DONEGAL’S towns and villages have been completely excluded in new tourism awards announced by Tourism Ireland.
Not a single place in our county was deemed good enough to make a shortlist announced by the organisation.
There was no place for Bundoran, Letterkenny or Buncrana despite all three large towns pulling in tens of thousands of tourists every year.
And other smaller towns which have scooped tourism awards in the past like Ardara and Glenties didn’t make the shortlist either.
With the Wild Atlantic Way, Failte Ireland has finally put Donegal on the tourism map as visitor numbers increase to this county.
But when it comes to handing out the gongs, it appears Kerry is cleaning up again.
Two overall winners will share the ultimate accolade of Ireland’s top Tourism Town – for the Best Large Town and Best Small Town – when the winners are chose in November.
The shortlisted towns are:
- Ardmore, Waterford [small town]
- Carrick on Shannon, Leitrim [small town]
- Glengarriff, Cork [small town]
- Kinsale, Cork [small town]
- Lismore, Waterford [small town]
- Portmagee, Kerry [small town]
- Killarney, Kerry [large town]
- Cobh, Cork [large town]
- Westport, Mayo [large town]
- Kilkenny, Kilkenny [large town]
The awards began in 2012, when Portmagee, Co. Kerry was crowned the inaugural winner, with Kilkenny taking honour last year.
This year there are two awards to include Best Large Town and Best Small Town.
As part of their shortlisting, the selected towns have already been subject to a series of unannounced inspections from a team of independent ‘secret shoppers’.
But not a single town in Donegal made the shortlist.
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Michael Ring, said: “This award is all about recognising those Irish towns, villages and communities which are putting their weight behind tourism and working hard to make their town even more attractive for tourists.
“Tourism performance in Ireland has always been underpinned by the friendliness and hospitality of the people and it is truly fitting that we have an award scheme to recognise that vital input. I hope that the towns and villages shortlisted today will be an inspiration for other communities around Ireland.”
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