'Best Place to Live' longlist unveiled
"After applause, another - then another. Half the crowd have a song, the time flies away in hazy delight until 5am daylight creeps along our village street - another great night!"
Fourmilehouse, Co Roscommon
Submitted by Bernard Kearney
"We have a great community spirit and togetherness which is greatly needed in these times . . . it is the best place for me to be involved in and to spend the rest of my days. Here it may not be blessed with great scenery and spectacular buildings but the feeling of belonging to a committed community is compensation for that."
Portballintrae, Co Antrim
Submitted by Joyce Rankin
"You have views of Islay, Scotland and the Inishowen peninsula. The sunsets are extraordinary. We have three beautiful beaches which offer everything . . . Portballintrae just gets into your blood and makes everyone a local.
" In short, Portballintrae has it all - a quiet, friendly place to live that is extraordinarily beautiful with just enough to do to make you never want to leave."
Glenbeigh Road area, Cabra, Dublin
Submitted by: Danielle Clarke
"The Glenbeigh area is a snapshot of inner-city life - some of our residents were born in the houses they still live in, there are several generations of some families living here. The inter- generational nature of the sense of community is special."
Submitted by: M Dunne
"A village is what you make it to be. Our village is the heart of Clondalkin and the streets are its veins. Our buildings are the bone structure, some old and cracked but have been taken care of, some replaced with new. We have a beautiful park which represents the lungs, a special place where we can breathe freely, exercise and enjoy life with our children."
Submitted by: Ria Lawlor
"What makes Sandymount truly special though are the people of Sandymount, whether it's a morning greeting or the willingness to chat when meeting on the road. It is refreshing to know this has not been lost, even in the centre of Dublin city!"
Submitted by: Cormac Flood
"Take a visit and you will like it; live here and you will love it - and it's still only 10 minutes in the car to Sandymount strand, or 20 minutes to the foothills of Wicklow."
Submitted by: Nick Kelly
"Rathmines is the closest thing we have to a New York City neighbourhood - fast-moving, ever-evolving, welcoming to newcomers, full of secret comforts for permanent residents."
Abbeyleix, Co Laois
Submitted by Brian Maher
"The midlands of Ireland are amongst our best-kept secrets. The wonderful town of Abbeyleix is the gem of the Midlands. We are the custodians of this fantastic heritage town and we have a responsibility to collaborate as a community to not only protect and promote but also enhance these assets. Abbeyleix has long held a good track-record for community engagement. There is a solid cohort of local people who have worked tirelessly in community initiatives."
Athlone, Co Westmeath
Submitted by Mary O'Rourke
"Emerge from anywhere in Athlone and within minutes you can be at the water's edge at either the wide Lough Ree or the narrower band of the Shannon as it flows . . .
"In Athlone we back onto the rolling countryside of Westmeath with its rich pastures and fine, fat cattle but across the bridge of Athlone, we face into Roscommon with its lean fields and trimmed sheep.
"I love the idea that we are in the middle of everything, that from Athlone you can so easily get to Cork, Galway, Dublin, Belfast - anywhere you want to go is never too far from home."
Birr, Co Offaly
Submitted by Emma Nee Haslam
"Located near the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains Birr is a beautiful Georgian town with tree lined malls and a great community spirit . . .
"The community spirit is alive and well with 2012 seeing the 44th annual Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival run voluntarily by a community group for the community. This festival brings family and friends home from abroad (our own "Gathering" each year!) to enjoy over 180 events throughout the festival week."
Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim
Submitted by Kathleen Coleman
"I am bursting with pride when I look at my town Carrick-on- Shannon and what it has become over the past 10 years . . . Carrick is a riverside gem inviting passers-by to rest a while. 'Come,' it says, 'you won't be disappointed.'
Clonakilty, Co Cork
Submitted by: Michael McCarthy
"The location of Clonakilty adds a lot to its attraction. Within 10 minutes of five beaches, under an hour to Cork city, and surrounded by rolling green hills, it's both near and far enough away from what we would consider 'the Big Smoke' of Cork to nurture its own unique identity."
Greystones, Co Wicklow
Submitted by Gráinne McLoughlin
". . . it is a place for all the community, with lots of choices and something for everyone. As one mother said on St. Patrick's Day as all the participants marched along in the parade - 'there is just too much to do in Greystones - I find it very hard choosing the best ones for my kids - they are all GREAT!' "
Killarney, Co Kerry
Submitted by Amélie Gagné
"After more than 10 years spent here now, I know how truly lucky I am to have put my backpack down in this town. The location alone makes it a real jewel. Places like Aghadoe, the Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View and the Black Valley have been attracting visitors for hundreds of years."
Skerries, Co Dublin
Submitted by: Margaret Moloney