Tuesday 11 December 2018

West Cork makes a splash at Irish Responsible Tourism Awards

Eight winners announced

Atlantic Sea Kayaking: Lough Hyne, Co. Cork
Atlantic Sea Kayaking: Lough Hyne, Co. Cork
Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking & Wild Atlantic Way Walks in Co. Cork, Overall Winner of the 2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards, pictured along James Chilton and Harold Goodwin from The Responsible Tourism Partnership.
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

A West Cork sea-kayaking and walking business has taken the top prize at the first Irish Responsible Tourism Awards.

Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks won the overall award in an evening celebrating businesses that are leading the way in Irish responsible tourism.

Run by Jim and Maria Kennedy, it aims to highlight the marine habitats of West Cork through kayaking trips and guided walks.

“A more environmentally conscious and community-centred approach to developing tourism in Ireland is becoming more and more mainstream... and so it should," said Fáilte Ireland Brand Experience Manager, Paddy Matthews.

"It results in more genuine and authentic experiences for all our visitors."

The Awards, which use the same criteria and judging processes as the World Responsible Tourism Awards, were announced at a ceremony at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, in Dublin this week.

In total, there were 450 nominations from across Ireland for eight awards.

2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Award - Overall Winner - Jim Kennedy, Atlantic Sea Kayaking & WAW Walks.png
Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking & Wild Atlantic Way Walks in Co. Cork, Overall Winner of the 2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards, pictured along James Chilton and Harold Goodwin from The Responsible Tourism Partnership.

Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking (centre)

Overall Winner:

Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks (Co. Cork)

Best Tour Operator for Responsible Tourism

GOLD: Connemara Wild Escapes (Co. Galway)

SILVER: Cycle Inishowen (Co. Donegal), Whale Watch West Cork (Co. Cork)

Best Small Hotel or Accommodation for Responsible Tourism

GOLD: Hotel Doolin (Co. Clare)

SILVER: Pure Camping (Co. Clare), Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat (Co. Leitrim), Tory Bush Cottages (Co. Down)

Best Transport Initiative for Responsible Tourism

GOLD: An Taisce Green Schools Travel and Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark Partnership  (Co. Clare)

SILVER: Cycle Inishowen (Co. Donegal), Rock Farm Slane (Co. Meath)

Best in a Marine or Coastal Environment

GOLD: Dolphin Watch (Co. Clare)

SILVER: Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours (Co. Kerry) and Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre &  Nature Reserve (Co. Kerry)

Best Destination for Responsible Tourism

GOLD: Loop Head Peninsula (Co. Clare),

SILVER: Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark (Co. Clare), Sheep’s Head & Bantry Tourism Cooperative (Co. Cork), Mulranny, Co. Mayo (Co. Mayo)

Best Cultural Heritage Attraction

GOLD: Cnoc Suain (Co. Galway)

SILVER: Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange & Knowth) (Co. Meath), Mizen Head Signal Station & Visitor Station (Co. Cork)

Best Local Food Initiative

GOLD: Archways B&B (Co. Wexford)

SILVER: Burren Smokehouse (Co. Clare), Orchard Acre Farm (Co. Fermanagh)

Best Adventure Activity Provider for Responsible Tourism

GOLD: Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks (Co. Cork)

SILVER: Life Adventure Centre (Co. Down), Boyne Valley Activities (Co. Meath)

The judging panel at the Awards included travel writer Catherine Mack, Kevin Griffin (DIT tourism lecturer), Ruth Morgan (Environmental Policy Officer, NITB), Peter Krahenbuhl (former Tourism for Tomorrow judge), Annabel Fitzgerald (Coastal Programmes Manager, An Taisce), David Owen (ex-UNEP Tourism) and Catherine Fulvio (Ballyknocken House & Cookery School).

For more on the awards, see www.icrt.ie/awards.

Read more:

Ireland’s 100 Best Places to Stay – and they're surprisingly affordable Ireland’s 100 Best Restaurants – now with beach shack and food carts

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