Arising from the national festival called An Tostal, the national Tidy Towns Competition was launched by Bord Fáilte, the Irish Tourist Board (now Fáilte Ireland), in 1958. Following the restructuring of Bord Fáilte in 1995, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government assumed responsibility for TidyTowns and now organises the initiative with the support of national sponsor, SuperValu, and a number of other agencies. Right from the start, the primary focus of Tidy Towns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. However, the emphasis was always on participating rather than winning as the very act of taking part brought benefits to the community. And with a focus on long-term results rather than quick returns, Tidy Towns was soon seen as a unique and far-sighted initiative. Its success continues, and while it has moved with the times, it still retains the same core principle of its founders – “make your place a better place.”

Glengarriff and The Tidy Towns Competition

Glengarriff has been involved in the Tidy Towns Competition almost since its inception in 1958 and since the turn of the century, the marks each year have seen a progressive improvement. In 2015, Glengarriff was only 22 marks behind the eventually winner, Letterkenny. The competition is split into a number of categories depending on population size and unfortunately Glengarriff falls into the most competitive grouping where it is hardest to either garner extra marks or win one of the runners up medals.

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The Tidy Towns sub-committee of the Glengarriff Tourism and Development Association, cannot function in a vacuum. Consequently it is in contact with and liase closely with a number of Local and National governmental organizations. These include the Cork County Council, both through the local engineer and the Heritage Officer; The National Parks and Wildlife Service through the Wildlife Ranger for the Beara area and the Regional Manager; The Office of Public Works at Head Office level and with the Park Superintendent with responsibility for Garinish Island and The Forest Service of the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with particular reference to the Neighbourwood Scheme. With regard to tourism there are close links with local officers of Fáilte Ireland. There are also links to Destination Beara, a voluntary grouping promoting the Beara Peninsula as a tourist destination.

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A particularly important part of the Tidy Towns effort is the Community Employment Scheme operated by Cuan Baoi Community Group on behalf of the Dept of Social Protection.  There are currently 6 people working locally under the scheme and without them much of the good work would come to a sudden halt.  The workers give time to a huge range of tasks locally including, to the Church of The Sacred Heart, Scoil Fhiachna, the Community Hall, the Graveyard, the Blue Pool Amenity Area, the Pier and Sand Quay, Ellen’s Rock, Cromwell’s Bridge, the Sports field and Derrycreha School.  They are also responsible for installing and maintaining all of the public flower displays in the village together with grass cutting, hedge cutting and street sweeping. The cost of tools and materials for all of these tasks is generally borne by GTDA so any support that can be given is greatly appreciated.

GTDA is very grateful to the support of Supervalu Bantry and the local business community, as well as the local community for their support and encouragement and to the many visitors who praise how good Glengarriff looks and will continue its work in that spirit.