Mayo’s Céide Coast, Scattery Island in Co. Clare and Wexford’s Norman Way are the three Irish finalists of this year’s EDEN Awards.
EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) is an initiative that aims to promote local, sustainable tourism development models across the EU.
Held every two years in 29 member states, the awards choose local winners based on sustainable themes that vary each year.
Previous Irish winners include the Burren Food Trail (Tourism & Local Gastronomy), the Great Western Greenway (Tourism & the Regeneration of Physical Sites), Cavan (accessible tourism) and Loop Head (Aquatic Tourism).
This year’s focus is on destinations that use “tangible cultural assets” such as traditional historical or archaeological monuments/sites, museums, theatres, galleries or modern urban districts to grow visitor numbers.
“Ireland has long been recognised for the richness of its cultural heritage, which is of critical importance to our attractiveness to visitors,” said Paddy Mathews, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Investment & Innovation.
“Communities across Ireland are fiercely proud of their heritage and culture and many have harnessed these assets through tourism to deliver real social and economic benefits for their local areas.”
Scattery Island, Co. Clare
“While it may be a surprise to many, locally we have long since recognized the unique and magical experience of Scattery Island,” says Ian Lynch of Scattery Island Heritage and Development Group.
“We have worked hard over the last number of years with our partners in the OPW, Clare County Council and wider community groups to ensure development of the island has taken place in line with best practice given its unique place in our local culture and its unparalleled built heritage spanning 1,400 years.”
More: heritageireland.ie (info); scatteryislandtours.com (ferry).
Céide Coast. Co. Mayo
“The Céide Coast from Ballina to Belderrig tells a story of 6,000 years of history, tangible throughout our breathtaking landscape,” says Anne-Marie Flynn of Mayo North Promotions Office.
“Uncovering North Mayo’s heritage and bringing it to life forms a strong part of our visitor experience, and we are really excited about sharing our story and showcasing our beautiful area to the judges in early September.”
Details: northmayo.ie; ceidefields.com.
The Norman Way, Co. Wexford
“We in Wexford County Council and all associated with the project are absolutely delighted that The Norman Way has been judged to rank amongst the top three entries in this prestigious competition,” said Tom Enright, CEO at the council.
“The Norman Way has a wonderful story to tell, is real and authentic and brings renewed life and vitality to so many towns and villages along the route.”
Details: thenormanway.com; visitwexford.ie.
The three Irish finalists are now preparing for on-site assessments in early September, during which they will be visited by a panel of expert adjudicators selected by Fáilte Ireland.
The overall winner will be announced at the end of September, and receive a certificate of achievement as well as marketing assistance in the form of a dedicated photo shoot.
See edenineurope.eu for more details.