When you think Irish, you may not think Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There's more to Irish culture than Chicago's politicians, you know.
Irish Fest is said to be the biggest celebration of all things Hibernian. It follows, then, that the tourism promoters from County Clare would head up to the town due north of Chicago and encourage visits to the west coast of Ireland.
Unfortunately, money is tight in Ireland these days and the Clare Tourism delegation is being criticized for traveling abroad when everyone else is tightening their belts.
The Mayor of Clare, Christy Curtin, will be staying at home. Rather than a big group, only three people will be on hand to sell, sell, sell.
Those who complain of the cost are short-sighted. It takes money to make money, and it takes promotion to convince Americans who might be thinking of taking a trip abroad to come to the other side of the island, where it's peaceful and quiet and the golf is great.
Hitting Milwaukee means attracting a good chunk of the Irish interest in Chicago, which is so close that it's not unheard of for people from the northern suburbs to use Milwaukee's airport rather than drive to O'Hare. Staying in Milwaukee is cheaper, but the Clare Tourism Forum is reaching the bigger audience in Chicago at the same time.
Tourism is down because of the economy, and the Clare Tourism Forum has to work that much harder to snag their share of the limited business. If they stayed away from Milwaukee, they would save the cost of their trip, but how much would the nation lose in the long run?