Two iconic tourism routes, the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route, to be linked (2024) 

The Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route are set to become even more significant for tourists thanks to a collaborative effort supported by the Shared Island Initiative. With an allocation of €7.6 million, the project aims to link these two iconic routes, encouraging visitors to extend their stays and easily explore more of the island’s coastline. The plan includes the establishment of discovery points, improved signage, and orientation aids for travellers, as well as the development of cross-border regional destinations.  

Ryanair to introduce new year-round service into Derry-Londonderry (April 2024) 

On 3 April 2024, Ryanair’s inaugural flight between Birmingham and City of Derry Airport will take off, marking the start of a brand new, year-round flight service linking the two cities. The service will run twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The direct connection has been in demand for a number of years and will now make it even easier for those in England’s north and midlands to visit the Walled City to explore the beautiful countryside of Donegal and the iconic Causeway Coastal Route. British travellers can currently reach Derry-Londonderry via the direct Heathrow flight with Loganair which operates three times a day Monday – Friday and twice daily at the weekend. /  

Waterford Airport to reopen with new flights linking south-east Ireland and London (end of 2024) 

Waterford Airport is expected to reopen by the end of 2024, creating a new schedule of London routes. An extended runway is in development as part of a €30 million investment, giving the airport capacity to handle larger aircraft suitable for short-medium haul flights. The airport reopening will see the destination linked to the GB and Europe for the first time since 2016, with a new London route set to kick-start commercial passenger flights. Waterford is in the tourism spotlight, with its recent inclusion in the New York Times ‘Go to in 2024’ list and the development of the South East Greenway, 24km of cycling and walking trails meandering through Ireland’s Ancient East from Mount Elliot to the Viking city of Waterford, along with the opening of The Irish Wake Museum in 2023.  

Wild Atlantic Way marks its 10th anniversary (throughout 2024) 

2024 marks a decade of the Wild Atlantic Way, the longest coastal touring route in the world, stretching 2,500km along Ireland’s rugged west coast. This iconic route, known for its dramatic landscapes, Gaelic culture, and charming villages, has a new visitor centre opening summer 2024 at Mizen Head, Ireland’s southernmost point. Those wanting to explore the rugged west coast by car can book a new EV road trip package with McKinley Kidd, which features sustainable experiences such as a private seaweed themed beach walk on Derrynan’s shores, a guided kayaking tour off Incheydoney, and an e-bike ride in Co. Galway.  

A year of creativity and culture in Belfast (March – November 2024) 

Belfast 2024 will be the city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration with a programme of events and community-led activities between March – November 2024, including partnerships with the Eden Project, BBC NI, Oliver Jeffers and the Nerve Centre. The Belfast 2024 programme will see the city come alive with workshops, performances and events with an array of creative projects and initiatives, celebrating homegrown culture, creativity and the city itself. The programme encompasses the key themes “People, Place and Planet” and will include a collaboration with the Cornwall based Eden Project, new citywide public art installations themed on nature and sustainability, events inspired by Belfast’s marine heritage, include a mass boat-building project and shadow art at the Titanic dry docks, and a guerrilla gardening project aiming to rewild the peace walls in west Belfast.  

Shannon River cruisers switch to sustainable fuel (throughout 2024) 

Cruising on the River Shannon has become even more eco-friendly as the Irish Boat Rental Association transition their stock to sustainable HVO fuel, meaning holidaymakers can hire a boat and travel down Ireland’s longest river in an environmentally friendly way. HVO fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 92% compared with the diesel fuel currently used, contributing to a cleaner environment. There are a total of 217 cruise hire boats on the Shannon set to commence the 2024 season on March 15th and 142 of them will be running on Sustainable HVO. This year is particularly significant, marking 30 years since the creation of the Shannon-Erne Waterway linking the River Shannon in the Republic of Ireland with the River Erne in Northern Ireland – a positive story of cross-border collaboration ahead of the Good Friday Agreement.  

Belfast Grand Central Station to open as the island’s largest transport hub (2025) 

A new integrated bus and railway station is currently in development in Belfast, which, on opening in 2025, will become the island of Ireland’s biggest transport hub. Belfast Grand Central station will be located on an 8-hectare site beside the current Europa Buscentre and Gt Victoria Street Station, sitting at the heart of an exciting new city neighbourhood called ‘Weavers Cross’. The station will provide a new gateway to Belfast, supplying rail, bus and coach connections to all parts of Northern Ireland and beyond. The station aims to encourage more people to use public transport and explore the island by train.  

Experience the first new National Park in 25 years (TBC) 

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, is to become Ireland’s seventh National Park, the first in 25 years. The new National Park in Ireland’s Ancient East will stretch over 550 acres and be a unique area  encompassing history, heritage, nature, and culture.  The park will be situated in the 18th-century Dowth demesne, which overlays a prehistoric landscape that is the location of significant archaeological remains including a Neolithic passage tomb, the Late Neolithic Dowth henge, two smaller passage tombs, early medieval ringforts, and a Bronze Age field system. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, is home to the largest collection of megalithic art in Europe, dotted across over 90 Neolithic monuments.  

Donegal tweed hat maker loved by celebrities, turns 100 this year  

Family run business Hanna Hats has now been crafting authentic Irish tweed and woollen headwear for 100 years, spanning three generations. 2024 marks 100 years since Belfast-born David Hanna cycled 100 miles from the east coast to the west coast of Ireland in the hope of securing an apprenticeship and a new place to call home. His dream came true, and Hanna Hats was born. Today, David’s grandchildren Eleanor and John Patrick Hanna continue the tradition, producing hand-made tweed hats which have become a firm favourite of many celebrities including Matt Damon, Patrick Dempsey and Brad Pitt. Tourists can visit the workshop in Donegal to see the hat-making process and purchase one of their own.  



