Westport is talk of the town as it's rated best
A MAJOR new study has named Westport as the best town in Ireland, with Kilkenny the highest ranking city.
Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) conducted interviews with 16,000 citizens and business owners in the study it hopes will "reinvigorate towns and cities".
Its chief executive, David Fitzsimons, told the Irish Independent the locations that did well in the survey all had vibrant shops and restaurants in the town and city centres.
And he said that women valued shopping opportunities the most, while men were more concerned with the dining and entertainment options on offer.
Westport in Co Mayo topped the list of towns which were graded on several criteria including the range of shops and restaurants on offer, the availability and cost of parking and crime rates.
Kerry tourist haven Killarney came second while other towns in the top 10 were Ashbourne in Co Meath, Dungarvan in Co Waterford, Carrickmacross in Monaghan, Cork seaside town Clonakilty and Listowel, Co Kerry.
Three towns in north Dublin also made the top 10 -- Swords, Malahide and Skerries -- while Kilkenny was the highest ranked city in 11th place.
Dublin and Waterford failed to make it into the top 25, while Limerick was ranked in the bottom 25.
Mr Fitzsimons explained the factors that the top towns had in common saying: "Fundamentally Westport and other towns that did well retained a lot of the retail activity within the town centre.
"They haven't granted planning for big out-of-town shopping developments It's of societal value that town centres be vibrant."
He said Kilkenny was an example of a city that's "been very responsible around planning".
Dublin did well for the variety and quality of shops on offer but was rated 14pc below average for safety and security.