Canadian Ambassador Welcomes IAT Ireland

On March 18 at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin, Ireland, new Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn extended a Canadian and Newfoundland welcome to IAT Ireland.  Also in attendance were IAT President Paul Wylezol and representatives from Fáilte Ireland, Geological Survey of Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs, Irish Sports Council, Atlantic Corridor, Donegal Local Development Co., Coast Alive Partnership, Flagler Films, and Fox Chalet Rentals.

(l-r.) John Sullivan (Canadian Embassy), Magne Haugseng (Coast Alive), Ethna Murphy (Fáilte Ireland), Brian Garvan (Atlantic Corridor), Orla Carroll (Fáilte Ireland), Patrick O'Connor (Geological Survey of Ireland), Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn, Ciara Scully (Fáilte Ireland), Eamonn Rossi (Department of Foreign Affairs), Inga Bock (Donegal Local Development Co.), Johnny O'Dwyer (Trails Committee, Irish Sports Council), Cormac MacDonnell (Irish Sports Council), Pauline Fox (Fox Chalet Rentals), John Fox (Fox Chalet Rentals), Sophie Proteseille (Geological Survey of Ireland), Paul Wylezol (President, IAT)

The beautiful spring day was the middle of three auspicious days in Ireland, beginning with St. Paddy’s Day on the 17th, and followed by a team Ireland drubbing over England in Six Nations rugby play in Dublin on the 19th.

The meeting at the embassy began with Wylezol giving a brief summary of IAT history and development, followed by Ambassador Hearn discussing his interest and involvement with new trail development and trans-Atlantic air routes.  As regards the former, the Ambassador played an early role in the development of Newfoundland’s East Coast Trail, and was federal minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in 2007 when the IATNL received its first marketing, administration, and GIS funding.  As regards the latter, the Ambassador – like the IAT and others – has a keen interest in establishing direct air links between Ireland and Atlantic Canada, that may some day connect with the eastern United States.

The meeting also included a brief description of the planned IAT Ireland route - from Slieve League, Donegal to Belfast, Northern Ireland - by Fáilte Ireland’s Ciara Scully, who also presented the Ambassador a copy of Christopher Somerville's book Walking In Ireland, covering 50 great walks through the heart & soul of Ireland.

(l-r.) Paul Wylezol (President IAT), Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn, Cormac MacDonnell (Irish Sports Council), and Ciara Scully (Fáilte Ireland)

There was also a discussion on the organizational structure, requirements, and standards of the IAT, particularly in light of  future expansion and consolidation in the North Atlantic, Western Europe, and North Africa

IAT President Paul Wylezol discussing the organizational structure of the IAT

Other topics included:

  • A summary of developments at the recent Coast Alive annual meeting in Varberg, Sweden
  • Establishment of an Art and Adventure program to encourage artists in all IAT regions to interpret their natural and cultural heritage, as well as promote and market the IAT
  • Development of Geo-Historical Linkages, such as the North Atlantic Vikings and Irish Diaspora, that could - with comprehensive websites and guidebooks - maximize unique marketing opportunities
  • Production of an IAT adventure documentary series by Flagler Films, as a follow-up to their widely-circulated and acclaimed Appalachian Impressions. The 2-hour documentary about the Appalachian Trail was broadcast across the US PBS television network and was viewed by more than 1 million households.  In 2009, Mark Flagler also traveled to Newfoundland, where he produced a 6.5 minute IATNL promotional video (

    Mark Flagler presents Ambassador Hearn with a copy of his Appalachian Impressions and IATNL videos

For the Fáilte Ireland press release, click here.

In closing, perhaps there really is something to the “Luck of the Irish.”  While walking with Irish Sports Council’s Cormac MacDonnell after the meeting and lunch, IAT President Wylezol - whose maternal grandmother was Irish - spied a 10 Euro note on the sidewalk, that he later turned into a couple of tasty pints!  Moments later he found a large shining earring, encrusted with numerous sparkling stones.

But those who come looking for riches, from a little man and his pot of gold, be sure to follow IAT Ireland, from Slieve League in Donegal!


To view photos of Dublin in March, go to IAT Flickr ......