Category Nine – Community Tourism Initiative
Winner: Riverstown Enterprise Development, Co Sligo
Riverstown Enterprise Development Limited was formed in 1990 with the aim of addressing rural depopulation, economic decline and high unemployment by means of encouraging economic and social regeneration. The primary activity of the company has involved the operation and development of Sligo Folk Park. The Museums and Folk Park preserve and display artefacts and implements used in every-day living in rural Ireland in the last and previous centuries. In addition the Folk Park hosts a range of important local events including Vintage Days and Santa Town. This community led tourism initiative is a mainstay of the village and attracts approximately 10,000 visitors annually. A recent redevelopment of Sligo Folk Park in partnership with Sligo County Council includes upgrades to exhibitions, a new entrance and upgraded external space. The Folk Park and Riverstown Tidy Towns have also recently developed a two-kilometre Heritage Trail around the village including information on history and heritage.
Group Contact: Ray O’Grady
Boasting a museum – with interesting artefacts, documents and photographs – as well a rural heritage park this initiative provides employment and acts as a social centre. Significantly the judges were mightily impressed with the management strategy and long term sustainability of this highly popular folk park.