Aughrim and the Tidy Towns Competition
Aughrim has a long tradition of involvement in the National Tidy Towns competition. The Aughrim I.C.A. Guild hosted an open meeting on 18th April 1966 for the purpose of discussing the desirability of Aughrim entering the National Tidy Towns competition. The meeting was presided by Very Rev. Fr Paul Phelan. There was an attendance of about 100 people at the meeting and it was unanimously agreed at this meeting that Aughrim enter the competition. The entry form was signed by the I.C.A. Secretary (Miss Kathleen Keating). A committee was then elected as follows:
Chairman: Mr T.C. Herr N.T.
Secretary: Mrs. W. Nolan
Treasurer: Mr. T. Dalton
Thirteen other members were elected onto the committee, representing a specified area in the village. A raffle was held at this first meeting and the proceeds of this came to £5-16-9. That same year Aughrim won the award in category C (best new entrant), and the secretary Mrs. Nolan travelled to Ballyjamesduff to receive the prize.
After a few quiet years, interest in the competition was renewed, and a committee was formed comprising of Dudley Byrne, Stewart McGrane,Jim O’Brien, Kevin McManus and Garda Sean Linehan. In the early days of that committee, there was a heavy reliance on local voluntary efforts. The rise in Aughrim’s ratings in the national tidy towns competition is a testimony to the work of the local committee and the FAS workers employed on projects in the village and keeping the village tidy. In 15 years Aughrim has bounded up the ladder from 150 points out of 300 in 1985 to 234 in 1998 and a whopping 294 in 2006, only one point behind the overall national winners. Then in 2007, after many years of trying, Aughrim won the overall national award of Ireland’s Tidiest Town with a score of 299 out of 400.
Significant milestones achieved in the village by the local committee over the past few years are:
- Construction of the National Disabled Angling Facilityin the heart of the granite village, which was opened by President Mary Robinson in 1996.
- Construction of the Park Pavilion, Information Technology and Crafts Centre and officesat the National Disabled Angling Facility.
- Construction of a bowling greenat the National Disabled Angling Facility which was opened by President Mary McAleese on 7th June 2006.
- Construction of Thrift Shop Extension at the Park Pavilionat the National Disabled Angling Facility, opened in 2010.
- Construction of Children’s Playgroundat the National Disabled Angling Facility in 2010 in association with the Playground Committee.
Aughrim & Tidy Towns Competition Commemorative Stamp
On 19th June 2008, An Post issued a stamp to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the TidyTowns Competition. The stamp is a 55c denomination and features a photograph of Aughrim, Co. Wicklow by Harry Weir. Aughrim was Ireland’s Tidiest Town in 2007 and was also named ‘tidiest small town in Ireland’ and regional winner in the Midlands and East category. With over 1,000 registered TidyTowns groups and 700 entries each year, competition for the awards is tough and Aughrim is justifiably proud of the great achievement of becoming the 2007 overall winner.