Sligo and Leitrim make the final of EDEN

Fáilte Ireland today announced the four Irish finalists of this year’s EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) competition to find the destination in Ireland which provides the best Health & Well-Being Tourism experience in Ireland with a potential to grow visitor numbers. EDEN is an EU project promoting sustainable tourism development across the European Union and is held every two years in 29 member states.  

The four Irish finalists this year are:


Adventure Sligo & Northwest Wellness (Sligo)

Strandhill Community Development Association (Sligo)

Slow Adventure Leitrim (Leitrim)

Trim Tourism Network (Meath)



The overall winner will be announced at a ceremony in November.

The four Irish finalists are now preparing for on-site assessments which will take place during the week of 5th November when they will be visited by a panel of expert adjudicators. The assessment of the finalists will allow each one an opportunity to provide further evidence to show how their destination provides the best Health & Well-Being tourism.

Commenting on the competition, Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Activities, said: 

“We are delighted to announce the four Irish finalists shortlisted in this year’s EDEN competition. Each of these applicants in Sligo, Leitrim and Meath has clearly demonstrated the best examples of how Health and Well-Being tourism have been used to benefit both tourists and local communities. These destinations offer a variety of health and well-being tourism activities, including yoga and meditation, sport and fitness, and nutritional programmes.

“Visitors are increasingly looking to connect with destinations and communities which offer authentic experiences through nature and local traditions and communities across Ireland are participating in many ways to harness these assets through tourism to deliver impactful social and economic benefits for their local areas. This year’s theme of health and wellbeing tourism experiences will give those destinations offering an authentic health and well-being offering linked with their local culture and natural assets a chance to gain recognition for their experiences on the European stage and we encourage those eligible to submit an application.”

The 2019 winning destination will receive a photo shoot of the destination, a certificate of achievement and an awards ceremony. In addition, all entrants will receive feedback on their application from the adjudicators. Also, the EU will offer the winner in each Member State international promotion of the destination through the EDEN web-portal (, a short promotional visual presentation, and participation in the EU EDEN network.

Blaithin Sweeney from Adventure Sligo & Northwest Wellness said:Adventure Sligo is a network of fully qualified and experienced adventure activity providers in County Sligo. We are committed to quality of experience and to delivering activities in a way that enhances each participant’s sense of wellbeing.  Our location along the Wild Atlantic Way is ideal, as Sligo boasts some of the most scenic and spectacular landscapes on the northwest coast. 

Welcoming the news, Aoife Porter, Strandhill Community Development Association, Sligo, said:

“Being shortlisted for the EDEN Sustainable Tourism award through Fáilte Ireland is brilliant news for both the community and tourism businesses of Strandhill. In an area of outstanding natural beauty, Strandhill has been attracting visitors for over 100 years.  In more recent year’s sustainable practices are being embedded into the ethos of how we live and work in this beautiful place. Being shortlisted for this award acknowledges the strength of health and wellbeing offering now available in Strandhill for both citizens and visitors alike.’

Sinéad Mc Dermott of Slow Adventure Leitrim, commented:

“We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for the EDEN award. Slow Adventure Tourism is a new concept focusing on health and wellbeing through slow-immersive journey’s staying in and travelling through wild places and natural spaces.  Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of experiences which include foraging walks, guided canoe trips, forest bathing, yoga and meditations which enhances the individual’s health and wellbeing.   

Helen Leddy, Trim Tourism Network, welcomed the announcement saying: “All of us at Trim Tourism Network are delighted to be selected as finalists for this prestigious award European Award through Fáilte Ireland. Trim is a hub for health and wellness tourism. From our natural assets to our historic roots and local tourism ambassadors, we are always proud to see our destination being recognised.”

Sligo Hub