Fáilte Ireland joins forces with TG4 for travel and music programme

Sharon Shannon’s Heartlands

Fáilte Ireland and TG4 have joined forces with musician Sharon Shannon on a new travel and music programme ‘Heartlands’.

The four-week series, commencing on Wednesday August 11, features Sharon Shannon and her niece Caoilinn Ní Dhonnabháin showcasing the Shannon River region across Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

Including ideas for short breaks this summer and into autumn, the series will encourage and remind more Irish people to discover the joy of holidaying in Ireland.

The episodes features Westmeath are on Wednesday August 18 and 25 at 8.30pm, and as well as that the first episode, on August 11, features Manchán Magan at the Shannon Pot.

Other programmes feature Steve Wickham/Liam O’Maonlaí at Kilronan Castle; Ronan Browne in Battlebridge; Eleanor Shanley chats in Carrick-on-Shannon; Nathan Carter at Richmond Harbour; Bay Sports at Hodson Bay; the Henshaw Family; the Celtic Roots Studio in Athlone; Clonmacnoise; Seamus Begley at Shannonbridge; Mundy; Derg Isle and Holy Island; Gerry Banjo O’Connor in Tipperary; Beal Boru with Aindrias de Staic; and Susan O’Neill at Ballina/Killaloe.

Sharon and her Caoilinn will slowly cruise the River Shannon discovering Ireland’s hidden gems while catching up with musical friends, such as Liam O’Maonlaoi (Hothouse Flowers), Steve Wickham (The Waterboys), Eleanor Shanley, Nathan Carter, The Henshaws, Seamus Begley, Mundy, Gerry ‘Banjo’ O’Connor and Susan O’Neill.

The series was supported by TG4, Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland and all nine local authorities along the Shannon, from the Shannon Pot to Lough Derg (Cavan, Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Galway, Clare and Tipperary).

Paddy Mathews, Fáilte Ireland’s head of operations for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, said: “Heartlands is an exciting new series which fuses travel with music, uncovering a host of hidden gems along the River Shannon and introducing the viewer to some of Ireland’s greatest musicians along the way.

“Following Sharon Shannon and her niece Caoilinn Ní Dhonnabháin from the Shannon Pot down to Lough Derg is a wonderful way to showcase Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands in an engaging way which makes for compelling viewing.“

Sharon Shannon said: “It’s only when you get a chance, like I have, to explore that you truly realise the wonderful gems we have around Ireland, and in particular along the River Shannon. It’s been a joy to be involved with this wonderful programme, combining my great love of Ireland and music with Fáilte Ireland and TG4, and I encourage everyone to go and explore the things to see and do along the Shannon.”

In 2018, Fáilte Ireland unveiled ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ as s tourism brand, to bring to life the rich natural assets of the midlands including its lakes, walkways and blueways.

It also leveraged a growing tourism trend for soft adventure by encouraging visitors to be ‘active in nature’ and to explore the region off the beaten tracks with the River Shannon as a central focus of the brand to drive tourism opportunities both on and off the water, and in the towns surrounding it.