Skerries is one of Europe's most beautiful 'cities' - by John Manning (Irish Independent)
Skerries was bestowed with a very welcome but somewhat odd honour in the last week when it was voted one of Europe's 'most beautiful cities'.
While we have no argument with the fact that the beautiful coastal town has an environment that is hard to beat anywhere, the word 'city' is a curious one to describe a town of around 10,000 people.
The list is compiled by a tourism website which rates Skerries alongside the likes of Vienna, Budapest, Barcelona and Amsterdam but to be fair to them, the author of the piece, Auburn Scallon does concede that Skerries is more of a village than a city - but no less beautiful for it, and perhaps more beautiful because of its size.
The Eating Europe Tours website paints an idyllic picture of the town as Auburn Scallon writes: 'With moss-covered rocks surrounding fishing boats bobbing in the water, Skerries gives visitors a glimpse of beauty of serenity.'
The piece features articles from people who have travelled all over Europe, giving reviews of the best location they visited.
The travel and food website says it is dedicated to 'giving people a taste of Europe they won't soon forget by exposing them to real food, people and neighbourhoods'.
Ms Scallon recommends that visitors watch the sun set over the harbour in Skerries and stay out at the award-winning White Cottages bed and breakfast.
The village also boasts some of north Dublin's finest beaches as well as a string of fine and popular restaurants and bars serving the best in local seafood and then there are heritage attractions like the beautiful Skerries Mills and that's before you even talk about the sea that defines the town's character in so many ways.
So while me way wince at the term 'city', we could not agree more that Skerries belongs on that list and is a jewel in the Fingal crown that will continue to delight locals and visitors for decades, if not centuries to come.
The news of the honour has spread far and wide not only making the national media in Ireland but even hitting the headlines abroad.
It seems the unusual honour has put Skerries firmly on the international map and who knows what kind of boost it might end up being to the local tourist industry which is hugely important to the seaside town's economy.
The accolade cannot hurt Skerries latest tilt at the national Tidy Towns competition either. The town has passed Malahide out in recent years as the top dog in the competition and has edged closer and closer each year to the top prize nationally.
The honour bestowed on the town by the international website is also a slap on the back for all those working hard in the tourist and hospitality industry in the town, whether it is local bars or restaurants or at heritage sites like Skerries Mills.
Fingal County Council and the Skerries Liaison Committee as well as the local chamber and the Skerries Community Association along with an array of hard working community groups in the town will also take the honour as a major cause for celebration even though they might scratch their heads at suddenly becoming a city overnight.
So if you are thinking of booking a city break in Vienna, Amsterdam, Budapest or Barcelona, just go to Skerries instead!