The Bundoran / Rossnowlagh region and the Inishowen Peninsula have been named as two of the ‘20 Best Places to Holiday in Ireland 2022’ and are both now in the running for the overall title.
Bundoran / Rossnowlagh and Inishowen were among hundreds of locations which were nominated by close to 1,200 people from across the 32 counties for the title.
Bundoran / Rossnowlagh, received eleven nominations, while the Inishowen Peninsula received nine. Both areas are among seven regions nominated from around the country.
The Irish Times ‘Best Place to Holiday in Ireland’ competition, which is being run in association with Fáilte Ireland, began at the end of April when members of the public were invited to nominate their favourite place to holiday for the award.
The competition last took place in 2013 with the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare emerging as the eventual winner.
As on that occasion, each of the nominated locations in this year’s competition was considered by a panel of judges on a range of criteria including natural amenities, built environment, sustainability, tourism services, diversity, a welcome for visitors, transport links, accommodation supply, 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 of Dublin; Cillian Murphy, county councillor from Loop Head, the 2013 winner; and Rosita Boland, Irish Times journalist spent hours debating the entries before selecting the ‘Best 20’.
Rugged, spectacular, and unspoilt were some of the words used by the judges to describe Inishowen who also referenced its stunning beaches as well as the breath-taking prehistoric structure An Grianán of Aileach.
They also highlighted the range of accommodation and restaurant options where the focus was very much on value for money and encouraging visitors to return.
Bundoran which is renowned for its surfing beaches and its country music scene was described by the judges as being one of the country’s best-established holiday resorts and among the most affordable destinations in Ireland.
Tullan strand boast magnificent views of Mullaghmore in Sligo and across Donegal Bay to the Slieve League cliffs while Rossnowlagh, less than 20kms away is more rural with a 4km blue flag beach favoured by learner surfers.
The Chair of the Judging Panel, Conor Goodman from The Irish Times said the entries from people all over the island showcased the excellent quality and variety of holiday locations available here.
“While the competition is a celebration of the many great holiday 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 locations offer the best overall visitor experience, have a wide range of amenities and where care for the environment is a priority.
“Cost and value are also key considerations in a summer of rising prices and accommodation shortages across Ireland.
“In Bundoran/Rossnowlagh, in Inishowen and the other locations named in the ‘Best 20’ – our judges found these elements are very much to the fore as is the desire to create a warm welcome for people of all ages and backgrounds,” he said.
Other northerly locations to be nominated include the Ards Peninsula and Strangford in Co Down, Enniskillen and the Fermanagh Lakelands, Portrush and the Causeway Coast in County Antrim.
In all the ‘Best 20’ list includes 7 towns, 7 regions, 3 islands, 2 cities and one lake.
Three other counties, Mayo, Galway and Clare have two representatives.
The five finalists will be named on Friday July 22 with the overall winner announced a week later on the August Bank Holiday Weekend.
Cork was by some margin the county with the most nominations – 222 – with Donegal next on 133 and Kerry third on 124.
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 the selection of the 20 holiday locations, the quality of the place itself was the chief consideration.
For information about ‘The Best Places to Holiday in Ireland 2022’ go to Best Place To Holiday – The Irish Times