Winner: Lady’s Island Village, Co. Wexford

Summary

The picturesque village of Lady’s Island lies on a peninsula in the most south-easterly corner of Ireland, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea converge. Lady’s Island lake (Loch Tochair) is a National Heritage Area, a European Important Bird Area and a Special Protection Area. The lagoon nature of the lake makes it almost unique in Europe and an area of great ecological significance. One of only two Marian shrines in Ireland, Lady’s Island was founded as a Christian site in the 6th century and has become distinguished by its annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, bringing huge social and economic benefits. Community activism and tireless volunteerism are the corner stone of this vibrant community, manifested in the ‘whole of community approach’ evident in the running of the annual pilgrimage, which is largely funded through the local gift & coffee shop.

Community Contact: Ger Carthy ger.carthy@wexfordmcc.ie

Citation

The location is unique and the scenery is truly impressive, but the judges were equally impressed with the amazing energy and enterprise this local voluntary group expends on the promotion of traditional values in this special place – there are tens of thousands of pilgrims each year to the Marian shrine with significant benefit to the local economy. This and an obvious and significant interest in the preservation of local wildlife habitat types convinced the judges that here was an outstanding entry in the category.

Runner Up: Tory Island, Co. Donegal