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 kilometres along Ireland’s western seaboard over the next five weeks.
Satu is currently living in Lillehammer, Norway and has been writing her well-known travel blog for five years. Tourism Ireland invited Satu to undertake the marathon cycle – to experience Ireland's newest visitor attraction and hopefully 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 Ireland over the weekend and set off from Malin Head in Co Donegal yesterday. She plans to cycle approximately 100km 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 5 September. 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 her social media profiles, as well as on Tourism Ireland’s Facebook page and Twitter, using the hashtag #RideWild2014. Her adventure has already 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.
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"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.”
Pictured: Satu Vänskä-Westgarth (left) and her cycling companion Anne-Marit Storødegård, at Lisfannon Beach, Buncrana, as Satu sets off on her challenge to cycle the entire length of the Wild Atlantic Way.