This photo greeted me on facebook this morning. I am a subscriber to a facebook page called The Loop Head Peninsula, West Clare where photographer, Carsten Krieger, posts his photos and writes snippets about the beautiful Loop Head Peninsula, which is only a short drive from our cottage in Kilkee. This particular photo, taken last Thursday, came with a declaration that “the landscape is in full bloom and flowers even grow out of solid rock.”

"On the Rocks" by Carsten Krieger, courtesy "The Loop Head Peninsula, West Clare", facebook

Beauty like this makes it no surprise that last Wednesday it was announced that Loop Head has recently been declared the winner of Ireland’s European Destination of Excellence 2010, award. This makes the Loop Head Peninsula one of 22 destinations of excellence for aquatic activities and tourism in Europe and also means that it will represent Ireland at the EU tourism day in October. With County Clare tourism suffering recently, this announcement surely comes as wonderful news and offers hope for West Clare and the Kilkee area in particular. According to The Clare Champion newspaper, “Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin said the award will be of huge benefit to West Clare tourism. ‘The Loop Head tourism project shows the significant achievements that can be made when the local community and tourism enterprises strive together. I have no doubt that the winning of this prestigious award will have real benefits for the local tourism sector in Clare and Ireland generally,’ she said.”

Hmmm…. with all this great publicity for Loop Head, I wonder how the parking will be in Kilkee this summer? Eóin and I may have to do a bit of walking into town… I hope the scary farm dog who lives at the end of our road accepts us as neighbors!

You can see more photos by Carsten Krieger on the facebook page – The Loop Head Peninsula, West Clare, or at his website here .