Winner: Kenmare, Co Kerry
Kenmare Bay and its surrounding areas is a place of natural beauty and heritage, whose citizens are the guardians of the richest heritage and biodiversity in the land for over 5,000 years. A visit to Kenmare heritage town leaves lasting memories, with its colourful shop fronts, unrivalled range of restaurants and a great calendar of festivals and events. The area offers sanctuary, great escapes and outdoor adventure all year round.
With changing times, Kenmare has grown to become inclusive of many people from across the globe who have decided to make this special place their home. A new alliance has formed between community and commerce resulting in projects improving the community for residents and visitors alike. A new spirit has been created as this diverse and creative people work together. Kenmare and its surrounding areas now work together to protect the natural environment and built heritage, to stimulate the local economy and to further nurture local community spirit.
While Kenmare Bay and environs is a place of outstanding natural beauty and heritage this is not the reason the judges selected it as category winner. This is a community with a very clear vision of the way forward. There is talk of a new alliance and a new spirit and the judges were immediately aware of an inclusivity and “can do” attitude that underpins the undertaking of all projects. The guardians of a rich heritage and biodiversity are not resting on their laurels. Kenmare is being marketed professionally as a destination of choice and there is much to admire in the very specific plan to keep it that way.