‘It was a pleasure to visit Killarney. It was really impressive’

Killarney has comfortably retained its gold medal

Killarney has gained an impressive nine marks in its overall total in this year’s national tidy towns competition, rising from 352 in 2021 to 361 out of a possible 550.

It gained two extra points under both the sustainability and litter control categories and a point each in community planning, streetscape and public places, green spaces and landscaping, residential streets and housing areas and approach roads. The mark awarded for nature and biodiversity remained the same as last year.

The performance was more than sufficient for the town – the 2011 winner of the prestigious overall award – to retain its gold medal with a total of 361 marked in category F for large towns.

Killarney was also deemed the overall winner in Kerry with Listowel second and Kenmare third.

The judges commented: “A busy town like Killarney, with its many daily visitors, is difficult to keep clean and so we were very impressed at the small volume of fresh litter that we saw. Compliments to the many volunteers who obviously work hard to keep it litter free”.

The judges were hugely impressed with Killarney House and Gardens

They added, however, that the growth of weeds is a problem and recommended that volunteers are asked to not only litter-pick but also to removed weed growth along wall edges, kerbs and pavements.

The adjudicators also noted that Killarney has installed additional ‘Bee Friendly’ signs throughout the town but they advised the tidy towns committee not to over-do the installation of signage as it’s the streetscape or natural area they want to see not signage and associated poles.

How Killarney scored

On a negative note, the tidy towns judges observed the damage to the streets, including broken kerbs, which is unique to the town as long, deep ruts caused by the jaunting cars are evident on many of the roads around the town.

“We have no doubt that the area engineer has a propriety list of all of these works. We note that already footpaths have been upgraded so work is progressing,” they said.

On the plus side, the judges congratulated the many businesses that have once again come up to the high standard of upkeep and presentation expected.

“There are too many to list here but suffice it to say that all of the hotels looked splendid on the day with some great efforts, from hanging baskets to exacting landscape planting at entrances,” they said.

Impressive: The revamped Anam building on East Avenue Road

They were also very impressed by the new Anam arts and cultural centre and the adjacent planted area on East Avenue Road and stand-out features in the town that caught their eye included the oval flower bed on the green in front of the Killarney Avenue Hotel, the flower and plant display at the Hah-ha and the monument to the Munster Fusiliers and Killarney House and Gardens which they described as “superb and spectacular”.

“It was a pleasure to visit Killarney and stroll around your very busy streets and back lanes. Overall, the presentation and maintenance of Killarney, given such visitor numbers and footfall, was really impressive,” the judges stated.

The competition adjudicators made their first visit to the town on June 15 and the second adjudication took place on August 3.

Kerry has received a total of €51,000 in tidy towns grants and, of that, €3,000 has been allocated to Killarney.

Kenmare, Tralee and Listowel also received gold medals, Sneem and Portmagee both received bronze and The Spa in Tralee received an endeavour awad.

Sneem received a special national award under the bat conservation project, Castlegregory was the national winner of the Leave No Trace award, Currow was highly commended in the waters and communities category, Castleisland was highly commended in the EPA Circular Economy category.

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