Ennis named overall winner of Tidy Towns competition

Abbeyleix, Glaslough, Kilsheelan and Cobh all win awards across various categories

Ennis in Co Clare has been named the winner of the 2021 Supervalu National Tidy Towns awards.

The competition returned this year, after it was cancelled for the first time in 60 years in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There were 847 entries in this year’s competition, the results of which were announced at the RDS on Friday afternoon.

It was the second time Ennis took home the overall award since the competition’s inception in 1958.

READ MORE

The tidy town’s group were awarded a trophy and €10,000 in prize money.

Cormac McCarthy, chairman of Ennis’ Tidy Towns committee, said they were “over the moon” to have won the award.

“Ennis always ranked really highly, but you’re up against amazing groups,” he said.

Mr McCarthy added that while the competition did not go ahead last year, the volunteers continued their work, thus illustrating that “doing work for the benefit of the local community is the primary driver”.

Among some of the measures recognised by the judges was the town’s water bottle refilling station and the walking bus, which is where school children walk together towards the national school.

The group also dropped off litter pickers and bags to about 30 families during the lockdown periods so they could collect the masks and gloves that were being discarded in the local area.

The committee also connected with the local direct provision centre, the residents of which are “an integral part” of the submission, Mr McCarthy added.

Teresa McGrath, vice-chair of the Ennis group, who co-founded the committee 30 years ago, said the Covid pandemic had galvanised local communities.

“We’re going back to where we were 50 years ago” in terms of connectivity among neighbours, she added.

Various categories

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys was joined by Ray Kelly, marketing director of Supervalu, to present the awards.

Prizes were awarded across various categories including: village and small town; urban centre; climate action and air quality award; inclusive communities and school award.

Abbeyleix, Co Laois; Glaslough, Co Monaghan; Kilsheelan in Tipperary South and Ennis each won a regional award.

Geashill in Co Offaly was named Ireland's tidiest village in 2021, while Abbeyleix in Co Laois was crowned Ireland's tidiest small town.

The award for Ireland's tidiest large town went to Cobh in Co Cork, and Ennis was named Ireland's tidiest large urban centre.

There was a record number of special awards this year, the organisers said.

Cobh won the national prize for the Covid-19 community award, while Rush in Co Dublin won the EPA circular economy award.

Buncrana in Co Donegal was awarded the All-Ireland national pollinator plan award, while Glaslough was named as the inaugural winner of the young persons in tidy towns awards.

The 2021 competition took place in the same format as previous years, albeit with a specific emphasis on electronic entry and remote adjudication of each town’s entry, the organisers said.

Ms Humphreys said the pandemic did not stop the thousands of tidy town volunteers from “doing what they do best”.

“I want to commend the hundreds of groups and thousands of volunteers who, in the face of adversity, put their community first and continued to make their areas better places to live and work and to visit, all the while, adhering to social distancing and public health guidelines,” she said.

“The sense of belonging and pride of place that is achieved by being part of a tidy towns group creates a wonderful welcoming atmosphere for both residents and visitors alike.”

Ms Humphreys also announced a €1.5 million fund to support the tidy towns groups in the lead up to next year’s competition.

Ian Allen, managing director of Supervalu, said there is now a "record" 1,022 groups engaging in the competition.

“I’d particularly like to mention the new committees and encourage their participation into the future. The level and quality of the projects that you all delivered across all categories is astounding,” he said.

“This year, perhaps more than ever, we have seen an increasing number of wonderful initiatives that focus on biodiversity, conservation and other important issues that are critical to creating sustainable communities.”

Main winners:

Ireland’s tidiest village: Geashill, Co Offally

Ireland’s tidiest small town: Abbeyleix, Co Laois

Ireland’s tidiest large town: Cobh, Cork

Ireland’s tidiest large urban centre: Ennis, Co Clare

Regional award for the midlands and east of the country: Abbeyleix, Co Laois

Regional award for the northwest and west of the country: Glaslough, Co Monaghan

Regional award for the southeast of the country: Kilsheelan, Tipperary South

Regional award for the southwest and midwest of the country: Ennis, Co Clare.

Covid-19 community award national winner: Cobh, Cork.

Covid-19 community award for the midlands and east region: Blessington, Co Wicklow

Covid-19 community award for the south west and mid west region: Cobh, Cork

Covid-19 community award for the south east: Listerlin, Co Kilkenny

Covid-19 community award for the north west and west: Ballina, Co Mayo.

Agent Brite litter awareness award: Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Young persons in tidy towns award national winner: Glaslough, Co Monaghan

Young persons in tidy towns midlands and east winner: Wicklow, Co Wicklow

Young persons in tidy towns south west and mid-west winner: Cobh, Cork

Young persons in tidy towns south east winner: Clohamon, Co Wexford

Young persons in tidy towns North West & West: Glaslough, Co Monaghan

Sustainable development goals award large town and urban centre: Ennis, Co Clare

Sustainable development goals award village and small town: Bruff, Co Limerick

Climate action and air quality award village and small town: Abbeyleix, Co Laois

Climate action and air quality award large town and large urban centre: Dalkey, Co Dublin

EPA circular economy award: Rush, Co Dublin

Additional circular economy award: Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan

Supervalu and AsIAm inclusive communities award: Balla, Co Mayo

The Gaeltacht award: Beal an Mhuirthead, Co Maigh Eo

Gum litter taskforce national award: Monivea, Co Galway

RIAI town challenge award: Oranmore, Co Galway and Castlegregory, Co Kerry

RIAI shopfront award: Ennistymon, Co Clare

RIAI good windows award: Dalkey, Co Dublin

Leave no trace award: Kinvara, Co Galway

Heritage award: Kilteevan, Co Roscommon

Tree project award: Athboy, Co Meath

Water and communities overall award: Delgany, Co Wicklow

All-Ireland pollinator plan - local authority pollinator national award: Buncrana, Co Donegal

Islands award: Bere Island, Cork.

A full list of winners oif th Supervalu Tidy Towns awards is available at

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times