Travel Extra Editor Kevin Flanagan reports from the event, which took place in Ballsbridge, Dublin, this weekend
The last weekend in January is always one of the best weekends for the travel industry, filled with awards, networking, and one or two glasses of champagne!
The Travel Extra Journalist of the Year Awards take place to coincide with the annual Holiday World Show in the RDS, and it’s always a fantastic night! The awards took place at the Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge and it was great to catch up with fellow colleagues and friends in the travel industry, including my friend Tom Sweeney and Isabel Conway who both won awards.
Hector Ó hEochagáin was presented with the Travel Extra Journalist of the Year Award, while nine other winners, each for different holidaying categories, were announced at a delicious awards dinner in Thomas Prior Hall, Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge on Friday night.
The ceremony was attended by the cream of Irish travel and tourism writers and broadcasters, and was sponsored by the Spanish Tourism Office and Lanzarote Tourist Board.
The award winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of senior Irish journalists. The submissions displayed the creativity and innovation of travel and tourism journalism in Ireland.
The category winners were:
Best Home Market (Ireland) – Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland
Winner: Yvonne Gordon for two pieces featuring Mayo, ‘Ireland’s loneliest wilderness, Wild Nephin National Park’ for BBC Travel and ‘What ancient secrets lie beneath this little-known Irish bog?’ for National Geographic Travel
Best Northern Ireland – Sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland
Winner: Deirdre Reynolds for the Sunday World Magazine – ‘River of Dreams’ and a second entry ‘Cliffs side capers.’
Best Long Haul – Sponsored by Cassidy Travel
Winner: Isabel Conway for her two entries – ‘Southern Hospitality in the Birthplace of the Blues’ for the Business Post; and ‘Sands of time that eternally surprise’ for The Sunday Independent.
Best Short Haul (including Sun Holidays & City Breaks) – Sponsored by Sunway & Hotel Fariones
Winner: Jamie Ball for ‘Cycling in Denmark: is this Europe’s most bike-friendly country?’ published in The Irish Times; and ‘Perfect for pedalling’ published in The Sunday Times Ireland Edition.
Best Adventure – Sponsored by UWalk.ie
Winner: Julie Taylor for ‘The climb was like an out of body experience’ published in the Irish Independent Weekend magazine.
Best Skiing – Sponsored by Topflight & Gastein Tourist Board Austria
Winner: Catherine Murphy for ski features she wrote for Irish Daily Mail, Sunday Independent, Business Post Magazine, and Irish Independent Weekend magazine
Best Broadcasting – Sponsored by TUI
Winner: Hector Ó hEochagáin for Hector: Balkans go Baltics which aired on TG4.
Best Digital Media – Sponsored by Click&Go
Winner: Tom Sweeney for his travel blogs ‘Discover the delights of northern Spain’ and ‘Top dishes to try when you visit Spain’. Both published on the blog www.tomsweeneytravelwriter.com.
The Gerry O’Hare Memorial Award for Best Newcomer Journalist – Sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority
Winner: Sarah Pickering for her entries published in NI Travel News.
Travel Extra Journalist of the Year – Sponsored by the Spanish Tourism Office and Lanzarote tourism
Winner: Hector Ó hEochagáin
A unanimous choice with the judges for his engagement, power to draw his audience in and knowledge of the area he was reporting on.
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