(Above: Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth at Lisfannon Beach, Buncrana, as she sets off on her challenge to cycle the entire length of the Wild Atlantic Way)

Hundreds  of  thousands  of  people  in  Scandinavia,  and  elsewhere  around  the world,  are  set  to  read  all  about  Donegal  and the Wild  Atlantic Way.  Finnish travel  blogger  Satu  Vänskä-Westgarth  is  about  to  take  on  the  “challenge  of her lifetime” – cycling the entire Wild Atlantic Way, or some 2,500 kms along Ireland’s western seaboard over the next five weeks.

Tourism  Ireland invited  Satu to  undertake the marathon  cycle  – to  experience our newest visitor attraction and then inspire her readers and followers to come and discover it for themselves. As a self-confessed “total newbie when it comes to bike touring or biking”, this will be the challenge of her lifetime.

Satu  arrived  in  Donegal  over  the  weekend  and  set  off  from  Malin  Head  on Tuesday. Altogether,  she will  spend  a week in Donegal,  exploring  –  and then blogging  about  –  this  part  of  Ireland.  She  plans  to  stay  in  the  Malin  Hotel, Rathmullan House, Lake House Country Hotel near Portnoo, Bayview Country House in Ardara, Ardlenagh View B&B near Donegal town and the Sandhouse
Hotel & Marine Spa. She plans to cycle approximately 100 kms each day, five days a week, and then take the weekends off to rest.

Her  aim  is  to  visit  almost  every  corner  of  the  West  of  Ireland,  arriving  in Kinsale, Co Cork, on  September 5. She will be joined by a Norwegian  friend for  the  first  two  weeks  and  an  English  friend  for  the  final  few  weeks  of  the journey.

Satu  will  document  her  five-week  journey,  with  daily  updates  on her  ‘Destination  Unknown’  travel-blog,  as  well  as  on  the  popular  online magazine, Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Tourism  Ireland has set up a dedicated page on its website  Ireland .com about Satu’s adventure  – which  she  has  named “Ride Wild  2014”. Readers can also follow Satu’s journey on social media profiles, as well as on Tourism Ireland’s Facebook  page  and  Twitter  stream  (using  hashtag  #RideWild2014).  Already, her  adventure  has  sparked  the  interest  of  the  travel  media  in  her  adopted country,  Norway  –  with  an  article  appearing  on  the  popular  travel  website boarding.no.

Aileen Hickey, Tourism Ireland’s manager in the Nordic Region, said: “Satu’s five-week cycle promises to be a really effective way of engaging with people through social media, sparking their curiosity about the Wild Atlantic Way. She is  looking  forward  to  sampling  some  of  the  many  activities  on  offer  along the  route  –  from  surfing  to  sea  kayaking,  hiking  to  horse-riding.  Her  blog  is extremely  popular  and  she  will  be  posting  lots  of  great  photos  and  details  of her cycle online – as she explores the towns and villages of the Wild Atlantic Way  and  inspires  her  readers  to  come  and  discover  this  part  of  Ireland  for themselves.  Blogs  and  social  media  are  recognised  as  strong  influencers  for prospective  holidaymakers and we  regularly work with them in  promoting the island of Ireland.

“The  most  recent  figures  available  from  the  CSO  show  that  we  welcomed almost  100,000  Nordic  visitors  to  Ireland  in  the  first  six  months  of  this year. Tourism  Ireland  has  an  extensive  programme  of  promotional  activity under way throughout 2014 – to keep that momentum going.”

This  is  just  one  element  of  Tourism  Ireland’s  extensive  programme  of promotions to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way around the world this year. The Wild  Atlantic  Way  is  being  promoted  by  Tourism  Ireland  across  a  range  of platforms  including  TV,  print  and  online  advertising;  on  Ireland.com  and through social media channels; at major international consumer and trade fairs; through  familiarisation  visits  for  influential  travel  agents,  tour  operators,  as well as travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from around the world; and through Tourism Ireland’s promotional material and brochures.

Satu  Vänskä-Westgarth  is  a  well-known  Finnish  travel  blogger,  living  in Lillehammer, Norway. She has been writing her blog for five years.

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