The Burren in County Clare has been crowned "The Best Place to Holiday in Ireland 2022" in a summer competition hosted by The Irish Times in association with Failte Ireland.
The north Clare region was the unanimous choice of the judging panel, which praised its "stunning landscape, breath-taking coast, grassroots food culture and vision for sustainable tourism."
Irish Times journalist Rosita Boland said: “Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, and composed of fields of limestone, under which a network of unseen caves lie, the Burren is a haunting, stunning landscape.
"Among the fields of stone are a myriad of small businesses, making and selling local produce, while also collectively doing their best to safeguard this special place, including the rare flowers that bloom among the stone each spring. The towns and villages in the Burren each have their own distinct character and charm. The more you explore of this unique region in Ireland, the more it rewards the visitor.”
The competition began in early May when members of the public were asked to nominate their favorite holiday destination on the island of Ireland.
Throughout the summer nearly 1,200 members of the public nominated hundreds of locations in every county for the title of "The Best Place to Holiday in Ireland 2022."
The number of nominations was a factor in the selection of the top locations, but the quality of the place itself was the chief consideration.
A short list of five finalists was selected from the long list of the "Best 20 Places to Holiday in Ireland." County Clare was one of four counties to have two locations on the long list – The Burren and Lough Derg.
The four other shortlisted locations were Achill, Co Mayo; Carlingford, Co Louth; The Causeway Coast / Portrush in Co Antrim; and Inisbofin Co Galway.
Judges considered a range of criteria for every nominated location, including natural amenities, built environment, sustainability, tourism services, diversity, a warm welcome for visitors, transport links, accommodation supply, cost and "X-factor."
The Chair of the Judging Panel, Conor Goodman from The Irish Times, said that selecting a winner was difficult, but the many fine qualities of The Burren shone through.
Irish Times reviewer Mary Minihan said: “The food is excellent, with a firm focus on local produce. Refreshingly uncommercialized, there is little sense of tourists and visitors being ‘gouged’ and a true welcome is shown to outsiders. The Burren deserved to be crowned ‘The Best Place to Holiday in Ireland 2022’ because it is such a magical place with an original vibe – a real X-factor that placed it above rival destinations.”
For more information about "The Best Places to Holiday in Ireland 2022" visit Best Place To Holiday - The Irish Times.