Tidy Towns Ireland: A Guide to the Cleanest Communities

Scenic view of a pristine Irish town square, beautifully maintained with flowers and clean streets, representing Tidy Towns Ireland


Tidy Towns Ireland is an annual competition aimed at honouring the most attractive and well-maintained towns and villages across the Republic of Ireland. Since its inception in 1958, the initiative has grown in popularity, promoting community involvement and pride amongst citizens by recognising the hard work and dedication of local volunteers. Each year, towns and villages from all corners of the country enter the competition to showcase their efforts in creating clean, sustainable, and pleasant living environments.

Organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the competition has evolved over the years to encompass a variety of categories and special awards, emphasising not only the aesthetic beauty of the towns but also their commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness. With diligent volunteers, strong collaboration, and a focus on environmental initiatives, Tidy Towns Ireland has become a symbol of community spirit and the positive impact that cohesive efforts can have on improving their surroundings.

Key Takeaways

History of Tidy Towns Competition

Tidy Towns is an annual competition held in Ireland since 1958. Organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the competition aims to honour the tidiest and most attractive cities, towns, and villages in the Republic of Ireland.

Over the years, Tidy Towns has become an important part of Ireland’s culture and heritage. The competition started with 52 entrants in its first year and has grown significantly, reaching a record number of 924 entries in 2019. The impact of the contest is evident in the increasing efforts of communities across Ireland to improve their local environment and preserve their cultural heritage.

The SuperValu TidyTowns Competition, supported by the title sponsor SuperValu, along with many other agencies, is the modern incarnation of the original Tidy Towns competition. The competition’s role in Irish society is solidified by its ongoing support, attracting both national and international attention.

Participating towns and villages are judged on several criteria, including cleanliness, landscaping, built environment, community involvement, and overall presentation. Prizes are awarded to those that excel across these areas, encouraging towns and villages to work together to create a cleaner and more attractive living space for their residents.

In 2008, a commemorative publication was commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and SuperValu to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tidy Towns. The publication highlights the winning entrants since the competition’s inception and showcases the driving force behind Tidy Towns – the dedication and hard work of local communities.

As the competition has evolved over the years, it continues to motivate communities to engage in sustainable practices and promote environmental awareness. The Tidy Towns Competition serves as a testament to the combined efforts of Irish communities, the Department of Rural and Community Development, and SuperValu to create a cleaner, greener, and more attractive Ireland.

Significance of Tidy Towns

The Tidy Towns competition is an important annual event in Ireland that has been organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development since 1958. The initiative aims to recognise and celebrate the tidiest and most attractive cities, towns, and villages in the country, encouraging communities to work together to improve their local environment.

This competition has a long history, originating as part of Tostal, a nationwide festival celebrating Irish culture and identity. Over time, Tidy Towns has evolved to become Ireland’s most well-known and popular local environmental initiative, inspiring greener living habits and sustainable practices amongst communities.

A key component of the Tidy Towns competition is the idea of fostering a sense of community and pride in local areas. With the support of local authorities and dedicated volunteers, participating towns and villages are assessed on various aspects of their environmental initiatives, overall tidiness, and attractiveness. This assessment helps to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourages residents to actively participate in their local communities, making them better places to live.

There are various prizes awarded to the locations that excel in the competition, with the most prestigious being the title of “Ireland’s Tidiest Town”. This accolade is highly sought after, and winning towns often see a significant boost in tourism and community spirit.

Tidy Towns doesn’t just focus on the tangible benefits of tidy, well-kept urban spaces but emphasises the positive impact on communities as well. By participating in the competition and striving to be the tidiest town, community members come together, learn about environmental issues, and make their towns better places for themselves and future generations.

Administering Bodies and Participation

The SuperValu TidyTowns competition commenced in 1958 and has become Ireland’s best-known sustainable and environmental initiative. It plays a vital role in promoting environmentally-friendly practices and supporting vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable communities throughout the country. Administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the competition is proudly sponsored by SuperValu since 1991.

