'Best Place to Live' longlist unveiled
"There's so much to love . . . we love it as much in the wild winter storms as in the warm summer sun. We love it at Christmas when starlit trees twinkle along our streets. We love the gorgeous Skerries Mills and pond with swans and ducks. We love Ardgillan Castle and gardens, with its fantastic playground for the kids and lots of great spaces for picnics and barbecues, stunning views come as standard!"
Submitted by Catherine O'Donovan
"Just walking down the streets of Sligo on a sunny day, meeting and greeting familiar faces, can stir in me an awareness of connectedness that I have never known anywhere else on earth . . .
"It is hard for us natives to be objective as we don't define ourselves merely with Yeats or The Model or with golf in Rosses Point or surfing in Strandhill or Benbulben or Queen Maeve high on Knocknarea or a rugged coastline (all within shouting distance of the town)."
Westport, Co Mayo
Submitted by John O'Callaghan
"Westport has it all. Lovely people, lots to do, excellent employment, fantastic amenities, gorgeous scenery, a thriving arts and cultural scene, great sports and leisure facilities, a palpable community spirit, a choice of good restaurants, fine schools, a caring social services centre, an active retirement group, flourishing overseas partnerships and more."
Submitted by: Rory Copplestone
"For me, I enjoy living in Cork because it is a very welcoming and exciting city . . . Cork is surrounded by many towns and villages, like Kinsale, Cobh and Crosshaven.
"These towns provide great majestic views and stunning scenery either out on the water or on the mainland. These peaceful areas are perfect for water-based activities and places such as Inchodoney, Garrettstown and Youghal often reap the benefits of such livelihood."
Submitted by Alastair McConnell
"It often holds true that one never appreciates the place where they grew up - but not always. There can be moments in which a person sees familiar things around them with fresh eyes. Driving home after picking up a friend from Derry airport allowed me this new perspective a few years ago.
"As we drove by the mottled fields and hills of the outskirts, then followed the river, climbing gradually to first outlying houses, and on into the heart of the waterside area of Stroke City, all the while the north Londoner to my left seemed stunned. At each glance of the historic city across the river, through the trees and buildings of the old army barracks to our right, he would comment in wonder; surprised, he later said, that I had never mentioned 'all this'."
Submitted by: Padraic J Fogarty
"The interaction of people and place results in some dynamic landscapes in the city, constantly changing and impacting on all of the senses.
"The vibrancy of Eyre Square and Shop Street on a sunny day is a tonic for locals and visitors alike. Salthill Prom provides a vista of Galway Bay and the Clare Hills in the background, made famous in song by Bing Crosby."
Submitted by Jenna Keane
"Let me begin by making all you non Déise inhabitants jealous. Sunshine weekends in Waterford consist of beach outings, countryside car trips and walks through the sand hills of Tramore. Tourists have been flocking to the sunny southeast for decades now, not only for the sunshine but for the many marvellous attractions. Oh, and it's one of a kind bread . . . 'The Bla'!"
Dingle peninsula, Co Kerry
Submitted by Dolores Martin
"Once named by National Geographic as 'the most beautiful place on earth', the glorious scenery is squarely balanced with the provision of amenities. Together, they deliver an unrivalled quality of life for us residents, whose love of our home-place runs deeper than most can find words to admit."
A SENSE OF PLACE WHAT THE JUDGES LOOKED FOR
Maureen Gaffney, psychologist
“For me, the best place to live is one where you feel you and your family can flourish, where you feel safe and happy, competent and fulfilled, free to be your best self; where you feel you matter and what you do matters; where you belong.”
Paul Keogh, architect
“There are two fundamental questions: where are the places that balance a high personal quality of life with the ethics of sustainable living – social, economic and environmental? Second, where are places that combine the attributes people find attractive in suburban and rural locations – conviviality, identity, safety, continuity and closeness to nature – with those only urban places can provide – convenient access to education, health, leisure, employment and culture?”
Gerard O’Neill, statistician
“People make places just as places make people and even the toughest of places can be softened by the bonds of neighbourliness and community. So I am judging the submissions in terms of what each tells me about the people as well as the place.”
Frank McDonald, journalist
“The best place to live is on a street that’s designed for people rather than on a road designed for cars.
“Diversity is also important. An ideal community should contain young, old and those in between; well-off and poorer people, students, foreigners. The place should also bear evidence of being loved and looked after.”
Edel Morgan, journalist
“The reason could be the great neighbours, the sense of community, the vibrant social life, the ease with which your children have made friends, the beautiful scenery, the parks and playgrounds, the great local facilities – or something else entirely.”