By Carmel Hayes
ABBEYLEIX has done it again, winning yet another national award for immaculate presentation and cleanliness.
The beautiful heritage town scooped the all-island title of Best Kept Small Town in Ireland yesterday.
It is a richly-deserved tribute to the dedication of the Abbeyleix Tidy Towns committee and volunteers, who turn out in all weathers to keep the town looking its best all year round.
The awards were announced at a ceremony in the Titanic Hotel, Belfast by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys. Always ready for an opportunity to highlight their magnificent home town, the Abbeyleix group said on social media: “In case you weren’t aware, the carpets for the Titanic were made in Abbeyleix.”
Paying tribute to Enniskillen on winning the overall national title, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns said: “Congratulations to all of the nominees on representing their communities with pride. This is for all our volunteers.”
Winner of the Tidiest Small Town title in last year’s Tidy Towns contest, Abbeyleix also won the Pride of Place award in its population category of 1,000 to 2,000 people last month.
Minister Humphreys said at the Belfast ceremony: “I want to congratulate all of the winners and nominees in the all-island Best Kept Town competition. In particular, I would like to congratulate Enniskillen, Inistioge, Abbeyleix and Lisburn for winning awards in their respective categories.
“The all-island Best Kept Town Competition recognises the great pride people have in their own communities all across the island. Set up in 1995, this year we celebrate its 25th anniversary of cross border collaboration, partnership and, most importantly, friendship.”
The minister added that, although the competition could not be held in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, this did not stop the tremendous effort put in by community groups across the island.
She said: “Even during lockdown, towns and villages were maintained and volunteers all across the island continued to put in a huge effort, on behalf of the places where they live.”