The top ten highly commended 2015 Fáilte Ireland Tourism Towns have been announced at the National Tidy Towns Awards in Dublin.
The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Towns Awards is now in its fourth year and was specifically designed by Fáilte Ireland to encourage more Irish towns and villages to work together to enhance their appeal to tourists. Each year the 100 top scoring towns from the previous years’ Tidy Town Competition are deemed to be eligible and invited to apply the awards.
Here are the top ten:
Best Small Town
Adare, County Limerick
Ardmore, County Waterford
Clonakilty, County Cork
Kenmare, County Kerry
Lismore, County Waterford
Sneem, County Kerry
Best Large Town
Cobh, County Cork
Killarney, County Kerry
Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Tralee, County Kerry
The overall winners will be announced at a ceremony in The Morrison Hotel on Wednesday Nov 25 where two overall winners will ultimately share the accolade of Ireland’s top Tourism Town – for the Best Large Town and the Best Small Town.
The shortlisted towns have already been subject to a series of unannounced inspections from a team of independent ‘secret shoppers’ who visited each location and assessed the quality of the visitor experience. The independent judges are now examining all aspects of each town’s appeal and will be deliberating over the coming weeks to decide which towns are Ireland’s ‘Best Large Tourism Town’ and ‘Best Small Tourism Town.’
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, said, “It is great to see so many new towns shortlisted for the Tourism Towns Award this year, in particular those located along and around the Wild Atlantic Way and within Ireland’s Ancient East. The effort that these towns are making in the presentation of their local surroundings, as well as in the experience of their visitors, is to be commended and they should all be proud to be included in this shortlist.”
Read more: The top ten places to visit in Ireland
The first year of the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Towns Award was 2012 and saw Portmagee in County Kerry crowned the inaugural winner with Kilkenny receiving the award in 2013. Last year Westport was crowned the 2014 National Large Tourism Town with Kinsale taking home the title of Small Tourism Town, with each receiving a certificate along with a €5,000 grant towards further developing itself as a tourism destination.
Speaking today Fáilte Ireland’s Paddy Mathews welcomed the announcement of the shortlist for 2015: “This award was designed by Fáilte Ireland and is all about recognizing those Irish towns and villages where the local community goes the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists. Over the last few years we have been impressed with the interest in the awards and even more so with the effort local communities and businesses put into developing their towns’ visitor experience.
“We are now eagerly anticipating the culmination of the search for ‘Best Small Tourism Town’ and ‘Best Large Tourism Town’ at our award ceremony in November. That said, taking into account the great commitment to the traditionally warm Irish welcome we have witnessed in communities throughout the country, Tourism itself is the big winner and as a sector we are most fortunate that Irish people at large have a sense of pride and ownership in the manner we greet our visitors.”
Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy. The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 205,000 people and generates over €6 billion in revenue a year.