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Elena Shumilova Elite Photographers Master Workshop

16th to 18th October 2015 saw history been made in the quiet village of Ballyliffin, Clonmany, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

Elena Shumilova & Brendan Diver
35 elite photographers from across the world flew for world famous Russian photographer Elena Shumilova the brain child of local photographer Brendan Diver from Photos From Ireland www.photosfromireland.com

Photographers from USA, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Latvia, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland merged upon the beautiful settings of the Strand hotel.  Elena Shumilova was invited over to Inishowen by Brendan Diver nearly six months ago.  Brendan said it was a huge undertaking in the logistics, planning everything from travel, accommodation, meals, props, models, animals, clothing, interpreter, etc....

Workshop Participants
Workshop Participants

Photographers during the Workshop
Photographers during the Workshop
Several local businesses came on board and helped out, Doagh Famine Village, Bradleys Buses, Jean O'Flaherty, Malin stables, and the Strand hotel.

With over sixty million followers worldwide Elena is considered by many to be in the top eight photographers in the world elenashumilova.smugmug.com  Such has the demand been for her first ever European workshop, two workshops in 2016 have already been sold out. 

Photo: Elena Shumilova
Photo: Elena Shumilova
Brendan himself whose work has been seen across the world with his famous well known images of the northern lights from across Inishowen gave a night workshop on landscape night photography and his dream came true when on two nights these elite photographers photographed the northern lights themselves.  During the photoshoot part of the workshop the photographers also got to see seals swimming in Trawbreaga bay just on the doorstep of the Doagh Famine Village.

Photo: Elena Shumilova
Irish TV were also up filming and did an interview with Elena and Brendan himself.  Which can be seen on Thursday 29th October at 7.30pm on Sky 191 and then repeated Saturday 3.00pm and again on Sunday at 11.00am.  It can be seen again online at : www.irishtv.ie/category/ireland/ulster/donegal

Such was the impact that Brendan and Elena's workshop had on this elite group of world class photographers that tree families are now looking to purchase property around the Ballyliffin area.
Before Elena left she said it was one of the most beautiful locations she had seen in the world and presented Brendan with one of her famous images signed personally.  You can see more images about this amazing weekend at www.facebook.com/photosfromireland

Brendan with the picture gift from Elena
Such has the interest that this has created Brendan has had over 45,000 Facebook hits in only three days and Elena Shumilova and Brendan have well and truly put Ballyliffin and Inishowen on the International stage for everyone to see how lucky we are to live here.

Elena & Brendan, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way to have major benefits for Donegal

The collective marketing of Donegal and a positive attitude in presenting this to the world wide tourism market is crucial if we are to continue to benefit from the growth of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Mr Seamus Neely
That was the message from Donegal County Council’s Chief Executive and  Chairman of Donegal Tourism Ltd, Seamus Neely when he addressed the second annual ‘Connecting the Wild Atlantic Way’ tourism conference which was held in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny last Friday.
The theme this year, ‘Your Business, Developing Networks, Reaching Customers’ attracted a huge attendance from all over the county and beyond.

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Ciaran Brogan told delegates that over the past number of years the Council had made tourism one of their main priorities and they were currently spending over €½ million marketing the county while a lot of work had gone into the development of projects such as Sliabh Liag, Fanad Lighthouse and Malin Head. “I think it’s fair to say that in Donegal we have the best product development than anywhere else in the whole country. Today is about networking, sharing information and getting to know one another and maybe learning from one another how best to deal with the challenges we all have going forward,” he said.

Cllr Ciaran Brogan
He added the Council was delighted it had a very good working relationship with the tourism industry in Donegal as it was a huge employer and crucial to economic development.
Mayor of Letterkenny Municipal District, Cllr Gerry McMonagle welcomed the delegates to the town, reinforced the theme of cooperation throughout the industry and spoke of the major attractions and the ones yet to be developed that if developed to their full potential, would continue to attract tourists to the county.

Maximize Potential

Chief Executive Seamus Neely congratulated the industry for embracing the Wild Atlantic Way in such a short period of time and making the considerable effort to develop new networks that would help reach more customers, maximize the potential on their online digital platforms and showcase what their businesses has to offer.

“Visitors numbers are rising because of a collective strategic approach which has been adopted by the entire industry across the county. The opportunity to network can act as an opportunity to explore how we as a county can send an even stronger message to markets at home and right across the world – the message that Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way is open for business and looking forward to the years ahead,” he said.

He said a key part of the conference was to update and improve marketing techniques and he knew from feedback from last year’s event that web-marketing and web-booking potential had improved because its potential had been highlighted.

He also highlighted the success of developments like the Donegal Gathering and Donegal Tourism, their successful websites and apps and the continued growth of their world wide reach in promoting the Donegal ‘brand’.
Mr Neely encouraged all tourism providers to get their business, event or festival listed for free online publicity via Donegal Tourism online channels by sending details to: info@govisitdonegal.com

He added that today tourism in Donegal in vibrant, modern, customer driven, and professional but most importantly of all, it remains authentic and this is our real strength.
He believes the Wild Atlantic Way holds great opportunities for Donegal and that we are really only beginning to see the first benefits of it and that there are multiples more by way of traffic, visitors and revenue spent.

“How we collectively tap into that will determine how much of that potential we will actually realize. My own view is Donegal is the ‘wild’ part of the Wild Atlantic Way – it’s rugged, it’s beautiful, it’s vast, it has  lovely communities, it has fabulous landscapes, it has the lot” he said.

Other Speakers

Conference Speakers
Other speakers at the conference included Joan Crawford, Wild Atlantic Way Client Services Manager with Fáilte Ireland. She delivered an overview of the project and its future potential. The conference also heard from a number of other speakers including Brian Harte, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Customer Engagement and E-Marketing; Darragh Doyle, Online Audience Strategist; Kathrin Chambers, Digital Manager at Fáilte Ireland; Stephen Cotter, General Manager at CIE Tours International and Fionn Davenport, Travel Writer.

Conference Speakers
Case study speakers at the event included Deirdre McGlone from Harvey’s Point Hotel, Donegal Town; Helen Haworth, Portsalon Luxury Camping and Ireland By Bike founder, Seamus Gallagher from Carrick. They presented case studies in their particular areas of expertise. The event also saw the distribution of promotional materials, speed networking and question and answer sessions.