Two Mayo locations listed among Ireland’s top 20 vacation spots
Achill Island and Westport have been named among the ’20 best places to holiday in Ireland 2022′ and both are in contention for the overall title after the long list of contenders was released over the weekend.
The two places were among hundreds of places that were nominated by nearly 1,200 people from all 32 counties for the title of ‘Best Place to Holiday in Ireland 2022’.
Achill, one of three islands selected across Ireland for the “Best 20”, received 42 nominations, while Westport, one of seven towns, received 13 nominations.
Irish weather The ‘Best Vacation Spot in Ireland’ competition, run in association with Fáilte Ireland, kicked off in late April when members of the public were asked to nominate their favorite vacation spot for the prize.
The contest was last held in 2013 and the Loop Head peninsula in County Clare became the eventual winner.
As on this occasion, each of the nominated sites in this year’s competition was reviewed by a panel of judges on a range of criteria, including natural amenities, built environment, sustainability, tourism services, diversity, reception of visitors, transport links, accommodation offer, cost and of course the X factor.
The panel of five judges which includes Nadia El Ferdaoussi, travel blogger; Trevor White, director of the Little Museum in Dublin; Loop Head County Councilor Cillian Murphy, 2013 winner; and Rosita Boland, irish time journalist, spent hours debating the entries, before selecting the “20 best”.
‘Elementary’ and ‘island of adventure’ were just two of the phrases the judges used to describe Achill, who praised its stunning scenery, excellent beaches and friendliness.
There was also praise for the range and variety of cafes and restaurants as well as campsites, hostels and bed and breakfasts.
For its part, Westport has been described as an exceptionally friendly place, “lovingly cared for” by both community and council, offering a wide range of accommodation, shopping and food at all price points.
The town, which won the inaugural ‘Irish Times Best Place to Live’ competition a decade ago, is also ideal for accessing the wider area, including its range of beaches and promenades, with Croagh Patrick just 15 kilometers away.
The president of the jury, Conor Goodman of Irish weather said the entries from people all over the island showcased the excellent quality and variety of vacation spots available here.
“While the contest is a celebration of the many great vacation destinations this country has to offer, it also has a serious mission.
“As well as highlighting areas of natural beauty, we want to see which places provide the best overall visitor experience, have a wide range of amenities and where respect for the environment is a priority.
“Cost and value are also key considerations in a summer of rising prices and shortages of accommodation across Ireland.
“In Achill, Westport and the other ‘Best 20’ locations, our judges found these elements to be very important, as was the desire to create a warm welcome for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Other sites in the west of Ireland to name include Strandhill in Sligo, Drumshanbo in Leitrim, The Burren in Clare as well as two islands, Inisbofin in Galway and Valentia in Kerry.
In addition to the three islands, the “Top 20” list includes seven cities, seven regions, two towns and one lake.
Three other counties, Donegal, Galway and Clare have two representatives.
The five finalists will be named on Friday, July 22, with the overall winner announced a week later over the August bank holiday weekend.
Cork was by far the county with the most nominations – 222 – with Donegal next on 133 and Kerry third on 124.
Mayo finished fifth with 89 nominations, behind Monaghan but ahead of Waterford. The counties with the lowest number of nominations were Armagh – just one – and Roscommon with two.
While the number of nominations was a factor in selecting the 20 vacation spots, the quality of the location itself was the primary consideration.
The full list of “20 Best Places to Holiday in Ireland 2022” includes 7 towns: Carlingford (Co. Louth) Drumshanbo (Co. Leitrim), Kells (Co. Meath) Rosscarbery (Co. Cork) Strandhill (Co Sligo) Tramore (Co. Waterford) and Westport (Co. Mayo) 7 regions: Ards Peninsula and Strangford (Co Down) Bundoran and Rossnowlagh (Co Donegal) Enniskillen and the Fermanagh Lakes (Co Fermanagh) Inishowen Peninsula (Co Donegal ) Portrush and the Causeway Coast (Co Antrim) St Mullins and the Barrow Way (Co Carlow) The Burren (Co Clare); 3 islands: Achill Island (Co Mayo), Inisbofin Island (Co Galway) and Valentia Island (Co Kerry); 2 cities: Dublin and Kilkenny and 1 lake: Lough Derg (Cos Clare, Tipperary and Galway).