Kilkenny improves in Tidy Towns, but still falls short

Kilkenny scored its highest-ever mark in the Tidy Towns competition this year, but this was still not enough to secure the coveted overall crown.

Kilkenny scored its highest-ever mark in the Tidy Towns competition this year, but this was still not enough to secure the coveted overall crown.

The competition’s results were announced at a ceremony in the Helix in Dublin on Monday afternoon. Kilkenny scored 309 out of a possible 400 – one mark more than last year. The winning town was Abbeyshrule in County Longford with a score of 312.

The score of 309 secures a gold medal for the Marble City, however, Emly in Tipperary won the southeast regional title. Kilkenny also surrendered its Tidiest Large Urban Centre title this year, losing out to Ennis in County Clare.

However, Kilkenny was one of ten towns to receive a Tourism Town award of E1,000 from Failte Ireland. In addition, local man Sean Leahy of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful was named as one of the 13 Supervalu Tidy Town Heroes of 2012.

Kilkenny scored exactly the same marks in every category as in 2011, with the exception of ‘Wildlife and Natural Amenities’, where there was a one-point improvement. Bishop’s Meadow and the Nore Linear Park were singled out for praise in this category, while the Wildlife and Natural Amenities sub committee of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful was acknowledged for its excellent report.

For ‘Built Environment’, Kilkenny was complimented on the renovations to St Mary’s Church and graveyard, the courthouse, as well as the new ‘City Wall’ outline. Both Nowlan Park’s wall as well as the fire station came in for some criticism over needing cleaning and painting.

In ‘Landscaping’, Kilkenny was praised for the variety of colour – flowers and plants – about the city, and for lamps and hanging baskets. Judges suggested sponsorship for planting at roundabouts to generate revenue.

Kilkenny received plaudits in the ‘Litter Control’ category, notably for its active prevention strategies and litter pickers at work on city streets. However, a number of ‘Bring Centres’ were found to be litter black spots, including those at Newpark Shopping Centre, Haughney Green carpark, Parnell Street, Aldi and Lidl.

The judges praised Kilkenny in the ‘Waste Minimisation’ category, which includes education initiatives such as Green Flags for schools. They also complimented the city on its tidiness, noting that ‘no serious tidiness issues were evident on adjudication day’.

Kilkenny was commended for its efforts in the ‘Residential Areas’ and ‘Roads, Streets and Back Areas’ categories.

PRO for Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Peter Bluett

“We improved this year – we kept the same points in all categories, except in ‘wildlife’, where we gained one,” he said.

“The adjudicators were satisfied with what they saw – we were in the top ten in the country.

“We lost out on our Large Urban Centre award, but hopefully, we will take it back next year.”

In all, said the adjudicators, said it was a delight to pay a visit to the city, which has a record for high marks in the competition.

“Kilkenny has done well in the competition in recent years and Keep Kilkenny Beautiful is to be commended for its efforts,” says the judges’ report.

“You have forged productive partnerships with a wide range of bodies and support groups to your mutual benefit. You have a very active communications programme, including the use of social media. Your liaison with, and support for, schools engaged in environmental activities is acknowledged, particularly the Bainistoir Bruscair competition.”

The judges were, however, critical of a number of aspects of Kilkenny’s entry submission. Adjudicators detailed an array of misdemeanours, such as the inclusion of two maps ‘of limited assistance’, ‘cryptic references’, needless repitition, and superfluous lists of projects completed prior to 2010.

Kilkenny City’s score of 309 is its highest in years, but in a competition where every other town also raises the standard each year, more apparently needs to be done in the coming months in pursuit of a first overall competition victory since 1985.

For further details and analysis of Kilkenny’s Tidy Towns results, including those of the other towns and villages from around the county, see next week’s Kilkenny People.