WHILE Listowel and Tralee were the only Gold medal-winning centres in north and west Kerry, the smaller outlying towns and villages performed with distinction in the Tidy Towns competition increasing points on last year's competition seemingly across the board.
The entire Tidy Towns results for the region came as a massive vote of confidence for efforts by voluntary committees from Tarbert to Ballyheigue. It might have been raining all summer, but north Kerry managed to look better than ever nonetheless.
Brosna was singled out among all the villages for an Endeavour Award, marking the efforts of its Tidy Towns volunteers who improved its standing on 2011 by 5.5 per cent.
Knockanure increased its points share from 239 in 2011 to 244 last year; Tarbert improved by an incredible 11 points, from 268 to 279; Moyvane by seven points, from 254 to 261; Ardfert by three points from 254 to 257; Brosna by a massive 13 points, from 234 to 247; Castlegregory from 236 points last year to 242; Camp was up by four points, from 219 in 2011 to 223 this week; Ballybunion improved by an impressive ten points; Castleisland by a massive 12 points, from 255 to 267; Dingle improved by four points from 262 to 266.
Meanwhile first-time entrants Ballyheigue, Farranfore, Kilmoyley and Duagh all impressed the judges who visited during the summer, achieving top marks and setting themselves up for great gains in future years.
The biggest town in rural north Kerry outside of Listowel was described as a wonderful family holiday destination: "Ballybunion is a wonderful family holiday destination which the adjudicator found very easy to negotiate given the excellent signposting, information panels, maps and other media indicating a variety of activities in your lovely town," the adjudicator's report for Ballybunion stated.
It commended Ballybunion on improving wheelchair access during the year and described it as a very tidy town. "Ballybunion is a welcoming destination and very 'userfriendly'. It is a pleasure to visit the town on any occasion," judges wrote.