Category Nine – Community Tourism
Winner: Kerry Camino

Summary:

‘Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown.’ (from a prayer by St Brendan The Navigator). The Kerry Camino Group was formed in 2012 as a tourism initiative to capitalise on the growing appetite for distance walking and sought to maximise the ideal location of Tralee as the gateway to the Dingle peninsula. They liaised with existing walking organisations and walked the three day path to Dingle to ensure that the average walker could cope. Members also walked various aspects of the Spanish Camino which facilitated the design of effective signage, internet facilities and literature. A guided three day walk is provided with introductory tours for schools and the less mobile. Travel journalists and other interested parties are also catered for. The main target continues to be individual walkers – up to 7500 walk the route annually. The path can deal with any increase in numbers and offers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of County Kerry.

Community Contact: Helena Switzer, hswitzer@kerrycoco.ie

Citation:

After a very warm welcome the judges were treated to a story of a community, deciding to get up and do something for themselves, which involved little state funding, multiple agencies and great local support, resulting in a fantastic sustainable tourism product. The presentation on the day, in front of a large group of so many agencies and businesses who supported the initiative, demonstrated passion, emotion, pride and statistics. This was followed by a great hands-on demonstration of the product, which involves the development of an absolutely stunning walk with international linkages.

Runners Up: Carlingford Community Forum, Co Louth, and Sligo Food Trail.