Kinsale was crowned the 2014 National Small Tourism Town by Failte Ireland at a reception on Thursday 27th November in Dublin as Westport scooped the Large Tourism Town Award.
“These awards are all about honouring the towns that put tourism at the centre of what they do and this is particularly evident with our winners” said Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Michael Ring.
The Tourism Towns Awards were designed by Failte Ireland to promote Irish towns and villages working hardest to enhance their appeal to tourists. A panel of independent assessors and ‘secret shoppers’ visited each of the shortlisted towns to measure performance in key areas such as ‘sense of place,’ local involvement and tourism promotion.
What the judges said about Kinsale:
“Arriving into Kinsale on a beautiful Summer’s evening, the first thing to come into view are the masts of the yachts in the harbour – a beautiful sight to see. There is a great feeling of “having arrived” and a desire to get out and start exploring.
“There is a great cosmopolitan feeling in Kinsale, coupled with beautiful scenery and narrow streets bursting with history. It would appear that Kinsale has something to offer all demographics and its visitors will leave with lasting impressions and memories. A visit to one of many restaurants is a gourmet delight.”
Paul Keeley from Failte Ireland added:
“If The Gathering taught us one thing, it was that those towns and parishes with the greatest grass roots engagement with tourism thrive the most. A true ‘Tourism Town’ isn’t necessarily a town that gains the most from tourism but rather a town that gives the most. In that respect, Kinsale and Westport are worthy winners.”
Accepting the Award on behalf of Kinsale, Charles Henderson, Chairperson, Kinsale Tidy Towns commented:
“Three words sum up Kinsale – Location, Location, Location. A picturesque fishing village, nestled between hills and harbour, encompassing a mix of medieval buildings and a maze of narrow streets, seamlessly incorporating a multitude of historical tourist attractions and gourmet restaurants. The allure of a semi-tropical climate is of course and added bonus! This award will give a great boost to all our efforts in the town.
Both towns will now receive grants of €5,000 towards tourism development. Other towns shortlisted for the Tourism Awards were Ardmore, Carrick-on-Shannon, Cobh, Glengarriff, Kilkenny, Killarney, Lismore and Portmagee.
Special thanks to all volunteers from the Kinsale Tidy Towns Committee, members of Kinsale Chamber of Tourism & Busuiness, Kinsale Good Food Circle, Kinsale Ambassadors and all traders and locals who continually fly the flag for our town. Thanks also to Angela Shanahan and her team in the busy Kinsale Tourist Office who are so helpful and welcoming to visitors. ‘First impressions last!’ Here’s to building on this award and a positive outlook for 2015.