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Galway voted friendliest city in Europe - and No. 2 isn't bad either

Here's a little good news in Level 5 lockdown - Condé Nast readers say Ireland is home to the two friendliest cities in Europe

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A busker in Galway. Photo: DineinGalway.ie

A busker in Galway. Photo: DineinGalway.ie

A busker in Galway. Photo: DineinGalway.ie

Ireland woke up this morning to Level 5 lockdown.

But it's not all doom-and-gloom. Today also brings news that it is home to the two friendliest cities in Europe.

Galway has been voted Europe's friendliest city in the Condé Nast Traveller Reader Travel Awards 2020, with Dublin in second place.

"While Europe's best cities are often judged on their ancient history, intricate architecture, unrivalled art scenes or amazing restaurants, sometimes what makes a place so great are its people," the influential magazine said.

Europe's 10 friendliest cities

  1. Galway, Ireland

  2. Dublin, Ireland

  3. Valletta, Malta

  4. Oporto, Portugal

  5. Lisbon, Portugal

  6. Bologna, Italy

  7. Edinburgh, UK

  8. Reykjavik, Iceland

  9. Athens, Greece

  10. Helsinki, Finland

The results come as all but essential businesses in Dublin and Galway, along with the rest of the country, have been shuttered for at least six weeks under Level 5 lockdown.

Tourism Officer Ruairí Lehman said Galway City Council was delighted with the news, seeing it as a recognition of the city's people, particularly those working in the hospitality industry.

"This gives a much-needed boost and recognition to our industry who have worked so hard these last few months to offer a world class service within the safety guidelines and restrictions in place.

"While it is a difficult time for the industry, we will be open again soon and look forward to offering our award-winning welcome to visitors again."

"Galway without tourists has been really one of the strangest things," said Ronan Greaney of local pizzeria, The Dough Bros.

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Dough Bros. in Galway. Photo: Dine in Galway

Dough Bros. in Galway. Photo: Dine in Galway

Dough Bros. in Galway. Photo: Dine in Galway

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But businesses have adjusted and found new ways to operate, he added. "We are dying to see everyone back in Galway and us cooking for them again, as soon as we can."

"In what has been a devastating year for travel and tourism, this is some good news – reminding people everywhere that, when the time is right, the entire island of Ireland is a great choice for a holiday," added Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.

It's not the first bit of sunshine Condé Nast Traveler has brought to Ireland this month. Its Reader Travel Awards also saw four Irish hotels rank among Europe's Top 10 Resorts.

Ashford Castle (4), Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg (5), Adare Manor (9) and Dromoland Castle (10) all featured in a list topped by the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa in France.

“It’s something of an understatement to say that this year has been a little different than others," said Melinda Stevens, Editor in Chief of Condé Nast Traveler in the US and UK.

"The travel industry continues to face challenges as we start to move back out into the world, but our readers are seeking inspiration and are planning their next adventure,” she added.

"This year’s winners are the addresses to support.”

When the Covid-19 crisis is past, Niall Gibbons added, Tourism Ireland plans to roll out "an extensive recovery kick-start programme" to help deliver a sustainable recovery for the tourism and hospitality industries across the island.

The full Condé Nast Traveler Reader Travel Awards 2020 results are in the magazine's November issue, and online here.

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