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Getting tourism back on the rails.

Byline: Stephen Maguire

I TOOK one of the most magical rail journeys ever last weekend.

The trip through rolling hills, lush valleys and beside a breath-taking lake were some of the best views I have ever seen.

The sun was splitting the stones and there wasn't a piece of litter to be seen for miles.

But I wasn't in France, Spain or Austria for that matter. I was in the heart of Donegal aboard the old Fintown Railway or Mhuc Dubh (Black Pig) as it is known.

The 5km-long railway has been restored and now runs as a tourist attraction during the summer months.

The project is partially funded by European money and by Udaras na Gaeltachta and manned by people of the tiny village.

The day we boarded we were joined by people from Germany and America.

There were no magical lights, fancy sound effects or people trying to sell us tacky posters.

But there didn't need to be. The natural magic of a big, red train chugging its way through some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world was enough.

The look on my two older children's faces as they were invited to sit in the traindriver's cabin is one I will always cherish.

And it struck me that for all the Disneylands and Legolands of this world we have such wonderful attractions on our own doorsteps if we bother to look for them.

The people of Fintown should be very proud of their little tourism project.

We may moan about how money is sometimes wasted on petty projects which never get off the ground.

But these are the kind of projects the Government can justify putting money into.

Email Stephen at
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2009
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