The TidyTowns Unit of the Department of Rural and Community Development oversees the competition. It coordinates various initiatives and entries, facilitates communication between the main sponsor, SuperValu, and local volunteer groups, and ensures the smooth running of the competition.

Entry into the competition is open to local volunteer groups from communities across Ireland, who work hard to improve their local environment. The competition rewards these volunteers for their dedication and effort in pursuing a cleaner and greener future for their towns and villages. The competition is divided into eight categories, with each category focusing on specific aspects of environmental improvement and community involvement.

Projects or initiatives undertaken by participating groups are evaluated by adjudicators in the competition year. These initiatives encompass various aspects, such as litter control, waste management, wildlife conservation, and community participation. By working closely with the TidyTowns Unit, local entries and volunteers receive invaluable support, guidance, and recognition for their environmental efforts.

In conclusion, the SuperValu TidyTowns competition, administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the TidyTowns Unit, has a significant impact on local environments and community participation. It offers a platform for volunteers in Ireland to showcase their dedication to creating sustainable and vibrant communities for future generations.

Sponsorship and Prizes

The SuperValu TidyTowns Competition is an annual contest organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Since 1991, SuperValu has been a loyal sponsor of the competition, which holds a special place in Ireland’s culture and heritage.

Participants in the competition have the opportunity to win various prizes and recognition for their efforts in creating tidy and sustainable towns. The overall prizes for the competition include a range of regional and category awards. Regional Awards are presented to the top-scoring entrant from each region, while Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals are awarded to entrants with scores that fall within a set range from the year’s winning score.

Additional to these, Category Awards are given to the highest scoring entrants in various town categories – Village, Small Town, Large Town, and Large Urban Centre. This ensures that towns of different sizes and types can be celebrated for their efforts in the competition.

Apart from the main competition, there are also Special Awards, including one for Small Towns and Large Towns, sponsored by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. These special awards aim to recognise towns and villages as great places to live, work, and enjoy a thriving community environment.

Winning towns and participating groups often receive grant aid, such as the recent allocation of €1.5 million to over 1,000 TidyTowns groups nationwide. Notable winners in the past include Ennis, Co. Clare as the Ireland’s Tidiest Town for 2021 and Glaslough TidyTowns, Co. Monaghan winning the inaugural Young Persons in TidyTowns Award.

Sponsors like SuperValu play a significant role in supporting the competition, enabling the organisers to provide prizes and recognition at an awards ceremony held to celebrate the achievements of the participating towns. These awards ceremonies not only acknowledge the hard work and dedication of various towns but also encourage them to continue striving towards creating beautiful and sustainable living spaces.

Top Contenders and Winners

The SuperValu Tidy Towns Awards showcase the dedication of communities in Ireland to keeping their towns and villages pristine. Several towns have come out on top in recent years, competing in various categories such as Ireland’s Tidiest Town, Tidiest Small Town, Tidiest Large Town, and Tidiest Large Urban Centre.

In 2022, Trim, Co Meath earned the prestigious title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town, beating hundreds of entries. Ennis, Co Clare, had previously been crowned the winner in 2021, showcasing its exceptional cleanliness and community spirit.

Other noteworthy towns include Clonakilty, Co Cork, which was awarded Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town in 2022. Ennis, Co Clare, also achieved the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre in the same year, exemplifying its continued commitment to maintaining a tidy environment.

Cobh, Cork South, received the honour of Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town in 2021, while Abbeyleix, Co Laois, was named Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town that year. Many other towns, such as Rosscarbery, Glaslough, Sneem, Carlingford, Emly, Blackrock, Geashill, and many more, have shown remarkable efforts in keeping their localities clean and inviting for residents and tourists alike.

The SuperValu Tidy Towns Awards provide a platform for communities across Ireland to showcase their commitment to preserving and enhancing their local environments. With consistent efforts from towns like Trim, Cork, Ennis, Cobh, and Clare, the competition remains fierce and inspiring for others to join in and contribute to a cleaner and greener Ireland.

