Friday 21 June 2019

Epic Success: Irish museum voted Europe's leading tourist attraction

Dublin is a four-time winner at the European stage of the 2019 World Travel Awards, Pól Ó Conghaile reports

EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum
EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum
Epic Ireland: Inside Dublin's newest visitor experience. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Epic Ireland: Walking through the vaults of the CHQ building in Dublin's newest tourist attraction. Photo: Epic Ireland.
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Fiona Ross, EPIC museum director, pictured in July 2017. Photo: Lorraine O'Sullivan
The 'Discovering Gallery' at EPIC
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum has been named Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction at the travel industry 'Oscars' for 2019.

The Dublin docklands museum beat off attractions like Buckingham Palace, Rome's Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower to claim its World Travel Awards win.

"When we opened in 2016, we had a vision to create a local museum that could connect globally," said its founder, Neville Isdell, reacting to the news.

"It’s very important that we honour the Irish diaspora abroad and recognise the vital contributions and monumental impact Irish people have made worldwide."

The World Travel Awards, now in their 26th year, are held on national, regional and global levels, with the Grand Finals to be held in Oman this November.

In other scoops for Dublin tourism, the Sandymount Hotel was voted 'Europe's Leading Green Hotel' and Jameson Distillery Bow St. 'Europe's Leading Distillery Tour', while the Convention Centre Dublin was named 'Europe's Leading Meetings and Conference Centre' at a gala ceremony in Madeira last night.

John & Gerard Loughran, Father & Son Directors of Dublin's Sandymount Hotel celebrate their ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’ award win. Photo: Paul Sherwood
John & Gerard Loughran, Father & Son Directors of Dublin's Sandymount Hotel celebrate their ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’ award win. Photo: Paul Sherwood

EPIC opened as a €15 million "fully digital museum" in 2016, with interactive displays exploring the far-reaching influence of the Irish diaspora.

Celebrity guests have included Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister. It expects 300,000 visitors this year.

This is the third year in a row that the family-run Sandymount Hotel has been named Europe's Leading Green Hotel at the regional awards.

The four-star recycles 95pc of its waste, including mini-toiletries and soaps, and uses 22pc less electricity than it did in 2013, among many other green initiatives.

Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' at 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.
Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' at 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.

It beat well-known competitors, including Sweden's ICE Hotel, Eagles Palace in Greece and Angel’s Marmaris in Turkey, to claim the win.

"Our dedicated in-house 'green' team has been tremendous, researching and installing new measures to offer the best environmentally-friendly practices," said father and son duo, John and Gerard Loughran, the hotel's directors.

Jameson Distillery Bow St, meanwhile, re-opened in 2017 following an €11 million renovation. It was voted 'World's Leading Distillery Tour' in 2018.

Entrants for the World Travel Awards (WTA) can be previous winners, self-nominated or WTA commendations, with shortlisted nominees encouraged to mount marketing and communications campaigns around the online voting process.

Ireland has form at the awards - Spike Island was named Europe's leading tourist attraction in 2017, while Titanic Belfast was crowned best in the world in 2016.

The Guinness Storehouse has also been a global finalist.

See the full list of 2019 European winners here.

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