Johnstown Castle in Wexford is the only Irish visitor attraction to secure a nomination in a prestigious international tourism award scheme this year. 

The castle estate, museum and gardens opened to the public for the first time last year following a €7.5 million investment overseen by the Irish Heritage Trust. 

It has been nominated for the British Guild of Travel Writers' International Tourism Awards, having been described as "a national treasure", which is now fully accessible to the public. 

Included on the estate, located just outside Wexford town, are a new visitor centre and café, a 200-metre servants' tunnel, along with lake walks and a playground. 

The gardens were designed by renowned 19th century architect Daniel Robertson and the parklands feature three lakes and are bordered by woodland walks. 

The property is located on 120 acres and the renovation project was funded by Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. 

Travel writer Isabel Conway said: "This jewel of Ireland's Ancient East has had a roller coaster fascinating history dating back to the arrival of the Normans, offering a snapshot into the privileged lives of the gentry who occupied the sumptuous neo-gothic mansion that evolved from the original turreted building.

"No stone was left unturned in this new visitor attraction, including the restoration of the castle, to make this a world-class, successful tourist attraction and local amenity including a lovely visitor centre, gift shop and café. 

"The Irish Agricultural Museum in buildings used for soil research over decades, explores rural life in Ireland and houses a fascinating collection of 19 permanent exhibitions." 

 Destinations and attractions are voted on by international travel writer members of the BGTW and the Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens nomination has gone through a detailed screening process to make it to the 2020 voting stage.

CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust, Anne O'Donoghue, said the success of the castle estate would not have been possible with the involvement of many supporters. 

"These include the local community, our team of over 120 dedicated volunteers and our 6,000-plus members.

"Our work at The Irish Heritage Trust is guided by the principles of 'People, Place and Participation’ because we believe that the greater the number of people who build relationships with special places, the stronger those properties will be into the future." 

Next in the awards process is shortlisting across a number of categories, before the winners are announced at a ceremony in London next year.

A new category is "the armchair award," to be hosted online by travel broadcaster Judith Chalmers.