Fáilte Ireland has revealed the 15 towns on the shortlist for the prestigious Tourism Towns Awards for 2015.
There is one award for the best large town and one for the best small town in the country, based on their overall appeal to tourists.
Between now and November, when the winners will be revealed, there will be a series of ‘secret shoppers’ sent to each remaining town on the shortlist.
They will be judged on various aspects such as atmosphere, attitude of the locals and activities on offer.
Last year the large town award was won by Westport in Co Mayo, and the small town award went to Kinsale, Co Cork.
Here is a list of the 15 towns still in with a chance of scooping this year’s prize.
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
Cobh, Co. Cork
Youghal, Co. Cork
Mountshannon, Co. Clare
All are popular stop off points for visitors from around the world when touring Ireland.
Paddy Mathews from Fáilte Ireland said: “The Tourism Towns competition works because it involves towns that are willing to go the extra mile in the manner in which they present themselves to visitors. Crucially, this award is all about recognising those local businesses and communities who work well together. Recognising community spirit, innovation and a commitment to the friendly ‘Fáilte’, the Tourism Towns Award seeks to acknowledge not necessarily those towns who do well out of tourism but rather those who do tourism well.”
The Tourism Towns Awards was first held in 2012, and are a great way to celebrate the country’s vibrant tourism industry, and to recognise and reward the towns that showcase the beauty of Ireland to the world.