Popular Tourist Bus Continues Throughout August, Connecting Mullingar Town With Key Heritage Sites
Businesses in North Westmeath are reporting increased trade as a result of the new Tourist Bus Scheme, which continues for the remainder of August. Visitors and locals have been using the pilot Bus Scheme, which is linking Mullingar town with popular tourist attractions Belvedere House, Gardens and Park, Tullynally Castle and Gardens and Fore Abbey. Fáilte Ireland and Westmeath County Council, in collaboration with TFI Local Link LWR are providing the bus link, which commenced during the week of the Fleadh Cheoil. The service is in place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the month of August and it supported access to some of the County’s Heritage Week Events earlier in the month.
Cllr. Hazel Smyth, Mayor of Mullingar Kinnegad Municipal District expressed her support for the project: “We are fortunate in Westmeath to have wonderful, rich heritage sites and this bus service is a great step forward to make them accessible for everyone. In the midst of a climate crisis and with fuel prices rising, it is great to have an eco-friendly, cheaper, and more sociable option available and an opportunity for a great day out enjoying our most beautiful local sites and scenery. Great for tourism, great for the environment, great for the whole family!”
The bus departs from Mullingar Train Station, adjacent to the Royal Canal Greenway and stops in the town centre, close to hotels, shops, and restaurants, along with the Mullingar Park Hotel and the Bloomfield House Hotel before reaching Belvedere. From there, the route continues to scenic North Westmeath, to Tullynally Castle with its beautifully restored gardens, to Castlepollard and on to the historic Fore Abbey.
‘’Fáilte Ireland is delighted to support the new TFI Local Link initiative in collaboration with Westmeath County Council,’’ said Fiona Dunne, Fáilte Ireland. Westmeath has a wealth of historic stories and natural beauty. The local link service helps broaden access to Westmeath’s tourism offering for visitors to the region and raises the profile of our tourism product.
Timetables and detailed information on stops and fares can be found on locallinklwr.ie. TFI Local Link designed the route and timetable for the Mullingar Tour Bus following on from the pilot service developed last Halloween linking the town and Belvedere.
“Two services leave the town the first at 09:00 and again at 11:10 and there are two services returning from North Westmeath at 2pm and just after 4pm. With a bit of planning a visitor could visit all three locations using the bus,” said Damien O’Neill, Manager of TFI Local Link LWR.
“TFI Local Link LWR are delighted to work again with Fáilte Ireland and Westmeath County Council to connect these wonderful locations by bus. The timetable throughout August can be found on our website. Fares start at €2 adult single to Belvedere and €7 to North Westmeath. Free travel passes are accepted and under 5s travel for free. There is also a family rate of €20 return.”
Tourism Officer Úna Doris said, “this is a great opportunity for us to work together to improve visitor access to some of our most valued heritage sites. By providing this crucial bus link we aim to support the growth of a more sustainable form of tourism and increase visitor dwell time in our County without an over-reliance on car transport.”
This project is a pilot scheme aimed at potentially securing a more permanent bus link between Mullingar and rural tourist sites in the longer term if the need is identified and funding can be secured. Further information on the bus service can be found on locallinklwr.ie.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 22/08/2022