OUTSIDE of Listowel, Ballybunion was the big success story of the Tidy Towns competition in north Kerry, increasing its performance by a massive six points and rating higher than any other town of a similar size in the entire county.
"We're delighted," Ballybunion Tidy Towns chairperson Fiona O'Callaghan said (pictured). "The increase in six points was massive as these things are hard to achieve and with a number of projects underway at the moment we're hoping to perform even better next year," Fiona added.
Best of all for the group was the final comment by the Tidy Towns judge on the efforts of the coastal resort: "Ballybunion has the wind in its sails and is gearing up for great things with the launch of its community plan. We very much look forward to our next visit in 2014."
"That said it all for us really, such a wonderful comment to receive," Fiona added.
Ballybunion ranked higher than other Kerry towns of the same size in Category C such as Castleisland, Dingle, Killorglin, Cahersiveen and Milltown.
Tarbert, meanwhile, was north Kerry's greatest town in the B category, going up by an incredible seven points from last year. A village 'apart from the pack' was how the national competition adjudged the estuary address.
"We're delighted with the performance and we are confident of continuing this upward trend, but it will take more work and more volunteers to do so," Tarbert Development Association's John Fox said.
The village clinched 286 points amid glowing reports from judges in a testament to its efforts over the course of the year.
"This was an excellent submission from Tarbert and well done to all your volunteers for the wonderful effort you made this year.
"Your projects showed real creativity and imagination and it is in this way that you set yourself apart from the pack," judges remarked at the conclusion of Tarbert's overall report.