The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn at the workshop of woodturner Abe Cashman. Photo: Brian Lougheed

First ever finalists Best in Cork Awards announced

A host of different business across a range of industries are in the running to be named the first ever Mayor of the County of Cork’s Best Overall Business.

The Best in Cork Awards aims to recognise the vital contributions businesses and tourism providers make to the County of Cork and the inaugural winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony at Cork County Hall on Tuesday 13 February.

A total of 44 businesses have been shortlisted across eight categories. Divisional finals were held during November and December for Best Small Business, Best Medium Business and Best Start-up. The finalists of the remaining five categories have now been revealed.

The shortlist for Best Large Business is made up of: Hanley Calibration, PV Generation Ltd, Fota Island Resort, Merck, Celtic Ross Hotel and Eli Lilly Cork.

The finalists in Best Green Innovation are: Climeaction, Atlantic Flight Training Academy, Tower Garden, Ballymaloe House Hotel, Hanna’s Bees and Polar IceTech.

The Connection to the Community category is made up of: The Ludgate Hub, Celtic Ross Hotel, Sli Eile Support Services, Synergy Credit Union, West Cork Connects and The Culinary Celt.

There are two tourism categories, Best Tourist Attraction (Paid) is made up of: Clonakilty Black Pudding Visitor Centre, Allihies Copper Mine Museum, ÓTuama Tours, Atlantic Sea Kayaking, Ballyhass Adventure Group and Kinsale Food Tours.

The shortlist for attractions that don’t have an admission charge is: The Donkey Sanctuary, Sirius Arts Centre, Wanderly, Tiny Feet Fairy Garden and Doneraile Art FesT.

Bespoke trophies are being crafted by Cork woodturner Abe Cashman for the winners. Each piece is created using reclaimed and salvaged wood such as old floorboards, ceiling joists or off cuts from furniture making.

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn said: “The quality of the entries we received was incredible. Each business, whether they have been shortlisted for the finals or not, can be very proud of what they have achieved. It is these enterprises of all shapes and sizes, from sole traders to multinationals employing thousands of people, that ensures the county of Cork continues to grow and thrive.

“These businesses play a significant role in the economic success of our county but they play a more important role in the communities in which they are based. They provide jobs, services and add to the vibrancy of our towns and villages. They also sponsor local teams and go to great lengths to make their communities the best they can be.”

The awards are being judged by an independent panel of judges that includes entrepreneurs DC Cahalane and Ingrid Seim; Acting Director of Service, Corporate Services, Cork County Council, Nicola Radley; Managing Director of Trigon Hotels Aaron Mansworth and former CEO of Red FM Diarmuid O’Leary.

The awards ceremony, at Vertigo, Cork County Hall, will be presided over by Cork Virgin Media presenter Elaine Crowley.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Valerie O’Sullivan added: “There is a strong theme of sustainability throughout the awards which shone through in each entry we received. Businesses are going to great lengths to reduce their energy usage, their carbon footprint and waste.”