Prestigious Phoenix Award for Connemara’s Cultural Retreat, Cnoc Suain, for Sustainable Tourism


Fáilte Ireland has today welcomed the news that Cnoc Suain cultural retreat, near An Spidéal, Connemara, Co. Galway, has won the Phoenix Award for Sustainable Tourism from the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) in Las Vegas. The Phoenix Award is SATW’s highest recognition bestowed to individuals, businesses, organisations and communities who have demonstrated exceptional efforts in preserving, conserving, beautifying or protecting the historic, cultural and natural resources of an area. Established in 1969, the SATW Phoenix Awards was one of the first programs to acknowledge the importance of resource stewardship. Ciara Sugrue, Head of International Publicity with Fáilte Ireland welcomed the news, saying: “Fáilte Ireland would like to congratulate Dearbhaill Standún and Charlie Troy of Cnoc Suain.  Located in the heart of Connemara on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, they are indeed worthy winners of this prestigious award for sustainable tourism.  This nomination, which was submitted by top US journalist Ginger Warder, who was in Ireland earlier this year on a press trip with Fáilte Ireland, is another example of how Irish tourism businesses can gain global recognition through our farmiliarisation trips. SATW members are invited to nominate individuals, communities, for-profit businesses or non-profit organisations that have contributed to a quality travel experience through proven conservation, preservation, beautification or environmental efforts. Cnoc Suain was nominated by top US freelance journalist Ginger Warder who visited Ireland recently on a press trip organised by Fáilte Ireland. Ginger Warder is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the author of four travel guide books and a regular contributor to,, and several regional magazines. Referring to her nomination, Ginger Warder, SATW member and journalist said – “I was delighted to nominate Cnoc Suain after the enjoyable and memorable experience that Fáilte Ireland provided me with earlier this year. The entire village of Cnoc Suain is a postcard with tidy thatched-roof cottages, neat lanes, views of the mountains and stone-walled fields—and if you’re lucky some wild Connemara ponies—with the bog spreading out below the big house. To me, this was a slice of the “real Ireland” so often not reflected in tourist attractions. “But what impressed me the most was the passion of owners Charlie and Dearbhaill who have invested 20 years of hard work to preserve the cultural traditions, the natural beauty and the history of Connemara, offering international exposure for this area and its talented musicians, artists and craftsman. I wanted to share that with my fellow travel writers and American travelers.” Speaking about the recent award, Dearbhaill Standún and Charlie Troy of Cnoc Suain commented- “Our wish is for Cnoc Suain to be a witness to the history of our ancestors, a celebration of the work of previous generations, ‘food for the soul’ for those who are to come.” Kathy Straach of the Phoenix Award Committee commented – “Cnoc Suain has served as an example for its dedication to fostering and preserving the culture, nature and heritage of Connemara. Locals are now placing more importance on their own heritage and environment as they understand the economic ‘leverage’ to be gained by conserving the environment and preserving the local cultural and natural heritage. As they prosper financially, they will be encouraged to take care of their precious and natural resources.”

Author: Niamh Lyons

Former broadcast SEO at Spots now happy mother with two kids in NY! Co Clare is my base.

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