News Blog

Visit to the Wicklow and Blackstairs Mountains in Ireland

23rd – 24th May 2022

CUPHAT team members from AU, DAT and UCD visited the Wicklow Mountain area on the 23rd 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 on the 24th May 22 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

9th 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

27th April 2022

The CUPHAT launch was a great success taking place at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth on the 27th 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

8th-9th 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’s and the 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’s, Wales on the 8th April 22. 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 Preseli’s. 

UCD, AU and DAT also visited the Cambrian mountains on the 9th April 22. 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

17th 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

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