Tidy Towns Cohesiveness and Community Spirit

Tidy Towns is a remarkable initiative in Ireland that has grown since its inception in 1958. The programme promotes sustainable and environmentally friendly practices within villages and communities across the country. The SuperValu TidyTowns competition has been administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development and sponsored by SuperValu since 1991.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development plays a crucial role in supporting Tidy Towns and fostering sustainable communities across Ireland. Under their guidance, the initiative has evolved into an inclusive movement promoting community life and volunteerism amongst locals.

An essential aspect of Tidy Towns is the sense of togetherness and spirit it instils within communities. This is achieved through the commitment and dedication of local volunteers who work tirelessly to improve their towns and villages. Tidy Towns not only encourages citizens to take pride in their environment but also fosters stronger bonds between community members.

As Ireland’s villages and communities focus on creating sustainable, inclusive spaces, the impact of Tidy Towns is evident in multiple ways. From the cleanliness of streets to the implementation of green initiatives, the competition inspires participants to strive for better living conditions and eco-friendly practices.

In conclusion, the Tidy Towns initiative in Ireland is a testament to the power of community involvement and dedication to creating sustainable, inclusive environments. Through the collective efforts of volunteers, local authorities, and the support of the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Tidy Towns continues to shape the future of Irish communities and their relationship with the environment.

Competition Categories and Entry

The Tidy Towns Ireland competition is a popular local environmental initiative where participating areas are rated on various aspects of their local environment. There are several categories of prizes in the competition, including awards for the tidiest village, tidiest small town, and tidiest large town.

In the 2021 competition, the title of the tidiest village was awarded to Geashill in Offaly, while Abbeyleix in Laois received the honour of being the tidiest small town. Cobh in Cork was named the tidiest large town.

To enter the competition, all interested groups must fill out the entry forms available on the Tidy Towns website. The closing date for receipt of entries for the 2023 competition is Wednesday, 10th May 2023. It is important to note that entry to the competition will only be accepted by email to the specified address on the entry form.

The competition encourages towns, villages, and cities to present their local environment in the best possible light, fostering community spirit and promoting environmental sustainability. In doing so, the competition not only enhances the appearance of participating areas but also aims to improve the quality of life for their residents.

Efforts and Contributions of Volunteers

Tidy Towns Ireland is a remarkable initiative driven by the collective efforts of dedicated volunteers across the country. These volunteers work tirelessly to ensure their towns are clean, well-maintained, and environmentally friendly. Tidy Towns groups, such as those in Co Meath, have contributed significantly to the initiative’s success.

The Tidy Towns volunteers play a crucial role in the upkeep and improvement of their local areas. They dedicate their time to various tasks, such as litter picking, planting trees and flowers, maintaining parks, and collaborating with local authorities to promote sustainable development. Tidy Towns volunteers in Co Meath exemplify this level of commitment and collaboration.

Projects and Initiatives

One of the main ways volunteers contribute to Tidy Towns is through the organisation of community projects and initiatives. These can range from:

  • Waste reduction and management schemes
  • Energy conservation initiatives
  • Adopting green spaces for community use
  • Promoting biodiversity

Community Engagement and Education

Tidy Towns groups seek to involve the entire community in their efforts. As a result, volunteers often engage in educational initiatives aimed at raising awareness about environmental issues and encouraging other residents to participate. This includes workshops, presentations, and school projects aimed at promoting sustainable living and environmental stewardship.

Collaborative Efforts

Volunteers often work closely with local government and businesses in order to achieve their goals. They may collaborate on projects that align with both the objectives of Tidy Towns and the wider community. Examples include partnerships with Fingal County Council and landscaping companies, which highlight the potential of these cooperative efforts.

The hard work and commitment of Tidy Towns volunteers are truly commendable. Their contributions have helped create cleaner, greener, and more appealing communities for residents and visitors alike. It is crucial to acknowledge and support these efforts to ensure the continued success and growth of Tidy Towns across Ireland.

Environmental Initiatives in Tidy Towns

The Tidy Towns competition has been an integral part of Ireland’s commitment to environmental sustainability since 1958. Administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development and sponsored by SuperValu, it serves as a driving force for communities to come together and tackle modern environmental challenges.

