‘One of the worst tourism seasons

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

This summer’s terrible weather, with the lowest temperatures in 50 years, means many tourism providers in Donegal have seen one of their worst seasons ever.

This summer’s terrible weather, with the lowest temperatures in 50 years, means many tourism providers in Donegal have seen one of their worst seasons ever.

Micheal Naughton, Donegal spokesperson for the Irish Hotels Federation, told the Donegal Democrat: “The numbers are definitely down, it’s one of the worst summers ever in parts of the county.

“Up here, we’re surrounded by beaches and look at the weather we’ve had. We’ve had about three to four days when you would take your family to the seaside but that’s about it. Beach resorts like Bundoran and Buncrana would have been worst affected.

“Even where the tourists are coming, to towns like Letterkenny and Donegal, they are spending less. It’s affecting the bars, the restaurants and the shops.”

Paul McLoone, Head of Operations for Fáilte Ireland in the north-west, met with accommodation providers in Letterkenny at the end of July to discuss their concerns about this season.

“In association with our tourism partners, we started running our TV advertising campaign again this week, at a cost of €90,000. The adverts will be broadcast on RTÉ, TV3 and UTV over the next three weeks in an effort to boost visitor numbers.

“We need a couple of good weeks before the season ends to try to retrieve things. There have been some good periods and some bad periods. Generally speaking, the seaside resorts have been having a hard time of it, while the towns seem to be getting the numbers.

“Everywhere, though, there has been a substantial downturn in terms of spend, there is no doubt about it.”

Bad weather

With indications this week that parts of Ireland have experienced the coolest summer in nearly 50 years, Met Eireann say Donegal has probably fared worst of all.

“Temperatures generally in Ireland have been pretty poor this summer and, because we’ve had a lot of winds in from the north-west, Donegal would have been worse affected than most,” Hugh Daly of Met Eireann told the Donegal Democrat.

“We’ve had a few days this summer when the temperature reached 12 or 13 degrees at Malin Head, but that’s pretty pathetic for this time of year. You wouldn’t mind it in April, if you thought you had the summer to look forward to, but it’s pretty depressing in the middle of summer and there’s not much evidence that things will improve.”

He continued: “We mainly focus on forecasting up to five to six days in advance, so I wouldn’t like to give a long-range prediction but we’re certainly not seeing any signs that a major change is on the way in the short term at least.”

The highest temperature in Ireland this summer was 25.5C, recorded at Oak Park, Co Carlow on June 3. The last time that the maximum summer temperature was lower than that was on June 29, 1965, when the thermostats read 25.2C at Ballybrittas, Co Laois.

Met Eireann’s monthly report for the end of July showed the lowest temperatures recorded at Dublin Airport in June and July for 50 years. Jonathan Powell of Positive Weather Solutions added: “Initially, back in March and April, we were predicting a ‘sunblock summer’ but the weather shattered our predictions. August, typically, showed promise but failed to live up to it. We hope there will be a slight improvement by the end of the week but overall it’s looking pretty gloomy to the end of the month. It’s really been a bit of a damp squib.” According to Ruth Coughlan of Met Eireann, so far Donegal’s mean summer temperature of 12.9C is on a par with the summer of 1993, and only two degrees above the coolest before that, in 1986. On the plus side, she was keen to point out that Donegal’s rainfall to date is only 71% of the average.