During the Economic Development & Enterprise SPC meeting in Dun Laoghaire on March 23rd, a presentation and subsequent discussion was held in relation to enhancing tourism within the county.

I expressed a view that enhanced connectivity between DART and LUAS services within the county should be championed and outlined that the best way to achieve this would be to concentrate on improving bus services at the Crofton Road/DART Railway station in Dun Laoghaire. As this stop represents a bus terminus immediately beside a DART station, it is particularly suitable for tourists to avail of to ‘hop’ to other destinations within Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. Yet existing cross-county services such as the 75 and the 63 need increased frequency to more fully exploit this advantage. Beyond a tourism rationale, the case for enhancing the 75 service would be strong given that it would facilitate added DART-LUAS connectivity (at Stillorgan primarily), which would also benefit the general commuting population within the county. A special tourist-focused variation of the 63 route could for example make it easier for tourists to explore attractions associated both with the mountains and the sea within the county.

Another discussion at this meeting also involved consideration of future possible international twinning arrangements. I emphasised a view that such an arrangement with a North American city/county should be explored. Dublin is paired with San Jose, California since 1986, but this is an arrangement developed with Dublin City Council, and so there would be merit in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council seeking its own transatlantic connection. Other Irish cities and counties have developed numerous such links: Belfast with Boston and Galway with Chicago are two notable examples. The population of the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown by itself would warrant a similar connection.

A number of goals should be examined in terms of feasibility: academic connections (second-level and third-level, particularly the latter since Ireland’s largest university is located within Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown); prospects of commercial co-operation; added benefits derived from tourism and cultural ties. All of these could add, in time, more jobs and other opportunities within the county.