The towns and villages we pass through play a huge part in enhancing the cyclist experience on the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif. Each town that we spend a night in is a designated Host Town and has been specially chosen because of its warm welcome, traditional atmosphere and beautiful setting. As cyclists, you are encouraged to explore our Host Towns, embrace their welcome, and immerse yourself in Ireland’s colourful culture – it’s famous for a reason!
Cycling along Ireland’s stunning Wild Atlantic Way should also be a wonderful holiday experience, and the aim of the Cycle Sportif is to allow our cyclists immerse themselves in our unique and colourful culture. We want you to come back!
The Community Engagement Programme involves a number of exciting initiatives:
Host Town Initiative
As the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif reaches the significant numbers expected to participate over the duration of three and a half years, towns along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way will be invited to apply to be considered as a Host Town. The role of the selected Host Towns will be significant as it will allow them to take up all the options in our exciting Community Engagement Programme.
The number of Cyclists on the road per stage will grow from 350 in April/May 2018 to 600 by the September 2019 Sportif therefore the Host Town applicants must be able to fulfil the accommodation requirements for these numbers.
Accommodation must be available in Fáilte Ireland-approved hotels, guesthouses and hostels based on twin/triple rooms and dormitories. The Host Town must be able to provide this level of accommodation within 10km of their town.
Best Host Town Welcome
Each Host Town along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will have the opportunity to partake in the Best Host Town Welcome Award initiative. Ireland is known all over the world as the Land of a Hundred Thousand Welcomes and we want our cyclists to experience the real céad mile fáilte for themselves.
After a long day on the bike there’s no better way to relax and unwind than by enjoying the local bars and restaurants. You never know who you’d get chatting to over a quiet pint of Guinness!
Host Town Charity Initiative
Engaging with local communities and their volunteer groups is a really exciting initiative being undertaken all along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif. Local volunteer groups are encouraged to register their interest in availing of a number of complimentary places on their local stage. These charity organisations can use these places to fundraise for their cause by securing sponsorship for those people taking up the mantle of completing a stage of the Sportif.
TY Cycle Fest
Involving the local schools, and particularly the Transition year students, is a wonderful way of involving young people in their local community and highlighting the importance of sport as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. This year’s event will act as a launch of this TY initiative allowing one school along the route nominate up to five TY students to join us for their local stage of the Sportif.
Over the next three years, local schools in selected Host Towns will be encouraged to apply to represent their town in the TY Cycle Fest Safety Baton relay, which will see the Safety Baton being carried the along entire route of the Wild Atlantic Way in the safe hands of local schools.
Host Town Ambassador Programme
Each Host Town will be asked to nominate their Local Ambassador who will act as the Official Starter for the Sportif when it leaves their town. The Local Ambassador could be a community worker, sports star or simply a well-respected member of the community who locals feel best represents all that is good in the local community.
Ireland is famous for its wonderful fresh local produce and seafood – and with good reason, it’s delicious! The food culture in Ireland has developed over the years through the many wonderful farmers’ markets in towns and villages throughout the country. The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif Lunch and Host Town stops will provide local producers with a platform to showcase the very best of their produce to the cyclists and local and national media organisations who join the Sportif en route. Our cyclists need fuel to keep them going and we need you to step up to the plate and provide it! If you are a local food producer along the route who would like to get involved in the Wild Atlantic Way Cycling event, please get in touch!