Communities in Birr, Edenderry and Tullamore played host to Pride of Place competition judges recently.
This year Offaly County Council nominated Birr Tidy Towns, representing the Birr Municipal District in the Urban Neighbourhood category; St Brigid's Social Club Cloneyhurke represented the Edenderry Municipal District in the Community Wellbeing Initiative category; and St Colmcille’s Community Centre Committee Durrow represented the Tullamore Municipal District in the Population 300 – 1,000 category.
Judging for the three Offaly entries took place on June 17 and 18 where judges Donal Connolly and William Beatty from Pride of Place had the difficult task of running the rule over the three entries.
First up was Birr Tidy Towns who welcomed the judges to a reception in the council chamber of Birr Municipal District Offices.
Entertainment was provided by St Brendan’s Boys NS Choir, there was a brief visit to Birr Library, and the judges completed a tour of Birr on a horse and carriage.
They visited various landmarks enroute, including Birr Theatre & Arts Centre; The Growery and Birr Castle. The final stop was a visit to the redeveloped picnic area on the Banagher Road, officially opened by Cllr Peter Ormond, Cathaoirleach Offaly County Council and the judges.
The turn of St Brigid’s Social Club, Cloneyhurke, came on Tuesday. A bustling, lively community hall awaited the judges where they met local athlete Nicole Turner, gold medal winning Paralympian and the proceedings commenced with a presentation by Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick who outlined the history of the club and the numerous events that take place there such as Active Retirement Group, Art Classes and Book Club and the annual Senior Citizens Christmas Party.
Local businesses from Garryhinch, Cloneyhurke and the surrounding area provided some fantastic exhibits which the judges viewed at length, as did community-based activities such as Local Text Alert, Cloneyhurke National School, Meals on Wheels, Gracefield GAA and Garryhinch Golf Club to name just a few. Following refreshments, the judges were given a tour of the community. They then returned to the hall where everyone was treated to a fantastic set of Irish dancing by a local family.
In the afternoon the focus switched to the Tullamore Municipal District entry, St Colmcille’s Community Centre Committee Durrow. Proceedings commenced in Durrow Abbey where exhibits from local groups were displayed, including Durrow High Cross Committee; Graveyard Committee; Ceili Club; Community Alert; Parents Association; Pattern Committee; Durrow Active Retirement group; Durrow Childcare and Durrow GAA. Judges were treated to a 30-minute DVD highlighting the history of Durrow, the annual Pattern Day celebrations and the details of the famous Durrow High Cross.
Afterwards the judges chatted with the community groups and volunteers, learning about the rich history of the area and the community involvement.
The results of the competition are due to be announced on November 30. All the entrants are wished every success in the competition by Offaly County Council.