Winner: Rathdrum, Co Wicklow
Rathdrum, located in the heartland of Wicklow, was once a thriving market town, but was hit hard by the economic downturn leaving the town lifeless. Despite this, its spirit and sense of community never diminished and its people came together to bring back life to the town. In recent years the Parnell Memorial Park, an outdoor gym, granite platform and a bronze sculpture in the Market Square have been unveiled. New footpaths, street furniture and hanging baskets have been placed throughout the town and on the approach roads. The historical Famine Graveyard has been enhanced by improvements to the approach road, installation of granite seating, information panel, and signage. Numerous walks have been constructed throughout the woodlands and along the rivers surrounding the town and incorporating some of the historical landmarks of the area and an informational pamphlet has been published to showcase these walks. By rallying together, the community has ensured that Rathdrum is a town that they are proud to call home.
Community Contact: Caroline Fox CFox2@wicklowcoco.ie
This is a small town on the move – there is hope, confidence and a realisation of the potential of some major tourist attractions. The community has decided to take its future in its own hands. There is significant support from the council and politicians, which was clearly signalled on the day of the judges’ visit. The visit itself featured a powerful presentation, an excellent video and a visit to an historical famine graveyard (lovingly maintained). Historical landmarks have been signposted and woodland walks constructed along with attractive street furniture and hanging baskets. The judges can confidently predict a great future for this warm and welcoming town.
Runners Up: Quin Village, Co Clare and Rathfern, Co Antrim