The summer season is now just 51 days now. It starts on July 12th and ends on August 31st according to local businesses. Those 51 days are a very short period of time to see local businesses through the long dark days of the winter. With so many young people emigrating to find work there are fewer and fewer customers for the local businesses.

What Moville needs, according to a local publican, is the big idea that will have people coming here all the year round.

Ars Plan

As I’ve mentioned before, a town called Ars in France got it right. The Council there opened up a landing area for alien spacecraft. THey had the equivalent of a helipad which said ‘Welcome Visitors from Space”. The Councillors all laughed at the end of the Council Meeting which voted it in.

It went on to become an enormous success and Ars now gets a multiple of its previous number of visitors per year. It became a worldwide focal point for Trekkies (Star Trek fans) and UFO watchers. They found like-minded people there. The Council recently voted to upgrade the facilities – and they weren’t joking this time.

Amazing Grace

Buncrana has gone down the same route now with the Amazing Grace Project. It seems Amazing Grace was written by John Newton whose ship, filled with slaves, had to take shelter from a storm in 1748 in the Sound of Lough Swilly (how sweet the Sound).

It completely changed his attitude to slavery and he became an anti-slavery campaigner helping William Wilberforce get it abolished.

Now Buncrana have started the Amazing Grace project after the song he wrote about the events of that day.


You could imagine how many people, especially Americans (and especially African-Americans) would want to see the place of the great conversion which inspired the song that they all know. If it is marketed properly it could be a real money spinner for Buncrana and the Swilly.

A TV documentary programme entitled The Real Story Behind Amazing Grace with shots of Buncrana and the Swilly would be a huge boost if shown on American TV.

So, what about Moville? What could it do to attract visitors all the year round? What has it got that it could work on and publicise?


There’s the fact that Field Marshal Montgomery spent his childhood here. That would work. He was the second biggest hero in World War Two after Churchill to people in the UK and everyone knows who he is (as do Americans). English visitors are astonished when I tell them he was from just up the road. They wonder why they never knew about it.

However, this kite has been flown before and there are too many people against it. The big idea would have to have the agreement of virtually everybody in Moville. Could you imagine visitors coming here to see a Montgomery Museum at his old house only to see it daubed with graffiti?

Dylan Town

So, what else do we have?

One idea I would put froward would be to use the DylanFest to attract people here all the year round. Hibbing, Minnesota, where Dylan grew up and Greenwich Village where he went to live in New York are focal points for US Dylan fans.

However, there is no Dylan focus point in Europe where Dylan fans can come and find other Dylan fans and hear Dylan music. The guys from abroad who come here to play tell me that Moville holds the biggest DylanFest in Europe. Indeed some Movillians who went over to the Manchester DylanFest said that the Thursday night in Moville was bigger than the Saturday night in Manchester.

So, we have an excellent start and something to work with. It doesn’t have to be the DylanFest, of course, but unless there is another big idea it might be a good idea to look at making Moville a Europe wide focal point for Dylan fans. I have some ideas on how it can be done – but it depends if the people and businesses of Moville want it or not.

Will they want it?