ALONG WITH FAILTE IRELAND, I think there's promise in pulling people towards Ireland to look at gravesites. It's not hard to find people my age on Facebook who are looking for their roots in the old country. In the case of many of my American friends, they don't want to be told they don't originate in Ireland. They want to find the name of a great grandparent on a headstone in Ireland and they want to walk the earth around the site. I've walked some very rugged and natural land next to unkempt graveyards and thought it was rather uplifting. The stories arising from the grounds of graveyards might help reverse the dramatic drop in overseas visitors to midwest Ireland (down 27% since last year). Ireland has the kind of culture and heritage that would appeal to religious tourists in Germany, America and the UK. It's worth trying to focus the efforts and deliver pilgrims to graveyards.
Photo of the oldest gravestones in Golden, County Tipperary, Ireland.