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Mullingar looking good as it aims for a purple reign

Story by Eilis Ryan

Friday, 24th October, 2014 8:19pm

Mullingar looking good as it aims for a purple reign

Mullingar's county buildings are being 'painted purple' in support of the effort to get the town a purple flag.

If you want to know how good a beach is, you can check if it’s got blue flag status.

But do you know what purple flag status means?

It means a town has great restaurants, great pubs, great cultural attractions and activities, great nightlife – and that it’s a safe place to socialise.

In other words, that when it comes to going out, you're dealing with the best.

That’s according to Brigid Manley and Mark Brindley, two of those involved in the bid to win for Mullingar the right to hoist high a purple flag, and declare it’s a brilliant place to head for a night out.

“Locals already know this – but how do people in other parts of the country?” asks Bridgid, who is deputy president of Mullingar Chamber of Commerce.

Mark Brindley agrees, and says that in his native UK, it quite a coup for a town to gain the approval of the purple flag inspectors – and it brings a real dividend in terms of visitors to businesses whose focus is on food and entertainment.

Now the drive is on – over the coming month – to bring the town on board, so there’s a unified effort put in to get the word out there of what the purple flag is, what it signifies, and what benefits it can bring to the town.

But the clock is ticking, as the Purple Flag inspectors will be in town during November, wandering around, checking out the scene, looking at the music venues, places such as the park, the tennis club, the swimming pool.

The team working on getting Mullingar “purplified”, have a proposed walking itinerary worked out for the judges.

But, says Brigid, there’s no guarantee they’ll stick with that.
“They might say: ‘Thanks, we’re tired now,’, and after we take them back to the hotel, they may well head back out again themselves, and see what they can find.

Transport is another area of interest to the inspectors, so they’ll be looking to see if there’s a good supply of taxis and taxi ranks, and maybe even checking out that taxi drivers, bar staff, waiting staff and everyone else whose job is part of Mullingar’s night-time economy, knows what purple flag status means.

Westmeath County Council, in support of the bid, has changed its floodlights to purple – and apparently even the Cathedral is turning purple in support of the cause.


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