The pretty village of Ballinahown has once again topped the Tidy Towns list in Westmeath for the seventh year in a row.
The picturesque village picked up 295 out of a possible 400 points, a two-point increase on last year’s result. The adjudicators praised the village for maintaining its “idyllic rural charm” in spite of the fact that it is dissected by a busy road.
The most encouraging aspect they noted was the way in which life had been brought to the older buildings in the area; “to see the community hall and tearooms inhabiting older structures in the village, but updated in such a sensitive way, is encouraging”.
The village was also praised for its high standard of litter control, use of sustainable materials, and emphasis on eco tourism.
“You have managed to carry out works that complement your rural setting without overpowering or detracting from it.”
Runners-up in Westmeath were Tyrrellspass with a score of 271, up three points on last year, Glasson matched last year’s result with 266 points, and Multyfarnham was just behind with a mark of 263.
Meanwhile Athlone climbed two points to 241. The adjudicators praised in particular the renewal and paving works at the quay and castle margins at the left bank which they said “just shows what can be achieved with good urban design and good quality materials”. They were also impressed with the new stone paving areas around the plaza and the civic centre, the path along the river at Burgess Park, and the lack of litter in evidence in the town.
However, they also found graffiti to be an issue in sme areas of the town.
Mullingar also improved, and was up one point to 245. While some litter was found in the town park, the report highlighted positives including the two new sculptures and Joe Dolan statue which create “a much enlivened landscape”.
The adjudicators also praised the successful‘Clean up Mullingar’ initiative and local schools competition.