A company which provides adventure trips on Clare Island off the Mayo coast was selected by a panel of top travel journalists as one of the best places in the country to enjoy a day out.
Clare Island Adventures was one of just five destinations across the country to win a coveted place on the shortlist in The Irish Times Best Day Out competition.
The Irish Times said it received more than 1,900 nominations from the public when it called on people to help them find Ireland's most impressive visitor attractions, leisure experiences, and outdoor destinations.
While Clare Island Adventures did not scoop the overall prize, which went instead to Killarney National Park, it was a huge achievement to be listed in the final five.
Clare Island Adventures provides a wide range of activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, coasteering, scuba diving, yoga, snorkelling, orienteering, raft building, and nature walks, all against the backdrop of the stunning scenery of Clare Island, Mayo's unspoilt, mountainous, outpost, at the entrance to Clew Bay.
It is a joint venture of Adventure West (Louisburgh and Westport ), Go Explore Hostel (Clare Island ), and Clare Island Ferry Company (Roonagh and Clare Island ), which teamed up in 2013 to pool their resources and provide a high quality experience to those interested in exploring adventure activities on the island.
"without doubt one of the best places in Ireland"
The Irish Times judging panel of top travel journalists, Róisín Finlay, Manchán Magan, Finola Meredith, and Gary Quinn, described Clare Island Adventures as "without doubt one of the best places in Ireland".
"Approachable, welcoming, and with enough amenities to suit all kinds of travellers," they enthused.
Carl O’Grady from Go Explore Hostel and Clare Island Adventures said they were delighted to have made it on to this shortlist.
"It’s an amazing achievement for a small operation like ourselves and a testament to the pride that all of our teams take in their work," he said.
"It also helps to promote general awareness of what Clare Island has to offer, but in particular it highlights the quality of our instructors and of the overall experience we provide at Clare Island Adventures.”
The other four finalists in the competition were the Antrim coast; the Barrow Way, Co Carlow; the Big Day Out in Leitrim; and the eventual winner Killarney National Park, in Kerry.
The search to find the Best Day Out in Ireland followed on from the hugely popular competitions over the last three years to find the Best Place to Go Wild, the Best Place to Holiday, and the Best Place to Live.
Mayo has enjoyed plenty of success in the competitions to date. Erris in north Mayo was named Ireland's Best Place to Go Wild last year, and Westport was named the Best Place to Live in 2012.
Fionnán Nestor, from Fáilte Ireland, said the range of destinations shortlisted for the Best Day Out search shows all of the great things there are to do while on a break in Ireland.
"There is a huge array of experiences and fun days out just waiting to be enjoyed this summer. We really hope that the shortlisted destinations inspire families, friends, and couples all over Ireland to get out there to make the most of their Irish summer break. Great days out together make for fantastic holiday memories."