For the second year running, Donegal’s Slieve League Centre has won the Gold Award of Overall Excellence for Best Visit in Ireland.
The award, which is decided by clients of CIE Tours International, was presented last night at a ceremony in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.
Established in 2005 by Paddy & Siobhán Clarke, the Slieve League Centre and its Artisan Café (Tí Linn) coordinates and guides coach tours to the cliffs at Slieve League.
At 600m, the Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) sea cliffs are among the highest Sea Cliffs in Europe and over twice the height of the Cliffs of Moher.
These little-known, unspoilt cliffs offer the tourist the wild and rugged Ireland that they seek.
The Slieve League Centre is situated in Teelin village on the road to the cliffs. Tour guiding, hill walking and archaeological tours are some of the activities provided. The artisan café at the centre , called Tí Linn, is a member of Good Food Ireland, with a craft shop selling local and other Irish handmade goods and knitwear.
From a humble beginning of one CIE Tour in 2006, last year saw over 60 CIE Tours to the cliffs.
Paddy, a former fisherman who is also a fully qualified Failte Ireland tour guide and holds a Masters in Maritime Archaeology, gives the tourists a guided tour at the viewing point, providing a unique insight into Slieve League’s past from the last Ice Age to World War 2. On the tour’s return to the centre, Siobhan, an artist and qualified chef, treats everyone to fresh home made scones and other delights.
With plans to develop the business further, this enterprising couple believe there is a future in sustainable cultural tourism, providing the real Ireland that the tourist is looking for - great unspoilt scenery, good food and a traditional Donegal welcome.