Scattery Island, Co Clare, is among 18 European destinations to receive the EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) Award in recognition as the Irish destination that has best used its local tangible cultural assets to grow visitor numbers.

Eden Scattery 1

The EDEN competition takes place every two years along a shared theme in a different EU country and is designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development.

Paddy Mathews of Fáilte Ireland who manages the competition in Ireland, said the initiative provides a platform for “international recognition for destinations such as Scattery Ireland which has a unique tourism offering”.

The EDEN network enables opportunities “to foster links with other Irish and European destinations of excellence in a collaboration which can lead to significant economic and social benefit.”

Eden Scattery 2

The theme focussed on small, emerging non-traditional remote destinations locations offering an authentic cultural tourism experience.

“This is something Ireland has in abundance which made for a close and fiercely competition selection process,” he added.

The two runner-up destinations were Ceide Coast, Co Mayo and The Norman Way, Co Wexford. Ian Lynch, Scattery Island Heritage and Development Group described the island as “the jewel in the crown” for local tourism.

“It’s a fantastic product with a wealth of culture and history. This award is recognition of the amazing experience a trip to Scattery is but also an acknowledgement of what can be achieved through collaboration of community groups and State bodies such as the Office of Public Works and Clare County Council who have supported, protected and developed the island over the years.”

Scattery Island received the award as the destination that could provide examples of good practice, opportunities to improve visitor cultural experience, as a platform to develop and promote cultural tourism and an understanding of the challenges faced in developing this type of tourism and as a networking forum.

Scattery was the location of a 6th century monastic settlement founded by St Senan. Despite Viking invasions, the round tower, cathedral and oratory still exist. The last inhabitants, mostly river pilots and currach handlers, moved to the mainland in 1978. The ruins of the village, ‘the street’ and several churches remain.