They were invested into the Order of Innisfallen by Killarney mayor Patrick O’Donoghue at a ceremony in Muckross House.
Also honoured were Susan Poole, writer of the Dollarwise and Frommer’s guides to Ireland for 22 years, and Linda Roberts, managing director of Action Tours, the biggest supplier into Ireland of independent British coach business.
The Order of Innisfallen civic award was set up in 2005 by Killarney’s Town Council and its Chamber of Tourism and Commerce to recognise outstanding contributions by non-residents to Killarney’s economic development, particularly tourism.
New members received a special Order of Innisfallen framed scroll and the Order of Innisfallen golf lapel pin.
Michael Ryan has been the Nationwide programme presenter and editor since it started 16 years ago. Mary Kennedy joined the programme in 2004.
“Nationwide has played no small part in getting Irish people to holiday in Killarney in ever increasing numbers, making us now the leading destination for Irish holidaymakers,” said hotelier Michael Rosney at the event.
Between 1975 and 1997, Susan Poole wrote 11 editions of the Dollarwise and Frommer’s guides to Ireland, with a focus on budget holidaymakers and the hidden side of Irish tourism.
Paddy Derivan, who dealt with the US in Bord Fáilte’s publicity department at the time, said no other guide was as important across a whole sector as Dollarwise was to the B&B sector.
“Everybody who had a B&B wanted to be in it. That was a measure of the business it brought directly into houses in Killarney and across Ireland,” he added.
Linda Roberts heads up Action Tours which has specialised in Irish holidays since 1992.
Killarney remains the company’s bestselling destination.