Pride in Mallow on show in Derry this weekend

Mallow will be looking north this weekend as the annual Pride of Place Awards take place in Derry. The all-island awards recognise and acknowledge the vital work done by community partnerships all over the country. Mallow’s Racing Home for Easter Festival, which is centred around the three-day Easter Racing Festival at Cork Racecourse Mallow, has been shortlisted for the award for the co-operation shown by local authorities, community groups and businesses in the lead-up to and the running of the festival events which benefit the local community.

The Pride of Place judges, former County Managers Terry O’Niadh and Blaise Treacy, were in Mallow in August to see first-hand evidence of the sense of pride the Racing Home for Easter Festival generates among the local community. The judges were given a presentation and met representatives from Mallow Town Council, Cork County Council, Mallow Tidy Towns, Mallow Develop-ment Partnership, the GAA Complex, and cultural groups such as Cór Mhagh Ealla and St. Anne’s Historical Society. The judges seemed particularly impressed with the turnout of dignitaries at the presentation, such as the County Mayor Noel O’Connor and Town Mayor Cllr. Johnny Griffin, Maura Morrell and Louis Duffy from Cork County Council, Marie Healy from Fáilte Ireland and Niall Healy of Avondhu/Blackwater Development and local TD Tom Barry. The judges were given a tour of Mallow to see the festival’s venues at first hand.

Now it’s judgement time. Festival chairperson Mary Kelly says the event has come a long way in a short time. “The festival enters its fifth year in 2014 and it’s going from strength to strength. It was nominated for Festival of the Year by Chambers Ireland in 2011 and will be up against some very stiff competition this weekend, but we are simply so proud of our event and are really looking forward to doing it all over again in 2014.”

Deputy Mayor of Mallow and committee member Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald feels the festival is fostering a new tradition in Mallow. “Mallow will no longer be known as the former sugar factory town, but as a result of this festival a new positive connection will be made. On behalf of Mallow Town Council, which is strongly involved in the event since its establishment, we wish the festival the very best of luck this weekend.”

Valerie Murphy, CEO of Avondhu/Blackwater Development, suggested the festival to Cork County Council for the nomination. “The Pride of Place Award puts a premium on communities coming together to enjoy all that their area has to offer, and that, to all intents and purposes, is the central ethos of the Mallow Racing Home for Easter Festival. The festival is a prime example of a community coming together to show off (and enjoy) the best that it has to offer. It encourages people who have left the area to return to it, and reminds them, and local residents, of the many reasons they have to feel proud of their town – we think that is something worth celebrating.”