In 2014 the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland, named the top 15 towns and villages that make Irish vacations extra special for visitors, in the run up to the 2014 Tourism Towns Awards.

Paddy Mathews from Fáilte Ireland said, “A great tourism town is one that provides visitors with an unforgettable experience. It is a town where the local businesses and the local community all contribute to shaping and delivering this experience. It also tells its story of its heritage and culture in an engaging way.”

The competition, which was then in its third year, is designed to recognize Irish towns and villages where the local community goes the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists.

In 2013 Kilkenny town took home the title but in 2014 there were two categories “Best Large Town” and “Best Small Town”.

Here are the 15 towns that were shortlisted:

1. Glengarriff, Cork (small)


2. Kinsale, Cork (small)


3. Rosscarbery, Cork (small)


4. Portmagee, Kerry (small)


5. Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim (small)


6. Blackrock, Louth (small)


7. Beal an Mhuirthead, Mayo (small)


8. Ardmore, Waterford (small)


9. Lismore, Waterford (small)


10. Ennis, Clare (large)


11. Cobh, Cork (large)


12. Killarney, Kerry (large)


13. Kilkenny, Kilkenny (large)


14. Westport, Mayo (large)


15. Trim, Meath (large)

The shortlisted 15 towns were visited by a team of assessors who looked at how each town presents itself to visitors and tells its story. In particular, they looked for evidence of high-quality visitor experience and of involvement by the local community and businesses in delivering this experience. They looked at the quality of its attractions and sites of interest and how well the town promotes what they have to offer.

Now in its third year, the award will continue to focus on how participating towns have developed their local area in the following key tourism areas:

- A sense of place: How the town tells its own unique story to visitors, what’s special about it, and what distinguishes it from other towns.

- Local involvement: How the local community works together to provide an authentic visitor experience.

- Tourism products available: What the town has to offer visitors.

- Development and promotion of the town: How the town takes a unified approach to marketing and developing the town into a “tourism town”.

*Originally published in 2014. 


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