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Tetrarch Misstep Out Of Step With Locals

When Michael McElligott of Tetrarch put his signature to correspondence notifying Shane’s Howth Hikes that it no longer had a licence to conduct tours throughout the Deer Park Demesne, one wonders whether he had fully thought through this rebuff and its impact for Shane’s Howth Hikes and the community of Howth and Sutton.

Building a local business from a standing start is always a herculean task. It is certainly not for the faint-hearted and so, setting off in 2016 with a mission to provide quality local tours around Howth has been the holy grail of Shane O’Doherty. More than a mission, the whole project is based on the principle of protecting the local wilderness and biodiversity through regenerative tourism and is an all-consuming passion for its founder. And testament to its success, is the array of references that sit proudly on its websites.

Shane Howth Hike’s is an experience like no other. It draws on the founder’s own love of the area, trekking the same routes he roamed in his youth and treating the tourist to that same sense of abandon and discovery, as they explore the area.

Critical to this adventure has been access to Deer Park, where Howth’s heritage and history form a key constituent of the visitor experience – Aideen’s Grave, the rhododendron gardens, Mush Rock , the Transport Museum, the grounds, the views and the history of the castle itself, tell a unique and compelling story – central to Howth and to Shane’s Howth Hikes.

Now, the withdrawal of the licence to conduct such tours flies in the face of tradition. Deer Park, since the time of Grainne Mhaol has always operated an open-door policy and access to it is a recognition of both a longstanding tradition and what Tetrarch asserted when it took over the reins from Gaisford St. Laurence.  

Shane’s Howth Hikes has been a welcome addition to the area and not only for visiting tourists. It has helped underline Howth’s heritage and history and has provided a continuous downstream flow of business to local bars, restaurants and cafes, who benefit directly from tourists and from the wider notoriety Shane’s Howth Hikes has achieved for the area. In short, the withdrawal of this licence is an affront not only to a fledgling business that has a proven track record, but to all business and locals living on the peninsula.

Accordingly, we would ask Michael McElligott to reconsider his position, to take a step back, do the neighbourly thing and reinstitute the licence to Shane’s Howth Hikes.

Afterall Michael, we’re all neighbours.

Will Keep You Posted @ Just Local

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