THE Loop Head Heritage Trail has been nominated among the ‘Oscars’ of the sustainable tourism world.
The 60km heritage trail that takes in Kilkee and the Bridges of Ross has been nominated for a global sustainable tourism award. The pioneering trail is a finalist in one of the world’s foremost tourism and travel award schemes.
Loop Head has been shortlisted in the Culture and Heritage category of this year’s 12th annual World Responsible Tourism Awards, with the winners to be announced at a ceremony hosted by World Travel Market, at the ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre in November.
The Loop Head Heritage Trail takes in 14 local attractions including Loop Head Lighthouse and the West Clare Railway and was launched in November 2014 by Clare County Council, in partnership with Loop Head Tourism, Clare Local Development Company, The Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland, ActiveMe and BIM.
Cillian Murphy, chair of Loop Head Tourism, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted as a finalist for what are in effect the Oscars for destinations who aim to develop in a responsible manner.
“Fundamental to responsible tourism is the ethos of ‘a better place to live in is a better place to visit’ and we have totally enjoyed the journey that has developed the Loop Head Heritage Trail.
“What began as a learning experience for local people has turned into an important piece of tourism infrastructure that provides an insight for visitors about what it is that makes us who we are.
“We have a better understanding of our heritage and it enhances our enjoyment of where we live and this in turn enhances the enjoyment of our visitors,” added Mr Murphy.
“It is this enjoyment that brings our heritage to life, protects it and ensures it will not fade away. We have had lots of very positive feedback from visitors who have used the trail as a way of finding their way around the hidden spots on Loop Head, whether by bike, on foot or by car.”
Cllr James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said the Trail had “strengthened the overall heritage tourism product” being offered in the region.
Loop Head lighthouse recently played host to Limerick Radio Club, who broadcasted non-stop for 48 hours as part of the 18th annual International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.
The club made contact with some of the other participating ham radio operators broadcasting from 400 other lighthouses and lightships in 65 countries during the broadcast last weekend.