 2022
A series of 4 community information evenings took place across CUPHAT’s 4 upland areas at the end of June 2022. The first two took place in Ireland, in Bunclody and Rathdrum on 22 and 23 June respectively. The other two took place in Wales, in Canolfan Llwynihirion Brynberian on 28 June and in Pontrhyfendigaid on 29 June. All were welcome to attend these information evenings and they were aimed at individuals and community groups in and around the neighbouring areas to get more information on what the project is about. It was a welcome opportunity to get discussions started between the four communities and the CUPHAT team and get local input on things like the type of activities and types of tourists they’d like to see as a result of the project, as well as seeing what it would mean to them. There will be further community events later in the year.
Visit to the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains in Ireland
23 – 24 May 2022
CUPHAT team members from AU, DAT and UCD visited the Wicklow Mountain area on 23 May 2022, visiting cultural and heritage sites in Ireland. We were also met by Wicklow County Tourism on the first day. Site visits included: Thomas Moore Memorial Park, Vale of Avoca – Meeting of the Waters (Natural and Cultural Heritage); East Avoca Mines (Mining Heritage); Glenmalure Valley (Mining heritage, Geology, Natural and Cultural Heritage); Glenmalure Lodge (local business); Baltinglass town (Centre of a huge complex of 5 hillforts; Cultural heritage) and Baltinglass Abbey (Cultural heritage and Archaeology); Brooklodge and Macreddin Village (Local business and tourism destination).
On the second day, 24 May 2022, CUPHAT team members from AU, DAT and UCD also visited cultural and heritage sites in the Blackstairs Mountain area. The team toured the Macreddin village facilities and discussed tourism challenges; Rathgall Hillfort (Archaeology, Natural Heritage); Mount Leinster, via nine Stones (Natural Heritage and Geology); and Monksgrange (Archaeology, Natural and Cultural Heritage).
9 May 2022
CUPHAT team members enjoyed meeting up with other Interreg project teams at Aberystwyth University and tea and cake were enjoyed by the DAT team members to celebrate #Europe Day.
27 April 2022
The CUPHAT launch was a great success taking place at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth on 27 April 2022. This was held as both an in person event and an online presentation, streamed live from Aberystwyth. The event was well attended with partners from both sides of the Irish Sea taking part, as well as stakeholders from the four upland areas attending to discuss the potential for the project and enjoying the buzz of face to face meetings once more.
Face to face visit to the Preseli’s and Cambrian Mountains
8-9 April 2022
The CUPHAT project team from Aberystwyth University, University College Dublin and Dyfed Archaeological Trust met for the first time face to face for site visits to a number of cultural and natural heritage sites in the two Welsh upland areas – the Preseli and Cambrian Mountains. Local community engagement stakeholders from Planed and The Cambrian Mountains Initiative also joined us for a very enjoyable visit. We look forward to visiting the Wicklow and Blackstairs upland areas in Ireland in the near future.
A CUPHAT site visit was organised to the Preseli Mountains, Wales, on 8 April 2022. The CUPHAT team visited the following potential heritage and tourism sites in the Preseli’s: Pentre Ifan (Archaeology); Foel Drygarn Hillfort (Archaeology, Geology and Picturesque); Tafarn Sinc, Rosebush (local history, community run cafe and discussions with Planed); Rosebush Slate quarry (Geology); Waun Mawn standing stones (Geology and Archaeology). The team were also joined by Planed the community engagement stakeholder group involved in the project for the visit to the Preselis.
UCD, AU and DAT also visited the Cambrian Mountains on 9 April 2022. The team visited potential heritage and tourism sites including: Nant yr Arian visitor centre (Natural heritage, Adventure tourism); Devils Bridge waterfall (Picturesque, Geomorphology); Hafod (Picturesque); Cwm Ystwyth (Mining); Strata Florida (Archaeology); River Bank Cafe (Local business); Cors Caron Tregaron (Natural Heritage). The team also met with members of the Cambrian Mountains Initiative community stakeholder group.
New Ireland Wales initiative to promote sustainable tourism announced
17 March 2022
Image: The Pentre Ifan burial chamber in the hills of Preseli, one of the four coastal areas that feature in the Coastal Uplands Heritage and Tourism project.
Academics from Aberystwyth University will lead a new European project to boost tourism in rural areas of Wales and Ireland.
The new initiative, announced on St Patrick’s Day, sees researchers from Aberystwyth University Department of Geography and Earth Sciences lead the €3 million project in partnership with University College Dublin and the Dyfed Archaeological Trust.
It is supported by €2.4m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.
The scheme will operate for a period of two years in the Cambrian Mountains, Preseli Hills, Wicklow Mountains and Blackstairs Mountains, using their cultural and natural heritage assets to promote sustainable forms of tourism.
The Ireland-Wales project comprises several elements, including: the use of technology to enhance the visitor experience; creating a tourism network and joint marketing strategy; and work with schools and others to record local cultural histories.
The initiative, known as Coastal Uplands Heritage and Tourism project, also aims to bring economic benefits. The ambition is to increase the number of tourists in these areas by 5% along with their spending – creating or expanding eight local microenterprises.
Explaining the work, Professor Rhys Jones from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University said: “The four coastal upland areas of the Cambrian Mountains, Preseli Hills, Wicklow Mountains and Blackstairs Mountains have historically been reliant on traditional industries such as agriculture and forestry. Each of the areas possesses some tourism infrastructure in addition but, at present, this is relatively under-developed, especially when compared with the mass tourism taking place along the coasts of both Ireland and Wales.
“In Ireland and Wales, Brexit is likely to have an impact on tourism. However, unexpectedly, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic may encourage more people to holiday at home. This creates opportunities for more regions to benefit from new types of domestic tourists wanting to actively explore the less commercialised coastal upland areas.”
Leading the project in Ireland are Dr Christine Bonnin and Dr Arlene Crampsie from University College Dublin’s School of Geography. Drs Bonnin and Crampsie said: “Drawing on the rich natural and cultural heritages of the coastal uplands bordering the Irish Sea, this project offers local communities and tourism stakeholders an exciting opportunity to develop sustainable, locally appropriate tourism offerings. Combining existing and new heritage tourism initiatives, the project will showcase the shared and unique aspects of our joint heritages to a diverse tourist audience, helping to build sustainable tourism through community development.”
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “We welcome the development of projects that will enhance the visitor experience in Wales and also strengthen our relationships with our closest European neighbour, Ireland. This project aligns with our tourism strategy by supporting our ambition to grow tourism sustainably by extending the season and encouraging visitors to discover new tourism-ready areas. We look forward to working with the team on another project which will bring our two countries closer together.”
The Irish Government Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, TD said: “I congratulate the partners in the Coastal Uplands Heritage and Tourism (CUPHAT) project for their success in obtaining support from the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 to enhance the tourism potential of some of the most peripheral areas of Wales and Ireland. These areas are endowed with great natural beauty and strong historical backgrounds. Building on these resources through the development of sustainable tourism will help unlock the untapped economic potential of these regions. Projects and partnerships such as this one are important symbols of the ongoing cooperation between Wales and the South East of Ireland.”
Kenneth Murphy of Dyfed Archaeological Trust said: “This is a great opportunity to showcase to the world these unique upland landscapes in Wales and Ireland. We look forward to working with our partners in Aberystwyth and Dublin.”
- Coastal Upland: Heritage Tourism
- Aberystwyth University Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
- University College Dublin School of Geography
- Dyfed Archaeological Trust
Arthur Dafis, Communications & Public Affairs, Aberystwyth University
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