Day 2 – Insights & Inspiration

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  • Day 2 – Insights & Inspiration

Thursday 24th will feature a series of key insights and inspiration from industry leaders through talks and panel discussions, as we gather once again in person to reflect on recent challenges as well as opportunities for the future. 


  • 10.00am | Welcomes
    Brendan Kenny (CEO, IAAT)
    Michael Savage (Chair, Newry Mourne & Down District Council)
    John McGrillen (CEO, Tourism Northern Ireland)
  • 10:20am | PANEL DISCUSSION: The Adventure Business Journey – from Start-up to Legacy w/ Q&A
    A practical discussion on overcoming challenges and successfully growing an adventure activity business – through quality, diversification, collaboration and passion!
    with Martin McMullan (Director, One Life Adventure), Derek Binchy (Director, Fota Adventure), Eimear Flanagan (Owner, Away A Wee Walk), Keith McDonnell (Managing Director, EI Travel Group)
    Moderated by Pól O’Conghaile (Travel Editor, Irish Independent)
  • 11:10am | IAAT UPDATE PT 1: on the Association, Insurance, Sustainability
    11.20am | Tea & coffee networking break
  • 11.40am | PANEL DISCUSSION: Three Threats to Tourism in Ireland – ETA legislation, Inflation and Insurance w/ Q&A
    A discussion on three major threats to tourism in Ireland – of Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) legislation, inflationary pressures, and insurance
    with Joanne Stuart (CEO, Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance), Eoghan O’Mara Walsh (CEO, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation), Peter Boland (Director, Alliance for Insurance Reform)
    Moderated by Humphrey Murphy (CEO,
  • 12:20pm | PANEL DISCUSSION: Sustainability for the Activity Sector – Opportunities & Challenges w/ Q&A
    A practical discussion on how the adventure activity sector can contribute and take advantage of Ireland becoming a world leader in sustainable, responsible tourism
    with Rob Rankin (Managing Director, Vagabond Tours / Sustainable Travel Ireland), Esther Dobbin (Responsible Tourism Manager, Giants Causeway – National Trust), Carina Conyngham (Director, Rock Farm Slane), Lorcan McBride (Director, Far & Wild)
    Moderated by Humphrey Murphy (CEO,
  • LUNCH (included)
  • 2.00pm | PANEL DISCUSSION: Ireland becoming a Leader in Adventure Tourism w/ Q&A
    Tourism leaders discuss the obstacles and opportunities on the island of Ireland being recognised as a world leader in Adventure Tourism 
    With John McGrillen (CEO, Tourism Northern Ireland), Paul Kelly (CEO, Fáilte Ireland), Louise Finnegan (Tourism Ireland), Shane Young (Chair, IAAT)
    Moderated by Pól O’Conghaile (Travel Editor, Irish Independent)
  • 2.50pm | KEYNOTE: Damian Browne – Extreme Adventurer
    Presentation followed by chat with Pól O’Conghaile and audience Q&A
  • 3.40pm | IAAT UPDATE PT 2 on Standards, Initiatives and Survey Results
  • 3.50pm | CLOSING with Shane Young (Chair, IAAT / Director, Killary Adventure)
  • 4.00pm | NETWORKING – Tea, Coffee & Refreshments

INFORMATION POINTS & CLINIC STANDS offering practical supports will also be available in the foyer for practical supports throughout the day, including:

Arachas (insurance brokers), Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), Tourism Northern Ireland, Newry, Mourne & Down District Council / Visit Mourne, Fáilte Digital That Delivers, and IAAT.

*times subject to change


We’re delighted that Extreme Adventurer Damian Browne, who has just completed an extraordinary solo row from New York to Ireland, will deliver the keynote. As well as being a very active adventurer, he touches on key themes such as resilience, positive mental health, and indeed, the true spirit of adventure! He was formerly a professional rugby player, has climbed Mount Everest and also rowed solo from Canary Islands to Antigua.

Please find some coverage of his latest inspiring achievement here:
New York Times | Belfast Telegraph | Washington Post | BBC | Irish Independent | Irish Times | RTE News | The Late Late Show (from 2.5 minutes) | Newstalk Off the Ball

Damian Browne complete Atlantic crossing


BE INFORMED by hearing from and meeting industry colleagues and leaders on the key issues facing our industry, and the future of adventure tourism
BE CONNECTED through networking and collaboration opportunities across both days
BE INSPIRED by our extraordinary keynote Damian Browne and other speakers
BE EXHILIRATED by enjoying the local adventure activities on offer (Wed)


Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT) is the representative body for adventure activity providers, with over 200 members across the island of Ireland. The association was set up in 2018 to develop this exciting and growing sector in a responsible and sustainable manner. Members include adventure centres, tour operators, and businesses providing archery, hiking, biking, surfing, kayaking, horse-riding, fishing, sailing, whale watching, zip-wiring and many more.

Benefits of IAAT membership includes representation & lobbying, being part of a community of industry peers, free or discounted access to training workshops and events, insurance support including access of application to the member group scheme, and discounted access to equipment.

The adventure activity sector brings in over €1bn / £870m in annual tourism revenue to Ireland.

The Conference theme is ‘Adventure Island’, reflecting our determination for Ireland to realise the potential of becoming a world leader in adventure tourism.