Killarney named as the tidiest Town in Ireland 2011
The popular tourist spot of Killarney in Co Kerry has been named the tidiest town in Ireland.
More than 820 communities from around the country entered the Tidy Towns National Awards for 2011.
Tom Randles, president of Killarney Chamber of Tourism & Commerce, said the win was the accumulation of many years of work by so many people.
"Words can't describe the feeling of jubilation and pride we all are experiencing in Killarney right now having been awarded the accolade of Ireland's Tidiest Town," he said.
"Through the award we can prove that the unique natural beauty of the area is matched by the love, dedication and pride everyone in Killarney has for the area."
Yvonne Quille, chair of Killarney's tidy towns committee, revealed volunteers worked every evening for the past six months, painting, planting and picking up litter.
"Last year we were pipped at the post by just one point and this year the whole community came out in amazing numbers to support the Tidy Towns drive and get Killarney well and truly over the line," she said.
The aim of the competition, which has been running for 53 years, is to get communities coming together to improve the place they live and build friendship, camaraderie and community links.
Killarney also claimed the award of Ireland's Tidiest Large Town.
Elsewhere Kilkenny City was named Ireland's Tidiest Large Urban Centre; Lismore, Co Waterford was Ireland's Tidiest Small Town; and Emly, Co Tipperary was awarded Ireland's Tidiest Village.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan presented the prizes, worth 210,000 euro, during a ceremony in the Helix Theatre in Dublin.
"This is a fantastic achievement for Killarney, a great destination and a worthy winner," said Mr Hogan.
"I continue to be impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all those involved in the TidyTowns effort.
"These people volunteer their time and effort, year on year, in order to make their communities better places."
Mr Hogan said the results of their efforts are to be seen in attractive, well cared-for towns and villages throughout the country.
"It is clear that working together, getting out there and getting things done increases peoples' pride in where they live and helps to build stronger communities," he added.
The Tidy Towns competition is organised by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and sponsored by SuperValu.