Clonegal in County Carlow has earned itself the reputation as one of the prettiest towns in Ireland following their success in prestigious awards such as The Tidy Towns competition and the Entente Florale Europe.

The reputation is well-deserved and a credit to the people behind the Tidy Towns committee and also to the Tús participants who over the years have been instrumental in the physical task of keeping Clonegal beautifully landscaped and litter-free. Marie Byrne, secretary of the Tidy Towns committee is passionate about Clonegal despite describing herself as  a ‘Dublin blow-in to the village’. She, along with her fellow committee members appreciate the beauty, history and unique aspect of Clonegal and play a significant role in the community effort made by the people of the village in their bid to make Clonegal the Tidiest Village in Ireland.

‘We are very proud of Clonegal and what we have achieved for our village. Everyone takes a personal interest in ensuring that the village is well kept and we also have great support from the Tús workers over the years. Their input was invaluable when we represented Ireland in the Entente Florale in 2013 and won the Gold Medal. We have a small workforce and therefore the availability of a Tús worker to us made a big impact. They are so willing and so helpful’, says Marie.

In order to prepare Clonegal for that  competition, there was considerable planning and physical work undertaken by the committee. In 2014, with the support of Tús participants, they developed a new community garden for the use of the people of Clonegal and visitors to the village as they come to the end of the ‘Wicklow Way’ walk.

“We walk the town and make a list of what needs to be done at the beginning of the year and then we speak with the Tús supervisor who in turn prepares a work schedule for each Tús worker. We know that if we ask them to do a job it will be done. They are so reliable and dedicated. We would be lost without the help of the Tús workers” Marie says.

In 2015, the ‘Weavers Cottage’ was supported by Tús with a participant on site to keep the cottage  open for visitors. The Tidy Towns committee of Clonegal depends on the additional support of Tús as it takes pressure off the committee and regular volunteers who are always in demand.  In that year, Clonegal was named Ireland’s tidiest village in the national Tidy Towns awards for the second year running. and in 2016 it was awarded a Gold Medal in the same competition.

The Tús workers offer invaluable support to the Tidy Towns committee. We are a small village so it is the same people doing the same work all of the time. The Tús workers relieve some of the pressure and not only that, they do a fantastic job – they know what they are doing. We are always there for them too – I think it is a mutually beneficial relationship!’ says Marie.

There is currently one Tús participant supporting the work of the community as they come together to make their village one of the nicest places to live in Carlow.

The LEADER programme has also supported Clonegal over the years, including in the upgrade of a rural walk, developing a DVD to market the town and publication of a tourism brochure.

Carlow County Development Partnership is delighted to have supported the work of this community in numerous ways  over the years. They are an example of what can be done when people come together to make their part of the world better in little ways, day by day. Everyone has something to give. It doesn’t matter what our age, our skills, or our passions are….we can join together to make Carlow a great place to live.