Delight in Kerry village at `green' victory in Japan


The village of Castlecove, between Sneem and Waterville on the Ring of Kerry, was last night celebrating victory in an international awards ceremony in Japan.

Last night, speaking from Japan, Ms Clare Blake Bohm, secretary of the Castlecove women's group, Mna Cuan an Caislean, said she was thrilled to represent a small community which had won two major awards.

"Just getting to the finals was fantastic, but to come here and compete with some of the biggest cities in the world and to be given these awards just takes our breath away. One problem we may have in the future could involve too many tourists wanting to come to our region. Even the judges want to come and see us," she said. Castlecove won the top prize in the section for communities of 10,000 or less and won a separate prize for the village, town or city which best involved the community in its work.

The Nations in Bloom competition is known as the "Green Oscar" award and annually attracts entrants from all over the world.

The local TD and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr O'Donoghue, congratulated the Castlecove community yesterday.

"Castlecove is the first community to represent Ireland at this prestigious international event and I am especially delighted that the local women's group, who entered their own community in the competition in Japan, beat over 200 rivals from around the world, underlining the community's excellence in environmental management" he said.

"It comes as no surprise to me that Mna Cuan an Caislean has led the Castlecove community to this highly-prestigious international award. Their enthusiasm and determination was obvious in their representations to me. The glory and honour they have brought back from Japan reflects on all south Kerry."

Today there are only 161 people living in Castlecove, and it is regarded as one of the fastest-dwindling communities in the south-west. This is in contrast to the period up to the Great Famine when there were 17,200 people living in the area.

Four members of the women's group travelled to Japan last week to make their presentation in the awards scheme.