One of the main aspects of the competition is an emphasis on creating and maintaining local environments that showcase biodiversity and sustainability. This is achieved through various environmental initiatives such as landscaping, litter control, and tidiness. By participating in these initiatives, communities help support and nurture the surrounding ecosystems, conserve resources, and improve the overall quality of life.

Landscaping and biodiversity are essential components in Tidy Towns, as they contribute to an aesthetically pleasing environment while also supporting a diverse range of flora and fauna. Participants are encouraged to plant native species to attract local wildlife and support pollinators, creating habitats that contribute to a functional ecosystem. Collaboration between new groups, seasoned participants, and TidyTowns adjudicators ensures that the best practices in landscaping and biodiversity management are implemented in each participating town.

Litter control and tidiness are two other central elements in the Tidy Towns competition. Each community is encouraged to take charge of their local environment by developing and implementing regular cleaning regimes for public spaces. This includes removing graffiti, tidying up roadside verges, and ensuring public facilities are well-maintained. The competition also recognises and rewards initiatives where communities cooperate to reduce waste and promote recycling.

Sustainability is an overarching theme in the Tidy Towns competition, with participants encouraged to focus on projects that have long-lasting, positive impacts on their local environment. By championing projects such as energy-saving schemes, water conservation efforts, and environmental education initiatives, participating communities lay the groundwork for sustainable living and future generations to come.

In conclusion, the environmental initiatives undertaken by Tidy Towns Ireland play a crucial role in raising awareness about the importance of preserving local environments, promoting sustainability and enhancing the overall cleanliness and image of participating towns. With a focus on landscaping, biodiversity, litter control, tidiness, and sustainable practices, the competition continues to foster a sense of pride and responsibility among Irish communities, ensuring the country remains a beautiful and environmentally-conscious place to live.

Influence and Impact of Tidy Towns

The Tidy Towns initiative has had a significant influence on towns and villages across Ireland since its inception in 1958. It rapidly rose in popularity, with an average of 700 entrants per year, and has encouraged communities to take practical and creative action to improve their local environments. At its core, Tidy Towns promotes progress, fosters a sense of pride, and generates a vibrant atmosphere in participating areas.

As part of the competition, participating towns and villages receive feedback from the judging panel, which helps them identify areas for improvement and guides them on how to develop their urban and natural environments. This constructive feedback plays a crucial role in maintaining the initiative’s relevance and encouraging cities and towns like Rush to actively engage in making positive changes.

Over the years, Tidy Towns has expanded its criteria to include sustainability and biodiversity elements. For example, Louth’s heritage officer introduced a guide on how to attract native biodiversity through planting and managing urban and rural spaces. These efforts have proven invaluable in raising awareness of environmental issues and fostering cooperation between communities, local authorities, and environmental organisations.

The impact of the Tidy Towns initiative is evident through the annual results, which celebrate the achievements of participating communities. In July 2021, Trim, County Meath, was named the winner of the 2022 SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition. This accolade recognises the considerable effort and ongoing commitment of the community to make their town a cleaner, more sustainable, and more enjoyable place to live and visit.

In conclusion, the Tidy Towns initiative has had a lasting influence on urban and rural communities throughout Ireland. It has empowered local groups and authorities to take ownership of their environments and work together to create cleaner, greener, and more vibrant places for everyone to enjoy.

Focus on Individual Tidy Towns

Ireland’s Tidy Towns initiative is an effort to enhance local environments and promote sustainability through the hard work of dedicated volunteers. It is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development and has been proudly sponsored by SuperValu since 1991. In this section, we will examine a few Tidy Towns that are making significant strides in creating beautiful, sustainable communities.

Cobh, Co. Cork is a picturesque harbour town that has embraced the Tidy Towns initiative. The Cobh Tidy Towns group works tirelessly to preserve the town’s historical charm while promoting environmental stewardship. With numerous projects such as litter control, community gardens, and local biodiversity initiatives, Cobh has made vast improvements in becoming a cleaner and greener community.

