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Kilkenny is famous for quite a few things: culture, architecture, beauty and festivals for example. It’s also a very popular tourist destination. Well, from the 8th of September it has another major boast: Kilkenny City has been chosen as Ireland’s Tidiest Town in this year’s SuperValu National TidyTowns competition.

That’s a double celebration, by the way. Kilkenny City was also declared Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre. For the main prize it fought off the strong claims of Clonegal Co. Carlow (Ireland’s Tidiest Village), Kilrush, Co. Clare (Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town) and Westport Co. Mayo (Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town). You can see the full list at www.tidytowns.ie or www.supervalu.ie but, to give you an idea, the total entry was some 849 towns and villages – so you could almost say that Kilkenny City is one in a thousand!

It’s been there or thereabouts in this competition for most years, of course; it regularly does well at local and regional level. Most of you who know Kilkenny would not be surprised to hear that. However, this is the first outright win for the city for nearly thirty years: it last picked up the main prize in 1985. Of course, as one of our retail partners, SuperValu, has been the main sponsor for 23 years, we’d like to believe that this win is even more significant, but we’re both aware of the great heritage of the TidyTowns contest and just delighted to have an association with it.

However, we can’t resist highlighting the fact that the values TidyTowns promotes – community involvement, pride in place, and environmental concerns — are values that Musgrave and SuperValu also strongly support. And not just with financial backing. There’s no point boasting about being local if you don’t get involved and the network of SuperValu retailers certainly does that, offering support and encouragement to the TidyTowns groups in their areas.

On the other hand, perhaps they have been inspired – just a bit – by a competition that has after all been part of the fabric of the nation for 56 years.

That’s right: 56 years! There are Irish men and women who have grown up with TidyTowns and seen their children get involved with it – perhaps even their children’s children. Long may it continue.

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