Tour guides across Ireland’s Ancient East attended a workshop at the Abbey Theatre recently, as part of the theatre’s Theatre Skills for Business programme.

The masterclass aimed to help the participating businesses develop world class visitor experiences at attractions throughout the Ancient East.

The guides, from attractions such as Loftus Hall in Wexford, Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford, and Cork’s Fota House, were trained on how to craft a compelling story, engage their audience, and deliver an interactive tour that brings local history and culture to life.

The results of the masterclass were showcased by tour guides at the Abbey Theatre on March 12th.

The programme is part of Fáilte Ireland’s work to develop immersive visitor experiences. It also feeds into plans to create visitor experiences focused on the array of gardens and historic houses in Ireland’s Ancient East. Research shows that almost 3m tourists visit a house or castle during their stay in Ireland.

Jenny De Saulles, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, said: “The masterclasses will enable these talented guides to hone their skills and deliver unforgettable tours which stand out and contribute to Ireland’s reputation as a top-class tourist destination.”

Marie Lawlor, from the Theatre Skills for Business programme at the Abbey Theatre, added: “Through our Theatre Skills for Business programme, we have used skills from theatre as a basis to unlock the creativity of tour guides and to give them the skills to craft and deliver engaging, authentic and vibrant stories that will motivate visitors to act as ambassadors for Ireland and encourage them to return in the future.”

Ray Sinnott, Estate Manager at Mount Congreve Trust, said: “From our point of view, the training Fáilte Ireland has provided us with through this masterclass by the Abbey Theatre has helped us to focus on what’s best about our tours so that we can now tell the story of Mount Congreve to our audience in a clear, understandable and enjoyable way without losing any of its authenticity.”

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