Video: Meath villagers line the streets to welcome local heroes
After decades applying, Moynalty finally crowned Tidy Towns champion
Facing the main street of Moynalty is a window full of trophies, plaques and crystals proclaiming the Co Meath village one of the tidiest and nicest places to live. Yesterday, the biggest trophy of all was added to the collection.
“I don’t believe it. There’s a traffic jam in Moynalty,” one local quipped as dozens of cars tried to cramp into the small village.
Minutes before the local Tidy Town committee made their triumphant return, the street was full of beaming locals congratulating each other on a successful campaign.
Tidy Towns 2013 Results
The town has been entering the competition for many decades and was close to winning the top prize on a few occasions.
Either Clare or Cork, who were also close to winning in Croke Park at the weekend, would have been feeling how local villagers now felt, said vice-chairman of the Tidy Town committee Pat Cussen.
“It feels like we’ve won the All-Ireland. It’s just something else. We have been trying for this for 37 years,” he said.
“We won a lot of things, but the big one always eluded us. Now, thank God, we’ve won it. It’s our passion. We have a great community and a very enthusiastic committee.”
Purple and yellow flowers bedeck windows from nearly every building. There is a noticeable lack of bins, yet the streets are immaculate, with only a few flower petals jotted along the path.
It’s no surprise. There are litter pick-ups twice a day. The vast majority of locals relish the village’s immaculate reputation.
“If you stand still long enough, you’ll probably get painted,” Mr Cussen said.
Local schoolchildren took part in the act too, according to Deputy Principal of Moynalty National School Eileen O’Reilly.
“We’ve made as many steps forward as we possibly can. The committee has put 100 per cent into their work and it shows,” she said.
“It’s been a hugely exciting day in school. Lots of happy children have gone home with no homework to celebrate.”
Not long after their appearance on the RTÉ 6pm news, the bus carrying Moynalty’s new local heroes was spotted driving along the winding road just before the village.
A soon as the bus stopped, committee chairman Peter Rogers bounded out of the bus, clutching one of two trophies the village won this year to a chorus of cheers and applause.
Mr Rogers said he never expected a homecoming like this.
“My smile says it all, doesn’t it? We’re all just over the moon. It’s a long time coming. It’s a community effort. It’s their day as well as mine,” he said.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like this. It goes to show the interest and the camaraderie they have for something like this. It’s a great day.”
Local businessman John Farrell said the crowds were no surprise to him. In Moynalty, Tidy Towns is serious business.
“It’s a huge thing. Moynalty is a very community-driven place. Tidy Towns brings a lot of people together,” he said.
“Peter would have everyone on their toes, if a gate needs painting or a flower bed needed to be done on private property, Peter would be the man to get on to them in his own way. Of course it would always be done.”