Tiny village from wee county wins top award

TALLANSTOWN, a village in Co Louth with a population of about 600, has taken the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2010.

It is the first time that the riverside village in north Leinster secured the national title, with 308 marks out of a total of 400.

Tallanstown, situated on the banks of the River Glyde, also claimed the title of Ireland’s tidiest village.

The lowlands village, a consistently strong contender for the top title in recent years, was chosen from a record 764 entries, an increase of 44 on 2009.

Chairman of Tallanstown TidyTowns, Richard Barry, said Tallanstown could not claim to be an overnight success. He became involved when the village was first entered in competition 26 years ago. “It has been a long, hard climb to the top. We improved our town from a really bad state to one that was acceptable and then from then on started to put a snas (Irish for polish or shine) on it, for want of a better word,” he said.

Lismore in Co Waterford received Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town award with 306 marks while Killarney won the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town with 307.

The Kerry town’s mayor, Cllr Donal Grady admitted they were a bit disappointed not to have won the top award. Hopes had risen that the near disappearance of horse dung from its streets could help the tourist haven win the top award. Killarney had come very close to winning the top title and was just two marks behind the overall winner, Emly, Co Tipperary, last year.

“Of course, we will be a bit disappointed to be beaten by just one mark, particularly with the jarveys making such a big effort,” said Cllr Grady.

Kilkenny won the Tidiest Large Urban Centre award with 306 marks.

The awards were presented yesterday at the Helix Theatre in Dublin by Environment Minister, John Gormley.

Mr Gormley said the judges were extremely impressed with Tallanstown this year and had remarked that its “idyllic rural charm” had been enhanced by the considered approach taken to projects within its area.

The judges stated: “You have managed to carry out works that complement your rural setting without overpowering or detracting from it. Well done on this.”

They also remarked on the “wonderful” level of community involvement.

Mr Gormley also thanked SuperValu, the competition’s national sponsor since 1992. “In these economic times, where money is scarcer, we value the continued support of SuperValu all the more.”

The winner of the SuperValu TidyTowns Schools Award also went to Ardee Educate Together National School in Ardee, Co Louth.

SuperValu’s marketing director, Ray Kelly, said TidyTowns was the public expression of the work countless individuals undertook to build community spirit and make their area a better place to live.

The competition, now in its 52nd year, is organised by the Department of the Environment.

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