Ireland visitors participate in tourism promotion video

Nov. 24, 2013 @ 07:11 AM

Ireland’s renowned musical group, The Celtic Tenors spent an extended stay in Western North Carolina’s Rutherford County during a tour stop at The Foundation Performing Arts Center in Spindale. 

As part of Rutherford County Tourism’s “Visitor Instant Movie Program,” a promo video told through the eyes of its visitors, The Celtic Tenors agreed to accompany a local tourism guide and share their feedback on and off camera about the county. Despite not being able to pronounce the names of certain towns, like “Ruth-er-ford-ton,” the feedback received from each member was sincere, glowing, and enough to make any resident proud.

Watch the YouTube video of their visit:

Tenors member Matthew Gilsenan loved that the small towns of Rutherford County were “unspoiled by modern, nasty architecture,” and found the streets to be very “calming.” Matthew also enjoyed learning where the first one-dollar gold coin in the U.S. was made declaring Rutherfordton’s Bechtler House and Mint Site “absolutely fantastic.” 

A special stop for vocalist James Nelson was seeing St. Francis Episcopal Church in Rutherfordton with its pair of Tiffany stained-glass windows. He also raved about The Firehouse Inn, a historic B&B in Rutherfordton, calling it “magnificent” and giving high praise to its welcoming and hospitable staff.

Daryl Simpson amusingly tried to avoid a cliché by naming the Blue Ridge Distilling Company – makers of Defiant Whiskey - as his favorite stop on the tour, but emphasized that he was sincerely impressed by the “imagination that went behind putting this distillery together.”

“This is an amazing part of the country, and steeped in history,” said Daryl, naming the area’s hospitality as the most attractive element of their Rutherford County tour.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of the people here,” said Daryl. “They’ve just been so warm and friendly and welcoming, and I think it’s something that people should realize locally is their number one selling point for attracting visitors and tourists.”

The trio, along with pianist Vinnie, rounded out their trip with a pontoon boat tour of Lake Lure and an invitation to Mayor Bob and Pam Keith’s house for some lakeside hospitality.

“On departure we were treated to sad, but beautiful "Danny Boy" a capella,” said Keith. “I wish you all could have been there for this ‘hands across the water’ experience. I'm sure they will be back someday."

Learn more about The Celtic Tenors at