It’s great to start a new season with some good news; and for us that was making the final of the SME Awards in no less than three categories; Community Minded, Customer Focus and Environmentally Minded.

Blaise at the awards ceremony

Blaise at the awards ceremony

This meant an invite down to the big ‘do’ in Cork. We’d been gutted to miss it in 2015 and were determined to get down there this time! Seeing as we are currently open for the season we couldn’t both make an appearance, leaving Oggy running the show here while Blaise skipped off down the country!

The finalists gather before the ceremony.

The finalists gather before the ceremony.

The SME Awards are a national competition, open to every industry, and every business that is rated as a Small to Medium Enterprise. We are definitely on the smaller side of that with just the two of us running the show here! The awards ceremony was hosted by the affable Rick O’Shea, in the Radisson Blu Hotel, and the whole evening was great craic. Rick bombarded us with sweeties and got people up playing games throughout the ceremony; it was far from your normal business networking event… as proved by Blaise battling it out with Shawna from Sex Siopa to see who could blow up an inflatable banana the quickest…

Banana champion and humble victor, Blaise.

Banana champion and not-so humble victor, Blaise.

Categories came and went, and it began to look like we’d be taking the long, long road home empty-handed when we finally heard our name called! Cycle Inishowen had won the Environmentally Minded Award! Maintaining our beautiful green environment here in Donegal is at the heart of so much of what we do here, and it was fantastic to have that acknowledged.

Blaise with Environmentally Minded Award

Blaise with Environmentally Minded Award

The event was sponsored by Blacknight, who really know how show a business a good time! They had thought of everything – from LED Hollywood style letters, to having a camera set up to capture the finalists reactions. It was perfect and we can’t thank them enough; also the Radisson Blu need a special shout-out for the AMAZING buffet at the end of the night! Oh my…

 

Anyone thinking of heading down to Cork here’s a few tips from Blaise and her friends on what worked for them:
‘We stayed in the Kinlay House; great hostel accommodation that was very close to the city centre. The three of us had a private room with en suite for next to nothing and the staff were lovely. Highly recommend them! We treated ourselves to breakfast out at 14A, which was so good that I have to admit we went both days! We were lucky enough to be there on a day where the Butter Museum was running free tours, which was entertaining and interesting. We also rang the bells in the Shandon Church which is so much fun and a really unique tourist experience! Couple of pints in Sin E and our evening out in the Radisson rounded off the weekend nicely.’