This is an article from 2009 that we found in an old cache elsewhere that we are re-adding the new CraicOn.


In June I went across to Greenock and arranged a meeting with the Provost of Inverclyde, Michael McCormick, to try to rekindle the link between Moville and Inishowen in general and the West of Scotland.

When Moville was a thriving tourist town the West of Scotland was where most of their tourists came from.

Indeed, older residents can remember busloads coming up every evening from Derry with people who had come across on the Lairds Loch ferry, and the B&Bs and self catering houses were brim full of tourists throughout the summer.

Indeed many of the houses in Moville have back houses and the reason for that was that people here used to live in the main house during most of the year and then move into the back house for the summer, letting out the main house to Scottish tourists.

Tourism Stopped

The reasons that they stopped coming here were twofold.

Firstly, the boat that had run from Glasgow to Derry from 1826 to 1966 switched to the Dublin route, which made it more difficult for visitors to get here, and secondly The Troubles in the north meant that visitors from the West of Scotland had to run the gauntlet of being stopped and searched several times on the way over here by people with machine guns, which wasn’t the best start to an annual holiday.

The Provost couldn’t have been more helpful and said that he was keen to rekindle the link and that he would do anything he could to help.


He told me that he was running a first ever Charity Ball in the Town Hall on October 3rd with tables of ten with each seat costing £50 a head.

I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get a trade delegation to go across and let the people of Greenock and Inverclyde know that the Troubles were over and that there were new cheap flights via Ryanair from Glasgow Prestwick to Derry which can get you here in just 40 minutes.

Via Councillor Marian McDonald, I proposed to Donegal Council that we take one of those tables and invite useful people from the other side along, e.g. those that run travel operations, representatives of the big marinas there etc.

Publicity for Moville

When I was over there the trip got good publicity in the Greenock Telegraph and the Inverclyde News with the story of the attempt to recreate the link between Moville and the West of Scotland and a picture of the Provost holding a DylanFest poster beside myself holding a BeatlesFest picture.

Indeed, on the Saturday night of the DylanFest a group of guys with Scottish accents tapped me on the shoulder and said “are you the guy that was in the Greenock Telegraph last week?”, which was quite pleasing as it showed that the publicity had had an immediate effect.

Turned Down

However, I’ve just had the news that Donegal Council won’t be taking the opportunity to take up a table at the Provost’s Ball.

It seems that all their budget money has been allocated for the year.

I asked if there would be opportunities next year, when the budget came in, to take the Provost up on his offer and to take a trade delegation over.

However, it seems that there are going to be budget cuts next year and that no one knows what their budget is going to be.

It seems, however, that those allocated funds have their own projects and I was feeling the impression that there was not likely to be any help either this year, next year, or any year – and that’s a shame.

There have been tourist initiatives to bring people here but if you ask the people of Moville how successful they have been, most would say that there hasn’t been any discernible gain from them.

People Themselves

Indeed any success that has been had in bringing people to Moville has been through the people themselves in the various festivals and events taking place in the town which have been organised by volunteers and publicised by the volunteers too.

It looks as if, if Moville is to become a successful tourist town again that the people are going to, somehow, have to do it by themselves.

Probably the best step that has been taken is the creation of Moville Events, which brought together all the heads of the Festivals and Events in Moville so that they act in unison and help each other.

Whilst a severe economic downturn was sweeping the country, all of Moville’s festivals and events were successful, with record numbers of people turning up for every single festival or event.

Better Coordination

Part of that is down to the hard work of the organisers, but part of it is down to the greater publicity generated for the festivals by posters and brochures that were created, for the first time, showing a programme of events for the year, which have been put in many of the pubs, restaurants, hotels, cafes and guest houses of the town, so that if someone comes to Moville for one event or just for a trip they can take away a programme of events for the rest of the year with them, and tell other people from whence they came from about what is going on here.

I saw many, many visitors throughout the year pick up brochures, read them and say that they would be back for one or more of the events taking place, and putting the brochures in their pockets to take away with them.

Also, information about all the festivals has been spread widely via the internet and feature prominently in Google searches ia Moville Events.

So, it looks very likely that if Moville wants to become a successful tourist town again then it is the people of the town who are going to have to do it for themselves.

Said Senator Cecilia Keaveney:-

“I am obviously disappointed that the council feel unable to assist on this occasion. I do understand that budgets can be finalised well in advance of new opportunities arising that have not been anticipated and therefore I would urge the officials involved to continue to work with all those in this particular project that aims to reignite a project with true tangible potential for both Inishowen and Scotland.

“There has been much talk of peace and reconciliation and cross borders cooperation. The battle to have Western Scotland brought under the new rounds of funding was fought as much by Inishowen as anywhere else.

“We need to ensure the momentum continues and so both within the council and within the other funding agencies we want a closer evaluation of this situation whereby we are having to close doors and withdraw the hand of friendship not open doors and extend our hands. Surely there is an answer available with so many people in the county so well versed in sourcing of funding.

“I will continue to promote the ideals of projects such as this, as I have done at every opportunity to date”.