TWO mid-west visitor attractions yesterday emerged triumphant in an international tourism honours list.
The 2007 Interpret Britain and Ireland Awards went to the Atlantic Edge Exhibition at the Cliffs of Moher and Foynes Flying Boat Museum.
Both were described as “magnificent” and “fascinating” in the prestigious award scheme run by the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI).
Actor Frank Kelly presented the awards at the Cliffs of Moher centre.
Judges said the Atlantic Edge Exhibition, designed by Martello Media, was a world-class facility.
Foynes Flying Boat Museum, designed by Jack Harrison, according to the judges panel, re-created a unique period in flying history.
A third award was won by Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, while commendations were given to five heritage sites in England.
Katherine Webster, director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, said: “We are delighted that the AHI has staged their awards ceremony here at the cliffs, the first time it has been held outside of Britain. We, along with Foynes Flying Boat Museum, are proud to have received these awards. It goes to show that the Shannon Region is leading the world in the quality of the experience visitors will find here.”
Frank Kelly expressed delight that two Irish sites had been officially recognised by the AHI. The actor, who spent much time in Clare during the filming of the television series, Father Ted, said: “Acting is all about telling stories and bringing people and places to life. So I am fascinated to see how heritage sites are using interpretation to tell stories, and inspire and excite people about history, culture and the environment.”
The award scheme, in its 23rd year, is supported by English Heritage, the Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage.
The Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI) is the British membership body for people working and teaching in the field of heritage and environmental interpretation.
AHI members are drawn from a range of fields including museums, government agencies, local authorities, trusts, charities, universities, colleges, national and country parks, and consultancies. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in communicating about their natural and cultural surroundings.