Gort was a winner of the Golden Mile competition run by Galway County Council and Galway Rural Development. The Gort Golden Mile begins in the townland of Ballynamantan and ends in Kinincha.
The awards were presented by Councillor Mary Hoade, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council and Tom Madden, Chairperson, Galway Rural Development presented the Golden Mile of Galway Awards and launched the Golden Mile 2015 Calendar in the Claregalway Hotel, Claregalway on Wednesday. Over 200 people attended the launch.
Sr de Lourdes Fahy and Adrian Feeney, collected the award, represented the Burren Lowlands Group. They received a certificate and a Natural Heritage Print designed by Sabine Springer. The Golden Mile award was for the Mile showing the Most Potential and was presented by Dr Christy Cunniffe.
Sr De Lourdes and Mr Feeney acknowledged the work carried out by many people in order to achieve this award including Gort No Name Club, Margaret Rochford Community Employment Programme, Pat Finn from Gateway/Galway County Council, Dermot Gillespie, the local farmers, Fergal Fahy, Gort Local Engineer and Gort Gardaí.
According to Mr Feeney, what makes this particular mile stand out is its views.
“Views stretch across the countryside into Gort lowlands and across to the Sliabh Aughty Mountains. The mid section of the mile consists of a green road. Hedgerow birds are abundant all along the road. A beautiful thatched cottage (Hallinan’s house) can be seen on the roadside; this was the miller’s house in the olden days. A lot of work was done to remove the abundance of litter. The rest of the route into Gort is currently being cleaned up and the Burren Lowlands Group would like to appeal to the public to keep a vigilant eye out for illegal dumping. This is a beautiful road that can be utilised by all members of the community,” he said.
The road stretches from Kinincha to Ballynamantan and provides access to Coole Park.
“It is great to see all the voluntary effort and hard work that people living in these areas have put into making their mile more attractive. In addition to this they also provide us with valuable information about the riches of built, natural and cultural heritage that can be discovered on the mile. Information if not collected now will be lost to future generations,” said Councillor Hoade.
The Golden Mile of Galway Competition is organised by Galway County Council, Galway Rural Development, Forum Connemara, Meitheal Forbarta na Gaeltachta, Comhdhail Oileáin na hEireann and Galway County Heritage Forum with the support of the farming organisations.
The calendar is available from either Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer, Galway County Council, Prospect Hill, Galway phone 091 509198 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Frank Keane, Galway Rural Development, Mellows Campus, Athenry phone 091 844335 or e-mail email@example.com
The overall winner of the Golden Mile was Headford Environment Group, Fohenagh and District Historical Society were acknowledged for Community Effort, Litter Management and Road Safety, Newbridge Action Group won the Natural Heritage Golden Mile award, Kilchreest/Castledaly Development Group won the built heritage award with a special award for Glinsk National School.
Judges were John Costello, Area Engineer, Galway County Council; Dr Christy Cunniffe, Archaeologist and Heritage Specialist; Zena Hoctor, Heritage and Environmental Consultant.