LISTOWEL got rave attention from the national Tidy Towns judges in their report which led to a fifth gold medal last week and national acclaim.
The following is a selection of the national judges findings on the town - which point to fantastic leadership from the local Tidy Towns committee for which no end of credit is due. They were awarded an incredible 47 marks out of 50 for their overall development approach.
Marks awarded are shown in brackets, with 2012 first followed by the marks for last year.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT (42/41):
Listowel Bridge looked 'magnificent', judges found. Other projects marked out for praise included the John Paul II Cemetery; the Lartigue Monorail; Family Resource Centre; Kerry Parents and Friends Centre; the Grotto at Convent Cross; Trant's Pharmacy; the Garda Station; Town Council buildings.
John R's, the New Kingdom Bar, the Grape and Grain, the Harp and Lion, DJ Flavin's, the Maid of Erin, the Listowel Arms, Horseshoe Bar and Listowel Travel were singled out as having been admired by the judges.
St John's Arts Centre was described as ' lovely'.
"The Square is the highlight of your built environment and luckily you are treasuring this important part of your heritage," judges said.
"The RC church, grounds, railings and neighbouring Seanchaí centre were all in good order. You have wonderful statues and sculptures scattered throughout the town that reflect the history and heritage of the town.
The JB Keane mural enhances this part of the street. Well done to the Writers' Week committee and Listowel Independent Traders for making use of vacant shop windows," the adjudicator's report states.
Ballylongford Road tree-planting, the Tim Kennelly roundabout, the Feale Childcare facility, Market Street flowerbeds, Listowel caste forecourt and McKenna's Yard were singled out for praise here, as were local estates and the riverbank under the bridge.
WILDLIFE AND NATURAL AMENITIES (38/37):
Listowel picked up marks here for its biodiversity project report for Gurtinard Wood and for its bees and butterflies initiative which saw flower of special attraction to those insects planted around town. Judges recommended that the town marks out the walk route through the Town Park and by the river more clearly on its mapping.
LITTER CONTROL (31/32):
"You do a lot of work to raise litter awareness so it was a little disheartening to find so many pockets of littering in a town of your high standard, mainly in residential areas," the report states.
Judges said the littering they found was minor:
"There was litter left at the bench outside the Kerry Parents' and Friends' building. Supervalu Car Park was quite littered in one corner. The town centre was excellent. There was minor littering in the Town Park... the bring centre near the Town Council was littered with cardboard boxes mainly," they found.
This year's campaign to bin fag butts was highly commended by judges.
"Some attention to weed control is needed along the footpath on the Tarbert Road... the old mart car-park is untidy, however, your efforts regarding this site are noted. Well done on your efforts regarding inappropriate signage, posters and clutter," judges found.
WASTE MINIMISATION (11/10):
"Well done for segregating your litter for recycling and for getting involved in the Green Home Programme with the aim of reducing your resource use," judges said.
"It is great to hear that you have an annual waste minimisation stall set up in conjunction with Kerry County Council. Your home composting workshop is noted... congratulations to all the green-flag schools for their achievements in reducing waste."
RESIDENTIAL AREAS (32/32):
Most estates were very neat, judges found, but litter was evident in Ashgrove, Baile O Dubha. "This is disappointing at your level in the competition. Flower beds at Baile O Dubha need weeding...the estates around Stokers' Lawn were all neatly presented...you have some lovely street terraces such as the one across from Supervalu and the stone cottages over towards the library. JB Keane Grove is a welldesigned row of bungalows."
ROADS, STREETS AND BACK AREAS (37/37):
"All approaches are well defined and maintained. The large sculptures were admired and the stone flowerbeds add further definition and colour. The Tralee Road is particularly impressive with its wide verges, rose bed and sculpture. Credit to Kerry Foods for a neat presentation and good landscaping at this prominent location.
"We look forward to hearing about the heritage trail - this would be a great way of bringing many of your fine features together."
GENERAL IMPRESSION (8/8):
"Listowel is a vibrant town with an energetic Tidy Towns movement. You have some challenges (eg, dereliction and litter) but you are tackling them in a planned and co-ordinated manner. Well done on all the good work carried out to date and we wish you well for the forthcoming year. Congratulations again at being at such a high lievel in this competition and we wish you well."