News Blog

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.

Apply to our FREE programme

The programme seeks to support local microenterprise and community development in the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains in Ireland, and the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains in Wales.

We invite start-ups, established microenterprises and community groups from the Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains to apply here:

Deadline: 19/12/2022 at 12 noon.

Applications for the Cambrian and Preseli Mountains will follow shortly.

Learning Visits

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

Community members in Tinahely, Ireland
Community members in Kiltealy, Ireland

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.

Eisteddfod Festival

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). 

Europe Day

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.

CUPHAT launch

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

Pentre Ifan - a burial chamber in the Preseli Mountains, Wales

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.”


Further Information:
Arthur Dafis, Communications & Public Affairs, Aberystwyth University
07841979452 /

Aberystwyth University  
Established in 1872, Aberystwyth is a leading teaching and research university. The University was named University of the Year for Teaching Quality in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 2019, and Welsh University of the Year in 2020. In the 2020 National Student Survey, Aberystwyth was ranked the best university in Wales, and of the universities featured in The Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021, was number one in the UK for overall Student Experience and Teaching Quality. The latest Research Excellence Framework reported that 95% of Aberystwyth’s research activity was of an international standard or higher. The University is a community of around 8,000 students and 2,000 staff committed to delivering inspirational education and research in a supportive, creative and exceptional environment. Registered charity No 1145141

New Ireland Wales initiative to promote sustainable tourism announced – Aberystwyth University