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CIE Tours Announces 29th Annual Awards of Excellence

Dublin: CIE Tours, one of Ireland’s leading tour operators, and the largest carrier of North American visitors into Ireland every year, has recognised 77 of the country’s best hotels and attractions at the 29th CIE Tours Annual Awards of Excellence held in Dublin’s City Hall last night. The honours were presented by Vivienne Jupp, Chairman and Elizabeth Crabill, Chief Executive Officer, CIE Tours.

The awards are presented based on feedback received from over 32,000 customers throughout the year. Each of the CIE Tour partners who qualified for an award, delivered an exceptional quality experience and welcome to visitors, achieving a customer satisfaction rating of over 92% in feedback.

Thirteen overall award winners were announced in a range of categories including:

Best 5 Star Hotel - Dromoland Castle (Clare)
Best 4 Star Hotel - Cahernane House Hotel (Kerry)
Best 3 Star Hotel -  Dooley’s Hotel (Waterford)
Best Hotel Accommodation - Kilronan Castle Roscommon
Best Hotel Dinner - Cabra Castle Hotel (Cavan)
Best Hotel Service & Hospitality - Culloden Estate & Spa (Belfast)
Best Event Dinner/Entertainment - The Merry Ploughboy Pub (Dublin)
Special Dinner Feature - Killeen House Hotel (Kerry)
Best Tour Feature - Killarney Horse & Carriage Tours (Kerry)
Best Walking Tour - Galway City Tour Conor Riordan (Galway)
Best Visit - Jameson Experience Midleton (Cork)
Best Sheep Dog Trial - Atlantic Sheepdogs (Sligo)
National Heritage Award - Glenveagh National Park (Donegal)

Merit Awards were also presented on the night to 64 hotels and tourist attractions (see full list below).

Congratulating the 77 award winners, Elizabeth Crabill, Chief Executive, CIE Tours said. “2018 was a fantastic year for the tourism industry in Ireland, with next year expected to be as good, in spite of uncertainties created by Brexit and other external factors. “The hotels and attractions which have been recognised here tonight all deserve acknowledgment for the roles they play in making Ireland a leading destination for visitors across the globe and ensuring tourists enjoy a memorable experience. And this is not me saying it, it is the 32,000 visitors who filled out our survey forms and told us about their experience.

“The data and information we obtain from these surveys is invaluable to our partners who use it to continuously improve their offering and the levels of service they give to their clients. This drive for continuous improvement is paying dividends as Ireland’s reputation as a holiday destination offering a special and unique experience continues to grow.

“For our part, CIE Tours will continue to respond to what our customers want ‐ a unique experience, offering value for money with no hidden extra charges. Together with our partners we will continue to showcase the best of Ireland, supporting rural communities throughout the country by bringing tourists to destinations not covered by other operators”.

CIE Tours (, a member of the CIE Group, is one of Ireland’s longest established speciality tour operators, celebrating 87 years in business this year. In 2018, the company enjoyed €120 million in revenues and over 400,000 bed nights booked throughout the country. The company, which employs over 140 people, between offices in Dublin, London and New Jersey, operates all‐inclusive coach tours and fly‐drive programmes to Ireland as well as coach tours of Britain and mainland Europe. It also provides combined tours of Ireland and the UK. It is one of the most successful tour operators in delivering tourism to Ireland from North America, carrying 44,000 customers in 2018. In 2019 the company is expanding its destinations with new tours to Italy and Iceland.

2018 CIE Tours Awards ‐ Merit Winners:

Ulster Visit Merit

Slieve League Cliffs
Giant's Causeway
The Causeway Coast Discovery Centre

Connacht Visit Merit

Dan O'Hara Homestead
Connemara Celtic Crystal
Kylemore Abbey
Westport House
Ballintubber Abbey
Dún Aonghasa

Munster Visit Merit

Cliffs of Moher
Marine Bar Waterford
Charles Fort
Blarney Castle
House of Waterford Crystal
Muckross House and Gardens
Tangney Tours Jaunting Car

Leinster Visit Merit

Cooks Academy
Kilkenny Castle
Greta Power, Bungalow B&B
Kilmainham Gaol
Glendalough Visitor Centre
Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny
Dunbrody Famine Ship
Teeling Whiskey Distillery
Irish National Stud & Gardens
Russborough House
Glasnevin Museum
St. Patrick's Cathedral ‐ Dublin
Boyne Valley Visitor Centre
Malahide Castle

Ulster Hotel Merit

Europa Hotel

Connacht Hotel Merit

Ashford Castle
The Lodge at Ashford Castle
Salthill Hotel
The Galmont Hotel & Spa
Hotel Westport
Castlecourt Hotel

Munster Hotel Merit

Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa
Great Southern Killarney
Killarney Avenue Hotel
The River Lee Hotel
The Brehon
Granville Hotel
Killarney Plaza Hotel
International Hotel Killarney
Killarney Towers Hotel
Old Ground Hotel
Dingle Skellig Hotel
The Europe Hotel & Resort
Actons Hotel

Leinster Hotel Merit

Shelbourne Hotel
Herbert Park Hotel
Knightsbrook Hotel & Golf Resort
Ashling Hotel
Radisson Blu St. Helen's
Clontarf Castle Hotel
Dunboyne Castle Hotel
Croke Park Hotel
Academy Plaza Hotel
Clayton Hotel Burlington Road
Maldron Hotel Pearse St.
The Gibson Hotel

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