Yesterday a group of our committee headed up to Blackrock, Co. Louth to the Regional Tidy Towns Award presentation. After a LONG drive up to Blackrock we had the warmest of welcomes and a lovely dinner in the local community centre followed by the presentation of awards to all the winners in the Midlands/East Region by Minister Michael Ring.
This year Geashill achieved Top Village in Offaly, Gold Medal, National Pollinator Award and Top 3 Village in Ireland. And honestly we still kind of can't believe it. We hoped for success and yes we had worked hard, but there is always that little cynical and very typical Irish thought process... "Sure we might get nothing".
Back in September four of us set off for the Helix in Dublin for the results announcement, more in hope that anything else at the time. Its always a great event regardless, so lovely to meet with other tidy towns group from across the country and share ideas and experiences. Then everyone files into the O'Mahoney Hall where the results are announced.
When we won a National Pollinator Award, we were absolutely thrilled, when we won the County and our first ever Gold Medal we were really delighted and a little in shock. When they announced the shortlist for best Village in Ireland and a video of our village started to play we honestly nearly fell off our seats!. It was a lovely day, a great result for our hardworking and well deserving community and a testement to all the hard work that get put in not just by the committee but by SO many people who give their time and expertise willingly. So many times this year we have asked for help and nobody ever said no.
But ever the realists we know that there is always more work to be done and the village and towns that won awards were all so well deserving. Glaslough is one of the prettiest villages we have ever visited, as are Blackrock, Ennis, Westport, Terryglass... the list goes on. So many well deserved winners and so many innovative, creative projects.
It was great also to catch up with Una and Juanita from Biodiversity Ireland, we have worked really closely with them over the last number of years and the All Ireland Pollinator Plan is our absolute bible and has been key to our success.
For now the dust as settled and planning for next year has begun in earnest. There is so much more we want to do, so many plans, so many projects, and we are excited to get started!