New whiskey distillery to open in Crumlin Road Gaol (27 March 2024) 

A new whiskey distillery will open in the A wing at the 19th century Crumlin Road Gaol at the end of March 2024, following a £22 million investment, reviving the 150-year-old McConnell’s Irish Whisky brand. Visitors will be able to explore the jail, enjoy whiskey tours, cocktail masterclasses and visit the tasting bar and shop. Crumlin Road Gaol first opened its gates to prisoners in 1846 and for 150 years was a fully operational prison. In March 1996, the heavy air-lock gates slammed shut for the final time. During those 150 years the Gaol has housed murderers, suffragettes, loyalist and republican prisoners. The new distillery is part of a wider whiskey renaissance happening in Belfast, with the opening of Titanic Distillers last year in the former Titanic pumphouse, the first distillery to produce whiskey in Belfast since prohibition.  

Discover stories from the Bogside’s journey from conflict in the new Peacemakers Museum, Derry-Londonderry (Summer 2024) 

Due to open summer 2024, Derry-Londonderry’s new Peacemakers Museum will chronicle the evolution of The Troubles  from August 1972, and the key role played by Bogside residents Martin McGuinness, John Hume and Mitchel McLaughlin in developing the peace process. The new museum will be in an extension to Derry’s Gasyard Centre and will see locals recount their memories of the conflict and path to peace. The museum also plans to collaborate with local tour guides, the hospitality sector and other heritage providers to promote the heritage in the Bogside and wider city.  

Belfast gets new LGBTQIA+ collective space (March 2024) 

A new LGBTQIA+ collective space has opened in Belfast, adding to the city’s gay-friendly credentials. The House of Them has opened in Belfast’s university area and aims to provide a space where everyone feels safe, comfortable and accepted for who they are. The space currently encompasses a coffee shop called Brewed by Them, and a tattoo business, Pierced by Them. The goal is to have more business creatives from the queer community, in fields such as hairstyling, beauty, or others, rent space within it to create a thriving community. The House of Them is the creation of David and Ray Black, siblings from the town of Holywood, County Down.  



Dunluce Lodge, tipped to be the north coast’s first five-star hotel (Autumn 2024) 

Brand-new luxury hotel, Dunluce Lodge, will debut on Ireland’s north shore in the autumn of 2024, featuring 35 guest rooms and a luxury spa, perfectly timed for the return of The Open Championship to Royal Portrush in 2025. Dunluce Lodge sits proudly on the edge of Royal Portrush’s fourth fairway, providing sweeping views of the course, Portrush town and the Donegal headlands.  For larger groups, the hotel has a beautiful private lodge, offering eight private suites, private dining, and a fireside lounge space. The hotel will have an onsite putting green, designed by renowned golf architect, Martin Ebert, and a restaurant serving seasonal produce from the region’s abundant land and sea larder. 

The Foundry Belfast to open celebrating Belfast’s punk music heritage (summer 2024) 

A new boutique hotel, bar and restaurant will open in Belfast’s busy Cathedral Quarter this summer. The Foundry is located on the site of the legendary Harp Bar, known for being the go-to for the city’s punk scene in the late seventies and early eighties, with many popular bands such as The Undertones, The Outcasts, and Stiff Little Fingers regularly coming through its doors to play. The new hotel will capture the site’s musical history, providing 20 boutique hotel rooms across three floors and a 350-capacity bar and restaurant. The group has also commissioned commercial street artist, Visual Waste, to help with the building’s interiors. 

Luxury design hotel Ruby Molly to open Dublin celebrating historic marketplace (May 2024) 

A brand-new Lean Luxury Design Hotel Ruby Molly will open this spring, a stone’s throw from the banks of the River Liffey, inspired by the area’s lively history as a Victorian fruit and vegetable market. The hotel will have 72 rooms and a bar, café, and lounge open to both guests and the public. The hotel’s design reflects a blend of town and country, celebrating the historic Dublin location. 


Ballyscullion Park Book Festival: New literary event launched in Heaney country (11-12 May 2024) 

The inaugural Ballyscullion Park Book Festival will celebrate literature, music and art in the heart of Seamus Heaney country. The historic Ballyscullion Park, a private country estate situated on the shores of Lough Beg in County Derry~Londonderry, will be the beautiful backdrop for the newest addition to the island of Ireland’s long list of literary events when a new book festival opens its first chapter there in May. The Ballyscullion Park Book Festival will focus on the eighteenth century, when the imposing Earl Bishop of Derry’s Palace was built in the park. Today, only a few ruins of the palace remain in the grounds of Ballyscullion House, which itself was built in 1840. 


YES Festival: New female arts festival inspired by Molly Bloom (13-16 June 2024) 

A new multi-arts event will take place from 13-16 June and see women artists from across Europe travel to Ireland, to present work in venues and public spaces across Derry~Londonderry and north Donegal. Aimed at people of all ages and backgrounds, the programme will include theatre, dance, visual arts, installations, film, writing, photography, textiles, circus, music, rap and song.  The YES Festival is inspired by the character Molly Bloom from James Joyce’s Ulysses, and is the culmination of ULYSSES European Odyssey 2022-2024, the international cultural programme celebrating Joyce’s novel in 18 cities in 16 European countries. The final episode of Joyce’s novel is entirely made up of Molly Bloom’s extraordinary monologue, which begins and ends with the word ‘yes’ and has inspired many artists, including the likes of Kate Bush. 

For more information about 2024 attractions and experiences, please visit  

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