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No shop, but Goldsmith's village is far from deserted

THE poet Oliver Goldsmith may be Abbeyshrule's most famous former resident but, though it may have no shops, Abbeyshrule is far from a deserted village.

The Tidy Towns award could not have been bestowed on more delighted recipients.

It seemed everyone in the picturesque Co Longford village was out celebrating on its spotless streets last night despite heavy rains.

Flowers hung from every available hook and pretty barges lined the outskirts of the village located between the River Inny and the Royal Canal.

Cars beeped at celebrating children who screeched with excitement for the TV cameras as they eagerly awaited the return of the winning committee with their trophy from Dublin.

"We are absolutely over the moon. Our Tidy Towns committee started up 35 years ago and to finally see it come to fruition has created such a buzz here. We are over the moon. It is such a tonic," said committee member Kathryn Keenan.

"We never got lost in the Celtic Tiger. We never got caught up in it. There is emphasis here on what is important in life and we all stick together.

"We don't focus on materialism. Every person in this village was involved in this bid," said Ms Keenan.

The village has neither a shop nor a post office, there is no broadband and the mobile phone reception is only available from elevated positions. But for the locals, sustainability and community are Abbeyshrule's twin buzz words. "You often see people having to go out into the middle of the road to send a text message, and broadband is nonexistent. We are a bit cut off that way but other things are far more important to us" said one local woman.

The village is home to one of the few eco housing schemes in the country, Corn Crake Meadow, which is fuelled entirely by wood pellets.

Underground wiring to eliminate unsightly overhead electricity wires was undertaken just a few months ago and the Inny Bridge was restructured in 2008 to allow boats to sail on the Royal Canal.

Irish Independent