Kilkenny is named Ireland’s 2013 tourism town

28 November 2013

Kilkenny has just been crowned the 2013 National Tourism Town at an award ceremony which took place this afternoon. The medieval cultural hotspot was chosen from a shortlist of ten top tourism towns to become this year’s overall winner. Along with received its winning certificate along with a €10,000 grant towards further developing itself as a tourism destination. 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. The award for ‘Best Small Town’ went to Mulranny, County Mayo which is situated along the hugely popular Great Western Greenway. Mulranny received a grant of €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. Aside from today’s two top winners, the other commended towns were:

• Cobh, Co. Cork

• Drogheda, Co. Louth

• Ennis, Co. Clare

• Kenmare, Co. Kerry

• Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

• Murrisk, Co. Mayo

• Tralee, Co. Kerry

• Westport, co. Mayo

Each of the eight remaining towns all received certificates of merit to acknowledge their own impressive performances in reaching out to visitors and creating the best possible tourism experiences. With regard to the overall winner, the judges were impressed by: • How Kilkenny has preserved so many of its historical buildings

• It’s impressive regeneration programme

• It’s variety of accommodation offerings

• The great array of local culinary delights available to visitors

• The enthusiasm of the local community who were helpful, informed and friendly

• The hurling experience in Kilkenny

• How the ethos of the Gathering has been fully embraced by the community

Congratulating Kilkenny, Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “I would like to commend everyone in Kilkenny for their involvement in this year’s award. All our top ten towns have shown a high degree of local involvement in – and passion for – tourism. A big focus of both The gathering and the Tourism Town Award is community involvement and, as we are coming to the end of a year when such community tourism has really come to the fore, these finalists are all great role models for the type of local activism which has made The Gathering such a success.” Kilkenny now also boasts an assurance of a warm welcome for visitors through its Visitor Welcome Ambassador Programme, which has been a huge success and the level of engagement by locals, has far exceeded expectations.
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Shortlist for Ireland’s ‘Tourism Town’ 2013 announced

Tourism-Towns Logo

Fáilte Ireland today confirmed the shortlist of ten top towns from across the country selected for their 2013 Tourism Towns Award. The shortlist was announced at the National Tidy Towns Awards in The Helix, Dublin. Ireland’s Top Tourism Town in 2013 will now be selected from this shortlist and announced this November.

The shortlisted towns are:

• 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

The ten commended towns will now be visited in the autumn by external assessors who will meet with town representatives to further explore and evaluate the town’s commitment to tourism.

Welcoming the shortlist, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring emphasised the important premise behind the award scheme –

“This award is all about recognising Irish towns and villages which are working hard to make Ireland even more attractive for tourists. This important work brings benefits to local communities and local economies across Ireland. The scheme is now in its second year and is going from strength to strength.

“I hope that the towns and villages selected today will inspire other communities around Ireland to take similar steps. Last year Portmagee in Co. Kerry won the first ever award, and I’m looking forward to finding out who the 2013 overall winner is later in the year.”

The Tourism Towns Award has been designed to promote those Irish towns and villages which are working hard to enhance their appeal to tourists visiting their local area. In an addition to last year’s format, the 2013 competition will award a Best Small Town and Best Large Town, each receiving €5,000. Then the Best Overall Town will be crowned receiving an additional €5,000 prize. The ten Highly Commended Towns will each receive €1,000.

Speaking today Beverley Sherwood from Fáilte Ireland, highlighted the characteristics of a tourism town and looked forward to an eventual winner being announced later this year –

“While first impressions do count, a good ‘Tourism Town’ is not only a tidy town but also goes that extra mile. The difference lies in the role that communities play in preserving their authenticity while welcoming their visitors and telling the story of the local area.”

“An ultimate winner will be announced in November but, in the meantime, we will be scrutinising all ten shortlisted finalists to see what they have to offer and to discover which one of them has what it takes to become Ireland’s 2013 Tourism Town winner.”

The Tourism Town award focuses on how participating towns have developed their local area in the following key tourism areas:

• 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.

• Tourism experiences – What the town has to offer visitors.

• Local involvement in developing tourism- How the local community works together to provide an authentic visitor experience.

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


2012 was the first year of the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Town Award and saw Portmagee in County Kerry crowned the inaugural winner.

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