For the second year running, the West Limerick village of Athea has been named the overall winner of the Limerick In Bloom com-petition.

44 other community groups throughout County Limerick were honoured for their participation in the annual competition, now in its seventh year, at an awards ceremony held last Thursday, at the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare.

Along with being named overall winner, Athea Tidy Towns Committee picked up first prize in its category while St. Ita’s Voluntary Housing Association in Abbeyfeale, Ardpatrick Tidy Towns, Hospital Tidy Towns and Slugaire Residents Association in Dooradoyle were named winners of their respective categories. 

Cllr. Kevin Sheahan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County Council also congratulated the Limerick In Bloom participants for making the competition “a real cele-bration of community spirit, teamwork and awareness of the natural environment.”

“While Limerick City and County Council is responsible for the delivery of a range of public services, it also has a responsibility to assist residents associations, businesses and voluntary groups to enhance their local communities.  Lim-erick In Bloom is one such vehicle for achieving this and we are delighted to officially recognise those communities and groups that have committed themselves to improving the visual appearance of their localities,” added the Cathaoirleach.

Gerry Boland of the JP McManus Foundation also praised the Limerick In Bloom Competition and its participants for “making an invaluable contribution to the overall appearance of their local communities.”

He continued: “We are delighted to recognise and endorse the efforts of local communities in working towards the improvement of the beauty and natural environment of Limerick as a whole.”

Limerick In Bloom adjudication took place during the summer 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. The Overall Winner receives an additional €500.

Category 1 for community groups in towns and villages with a population of under 300 was won by Ardpatrick Tidy Towns followed by Anglesborough Tidy Towns and Kilmeedy Community Development Group (Joint 2nd), and Kilteely Tidy Towns (3rd). Category 2 representing towns and villages with a population of 301-700 was won by Athea Tidy Towns Committee followed by Kilfinane Tidy Towns and Galbally Tidy Towns in second and third place respectively.

Hospital Tidy Towns was named overall winner of Category 3, for towns and villages with a population in excess of 700, with Kilmallock Tidy Towns and Castleconnell Tidy Towns finishing in second and third place respectively.

Category 4 for Housing Estates was won by Slugaire Residents Association in Dooradoyle. Cappamore Estates Committee and The Village Residents Assoc-iation in Adare finished in joint second place while Forest View Residents Association in Kilfinane was named in third place.

Meanwhile, St. Ita’s Voluntary Housing Asso-ciation in Abbeyfeale won the ‘Community/Supported Residential’ category, ahead of Glin Homes for the Elderly (second) and Kilteely/Dromkeen Housing Association (third).

Each participant received a framed certificate of participation and the prize winners received a certifi-cate, engraved plaque and a voucher. The overall winner received a voucher, framed certificate and the Limerick in Bloom Perpetual Trophy.  

Meanwhile, Limerick In Bloom participants who entered in the 2014 National Tidy Towns Competition were also officially recognised at the awards ceremony. Prizes were awarded to the best performing towns and villages in each of the 2014 Tidy Towns Competition. Four awards of €1,000 were presented to groups in the following categories: Highest Overall score (Adare); Tidiness and Litter Control (Feenagh); Sustainable Waste and Resource Management (Kilmallock); Landscaping (Ardpatrick); Meanwhile two awards of €500 were presented as follows: Wildlife and Natural Amenities (Broadford); Community Involvement and Planning (Galbally).

Those in attendance were also treated to a guest appearance by the Limerick Senior Hurling Manager TJ Ryan who took to the stage to lend his support for Team Limerick Clean-up (TLC), the JP McManus Benevolent Fund recent  collaboration with Limerick City and County Council to combat litter.

Sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund, the TLC initiative will be co-ordinated by the Council and it is hoped that as many people as possible through-out Limerick will come together on Good Friday (April 3rd, 2015) to collect and recycle litter.  Other TLC Ambassadors include Munster rugby’s Paul O’Connell.

“I am delighted to lend my support to the Team Limerick Clean Up. Parti-cipation in this initiative only requires a few hours of time on Good Friday and getting involved promises to be great fun as well as very worthwhile. Volunteers can sign up easily on or simply call the helpline on 061 496200 so remember the date and help make a difference.”

Further information relating to ‘Limerick In Bloom’ is available from the Environ-ment Department of Limerick City and County Council on 061-496214.