Wicklow’s Historic Gaol has won a prestigious 2020 Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice – Best of the Best award.

Every year, Trip Advisor – the online travel site – assess all the reviews, ratings, and saves that travellers share from across the globe and use that information to spotlight the very best.

The results are used for the Travellers’ Choice, Best of the Best awards.   Wicklow Gaol is now rated in the top 10 per cent of attractions worldwide. 

Prior to this Wicklow’s Historic Gaol had received five  consecutive Certificate Excellence awards from Trip Advisor.

“This is global validation for Wicklow Historic Gaol as Tourist Attraction”, said Emeir O’Connell, the Gaol’s Manager, who added: “It is hugely significant when so much of tourism is driven by social media and influencers.  It is especially welcome this year as all businesses are particularly challenged and we want people to know we are open for business.”

She said to receive such an award was a massive boost for the team involved stating:   “The success of Wicklow’s Historic Gaol is due to the hard work, commitment and personal service provided by all those who welcome and mind the customers and those that provide background support – it’s a team effort all the way’’.

Describing  this as a “wonderful win” for the Gaol, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Pat Kennedy, added:  “Growing our thematic experiences is one of the cornerstones of Wicklow’s Tourism strategy as this  capitalises on the rich  heritage of County Wicklow and aligns us with Ireland’s Ancient East.  This is recognised by Failte Ireland, through their investment in Wicklow’s Historic Gaol which one of Wicklow’s top attractions.”

Chairman of Wicklow Enterprise Park, Mr Blaise Treacy, stated: “The Wicklow Gaol reopened its doors to visitors on the 29th of June this year following closure due to COVID-19 restrictions which is hugely important to support business in the locality, ‘shop local’ campaigns and the work of the Town re-opening committee”.  He acknowledged the support of the Board of WEP;  Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Frank Curran, Elected Members and all of the staff involved.

The Gaol has operated as a Tourist attraction for the last 20 years and is now a key attraction in Ireland’s Ancient East welcoming over 40,000 visitors a year.   It also provides valuable local employment, including in the very popular Jailer’s Rest café.

It has been the recipient of two Failte Ireland grants in the last six years, the most recent of which allowed the business develop Ireland’s premier Virtual Reality Experience, the  “Gates of Hell”.  The customer demand for the Experience has surpassed all expectations. 

The Gaol has been under the management of the Wicklow Enterprise Park since 2010 and has been supported also by Wicklow County Council.