Clonakilty, Co. Cork is another shining example of the Tidy Towns ethos. Known for its colourful and vibrant streets, Clonakilty has received numerous awards in the competition over the years. The town’s commitment to sustainability is evident through its many green initiatives, such as comprehensive recycling facilities, a focus on energy efficiency in public buildings, and the dedication of local volunteers to maintain the town’s pristine appearance.

Ennis, Co. Clare is a bustling market town that has made significant progress in the Tidy Towns competition. The Ennis Tidy Towns group has implemented various environmental projects like wildflower meadows, bird and bat boxes, and rainwater harvesting schemes in schools. These projects, combined with a strong community spirit and dedication to conservation, make Ennis a standout Tidy Town in Ireland.

In conclusion, each of these Tidy Towns showcases the commitment of local volunteers and the power of community in creating sustainable, beautiful environments. The Tidy Towns initiative has proven to be a successful tool for promoting environmental awareness and encouraging community involvement in towns such as Cobh, Clonakilty, and Ennis.

Special Awards and Recognition

Tidy Towns Ireland is a well-known local environmental initiative that recognises and rewards the efforts of communities in maintaining and enhancing their local areas. The competition includes a variety of Special Awards that focus on specific aspects of community improvement. These awards are organised in parallel to the main Tidy Towns competition and are open to all Tidy Towns groups, as well as other interested individuals and organisations.

Special Awards provide both regional and national recognition for outstanding projects and initiatives. A prize of €1,000 is awarded to the four Regional winners in each of the two categories. Out of these eight regional winners, one overall national winner receives an additional €1,000. These awards are given across all categories, provided that a satisfactory standard is achieved by the participants.

The adjudication process for Special Awards is thorough, with a team of experienced adjudicators assessing each entry based on specific criteria. These adjudicators are knowledgeable about community development, environmental management and local concerns, ensuring that the assessment process is fair and comprehensive.

Entries for the Special Awards can be submitted by filling out the 2023 Special Award Entry Forms, made available on the Tidy Towns website. The deadline for entries in this year’s competition is Wednesday, 10th May 2023.

Winners of the National SuperValu TidyTowns competition, as well as the Special Awards recipients, are announced at the annual SuperValu TidyTowns Awards ceremony. This prestigious event celebrates the achievements of various communities and plays an important role in promoting environmental awareness and community engagement across Ireland.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Tidy Towns categories?

The Tidy Towns competition in Ireland consists of various categories, each focusing on different aspects of sustainability and community involvement. These categories may include areas such as litter control, waste management, landscaping, wildlife preservation, built environment, and residential streets. Each participating town is evaluated based on their performance in these categories, and winners are selected accordingly.

How can one apply for Tidy Towns grants?

To apply for Tidy Towns grants, interested parties should consult their local council or the Department of Rural and Community Development website. They may provide information on available grant schemes, eligibility criteria, and application deadlines. Keep in mind that grant availability and conditions may vary over time and between locations.

What is the judging process for Tidy Towns?

The judging process for Tidy Towns involves a panel of experts who visit and assess participating towns based on the established competition categories. Each town is scored according to their performance in these categories and provided with feedback by the judges to help improve their ranking in future competitions. The entire process is meant to promote positive involvement, learning, and growth within participating communities.

Which town won the 2023 Tidy Towns competition?

As today’s date is August 4th, 2023, the winner of the 2023 Tidy Towns competition is yet to be announced. Keep an eye on the official Tidy Towns website or the gov.ie website for updates on this year’s winner.

How to set up a Tidy Towns Committee?

Setting up a Tidy Towns Committee involves gathering a team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers from your community. You’ll need individuals with a variety of skills and interests to cover the competition’s categories. It’s essential to establish clear roles and responsibilities and hold regular committee meetings to plan and execute projects. Remember to consult the Tidy Towns Handbook for guidance on best practices and tips on getting started.

What are the Tidy Towns Special Awards?

In addition to the standard categories, Tidy Towns Special Awards recognise exceptional achievements in specific areas, such as environmentally-friendly initiatives, heritage conservation, and community development. These awards provide additional recognition for towns that excel in certain aspects of the competition, showcasing their commitment and hard work in creating sustainable and thriving communities.


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