Kilkenny has been crowned the 2013 National Tourism Town, beating off stiff competition from Mulranny in Mayo, who won the Best Small Town Award at yesterday's ceremony in the Gibson Hotel in Dublin. Also taking home the prize for Best Large Tourism Town, Kilkenny received glowing reviews from the jury who decided the winners.
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring, a Westport man, was there to hand out the awards, but he was on a hiding to nothing as there was no way all three of the Mayo entries that made the final list of ten (the best represented county by a distance) could each win the big prize.
"Kilkenny, with a strong mixture of hurling, heritage and hospitality in its DNA, really impressed the judges this year with the way the locals knitted local food, sports and, of course, their medieval history into their tourist offering," said Ring. "But everybody here, you are all winners. You are winning for your town, your community, your county, your province and your country."
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The Tourism Towns Award was designed by Fáilte Ireland to promote those Irish towns and villages which are working hardest to enhance their appeal to tourists visiting their local area. As the overall winner, Kilkenny received its winning certificate along with a €10,000 grant towards further developing itself as a tourism destination. Mulranny received €5,000 while the other eight short-listed towns received €1,000 grants to accompany their certificates of merit. As well as the certificates and grants, all the shortlisted towns will be able to boost their pitch and use their ‘Tourism Town’ status when marketing themselves.
“Needless to say, as a Mayo-man I am also very pleased to be able to congratulate Mulranny on its great achievement in being awarded the title of ‘Best small Tourism Town’," said Ring. "I would like to commend all involved in the local community for their work, seizing the opportunity and really building local tourism along the newly created Greenway.”
The full list of finalists were:
Cobh, Co. Cork
Drogheda, Co. Louth
Ennis, Co. Clare
Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Mulranny, Co. Mayo
Murrisk, Co. Mayo
Tralee, Co. Kerry
Westport, Co. Mayo
© 2013 - Hospitality Ireland Magazine by Gordon Hunt