A pre-famine village in Connemara Co.Galway has won an international travel award for “cultural immersion”. Cnoc Suian, which means “Restful Hill” was the only European winner in its category for the 2010 Travel Leisure Global Vision Award.

The rural village which is located outside Spiddal Co.Galway won the award for “cultural immersion” in the “preservation category”.

“Cnoc Suain is a beautifully restored hill village, offering a thorough immersion in local culture. Bog walks and classes on the Irish language, music and storytelling combine with picturesque surroundings and centuries-old stone cottages to form a microcosm of traditional Ireland,” the November edition of Travel & Leisure states.

“Thanks in part to its ecology programme for local students, Cnoc Suain has also made environmental stewardship a key element of its heritage preservation efforts, [while also displaying an] exemplary approach to cultural tourism.”

The village was described by the magazine as “a trailblazer and a powerhouse in promoting sustainability and mindfulness of the earth’s – and mankind’s – precious resources”.

Cnoc Suain is the brainchild of locals Dearbhaill Standún and Charlie Troy who worked on the joint restoration of the village which they describe as “a historic hill-village on 200 acres of pristine wilderness”.

The village offers a number of programmes and activities including classes in beginners Gaelic and beginners tin-whistle. Last year the village achieved third place in the ethical travel section of the Observer and guardian.co.uk travel awards for 2009.