CIE TOURS - March 18, 2019
Rewarding the best in Irish tourism
One of the high points of the year in the Irish tourism community is the annual presentation of CIE Tours’ Awards of Excellence. These awards recognize the “best of the best” among our partner hotels, dining experiences and attractions. And this year’s ceremony, held Jan. recently at Dublin’s City Hall, was no exception – shining the spotlight on 77 winners from every corner of Ireland.
This year’s winners were selected based on feedback from more than 32,000 CIE Tours guests throughout 2018. Each earned a minimum customer satisfaction rating of more than 92% to qualify. From those winners, we singled out the highest rated in each of 13 categories for the night’s top honors: a coveted Gold Award.
And with that, we’re pleased to present the brightest stars on the Irish tourism scene, our 2018 Gold Award winners:
Best 5-Star Hotel: Dromoland Castle (Co. Clare)
What’s not to love about Dromoland Castle? Steeped in history, this storybook castle was built in 1835 as the ancestral home of descendants of Brian Boru, one of Ireland’s last High Kings. Now a luxury hotel, Dromoland offers guests exquisite rooms, gourmet dining, an award-winning spa, and an 18-hole championship golf course.
Best 4-Star Hotel: Cahernane House Hotel (Kerry)
Perched at the edge of beautiful Killarney National Park, Cahernane House Hotel is an 1877 manor house surrounding visitors with the sights and sounds of nature—a welcome cocoon of calm for our guests after a busy day of touring Kerry.
Best 3-Star Hotel: Dooley’s Hotel (Waterford)
The Darrer family has welcomed travelers to Dooley’s Hotel on the historic Merchants Quayside for three generations. Their hospitality, along with the hotel’s ideal city center location, makes it a favorite of our guests on tours that include Waterford.
Best Hotel Accommodation: Kilronan Castle Roscommon
The arrival experience at Kilronan Castle is straight out of a fairy tale at this 18th-century castle turned luxury hotel, with a winding drive through an ancient forest leading to a magnificent set of medieval gates. And rooms are just as magical, blending antique furnishings like four-poster beds with 21st-century comforts like under-floor heating.
Best Hotel Dinner: Cabra Castle Hotel (Cavan)
Guests enjoy the best in Irish cuisine at Cabra Castle Hotel’s Courtroom Restaurant along with commanding views of 100 acres of gardens and parkland. An impressive wine list complements the seasonal, locally sourced menu—perfect before or after a stroll through the hotel’s beautifully manicured grounds.
Best Hotel Service & Hospitality: Culloden Estate & Spa (Belfast)
This Northern Ireland jewel originally served as the palace for the Bishops of Downs. Today, Culloden Estate & Spa is one of Ireland’s top hotels. The owners welcome CIE Tours guests with authentic Irish hospitality, beautifully refurbished interiors, and impressive dining, socializing and spa offerings.
Best Event Dinner/Entertainment: The Merry Ploughboy Pub (Dublin)
It should come as no surprise that a pub owned and managed by musicians would rank high for entertainment with our guests. And at their eponymous Dublin establishment, The Merry Ploughboy Pub has been serving up live traditional Irish music along with great food and drinks for 29 years.
Special Dinner Feature- Rozzers Restaurant at Killeen House Hotel (Kerry)
Locals and visitors alike flock to Rozzers Restaurant at Killeen House Hotel for some of the finest dining in Co. Kerry. Innkeepers Geraldine and Michael Rosney and Head Chef Paul O’Gorman always go the extra kilometer to provide a highly memorable dining experience and warm Irish welcome—making them a perennial favorite with CIE Tours guests.
Best Tour Feature: Killarney Horse & Carriage Tours
Nothing beats a traditional carriage ride through the Irish countryside, and Killarney’s largest jaunting car tour operator delivers one of the best. What makes
Killarney Horse & Carriage Tours really special is its drivers and guides, whose reputation for entertaining and enlightening their guests rivals our own!
Best Walking Tour: Galway City Tour with Conor Riordan
Our guests love local archaeologist and historian Conor Riordan for his never-ending energy and storytelling skills. He reveals Galway’s many treasures as he leads our visitors through the streets of Galway’s old medieval town.
Best Visit: Jameson Experience Midleton (Cork)
With several buildings that date back to 1795, the world’s largest copper pot still, and a complimentary glass of Jameson to cap off the distillery tour, it’s no secret why our guests rate the Jameson Experience so highly—especially the lucky few who are singled out for a comparative whiskey tasting each tour.
Best Sheep Dog Trial: Atlantic Sheepdogs (Sligo)
Watching a sheepdog at work is an experience no visitor to Ireland is likely to forget. And there’s nothing that Martin Feeney of Atlantic Sheepdogs loves more than to show off the skills of his trusted companions as they skillfully move sheep around his farm, where views span from Benbulben Mountain to the Atlantic Ocean.
National Heritage Award: Glenveagh National Park (Donegal)
Ireland’s second-largest national park is #1 in the eyes of our guests. Glenveagh National Park is a wonderland of mountains, lakes, waterfalls and woodland. And it’s got an enchanting surprise tucked into its heart—the 19th century Glenveagh Castle at the edge of Lough Veagh.
Want to know more? find more highlights from the awards ceremony and a full list of our 77 winners – the tops in Irish tourism – here.