THE Kerry town of Portmagee came in ahead of traditional tourist hotspots to scoop Failte Ireland's first-ever National Tourism Town award.
The judges praised the town's palpable sense of place in its westerly location facing Valentia Island and its fishing tradition, which was evident in its fine seafood cuisine.
They also noted popular attractions such as the Skellig Experience Interpretative Centre, a local chocolate factory and cliff walks.
Portmagee was chosen from a shortlist of 10 towns. Junior Tourism Minister Michael Ring said the town was a deserving winner having made great strides in recent years.
The nine other shortlisted towns were Killarney, Westport, Ballyvaughan, Clonakilty, Kilkenny, Dundalk, Letterkenny, Trim and Ennis.