Wicklow People (West Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By MYLES BUCHANAN

MEM­BERS of the lo­cal com­mu­nity show­cased ev­ery­thing Bless­ing­ton has to of­fer as Pride of Place judges were brought on a tour of the close-knit town.

Hav­ing been named as Le­in­ster’s Most En­ter­pris­ing Town in 2017, Bless­ing­ton was nom­i­nated by Wick­low County Coun­cil for Pride of Place 2019. The com­pe­ti­tion is based on com­mu­ni­ties demon­strat­ing di­rectly to the judges their pride in their place by oral pre­sen­ta­tion, ex­hi­bi­tions of com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties and cul­ture and a tour of the area, high­light­ing the as­pects of which they are par­tic­u­larly proud.

John Ho­ran, chair­per­son of Bless­ing­ton Town Team, greeted the vis­it­ing judges dur­ing a three-hour tour and pre­sen­ta­tion.

‘We had a three-hour win­dow which you can’t ex­ceed just so as to be fair to the other nom­i­nated towns. We vis­ited Russ­bor­ough House, Bless­ing­ton Men’s Shed and the Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict Of­fice where some coun­cil­lors also met the judges. There was also rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the Bless­ing­ton and Dis­trict Fo­rum, Bless­ing­ton Tidy Towns, the Cul­ture and Her­itage sec­tion from the Town Team and the lo­cal busi­ness net­work,’ said Mr Ho­ran, as he de­scribed the visit.

Judges were also brought on a tour of lo­cal busi­nesses and paid vis­its to the new her­itage trail and the new tourist of­fice, as well as vis­it­ing the Down­shire Mon­u­ment which un­der­went a re­cent clean up. Par­tic­u­lar pride was taken in show­cas­ing the Bless­ing­ton Green­way.

‘That’s our real pride and joy,’ said Mr Ho­ran. ‘We dis­cussed what we had car­ried out in phase one by link­ing up with Russ­bor­ough House. Then we talked about Wick­low County Coun­cil’s plans to cover 42.4km of walk­ing and cy­cling trails and how the re­gion will be­come Ire­land’s first ‘E’ des­ti­na­tion.’

There was also a pre­sen­ta­tion on ef­forts to make Bless­ing­ton a sus­tain­able en­ergy com­mu­nity, with the judges brought on a jour­ney through Bless­ing­ton in an elec­tric car.

The win­ners will be an­nounced on Satur­day, November 30, in Kilkenny’s Lyrath Ho­tel.

‘I think the judges were impressed by what Bless­ing­ton has to of­fer and by the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the lo­cal au­thor­ity. The sense of com­mu­nity spirit was alive and well,’ added Mr Ho­ran.

John Fitzger­ald, judge, De­clan Nel­son, judge, Caro­line Fox, Wick­low County Coun­cil, and John Ho­ran, Bless­ing­ton Town Team, on the Bless­ing­ton Green­way.

Kieran Burke, prin­ci­pal, Bless­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Cllr Avril Cronin and Kil­ian McGreal, Bless­ing­ton Fo­rum.

Michael Doyle, Bob Miller and Kevin Byrne.

Paul Tyrrell, Michael Sar­gent and John Ho­ran, Bless­ing­ton Town Team.

John Ho­ran, Bless­ing­ton Town Team; Caro­line Fox, Wick­low County Coun­cil; Michael Doyle, Credit Union; Madge Tyrrell, Fo­rum; Johnny Glen­non, Credit Union; Anita Moroney, Tidy Towns; De­clan Nel­son, judge; and John Fitzger­ald, judge, at the Credit Union Round­about on the Naas Road.

Michael Sar­gent, De­clan Nel­son, Kil­ian McGreal and John Fitzger­ald walk through Bless­ing­ton.

James Mc­Grath, Pat Con­lon, Michael Dardis, Sean Far­ring­ton, John Flynn and Bob Miller, all of Bless­ing­ton Men’s Shed.

Cllr Avril Cronin and Anita Moroney Tidy Towns.

John Fitzger­ald, judge, and John Ho­ran, Bless­ing­ton Town Team, on the Bless­ing­ton Green­way.

Paul Ash­more, CP Ad­ven­ture, Russ­bor­ough, and Caro­line Fox, Wick­low County Coun­cil.

John Ho­ran, Bless­ing­ton Town Team; De­clan Nel­son, judge; Cllr Gerry O’Neill, Caithaoir­leach, Balt­in­glass Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict; John Fitzger­ald, judge; and Caro­line Fox, Wick­low County Coun­cil.

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