A GROUP of business people from St Mullins are campaigning to get their village marked on the map because there’s not a single sign on the nearest motorway to let people know about Co Carlow’s beautiful and historic locations.
“There is no signage to let the tourist or visitor know that St Mullins exists. Those who do find us do so out of pure pig-iron chance,” said Martin O’Brien, who, along with his wife Emer, runs the Mullicháin Café in the village.
“There are 1.5 million people living in Dublin, yet there are no signs directing them from the M9 to St Mullins. All of the traffic continues on to Kilkenny. Why?” he asked. “St Mullins is one of the major seventh century monastic sites in the country.”
The couple have spent the past 14 years developing their café and self-catering cottages and now employ 15 people, while in recent years they’ve produced booklets for walkers and provided facilities for boats and canoes along the quay.
Martin and Emer are just two members of the campaign group, the St Mullins Amenity and Recreational Tourism, or SMART, group which is lobbying to get the picturesque village established as a tourist destination.
Other interested parties include members of St Mullins Angling Club, Muintir na Tire, An Siopa Glas, which is a local crafts shop, and Blanchfield’s pub.
The group has lobbied local politicians and Carlow Co Council alike, but Seamus O’Connor, director of services with the local authorities, said that it would “take a while” to get the Bord Fáilte signs erected on the motorway.
He told The Nationalist that there’s not a single sign on the M9 to direct visitors to such significant locations as St Mullins, Duckett’s Grove and Altamont Gardens.
“There are signs for Kildare and Kilkenny on the motorway, but not for any historic places in Co Carlow” he said.
Mr O’Connor continued that the county council is erecting ten signs around the county at the Royal Oak, Borris and other locations, which should be completed by the end of August.