Kilkenny scored a hat-trick yesterday when it was named Ireland’s cleanest town for the third year in a row.
The announcement was made at the finale of the 2014 Anti-Litter League by Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal).
Cavan, a previous winner, came second, while Longford and Tramore, Co Waterford, finished in joint third position.
The Cork City suburb of Farranree came last and was the only area to be given the title of “litter blackspot”.
Colin Ahern, the chairman of Kilkenny Tourism, said the accolade would give tourists another reason to visit the Marble City in 2015.
“It is a great achievement to win this prestigious award for the third year in a row. Kilkenny is used to getting hat-tricks on the hurling pitch, but it is great to see we are scoring off the pitch also,” he said.
“There is a great team spirit in Kilkenny, with each citizen taking pride in their city and working to make sure we put our best side out for the thousands of visitors who come here every year. The more people who visit us the better it is for the economy, so it’s a win for everybody.”
He also predicted this year would be notable for Kilkenny tourism and said the new Smithwick’s Brewery Experience is due to attract more visitors to the region.
Ibal spokesperson Conor Horgan said Kilkenny’s “sustained success” set a standard for others to follow.
“Kilkenny is not an easy place to keep clean,” he said.
“It’s obviously a tourist town with lots of night activity. That makes this achievement all the greater.”
An Taisce, which independently monitors towns as part of the Anti-Litter Lea-gue, praised the efforts of litter-conscious Kilkenny residents.
“One noticeable feature of the city is the general presentation of the main shopping streets,” said a spokesperson.
“The sites weren’t just clear of litter, but very attractively presented. It has many independent shops and cafes, rather than the usual sameness that often pervades other towns. As well as the shopping streets, other good sites included the River Bank and Kilkenny Railway Station, it was in pristine condition.”
The medieval city will receive a number of Emperor Lime trees from the Irish Tree Centre in Cork to mark the victory.
Overall, 40 towns and cities were ranked in terms of cleanliness; 85%, including Cork City, proved to be at least as clean as their European equivalents. Drogheda, Maynooth, Tallaght and Dublin City were classed as “moderately littered”. North Inner City Dublin came second last, and was classed as “seriously littered”.
Commenting on the results, Mr Horgan said the dissolution of town councils may have an impact on litter levels, but that this would not be apparent until later this year.
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