Do you really need a reason to visit Ireland? We've rounded up just some of the wonderful accolades that our lovely island has been awarded by travel experts from around the globe!
More Michelin Stars
Looks like Ireland's reputation as a delicious destination is alive and kicking! With twelve stars to our name – the newest awarded to Dublin's Heron and Grey – Ireland's culinary pedigree has us patting our backs and our bellies at the same time! Across the island, from Galway to Belfast, Dublin to Kilkenny, you're guaranteed a gastronomic delight.
Best place to Spend Halloween
After USA Today named Derry~Londonderry the world's best spot to celebrate the spookiest time of the year, the city's festival has kept on growing and growing: a record-breaking 80,000 people attended the 4-day Halloween extravaganza in 2016. Zombie runs, ghost tours, fireworks and freakish family fun: this city has it all.
More hotels gracing Top 10 lists
Killarney stormed to 8th place in Trivago's Global Reputation Ranking of the world's best hotels, with Galway also featuring in the Top 100. Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveler named Ardmore's Cliff House Hotel (above) in their 10 Most Beautiful Clifftop Hotels list, and 4 of Ireland's resorts feature in its Top 25 Resorts in Europe. What can we say? Hospitality is in our nature!
The friendliest cities in the world!
Readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted Dublin (above) the 3rd friendliest city on earth – and Galway wasn't far behind, at #6! If you've visited, you'll know what they're talking about: the locals LOVE a chat – and the longer your story, the better. The friendly face of this island has seen awards for our welcoming nature pile up, year after year. Will you be popping over for a cup of tea? Sure, it would be rude not to!
Europe's top hotels!
Ashford Castle, County Mayo (pictured), scored a spot in Condé Nast Traveler's Top 10 Resorts in Europe for its "crown jewel" of a spa; while TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards named Harvey's Point one of the Top 25 Hotels in Europe. The Donegal hideaway is well used to plaudits: leading hospitality guru, Georgina Campbell, also named it Ireland's Hotel of the Year 2017. Phew!
The best golf course in the world
Golf Digest’s number 1 golf course on the planet is Royal County Down. The experts say: "On a clear spring day, with Dundrum Bay to the east, the Mountains of Mourne to the south and gorse-covered dunes in golden bloom, there is no lovelier place in golf than our new No. 1." Champion golfer, Rory McIlroy is a fan, too: "The more you play it, the more you recognise it for the class place it is."
2 of the Top 50 Most Beautiful Places in Europe
Killarney National Park and the Cliffs of Moher made a big impact on the visitors and voters who brought them to the attention of Condé Nast Traveler – and can you blame them? The Cliffs sweep in jagged majesty down the coast of County Clare, while Kerry's National Park hides castles and a Tudor mansion beneath towering mountains. Two of Ireland's big hitters – and must-sees for anyone journeying southwest.
The Best Things in Life are Free!
Lonely Planet's love affair with Ireland continues! The travel giant chose two destinations for a pair of prized spots in its newest guide, "The Best Things in Life are Free". Poulnabrone, a 5,000-year-old dolmen tomb in County Clare is highlighted for its calm beauty on the "breathtakingly bleak Burren", while Dublin gets a shout-out for being a "charismatic and occasionally confounding city, where high culture and light-hearted craic go hand-in-hand".
Best hotel... in the WORLD
Condé Nast Traveler named Ballyfin Demesne, County Laois (above), the world's best hotel – and with a team of butlers on hand to turn every guest's stay into a fairytale, you'll soon see why. Over the last two decades, this breathtakingly luxurious mansion has been transformed from its previous incarnation as a boarding school to its former, neo-classical glory. Beautiful Waterford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle also featured in Condé Nast's Top 10.
Ireland: the Best International Destination
Group Leisure Magazine announced Ireland as the world’s Best International Destination, as thousands of readers voted to name this little island in first place ahead of – well, everywhere else! And it isn't just our rich history, charming culture and verdant landscapes: visitors love how easy it is to get here as well, voting Irish Ferries best ferry operator.
Best in Travel 2017: the Skellig Ring
Lonely Planet just can't get enough of Ireland – and this time, it's fallen head over heels for the Skellig Ring, "Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline"! Of the wild and isolate Skellig Islands, it claims, "Nothing beats landing on Skellig Michael and climbing the stone steps to reach the intriguing chambers left by the monks." We couldn't agree more.
Dublin: a must-visit city
It's not just the locals who call Dublin the Fair City! Picked out by Condé Nast Traveler for its unique architecture, music and culinary delights, Dublin has been named one of the top 50 cities you simply HAVE to see. TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards 2016 agreed, naming it one of Europe's top destinations. Which iconic spot will you visit first?
Beautiful Belfast: simply the best
Whether seeking a feast for the eyes or the belly, Belfast is the place to be. In the same year as the Titanic Belfast experience was named Europe's Leading Visitor Attraction at the World Travel Awards, the city's Michelin-starred restaurants, food tours and all-round "vibrant food scene" earned it a "top-notch" badge from National Geographic in the site's 'Where to travel for food' list. We think they fell for the famous Ulster Fry... Yum!
High-class home comforts at Thatcher's Rest
Bettystown, County Meath, scooped a top prize at the 2016 European Holiday Home Awards, with a cosy clutch of thatched cottages winning the Best Holiday Home Beach House in Europe. The six 300-year-old, picture-perfect cottages that make up Thatcher's Rest have been renovated to pristine condition, with every cutting-edge add-on you'd hope to find – all while retaining a "lovely, old-world feel". Bliss!
European Capital of Culture
Beautiful Galway has been named European Capital of Culture for 2020! But don't worry: there's plenty going on in the City of Tribes before then. It's a foodie haven, a bohemian dream and Ireland's festival capital. Take your pick of the Film Fleadh, the Oyster Festival, the medieval architecture and the riotous fun of a trad music session at Taaffes pub. No wonder National Geographic picked out Galway as the Best Fall Trip for festival goers!
This content provided courtesy of Ireland.com