ON THE LIST Attractions like Keem Bay have meant Achill Island is on the the list of the best places to holiday in Ireland. Pic: Aerial Photography Mayo
Mayo one of just four counties with two locations to make the list
Achill Island and Westport have been named two of the Irish Times’ 20 Best Places to Holiday in Ireland 2022. Both are now in the running for the overall title, having beaten off stiff competition from hundreds of locations that were nominated by close to 1,200 people from across the 32 counties.
Achill, one of three islands selected in the top 20, received 42 nominations, while Westport, one of seven towns, received 13.
The Irish Times Best Place to Holiday in Ireland’ competition which is being run in association with Fáilte Ireland, began at the end of April, when members of the public were invited to nominate their favourite place to holiday. The competition last took place in 2013, when the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare took the gong.
As on that occasion, each of the nominated locations in this year’s competition was considered by a panel of judges on a range of criteria including natural amenities, built environment, sustainability, tourism services, diversity, a welcome for visitors, transport links, accommodation supply, cost and of course the X factor.
The panel of five judges which includes Nadia El Ferdaoussi, travel blogger; Trevor White, director of the Little Museum of Dublin; Cillian Murphy, county councillor from Loop Head, the 2013 winner; and Rosita Boland, Irish Times journalist.
‘Elemental’ and ‘the adventure island’ were just two of the expressions used by the judges to describe Achill, who praised its stunning scenery, its excellent beaches and its friendliness. There was also high praise for the range and variety of cafés and restaurants, as well as camping, hostel, and B& B accommodation.
For its part, Westport was described as an exceptionally friendly place, ‘lovingly cared for’ by both the community and the council, offering and a wide range of accommodation, shopping, and food at all prices. The town, which won the inaugural Irish Times Best Place to Live competition ten years ago, is also the perfect location to access the wider area, which boasts a range of beaches and walks, and Croagh Patrick just 15 kilometres away.
Other West of Ireland locations to be nominated include Strandhill in Sligo, Drumshanbo in Leitrim, The Burren in Clare, Inisbofin in Galway and Valentia in Kerry.
The list of 20 will be whittled to five, the names of which will be announced on Friday, July 22, with the overall winner to be announced a week later on the August Bank Holiday Weekend.