November 11th 2020: The majestic Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens, in County Wexford has been nominated for the British Guild of Travel Writer’s International Tourism Awards.
The fairy-tale neo gothic Castle which opened to the public for the first time in its history just last year is the only Irish visitor attraction to secure a nomination in the prestigious British Guild of Travel Writers (‘BGTW’) International Tourism Awards 2020. The BGTW International Tourism Awards (‘ITA’) scheme recognises excellence in tourism projects.
In 2019 Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens was opened featuring a 200-metre servant’s tunnel, a new world-class visitor centre and café plus a playground and stunning lake walks. Situated in 120 acres, the property saw the completion of €7.5m investment by Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine which was overseen by The Irish Heritage Trust. This investment enabled the estate to deliver a stunning destination visitor offering in Ireland’s south-east, enticing international and national visitors.
Following a visit to this historic property, Travel writer, Isabel Conway nominated Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens for their new tourism offering, calling it “a national treasure” and saying it truly merits being nominated for an International Tourism Award.
At Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens, visitors are invited to enjoy a three-in-one experience with tours of the ornate gothic revival castle on offer, a self-guided experience at the Irish Agricultural Museum as well as the Daniel Robertson designed gardens. The lush parklands, which are adorned with three lakes bordered by woodland walks, offer the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the views or explore the abundance of wildlife and nature on offer.
“I nominated Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens as a national treasure as at last, it is fully accessible to the public for the first time in its history. This jewel of Ireland’s Ancient East has had a roller coaster fascinating history dating back to the arrival of the Normans, offering a snapshot into the privileged lives of the gentry who occupied the sumptuous neo-gothic mansion that evolved from the original turreted building. No stone was left unturned in this new visitor attraction including the restoration of the castle, to make this a world-class, successful tourist attraction and local amenity including a lovely visitor centre, gift shop and café. The Irish Agricultural Museum in buildings used for soil research over decades explores rural life in Ireland and houses a fascinating collection of 19 permanent exhibitions” said Isabel Conway.
“I felt there is no better example of community spirit pulling together with the Irish Heritage Trust’s expertise than this important Irish landmark. I was delighted to nominate Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens for a British Guild of Travel Writers Tourism Award of excellence,” she continued.
Destinations and attractions can only be nominated for these awards based on merit and can only be voted for by international travel writer members of the BGTW. The Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens nomination has gone through a rigorous screening process to make it to the 2020 voting stage.
Commenting on the nomination, Anne O’Donoghue, CEO of The Irish Heritage Trust, an independent not-for-profit which manages and cares for the property said, “We are delighted to be nominated for this international award recognising the huge success to date of Johnstown Castle Estate Museum & Gardens which would not have been possible without the significant involvement of many supporters since our opening. These include the local community, our team of over 120 dedicated volunteers and our 6,000 plus members. Our work at The Irish Heritage Trust is guided by the principles of ‘People, Place and Participation’ because we believe that the greater the number of people who build relationships with special places, the stronger those properties will be into the future”.
The next stage of the awards process is a private guild member voting opportunity to choose a shortlist for the four categories: Best UK and Ireland Tourism Project; Best Europe Tourism Project; Best Wider World Tourism Project and NEW for 2020 – ‘The Armchair Award’ which will be hosted online by very well-known veteran BBC presenter best known for the travel programme ‘Wish You Were Here’ Judith Chalmers. The winners will then be announced at the awards ceremony, which will be held in London in 2021.