Golden Mile of Galway 2014 competition launched

Promoting rural communities

The annual Golden Mile of Galway Awards has been launched, announcing details of this year’s competition.

Now in its 11th year, the aim of the Golden Mile of Galway Awards is to bring rural communities and neighbours together, to highlight a one mile stretch of public road in their area and to recognise and celebrate the features that make up their locality, rural roadways, stonewalls, flora and fauna.

This countywide initiative is rolled out on an annual basis by Galway Rural Development Company Ltd and Galway County Council in partnership with Comhair na nOileán Teo and FORUM Connemara. The Golden Mile of Galway first began in 2004 and has successfully run for the last 10 years with 149 different community entries during that time.

The competition involves several category awards including Best Natural Heritage Mile; Best Built Heritage Mile; Best Community effort and Litter Management (Tony Dervan RIP Award ); and Overall Golden Mile of Galway Award Winner. Deadline for entries is the third week in August when the official application forms must be submitted with supporting documentation.

To enter the competition, request a Golden Mile of Galway information pack, gather a local community group together, select a one mile stretch of public roadway outside the 50km speed limit with interesting features of built and natural heritage, and follow the guidance given in the information pack.

During September the judges will visit each community, walk the mile, the photographer takes photos of the mile, and following that the judging panel convenes and scores are given. The entries are considered under the headings of natural and built heritage, community effort, and road safety. The results of the competition will be announced at an awards ceremony in December. All entrants will have the honour of having a photograph of their ‘Golden Mile’ included in the specially designed Golden Mile of Galway 2015 calendar.

“We have a treasure trove of curiosity in our rural environment, the flora and fauna in our hedgerows, and there is a wealth of stories and history to be shared with local communities through the Golden Mile project,” commented Frank Keane, enterprise officer with Galway Rural Development. “The Golden Mile of Galway encourages people living in rural Galway to celebrate, to maintain, and to enjoy the natural and built heritage along their local roadways.”

The Spring 2014 Golden Mile of Galway Talks and Walks took place in nine rural communities throughout east county Galway, and provided an opportunity for people to gain information from heritage experts Zena Hoctor and Christy Cunniffe. A new and updated Golden Mile of Galway information pack as well as a DVD were produced, a useful support for any community preparing their entry.

Winners of the 2013 Golden Mile of Galway were Camus National School. “This is a wonderful project,” said Bairbre Ní Thuairisg, head principal of Scoil na Maighdine Muire gan Smál. “It instilled a great sense of pride in the children and families in our local community when we won the prize for the best Golden Mile. We made great discoveries while out and about working on our entry, the students learned about their local environment. A wonderful outcome is that these stories and finds will be retained for future generations.”

For more information visit www.grd.ie or www.galway.ie To receive an information and guidelines pack and entry form, contact Frank Keane of Galway Rural Development Company on (091 ) 844335, or Marie Mannion, the heritage officer of Galway County Council, on (091 ) 509198 or email [email protected].

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