New Ross tourist centres scoop awards
THE Ros Tapestry and the Dunbrody Famine Ship recently won the Best in County Wexford award and best commercial business award respectively at the Barrow Awards.
The winners of the Barrow Awards Scheme were announced at a special ceremony on Wednesday, October 25, in the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow. The awards scheme rewards towns and villages along the River Barrow for maintaining and enhancing the natural resources of the river and also encourages communities to develop more amenities for the enjoyment of all river users. The awards were organised in co-operation with the local authorities in Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois and Wexford and Waterways Ireland.
New Ross featured strongly among the overall list of competition entrants and in the prize winners category. The JFK Trust and Dunbrody Emigrant Famine Ship received first prize in the commercial category for the significant overhaul and enhancement of the American Hall of Fame exhibition. Originally located upstairs in the visitor centre, the three member judging panel were impressed by its re-location and the significant value for money achieved in the re-vamp which now features video footage of John F. Kennedy's 1963 visit to Ireland. The now larger area devoted to the American Hall of Fame exhibition commemorates the critical contribution of Irish men and women to US history, as well as acknowledging the continuing contribution of contemporary Irish-Americans. The judges were also impressed with the service and food offering available in the restaurant and noted the 75,000 visitors the venue attracted to the New Ross area in 2016.
Chairman of the Judging Panel Arthur Keppel also praised the long term strategic vision of the manager and the board with a range of projects in the pipeline to further grow the impact of the centre on the economic, social and cultural life of New Ross and its hinterland.
The Ros Tapestry won the Best in County Wexford award for its significant contribution to the interpretation of the Norman history of the entire area. Featuring 15 tapestries telling the story of the founding of New Ross, the judges noted the importance of the visitor attraction in the context of the new tourism brand for the region, Ireland's Ancient East. Comparing the exhibition to the famous Bayeux Tapestries in France, the judges noted the very positive experience to be enjoyed by visitors, the deep commitment to the delivery of an enjoyable and informative tour by the guides present and the absence of overcrowding. They were also pleased to hear of the expansion plans for the tapestry in the context of a new 20,000 square feet visitor attraction development on the quayside area which would tell the entire story of New Ross and of the tapestry. Mr Keppel said: 'A lot of fantastic work is being carried out by entrants on a daily basis.'