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Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

Celtic economies affected by Icelandic volcanic ash

Trade and tourism lose millions in revenue as Icelandic volcanic ash shuts airports in the Celtic nations.

Trade and tourism lose millions in revenue as Icelandic volcanic ash shuts airports in the Celtic nations.

Scotland and Ireland were the worst affected by the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which threw volcanic ash into the atmosphere and caused intermittent air travel disruption in northwest Europe between 15 April and 16 May 2010.

Aeroplanes were grounded mainly across northern and western Europe amid fears that the ash cloud could damage aircraft engines. Thousands of European and transatlantic flights were cancelled or diverted, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers and leaving many stranded abroad.

Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and Galicia were also affected by the air travel disruptions as the ash cloud gradually moved southwards over the Atlantic, but to a lesser extent than Scotland and Ireland.

The Irish Aviation Authority chief executive Eamonn Brennan said “This was the first time in 60 years the Ireland-US track was closed. This ash cloud went right over the continent in an area of very dense traffic. We moved pretty sharpish because we're in the business of safety. It was the right thing to do in the circumstances."

According to Ireland's Central Statistics Office, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull caused a fall of almost 25% in the number of visitors coming to Ireland during the volcanic ash disruption of April and May. That could cost costing the Irish economy up to €500 million a week in lost revenues.

Ireland's two main airlines, Ryanair and Aer Lingus, lost €6m and €5m per day respectively as most of their fleet was grounded.

The struggling Irish tourism sector, already hit by the recession and the floods earlier this year, said the loss of revenue from arriving passengers was an estimated €20m a week.

Business were badly affected as international meetings were cancelled and thousands of workers failed to turn up at their desks after being stranded abroad.

The Irish Exporters Association said their sector was severely affected by the travel disruption as Irish companies export €95m of goods by air every day.

Both the Irish and the Scottish governments set up emergency planning taskforces to deliver additional rail, bus and ferry services for passengers and business.

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