ATHEA cleaned up at the Limerick In Bloom competition.
Last year the West Limerick village finished second in their category, but this week at an awards ceremony in the Woodlands House Hotel they scooped the top honour.
43 other community groups throughout County Limerick were also honoured for their participation in the annual competition, now in its sixth year. Last year’s winner was Kilteely Tidy Towns. Chairman, John McCarthy declared: “It’s like winning the All-Ireland!” And this year Athea gets to experience that feeling.
Limerick County Council, in conjunction with sponsor JP McManus Foundation, once again hosted this year’s competition which serves as a motivational mechanism for small local-based groups throughout the county to enhance the visual impact of their settlements by means of flower, tree and shrub planting.
Along with being named overall winner, Athea Tidy Towns Committee picked up first prize in its category while Castleconnell Tidy Towns, Ardpatrick Tidy Towns and Cappamore Estates Committee were named winners of their respective categories.
Cathaoirleach John Sheahan thanked the Limerick In Bloom participants for making the competition a “real celebration” of community spirit, teamwork and awareness of the natural environment.
“Along with my fellow elected members, I wholeheartedly support this awards scheme as it gives official recognition to those who have contributed to making their community a better place to live in, work in and visit,” said Cllr Sheahan,
Addressing those in attendance at last night’s ceremony, Director of Services Josephine Cotter-Coughlan commented: “Even though Limerick County Council is experiencing difficult times due to ongoing fiscal constraints, I think it is vital that the local authority continues to support local communities.”
Gerry Boland, of the JP Mc Manus Foundation, said the competition is an excellent example of the manner in which local communities can raise standards and continue to improve the environments in which they live.
“Good community spirit, teamwork and volunteerism is a must in these difficult economic times. I would particularly like to congratulate all who participated in this year’s Limerick in Bloom Competition.
“We are delighted to recognise and endorse your efforts, we are very pleased to be involved and thank you for taking such a great interest in your own areas, and in working towards the improvement of the beauty and natural environment of County Limerick as a whole,” said Mr Boland.
Limerick In Bloom adjudication took place during July and considered such factors as colour, size, variety, location and appropriateness of the various planting schemes along with the management of litter.
Competition categories are based on population size with a first, second and third prize in each category of €1000, €500 and €300 respectively.
Category 1 for community groups in towns and villages with a population of under 300 was won by Ardpatrick Tidy Towns followed by Kilteely Tidy Towns and Knockainey Tidy Towns.
Category 2 representing towns and villages with a population of 301-700 was won by Athea Tidy Towns Committee; second, Broadford Development Association and joint third, Pallasgreen Residents Association and Oola Tidy Towns.
Castleconnell Tidy Towns was named overall winner of Category 3, for towns and villages with a population in excess of 700, with Askeaton Heritage and Tidy Towns Association and Adare Tidy Towns finishing in second and third Place.
Category 4 for Housing Estates and Community areas was won by Cappamore Estates Committee; 2. Cloverfield Complex Daycare & Houses and 3. Gilmartin Park Residents Association
Each participant received a framed certificate of participation and the prize winners received a certificate, engraved plaque and a voucher. The overall winner received a voucher, framed certificate and the Limerick in Bloom Trophy.