THREE West Cork businesses have been honoured with the judges’ special citation certificates in this year’s inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards.
The awards were presented by Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe in Dublin last week.
While the overall award was won by Cork city-based Fab Food Trails, three more Cork tourism businesses were recognised.
The Sheep’s Head & Bantry Tourism Co-operative and The Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre in Drimoleague each received Judges Special Citation Certificates on the basis of their very strong entries, while the Shoeniversity shoe-making workshop in Bantry won a special award for Best Design in Tourism.
The Sheep’s Head & Bantry Tourism Co-operative was founded in 2013 to assist in maximising the potential economic benefits of walking tourism on the Sheep’s Head. It has been an outstanding success and was named as the Destination of the Year 2015 by food and tourism writers John and Sally McKenna. Since its inception, it has also developed food and craft groups, developed shops and restaurants, stone carving weekends, and pilgrim walks.
The Top of the Rock in Drimoleague is a new development by David and Elizabeth Ross that provides innovative, various-level accommodation in ‘pods’ as well as room for campervans and tents.
They provide walking tours along the Sheep’s Head Way and to Gougane Barra. It is both an accommodation and walking centre for up to 30 people, but is also an activity centre that facilitates walkers, hikers and cyclists on the Sheep’s Head Way and St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Way.
Shoeniversity is a shoemaking enterprise, based in the stables in Bantry House, that is dedicated to offering both fun and informative training in shoe making from one-day courses. through to professional level training.
The firm is also developing its own range of shoes under the brand Equipage and is currently receiving mentoring from Eddie Shanahan of the Irish Fashion Council.
The tourism awards were organised by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) along with sponsorship from some of ITIC’s industry members, Fáilte Ireland, and Tourism Ireland.