TIDY Towns gold medallist Abbeyleix is on the glittering awards trail yet again, as it chases the 2020 ‘Ireland’s Best Kept Towns’ title.
The heritage town was selected for the 32-county contest last week on the basis of its excellent performance in the 2019 Tidy Towns competition, when it retained its gold status as county winner.
The delighted Abbeyleix Tidy Towns group is appealing for more volunteers, following their nomination to participate in the ‘Best Kept Small Town’ category of the competition. Judging will start in May and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast in June.
Following the nomination, the Tidy Towns group said: “This is another massive feather in our cap and a wonderful opportunity to showcase our super town and community. If you would like to get involved in helping us to prepare, we would love to hear from you.”
The all-island competition sees the best towns in the Tidy Towns contest compete against their counterparts in Northern Ireland. The contest aims to show how local volunteers ‘take ownership’ of their surroundings and work to improve them. The competition is organised jointly by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Northern Ireland Amenity Council.
Abbeyleix scored 342 points in the Tidy Towns contest last year, up eight points on 2018 and only four points behind overall national winner Glaslough, Co Monaghan.
The ‘Ireland’s Best Kept Towns’ competition will be judged under the following headings: presentation of buildings; appearance of approach roads; streets and public areas; presentation of natural environment; presentation of immediate residential area; tidiness; comprehensiveness and general impression.
Hopes are high, as Abbeyleix has a remarkable record in similar competitions. The immaculately-presented town is not only a consistent Tidy Towns gold medallist but also a silver medallist in the pan-European 2017 Entente Florale horticultural contest. As well as the gold medal, it also won the inclusive community award in last year’s Tidy Towns.