What's New for 2019

Heritage Island Attractions Shortlisted for Irish Tourism Awards 2019 

It is fantastic to see so many Heritage Island members being shortlisted for the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2019.

The Heritage Island members that have been shortlisted for the awards, by category are as follows;

Best Wild Atlantic Way Tourism Experience (Large) –
Aillwee Caves & Birds of Prey Centre

Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience (Large) – Spike Island Experience; House of Waterford Crystal & Jameson Distillery Midleton

Best Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Experience –
Lough Key Forest Park

Best Dublin Tourism Experience (Large) – National Gallery of Ireland

Best Dublin Tourism Experience (Small) – Pearse Lyons Distillery; Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Best Food & Beverage Experience – Hook Lighthouse Sunset Tour & Food Experience.

Best Entrepreneurial Tourism Innovation – EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

Click here to view a full list of the finalists here

Irelands Most Loved Attractions 2018 (Irish Independent Readers Awards) 

The Independent is one of Ireland’s most read newspapers and Independent.ie their popular news channel. They recently unveiled their 2018 Reader Travel Awards. Following thousands of entries, they named Ireland’s Top 10 attractions.

Our five member attractions and rankings were:

#3 Giants Causeway

#5 Guinness Storehouse

#7 Slieve League

#9 Hook Head

#10 Spike Island          


The Book of Kells Celebrates its One Millionth Visitor for 2018

Dublin, November 7th, 2018 – Trinity College Dublin announced its one-millionth visitor to the Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition for 2018. This is the first time that one million visitors have visited the Book of Kells Exhibition in a given year.

The Book of Kells Exhibition has seen continuous growth in figures with total visitor numbers increasing annually. In the last four years alone there has been an increase from 662,679 visitors in 2014 to one million today, an increase of 50.9%. 2018 saw figures increase even further after the high-profile visit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on July 11th this year driving a busier than expected summer.

The one-millionth visitor is Cassie Clemans who has traveled with her husband Andy from Bend, Oregon, USA. They are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary in Ireland. Describing her delight on viewing the Book of Kells she said: “I am thrilled to be the one millionth visitor today to The Book of Kells Exhibition and to see first-hand one of the greatest treasures of medieval Europe. The Old Library was spectacular too. My husband and I were sure to make this part of our itinerary in Dublin as we own a bookshop in Bend and we are very interested in all things book related.”




Hook Lighthouse wins Best Tourism Project in the UK & Ireland 2018

Hook Lighthouse in Co. Wexford won ‘Best Tourism Project in the UK and Ireland 2018’ award category by the British Guild of Travel Writers at their annual World Tourism Awards ceremony. The award-winning global travel writer and guild member Isabel Conway nominated Hook Lighthouse during the summer of 2018.

The lighthouse was the only Irish attraction to be shortlisted for the award. In nominating the Hook Lighthouse, Guild members were told the attraction is ‘world-class, unique and deserves further recognition’.

Event Manager of Hook Lighthouse Ann Waters said, "We are just thrilled. The entire team at Hook lighthouse are dedicated to ensuring a top quality visitor experience for every visitor from ensuring fun for the little ones to sharing the local knowledge and historical insights and heritage of the 800-year-old lighthouse. This is a real team award. We have been working hard on developing new product experiences and traveling to trade tourism events sharing these with global tour operators for the last 18 months, this work is really paying off and this hugely high profile award will certainly help in this area now too."

It is also presently commencing a three-year development plan with Fáilte Ireland and Wexford County Council, further striving to develop its visitor experience offering within Ireland’s Ancient East.


Belleek Pottery Overall Winner of Northern Ireland Hospitality Award Tourist Attraction of the Year 2018

Patricia McCauley Visitor Centre Manager said, "Receiving this award is a testament to the team at Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre". Belleek attracts more than 250,000 visitors into the region on an annual basis and spread the word worldwide about Belleek. As the oldest working pottery on the island of Ireland, they know they have something really special to offer visitors from all corners of the globe".   

During 2018, Belleek Pottery has seen growth in international visitors and estimate year to date visits from 21 countries. As they look forward to 2019, they are reflecting on 2018 with a great sense of achievement as overall winners of The Northern Ireland Hospitality Awards, Tourist Attraction of the Year 2018".