Ireland's Top 15 tourism towns announced
Fáilte Ireland has announced the shortlist of 15 towns from across the country for its 2015 Tourism Towns Awards.
The competition, in place since 2012, is designed to recognise Irish towns and villages where the local community have worked hard to enhance their appeal to tourists.
This year Kerry tops the list of nominated counties with five of its tourist towns nominated.
Two overall winners will share the ultimate accolade of Ireland's Top Tourism Town - for the Best Large Town and the Best Small Town - when the winners are unveiled in November following assessment by a panel of expert judges.
The shortlisted towns are:
- Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny
- Lismore, Co. Waterford
- Killarney, Co. Kerry
- Clonakilty, Co. Cork
- Belmullet, Co. Mayo
- Ardmore, Co. Waterford
- Tralee, Co. Kerry
- Adare, Co. Limerick
- Sneem, Co. Kerry
- Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
- Kenmare, Co. Kerry
- Portmagee, Co.Kerry
- Cobh, Co. Cork
- Youghal, Co. Cork
- Mountshannon, Co. Clare
As part of their shortlisting, the selected towns will be subject to a series of unannounced inspections from a team of 'secret shoppers' who will visit the towns and assess it from the point of view of a visiting tourist.
They will look at the quality of its attractions and sites of interest, and examine how the town promotes what they have to offer.
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Michael Ring said each year the standard of the competition increases.
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"I am very much looking forward to hearing who the overall winner will be later in the year."
Paddy Matthew of Failte Ireland said that the Tourism Towns Award seek to acknowledge not necessarily those towns who do well out of tourism "but rather those who do tourism well.”
Last year Westport took home the overall crown for ‘Best Large Town’, with Kinsale picking up the ‘Best Small Town’ accolade.
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