Scattery Island in County Clare was today honoured as the Irish winner of the 2017 EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) Award recognising it as the destination in Ireland which has best used its local tangible cultural assets to grow visitor numbers. The EDEN award was officially presented today by the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, at a ceremony in the Vandeleur Walled Garden, Kilrush, Co. Clare.
This prestigious EDEN competition, which Fáilte Ireland manages in Ireland, is staged every two years in each EU country along a specific shared theme, is designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development and Scattery Island was one of three Irish destinations shortlisted under this year’s Tangible Cultural Destination theme. The two runner-up destinations were Ceide Coast, Co Mayo and The Norman Way, Co Wexford.
Uninhabited since 1979, Scattery Island – also known as Inish Cathaigh – is located approximately one mile from Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary and is home to a monastery founded in the early 6th century by St. Senan. The island features the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland at 120 ft. high.
Speaking at the ceremony today, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD said –
“The standard of finalists this year was exceptionally high. During the onsite assessments, Scattery Island, as well as the other shortlisted destinations – Ceide Coast, Mayo and The Norman Way, Wexford, clearly demonstrated that tangible culture has taken a central role in their tourism offering while also sustaining their local environment.
“I am sure that this new accolade will go a long way to attracting even more visitors to the region, and indeed to The Wild Atlantic Way”.
The EDEN Competition, which this year focused on Tangible Cultural Tourism, provides a platform for international recognition to destinations which have a unique tourism offering. Tangible cultural assets include such features as traditional historical or archaeological monuments/sites, industrial sites, museums, theatres, galleries, contemporary architectural sites and modern urban districts of towns.
Winners of the award are recognised as careful developers and proponents of the tourism impact for Scattery Island and the supporting region. The EDEN network will provide them with the opportunity to foster links with other Irish and European destinations of excellence in a collaboration which can lead to significant economic and social benefits.
Fáilte Ireland manages the EDEN competition in Ireland and Paddy Mathews, Head of Innovation for Fáilte Ireland, today emphasised –
“This year’s theme focused on small, emerging, non-traditional destinations located off the beaten track that offered an authentic tourism experience. This is something Ireland has in abundance which made for a close and fiercely competitive competition.
“During the adjudication, Scattery Island demonstrated a strong commitment to balancing the preservation of archaeology, environment and cultural heritage along with pursuing opportunities for exploration and enjoyment by visitors.”
Scattery Island now holds the European accolade of “Destination of Excellence 2017 –Tangible Cultural Destination” and will receive marketing assistance in the form of a dedicated photo shoot of the destination – as well as a certificate of achievement. Also, the EU will profile the winning destination from each Member State on www.edenineurope.eu and will offer each winning destination, participation in the EU EDEN network.
Accepting the award, Ian Lynch, Scattery Island Heritage and Development Group said:
“We have always recognised Scattery Island as the jewel in the crown for local tourism and it’s a fantastic product with a wealth of culture and history. This award is recognition of the amazing experience a trip to Scattery Island is but also an acknowledgement of what can be achieved through collaboration of community groups and state bodies such as the OPW and Clare County Council who have supported, protected and developed the Island over the years.
The award will bring international recognition to Scattery Island enhancing its profile and increasing awareness. This in turn will spring board Scattery Island and the greater area of Kilrush and West Clare as a family friendly tourist destination. Providing us locally with the opportunity to manage the product in a sustainable manner to creating jobs and enhancing and develop the local economy.
Scattery Island was chosen as the winning destination following on-site assessments by a panel of expert adjudicators who were looking for a destination that could provide examples of good practice, opportunities to improve the visitors’ cultural experience, a platform for the development and promotion of cultural tourism, an understanding of the challenges faced in the development of such tourism and a forum for networks to share knowledge.
EDEN is an EU project promoting sustainable tourism development across the European Union and is currently held every two years in 29 member states. Previous Irish winners include the Burren Food Trail (Tourism & Local Gastronomy), the Great Western Greenway (Tourism & the Regeneration of Physical Sites) and Loop Head (Aquatic Tourism).
More at edenineurope.eu