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O'Connell Street during the Fleadh Photograph by John Kelly.

Ennis tidiest large urban centre

ENNIS has been pipped by a single point for the overall title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2016.

With a total of 326 points, up five from last year, Ennis won the Tidiest Large Urban Centre title, but the award for the Tidiest Large Town and the overall title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town was won by Skerries in County Dublin with 327 points, an improvement of six points on last year’s.

Birdhill, County Tipperary, claimed the award of Ireland’s Tidiest Village, while Listowel, County Kerry, received the award for Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town for the second year.

A total of 859 towns and villages throughout the country entered this year’s SuperValu National TidyTowns competition. The awards were announced today (Monday) at The Helix in Dublin.

On the second visit to Clare capital town, the adjudicators remarked,”Ennis is a thriving, bustling town with an energy which comes from being open and welcoming. It was a real pleasure for this adjudicator to spend some time enjoying local life and seeing up close the benefit that your involvement has. Well done.”

The report continued, “Ennis looked very well on second adjudication day and was in full preparation for the Fleadh Cheoil. A fantastic Irish dancer and fiddles were evident at the Clareabbey roundabout and a singer on the Kilrush road roundabout to welcome visitors.

“Indeed colourful floral displays at bridges, junctions and public and private premises abound throughout the town. Public Statutary and sculpture are a strong theme throughout the town. The fine limestone one depicting the striking of a deal with the two figures of farmers and cow at the market area is particularly striking and appropriate. The Centurion Sphere is a new one for the 1916 Centenary formed in patinated copper or bronze by the River Fergus.

“The main streets of the town, O’Connell Street, Abbey Street and High Street, were well presented. There are two fine shopfronts on Abbey Street, Knox’s and O’Connell’s –this adjudicator is in agreement with that of the first round in relation to the latter. The fine limestone paving on this street was admired.

“There is a mix of quite eclectic architectural styles throughout Ennis which create interest. Don’t neglect upper stories when considering overall presentation of streetscapes, and also pay attention to items of street furniture such as bollards. There are a few empty premises and unfinished developments which are a sign of the current times.

“Hopefully these issues will be resolved in the nor too distant future. The Old Ground Hotel was very fresh and the Cathedral was well presented with colourful displays to the front. The new indoor market building was attracting a lot of attention on the day.”

Ennis has also won the Clare County Award while Kilkishen (231 marks) picked up the Endeavour Award, after recording a 10% improvement on its 2015 marks. Ennis and Kilrush (324 marks) both received a gold medal. Mountshannon (320 marks) secured a silver medal, while there were bronze medals for Ballyaughan (316 marks), Ballynacally (316 marks) Quin (311 marks), Kilkee (305 marks) and Tuamgraney (314 marks).

A view of the streetscape in Kilrush
A view of the streetscape in Kilrush

“These award successes mark the culmination of months of hard work by local volunteers and members of the Ennis TidyTowns Committee to improve the appearance of the town and its environs,” commented Mayor of Ennis Councillor Ann Norton.

She said Ennis’ award successes could not have been accomplished without the support of community groups, schools, residents associations, businesses and State agencies, in partnership with Clare County Council.

“Despite the huge volume of people that live in and visit Ennis, as evidenced during Fleadh week, this large town has successfully managed to retain its unique heritage charm and tidy appearance. The year-round work that has been put in by the Ennis TidyTowns Committee and wider community has reaped dividends,” stated Mayor Norton.

Leas cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Paul Murphy, who attended the awards ceremony noted, “The standards in Clare were extremely high again this year and I am delighted to see the County has received national recognition in numerous categories.

The Tidy Towns competition is organised by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and is sponsored by SuperValu. Judging of entries takes place in June, July and August each year.

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