TBEX Announces Corey Taratuta!
TIP: If you’re heading to TBEX too, why not download his app so you can get around like a local.
Earlier this year I interviewed Corey as the leading source of all destinations in Ireland. It didn’t take long for me to understand this;
If you’re looking for answers to all your Ireland travels, this is your man no doubt.
How did it all start for you, the blog, app, and podcasting and when did you know that you were so passionate about travel?
I grew up in a really tiny town in Michigan, so I didn’t really travel that much because we were on a dairy farm and couldn’t get away from the cows. From when I was in second grade through high school we always had exchange students living with us. I think that was one of the things that introduced me to some travel ideas that were different, and the idea that things weren’t as exotic and scary as maybe I thought they were when I was isolated in a small community.
The Irish Fireside came about because my partner and I have a cottage in Ireland. I just kept coming over and touring, but I knew I needed to find my own connection to Ireland. I don’t have family links or Irish Heritage, but I had all this Knowledge. I was always talking to people about Ireland and I was always sharing suggestions and tips. So I came up with an idea, “You know what, I have this iPod, and there’s this really cool thing called podcasts, and maybe I’ll just record us talking about stuff” not realizing that when you’re on iTunes who knows who hears you and it just spread from there. I needed a blog to support it anyway and it kind of grew from there. I started inviting other contributors to post on it, and then just over a year ago I started the smartphone app.
For quite awhile I’ve been really eager to get a smartphone app out there. So the whole idea behind the app was going to be GPS location with focus on what’s nearby or where you’re headed. I wanted to make sure there was a website that supported it so even people without smartphones could get a flavor for what’s there and plan their itinerary around it.
The content side of it is what took the most time. So I immediately went out to some of my friends that blog and people who I knew had unique and offbeat suggestions and asked them to start contributing. They all pretty much jumped on it and that really sped up the process. Then I worked with a company called Awakin in Northern Ireland, and they were able to help me find a format that allowed for the features that I wanted and turned it around really quickly. So in less than a month I went from established website content to having the smartphone product and then it took a week or so for it to get into the iTunes store. It was pretty fast. We did use a template format but the app itself is customized and all the points of interests are customized.
What advice do you have about podcasting with regard to effective speaking and engaging listeners?
Interesting content is number one. If you’re worried that you’re catching on too late or behind the curve or you feel there are people ahead of you in the race, they’re not competition they are your allies. These are the people who you get in touch with, and you talk with. If they see you have good content, they are going to say, “Thank goodness someone else is putting something good out here,” and they are going to share it with their people. If you’re spending all of your time creating Travel Channel worthy video, and you’re not spending any of your time engaging with your audience and building relationships with other bloggers and podcasters it’s not going to go anywhere, people won’t get behind you. The whole idea of being “discovered” and becoming a celebrity on the internet is pretty slim. For every superstar there are years of hard work behind it. Overnight success is an illusion.
What are your 3 most favorite places in Ireland?
One area that always draws me back is the Connemara region which is Galway and then north of Connemara into Mayo. That area is spectacular in terms of scenery and doesn’t get the tourism you see in other parts of the west coast like the Galway, Kerry, and Clare Coasts.
For more of a town experience Kilkenny is one of my favorite cities. It’s a medieval city so it has the old windy streets and a lot of history and access to that history so you have castles, historic homes, churches and cemeteries.
In Dublin, there’s a place that blows me away, the Chester Beatty Library. It really surprised me as to how engrossed I was in the place. It has a collection of some of history’s oldest books and documents on display, it’s very impressive.
You have connected me to several places in Ireland that fit the fairytale destination criteria, what are the best places where travelers can enjoy folklore, tradition and has places of interest and events that are historic and relative to the areas legend?
Well the good thing is Ireland is one of those places where that exists in every little town. As long as you’re talking to people you’re going to find that. Kilbeggan does a full Medieval Festival which I thought was interesting because you don’t hear too many medieval themed festivals in Ireland.
Co Clare is one of those places where the people are ready to tell their stories. They have such a unique landscape from Lough Derg on the east side which is this lakeland area with big rolling hills, and then it transforms into the Burren which is this stoney limestone-covered area that is like nothing you would really be familiar with otherwise; and then you get to the western coast, and it’s very dramatic. So it’s got this unique landscape, and I think that compression of those different types of areas lends itself to being a little more legendary. It’s like you can be standing in one spot and be pointing to Galway Bay to the north and then Shannon Estuary to the south so each direction has it’s own little identity and story. The people there always embrace that and they’re really big on holding onto and documenting their history now. You hear a lot of initiatives coming out of that area. They’re the ones putting a lot of stuff online.