Blackrock is not only in the National Tidy Towns competition but the group has also been selected to partake in two other competitions including Ireland’s Best Kept Towns and Pride of Place.
Judging for the 32-county Ireland’s Best Kept Towns competition took place in May, a month earlier than the Tidy Towns judging which takes place between 1 June until the end of August.
Larry Magnier of Blackrock Tidy Towns said that this meant work on the village had to begin earlier than usual.
“Our preparation had to be brought forward by one Month,” said Larry. “It was difficult as it gave us less time but are hoping it was worth the effort and results for the Ireland’d Best Kept Towns will be announced in Belfast on 24 June.
“A number of our projects had to be brought forward but we could not do that with our floral displays especially those on display around the promenade as the easterly winds and salt in the air means they perish easily so we don’t usually put our floral displays out until mid-June which the Tidy Town judges are aware of.
“Floral displays are actually not a major element of the competition but they do add to the the appearance of a town or village.”
Larry says that one of the things the committee focuses on is litter control and tidiness.
“We make sure grass verges are cut, properties are well presented and maintained, weeds and dead plants are gotten rid of and so forth.”
Larry went on to explain that there are nine different categories of judging including showing community effort, promoting sustainabe living, the presentation of roads, laneways and residential areas and more.
But ultimatley it comes down to the encouragement of community pride and spirit.
“We have over 40 volunteers that carry out various jobs around the village,” said Larry “A lot of work is also done by the Community Employment Scheme and Tús who do a lot of housekeeping work such as cutting the grass and litter control.
“We are very lucky here in Blackrock to have 100% community involvement which involves the TidyTowns committee, the Residents Association, Tús, the Community Employment Scheme, business owners and of course the Park Committee who are a huge asset to us.”
Blackrock has been awarded a gold medal for the past two years and Larry hopes that they will hold onto that title for a third year.
“We would at least want to hold onto our gold medal,” said Larry. “We have reached gold standard and getting up that standard has taken a lot of hrd work and staying at that standard requires a great amount of work and we would hope that we have done just that.”