As the clock counts down on brexit, there were two big digital clocks counting down on the wall of the ballroom in the Landmark Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon all day today as Irish and UK tourism businesses sat down to do business. 

Seventy-five Irish tourism providers pitched their products and services to 25 UK coach and tour operators in a scenario not unlike speed dating.

Each 'date' lasted eight minutes and then the UK company representatives moved on to talk to the next Irish company.

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Organised by Fáilte Ireland, this was a very targeted workshop to try to solidify Irish and UK tourism business in the countdown to Brexit.

Fáilte Ireland has previously said there is a possibility that a no-deal Brexit could lead to the loss of €380m and 10,000 jobs in the first year.

The tourism body's Head of Operations for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Paddy Mathews, said that while it is hard to quantify what is likely to happen, Brexit is the number one concern among Irish tourism providers.

He added that Fáilte Ireland’s advice to businesses here is to prepare for Brexit, and to diversify into other markets.

Mr Mathews also said that the goal of today’s workshop was to secure business for 2020 and beyond, and that the feedback from participants was good.

Fáilte Ireland said Brexit is the top concern among Irish tourism providers

Robert Shaw, of Harry Shaw Travel in Coventry in England, said they have been bringing UK visitors to Ireland since the 1980s.

Speaking from today's workshop, he said he is confident that Brexit will be resolved one way or another by the end of October and that demand will then return to previous levels.

Also at the event was Sheila O’Callaghan of the Lake Hotel in Killarney, who shared Mr Shaw’s view.

She said that there was a lot of positivity among businesses involved in the workshop, and a feeling that Brexit will not be as bad for Irish tourism as people think.