Competition heats up in search for Ireland’s top vacation destination - from beach resorts to idyllic country villages
25 locations make shortlist in prestigious Irish Times poll
The status as Ireland’s top holiday destination is up for grabs – with the competition down to 25 locations on both sides of the border.
The Irish Times newspaper is running the search to find the country’s top holiday location and has published a long list of 25 contenders.
These have been nominated by over 1400 members of the public with the official judging committee now set to visit all 25 locations in the coming weeks.
The list includes tourist-friendly towns and cities, remote beauty spots, inland and coastal locations.
The paper says some are suitable for two week-holidays, others for short breaks.
Four islands are on the list namely Achill, Inis Meain, Inishbofin and Valentia. Rugid West Cork is represented by the Beara Peninsula and Gougane Barra lake and Kerry’s famous tourist towns of Killarney and Dingle have, not surprisingly, made longlisted.
The paper reports that the Irish beach holiday is represented by Carherdaniel and Derrynane in County Kerry; Dunmore East, Co Waterford; Gweedore, Co Donegal; Rosslare Strand, Co Wexford; and Strandhill, Co Sligo.
Cork, Dublin and Derry top the city nominations. Cushendall, Co Antrim, and the Fermanagh lakelands feature on behalf of Northern Ireland.
A shortlist will be announced on May 20th, and the overall winner on May 27th for the competition which has been running since early March when members of the public were invited to nominate the places they love to holiday.
Judge Steve McPhilemy, a tour guide and hostel owner in Derry, told the Irish Times he had been cheered by the quality of entries for some of the less-celebrated midlands destinations, such as the Glen of Aherlow in Co Tipperary.
He added: “But the old stalwart locations like Kinsale and Dingle showed they still have it too.”
The Irish Times journalist Rosita Boland, author of A Secret Map of Ireland, said: “The hardest thing for me as a judge is teasing out what holiday means. It means different things for the readers who sent us pitches, usually to do with the length of time spent in a place.”
Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party and a former tourism entrepreneur, told the paper he was impressed by the entries submitted by the public.
He said: “I liked that the entries were very personal. People communicated that attraction or love they felt for a place; they weren’t corporate and didn’t smack of advertising.
“Being honest, I found the judging process difficult. You can’t help letting your personal experience of a place colour your assessment. And the process is going to get worse as we try to narrow it down. It’s shouldn’t be a beauty contest, but it is.”
The long list of contenders, as printed by the Irish Times and reproduced from their website, is
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