Two-in-a-row as Kilkenny takes Tidy Towns title

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Kilkenny City has been named Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre for the second year in a row in the annual Tidy Towns awards.

With a total of 308 points, Kilkenny took home one of the top prizes – including a trophy and e5,000 – as the results were announced on Monday. Its score was just two points shy of the 310 given to the overall National Award Winner, Killarney.

Inistioge meanwhile earned a Bronze Medal Award of e400, with a score of 298 points.

In the County Awards, Kilkenny City took the top honour in Co Kilkenny for e1,000, followed by an award of Highly Commended for Inistioge (e800) and Commended for Tullahought (e500), with 294 points.

The e500 Endeavour Award for Co Kilkenny went to Goresbridge, whose score rose to 219 points, an increase of 10.61% over its score from last year.

The adjudicator’s report for Kilkenny city singled out many estates and locations that looked especially picturesque, and it gave particular praise to the group Keep Kilkenny Beautiful.

It praised the “aggressive tree planting programme”, the Linear Park wildlife walk and landscaping, and even “the singing birds”.

The report found that “litter control is a major challenge” and cited traffic as a problem: “Vehicular traffic seems to be at a standstill for ages in certain parts of the city centre. Even getting around on a bicycle is challenging for the adjudicator who senses an element of road rage from the impatient and frustrated car drivers who often react to being at a standstill by charging into the next available open space.”

On a positive note, the report praised the character of Kilkenny, calling it “a real hang out city ... (where) people wander about and chat, even in the rain.”

And like so many people who come to Kilkenny for numerous and varied reasons, the adjudicator couldn’t resist a rather timely reference to hurling: “The diversity of the built environment of Kilkenny is staggering for the visitor whose knowledge of the city may have been confined to glimpses of the city on the Monday night that the McCarthy Cup returns for another shift.”

Likewise did Environment Minister Phil Hogan when presenting the Tidy Towns awards on Monday: “The same spirit of community and togetherness that brought victory to our hurlers (on Sunday) has brought success in this highly regarded competition too,” he said.

“What the Tidy Towns committee has done here is typical of the spirit of volunteerism which benefits everybody. Just look at how tourism in Kilkenny can benefit from the efforts of these people and the wider local economy too. I commend the Tidy Towns committee and the Kilkenny hurlers in equal measure, and I look forward to continued success in both fields of endeavour.”

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