Raharney highest locally in Tidy Towns
Ballinahown topped the Westmeath table in the SuperValu Tidy Towns competition again this year with a score of 332.
Raharney was hot on its heels, however, with a score of 304 out of a total mark of 470, up seven points on last year.
Kilbeggan earned an ‘Endeavour’ award for upping its score by 17 points on last year’s, while Tyrrellspass received the Westmeath ‘Highly Commended’ award.
The results were announced on Monday in The Helix, Dublin, by Minister Michael Ring, and Glaslough, County Monaghan was named Ireland’s Tidiest Town for 2019.
The judges said Raharney’s participation in Tidy Towns for the last 50 years was “a fine achievement”.
Raharney falls into Category A (population under 200), and in its report, the adjudicators said: “It has been lovely watching Raharney grow and develop over the years into the beautiful village community it is today.”
The grounds of St Mary’s NS, St Bridget’s Church, Weir’s premises, McHugh’s and the Granite public house, were also admired, as were the landscaped village green and Delvin Road.
Tyrrellspass has been participating for 52 years and received a ‘Highly Commended’ County Award and prize of €800. Tyrrellspass received a total score was 327, up nine points on last year, and topped Category B (population 201 to 1,000) .
The judges praised “its elegant architecture and landscaping”, and looked forward to the development of Cloncrow Bog Circular Walkway.
Kilbeggan scored 297 up from last year’s score of 280 and received €500 prize and an ‘Endeavour’ award for bettering last year’s score by 6%. The judges praised “the wonderful redevelopment at its core alongside improvements throughout the wider area over the past number of years”.
Mullingar scored 301 points, up 11 on last year. It ranked behind Athlone on 320 points in the larger Category G. Athlone received a silver award and prize fund of €700, as well as a further €500 and ‘Commendation’ County Award.
The judges admired the Mullingar committee’s “wide-ranging support network”, however, as well as the committee’s engagement with schools.
The installation of the 1916 memorial signage was “a fine achievement” that complements the town’s tourist trail, and the adjudicators congratulated the town on its selection for the fleadh in 2020, as well as retaining the Purple Flag status, first awarded in 2016.
Mullingar’s aspiration to become a Biodiversity Town was applauded, while the judges added that consideration should be also given to becoming a ‘Zero-Waste Town’.
In the ‘Special Awards’ category, Mullingar Shamrocks Healthy Clubs was awarded a €1,000 ‘Sustainable Development Award’ for a biodiversity walk route.
A ‘Special Award’ was also given to Midlands and East St Joseph’s Foróige Club along with a €500 prize. Meanwhile the Bronze Medal and prize of €400 went to Ballinahown (332), which also received a prize of €1,000 for winning the County award.
There was a record number of 918 entries to the competition this year.
Other high scores in Category A included Ballinagore on 298, Milltownpass (288), Drumcree (281), Crookedwood (278), Finea (273), and Loughnavalley (267).
Category B (population sizes 201 to 1,000) saw Tyrrellspass score 327, Streamstown (313), Multyfarnham (308), Collinstown (304), Ballynacargy (303), Coole (281), Delvin (252) and Clonmellon on 240.
Category C (population: 1,001-2,500) included Castlepollard on 309, up seven points on 2018, Kilbeggan on 297, Rochfortbridge (294), and Killucan Rathwire on 227.
In Category D (population: 2,501-5,000) Kinnegad scored 288, up 12 points on last year, while Moate scored 297.
On hand to present the prizes were Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development and Mr Martin Kelleher, managing director of SuperValu, the competition’s sponsor for the 28th year.
The Helix was packed with representatives of Tidy Towns groups from all over the country, eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners.
Glaslough also claimed the award of Ireland’s Tidiest Village. Other winners included Blackrock in Louth receiving the award for Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town. Westport, Mayo received the award of Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town, while Ennis, Clare was declared as Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre.
“The work of all those involved in the Tidy Towns effort results in the attractive and welcoming towns and villages we see all over the country, and from which we all benefit,” said Minister Ring speaking after the awards ceremony.
“It is this passion and pride that has made our towns and villages not only attractive and welcoming for visitors, but have created a ‘sense of place’ for those who live, work and raise families there.
“That is why this competition has continued to flourish for more than 60 years.