Volunteers across the city and county are celebrating this week following news that Kilkenny has been named Ireland's Tidiest Large Urban Centre following the publication of the results of the annual Tiday Towns Competition this week.
Kilkenny scored extremely highly with 308 marks out of 400, just two marks off the overall winners Killarney who scored 310.
Kilkenny was praised for its relentless efforts to keep the city clean, tidy and attractive for both residents and tourists and special mention was given to the endeavours of the Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee who organise the submission to Tidy Towns on an annual basis.
The adjudicators in their report said, “it is clear from your submission that Tidy Towns has much support in the city. Your submission illustrates the friendly and cooperative aspects of this competition.
“Kilkenny is properly described as a medieval city. The wonder is that so many fine buildings have survived the ravages of a troubled history and the ravages of time. But so it is. The state of conservation of these buildings is to the credit of the historians and antiquarians of Kilkenny city who appreciated the rich wealth that they possessed and to the authorities who had the foresight and determination to fund whatever conservation measures were required. And so today these wonderful treasures of our ecclesiastical past, of our British inheritance stand side by side with modern enterprises. The buildings of each age complement the other. 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.
“The heritage buildings reflect the services provided for the public through the centuries and these are interesting, for instance, the ecclesiastical buildings both Catholic and Church of Ireland and to a lesser extent Presbyterianism, illustrate the important place that religion had in the life of the city.
“The Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee have had an active policy over many years to bring colour to every available corner. Add to such a policy an aggressive tree planting programme and the Kilkenny City that unfolds today becomes a delightful spectacle. These policies received further expression in the development of the by-pass affording further landscaping opportunities.
“The landscaping along the river is another joy. The street by Matt the Millars opens up wonderful vistas of the river. The walls on the banks are decorated with flowers. The lane leads to the Peace Park with delightful open spaces and seating. Railings complete the picture and are so well maintained. At the bottom of the steps from the Cathedral a prime retail site has been sacrificed in order to adorn this area with a delightful seating area, different levels of stonewall and lovely summer colour. This garden is a tribute to the priorities of the Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee.
“The river is a wonderful natural resource. Around Newpark, another natural resource is discovered in the marshy land area which provides for further biodiversity. This walk entices one to come along in with the information panel at the entrance and with its seating accommodation. The most compelling invite is in the singing birds.
“Kilkenny is a busy city with many welcome tourists as well as the local population crisscrossing the city all day long so litter control is a major challenge. The Parade is a busy place with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists and on a number of visits the adjudicator found the area to be almost litter free. A wonderful achievement. In fact the main streets seem to escape the worst of the littering. There is litter in all back areas. The worst experience is at the Fair Green. The second worst was at that landscaped site already lauded at the base of the Cathedral steps. Your litter awareness promotion is reaching many but it is difficult to reach all.
“Traffic is mentioned in this section. 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.
A lovely approach road to the city. Kilkenny is a real hang out city. People wander about and chat, even in the rain. Sráid Chiaráin provides a good example of this. But the street furniture at the bridge and at the Parade also encourage people to hang loose, a welcome haven for stressed teenagers after the Leaving Cert.
Kilkenny city has many fine amenities, both natural and man-made all of which are presented to a high standard. Well done on Waste Minimisation and on the city’s participation in the Aalborg Agreement.