RESIDENTS in a Killarney estate are celebrating this week after picking up a top award at the prestigious Pride of Place competition.
Ballyspillane Estate chalked up first place in the 'Housing Estate' category, no mean feat considering the fact that it's a 32 county competition. Representatives from the estate travelled to Thomond Park on Saturday evening for the gala prize-giving ceremony where they were joined by fellow Kerry representatives, Rathmore Community Council, who were runners-up in the hotly contested 'Former Winners' category.
Two further groups selected via the Kerry Community Awards process were also represented - Beaufort (500-1,000 Population Category) and Sean Chairde (Active Elderly in the Community Category) - and both received certificates on the night.
Praising Ballyspillane, judges said they were immediately struck by the sense of unity presented by residents in an estate containing a mix of private and social housing.
"Residents are from various cultural backgrounds including residents of the Travelling Community and they all demonstrated how this is clearly a progressive community... all residents are involved and resourceful and it shows," the judges added.
Ballyspillane Residents' Committee members Veronica Murphy and Sheila McCarthy were in Limerick to receive the trophy and this week Connie O'Leary of Ballyspillane Family Resource Centre said everyone was still excited by the news.
"We've won tidy estates awards and Killarney Looking Good but this is the icing on the cake," she stated. "It highlights how socially inclusive Ballyspillane is and the award will be very much cherished by every member of the community."
Siobhan Griffin of Kerry County Council's Community and Enterprise Department said she was thrilled with Ballyspillane's win and she praised Rathmore's runner-up placing in a competitive category, whilst also highlighting the mammoth effort exerted by all four of Kerry's entrants.
"When I spoke with the judges afterwards, they said they were hugely impressed with Kerry's entries and remarked how there had been only a few marks between all of them," she added.
Mayor of Kerry Terry O'Brien, meanwhile, praised the strong community spirit highlighted throughout the judging process.