Spike Island’s former inmates may not remember the island facility in a celebratory way but Irish tourism interests will surely celebrate the fact that the island was named, in St Petersburg on Saturday night, as Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2017.
The acknowledgment continues a red-letter trend as it represents a three-in-a-row for Ireland. Belfast’s Titanic and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin were so honoured over the last two years. Spike Island overcame challenges from Buckingham Palace, The Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and the Acropolis in the top 10 European sites.
Spike Island has a varied past. It was once a monastery, a fortress, a prison — twice — and was turned into a visitor centre in 2016. The competition’s organisers praised the harbour destination for its “rich history that is authentically retold using guides and interpreted spaces, the variety of day and night tours, and varying ways to enjoy the attraction, and the strength of its visitor feedback”.
Everyone involved take a bow.
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