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Giant Spirit Awards Recognise Resilience and Ambition of Tourism Industry


Representatives from tourism businesses and organisations across Northern Ireland gathered on Thursday 6th October to recognise the efforts made by the industry over the last two years, celebrate excellence and look to the future.

Staged in the Grand Ballroom of the Slieve Donard Resort, Tourism NI’s inaugural Giant Spirit Awards, which have replaced the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, were sponsored by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and received a record number of entries.


Tourism NI’s newly appointed chair, Ellvena Graham, commented;

“I congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted for this evening’s awards. They have all come through a great deal and continue to contribute so much to our economy. I am a passionate advocate of tourism’s potential when it comes to job creation and economic impact. This industry does really make a difference, and it can contribute more through even greater partnership and collaboration.”

Speaking about wider issues Ellvena Graham added;

“I know the cost of doing business is another huge challenge at present for our industry but we are known for our resilience and I know we will come through this too. While there is plenty more to be done, we have a fantastic product to offer and I am confident about the future and very much looking forward to the task ahead”.


Also speaking at the awards, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said;

“It is only right that we should celebrate the resilience and ingenuity shown by the tourism industry over the last two and a half years. We are also turning to the future and I am encouraged that closer to home markets are performing well and our international markets are starting to recover however I know that value for money will remain extremely important in the months ahead”.

“The attraction of world class events, along with continued investment in our tourism infrastructure at home, and stand out marketing and promotion activities, will be central to delivering our desire to develop Northern Ireland as a leading tourism economy”.


Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Councillor Michael Savage said;

“Newry, Mourne and Down Council were delighted to sponsor these prestigious awards and it really has shone a light on the amazing tourism and hospitality industry partners that are in the Newry, Mourne and Down region and indeed throughout Northern Ireland. Congratulations to everyone who had been shortlisted and received awards. The resilience displayed by our tourism and hospitality industries has never been more evident than over the past two years. I am extremely proud of the invaluable contribution they make to our community and welcoming visitors to the Newry, Mourne and Down region and Northern Ireland. The Giant Spirit Awards have provided an opportunity to celebrate all these individuals, businesses and initiatives and recognise their efforts”.


The full list of shortlisted entries for this year’s NI Giant Spirit Awards, including winner and highly commended results, is below:


Category Name of Entry Rank
NI’s Most Innovative Business (Small)






The Saint Patrick Centre Winner
Banana Block, Urban Scale Interventions (USI) Highly Commended
Paul Cunningham Mourne Larder Shortlisted
Castle Archdale Boat Hire & Water Sports Shortlisted
NearyNógs Stone Ground Chocolate Shortlisted
Tumble Circus Shortlisted
NI’s Most Innovative Business (Large)





Seamus Heaney HomePlace Winner
Visit Derry Highly Commended
Friels Bar & Restaurant Shortlisted
Further Space Shortlisted
Killeavy Castle Estate Shortlisted
NI’s Best Food and Drink Experience (Small)





The Chocolate Manor Winner
Taste and Tour Highly Commended
Walled City Brewery Shortlisted
NI Food Tours Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen Shortlisted
NearyNógs Stone Ground Chocolate Shortlisted
NI’s Best Food & Drink Experience (Large)




Killeavy Castle Estate Winner
Fish City Shortlisted
Friels Bar & Restaurant Shortlisted
Hinch Distillery Shortlisted
Most Promising Student



Titanic Hotel – Jordan Sloan Winner
Hastings Hotels – Marisa King Shortlisted
The Bakery by Yellow Door – Emma Jayne McCartney Shortlisted
Best Self Catering (Small)




Keenaghan Cottage Winner
Quarry Hill Church Highly Commended
Aurora North Coast Shortlisted
Coastguard Boat House Shortlisted
Best Self Catering (Large)


Dunamoy Cottages and Spa Winner
Larchfield Estate Highly Commended
Best B&B/GH



Blackrock House Luxury B&B Winner
Brooke Lodge Guesthouse Highly Commended
Kiltariff Hall Country House Shortlisted
Best Hotel (Large)





Bishop’s Gate Hotel Winner
The Whistledown Hotel Highly Commended
Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel Shortlisted
Clayton Hotel Belfast Shortlisted
Killeavy Castle Estate Shortlisted
Best Tourism Experience (Small)






Cranfield Alpacas Winner
Portrush Surf School Highly Commended
Carlingford Lough Ferry Shortlisted
Castle Archdale Boat Hire and Water Sports Shortlisted
Lough Neagh Artisans Shortlisted
Bakehouse Shortlisted
Best Tourism Experience (Large)






Hinch Distillery Winner
Friels Bar and Restaurant Shortlisted
The Spa at Galgorm Shortlisted
Montalto Estate Shortlisted
National Museums NI – Ulster American Folk Park Shortlisted
Titanic Belfast Shortlisted
Local Spirit Award




Mary McGee – Mid Ulster District Council Winner
Mick Boyle – Killeavy Castle Estate Winner
Jamese McCloy – Mid Ulster Cluster Shortlisted
Jamie Hamill – Coleraine BID Shortlisted
Giant Spirit Award NIHF CEO – Janice Gault Winner

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