THE FIRST stop on Wednesday morning for Pride of Place judges on their whirlwind tour of County Limerick was Castleconnell.
Next up are Lough Gur, Knockainey, Kilmallock and Foynes as they bid to take national glory in their respective categories.
All five have been nominated by Limerick County Council and will be judged over three days. See next week’s Limerick Leader for Lough Gur, Knockainey, Kilmallock and Foynes.
Castleconnell prides itself on its welcome to visitors and judges got a big welcome on Wednesday.
Colm Martin, chairperson of Castleconnell’s Pride of Place committee, said since their nomination was announced the competition has really caught locals’ imagination.
“We already know how proud we are of our place but any affirmation is wonderful and wonderful for our village,” said Mr Martin.
The committee is made up of representatives of the local Tidy Towns, ACM, development, as well as sports and cultural organisations.
“Everybody wanted to be a part of this. It has just been incredible,” he said.
The biggest problem they’ve had is choosing what to show the judges.
“We have too much for them! We have a beautiful story, a very attractive village, we have the Shannon, so much history and we want to share it all. The most difficult thing is that the judges only have a certain amount of time,” said Mr Martin.
Castleconnell is in the category of population over 1,000. And judging by the amount of people at the ACM Community Centre on Wednesday morning, a huge number of locals played a part.
After a presentation and DVD introducing their historic village they went on a tour of village landmarks and amenities, from the boat club/pier at the Worlds End to the playground and old school house by the Ferry car park.
They took in the scenic nature walk down to the footbridge and up the stone steps to the Castle Oaks Hotel and All Saints Church. Musicians from Irish Harp Centre even performed. Finally, they returned to the parish hall to view an exhibition featuring the numerous community groups active in the locality. Mr Martin said an event like this makes one “look around the village and appreciate all that what we have on our doorsteps”.