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Sportif to unlock Kerry’s potential as must-visit cycling destination

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THE Minister of State for Tourism and Sports Brendan Griffin TD announced today that Fáilte Ireland is teaming up with cycling specialists Ride Wild (www.ridewild.ie) to launch the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif.

This is a series of bi-annual cycling events along the coastal route (from Kinsale in West Cork to Muff in Donegal and running through Kerry), which will promote the Wild Atlantic Way as a cycling destination internationally and domestically as well as attract visitors across the full length of the route during off-season months.

An inaugural ride will take place along the route this September and a further two events per year will take place from 2018 to 2020. The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif route map is attached and can also be viewed in Note to Editor. The route map has been developed by Ride Wild as the most suitable along the coast for cyclists but will be subject to change as the event grows.

“The Wild Atlantic Way is ideal for initiatives like this and the additional tourism activity generated will benefit many small rural communities all along the west coast including many in County Kerry," said Minister Griffin. "I am particularly pleased to welcome an event which has the potential to attract visitors and increase bed-nights across Kerry during off-peak times of the year. I am sure that when participants cycle through the county, they will be stunned by our great landscapes and the warm welcome on offer.”

Fáilte Ireland is planning to invest €650,000 in the initiative between now and 2020, with the ambition to grow the average number of cyclists per day from 400 in 2018 to 1,000 per day in 2020. It is hoped that, if the initiative becomes popular, it will become self-financing.

Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly today emphasised that cycling has great potential for tourism. Research indicates that the average cycling tourist spends an average of five nights attending a sportif event. Nearly 400 official cycling sportifs take place in Ireland each year - along with many more local events - and the number of events is growing each year. In the UK alone, over two million adults cycle at least once a week and sales of high-quality road bikes have grown 24% on last year. The location of a sportif is a key driver for this type of visitor and research has revealed that 81% of potential sports tourists would identify the Wild Atlantic Way as having a strong (45%) or very strong (36%) appeal for them.

Explaining the benefit for tourism of the Cycling Sportif, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly today said: “We have our own natural cycling route along the Wild Atlantic Way and I would imagine every cycling enthusiast would love to hop on a bike and enjoy its unique landscapes. Through the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle we are creating an added incentive for them. We are developing the logistics and events along the route that, I believe, will build a strong reputation for the Wild Atlantic Way as an attractive cycling destination. Indeed, if we get this right, the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will become a ‘must-do’ item for international and domestic cyclists.”

Mr Kelly also emphasised that developing the cycling initiative made good economic sense in terms of tourism. He said: “If we can meet our visitor targets, we estimate that the cycle sportif could generate over €13m and up to 50,000 bed nights. Importantly, we will also be generating significant visitor activity in off-season months which will help businesses stay open longer. This is a real bonus for areas that are outside the traditional tourist hot spots.”

Mr Kelly added that the initiative will be targeting a mix of domestic and international visitors but he expected increasing numbers of overseas cyclists to attend over the next few years as awareness builds.

Participants in the Sportif will have the option of covering the full distance (over 2,000km) over a set number of days, completing a stage of the Sportif over a multi-day section of the route or joining the event for a single day.

Organiser Ride Wild, a cycling tour company, will provide all logistics for participating cyclists and entry to the multi-day events will include accommodation, meals, official cycling kit including cycling jersey and shower jacket, kit laundry service, and bag transfers as well as paramedic and mechanical support during the cycle. The costs for these services will be included in cyclists’ registration fee.

The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will take place bi-annually every April and September from 2018 to 2020. However, this September 13-29, Ride Wild is organising a pilot event and all interested cyclists and clubs are invited to saddle up and be the first to embark on what will soon be Europe’s signature cycling route.

The web page for September’s event can be accessed here: www.wildatlanticwaycyclesportif.ie The route of the Sportif will also be available online on popular cycling platforms Ride with GPS, Map My Ride, and Strava.

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It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions and plans to get the health and fitness levels in check. Which in turn always improves mood, energy levels and that fabulous just-worked-out glow to your skin, which is super anti-ageing. It even helps in collagen and elastin production. As we age and the […]

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It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions and plans to get the health and fitness levels in check.

Which in turn always improves mood, energy levels and that fabulous just-worked-out glow to your skin, which is super anti-ageing. It even helps in collagen and elastin production. As we age and the body slows down, so does cell growth. It’s a proven fact that movement increasing circulation and improves skin age and glow….

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To make an appointment or for more information call Jill on 064-6632966

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Important date reminders about CAO applications

The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process. Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in […]

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The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process.

Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in interactive flipbook or to download from www.cao.ie, which also has a lot of resources to help applicants and parents.

To register, log on to www.cao.ie and click on Apply, it will ask you first to input your personal and contact details along with the category of applicant you are. Once you create a password and submit payment you receive you CAO number which means you are registered. It is advisable to go through the Demo Version of the CAO form first which is available on their website in the ‘Student Resources’ section.

Applicants who register before January 20 at 5pm will be charged the discounted application fee of €30, which increases to €45 up to February 1. Once you have registered you have until February 1st to add and change your courses, free of charge. On May 5, the Change of Mind facility will open and you will have the change to change your courses, with certain restrictions, up to July 1 at 5pm.

Course choices

You have the option of filling in 20 courses in total – 10 choices on level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 10 on level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees / Higher Certificates) and it is advisable to fill as many as you can to give yourself the best chance of being offered a place on a course you like.

It is essential though that you research carefully all the courses you are going to include. Often students are careful about their first couple of choices but don’t research the courses that are further down the list well enough. Don’t make this mistake. Every course you put down should be one that you are genuinely interested in and willing to do so consider all options carefully. The majority of level 7/6 courses have progression routes onto level 8.

Order of Preference

This is the golden rule of the CAO and a very common mistake made by students every year. Always put down your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points from the previous year. Points for courses change each year and you will not know the points for 2022 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO, which is usually a couple of days after the Leaving Cert results come out. Also you don’t know what points you are going to get until those results come out and it will be too late to make changes to your CAO application at that stage.

Restrictions for the February 1 deadline

While you will get the opportunity to change your course choices later in the year, there are certain restrictions to take note of regarding the February 1st deadline. If you are applying for ‘restricted courses’ they must be added in by February 1as they require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio.

Such assessments are usually carried out between February & April. Students who are applying for Medicine must apply to do the HPAT by January 21 on https://hpat-ireland.acer.org/.

Any students applying for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) or DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes must have applied to CAO by February 1.

You then have until March the 1st to complete those applications and up to March 15 to have supporting documentation sent to CAO (see www.accesscollege.ie). In the case of mature applicants, most HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) require applications to be in by the February 1 deadline.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or email info@mycareerplan.ie

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