The Tidy Towns competition
The national Tidy Towns competition is organised by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. It involves participating towns being rated on all aspects of their local environment. It has been running since 1958 and each year attracts more than 700 communities who compete for a cash award and the title of Ireland's Tidiest Town.
The Tidy Towns competition is launched each year in March/April. Judging takes place in June, July and August each year and the results are announced at the National Awards Ceremony in September.
Who can enter?
Entry into the Tidy Towns competition is voluntary and the competition is open to every village, town and city area in the State. The competition is for local communities who are interested in improving the quality of their surroundings and, in the process, developing community spirit. In general, entries are voluntary committees that identify the work that needs to be done and carry it out in co-operation with other local interests (for example, local authorities, businesses, residents' associations and volunteers).
The town that has been judged the overall winner in the competition is named Ireland's Tidiest Town and wins a cash prize, together with a perpetual trophy and plaque. The award is made to the committee and is usually used to help fund the committee's activities the following year. The overall winner is selected from the winners of the 4 categories: Village, Small Town, Large Town, and Large Urban Centre. There is a cash prize in each of these categories and a perpetual trophy. While an area may not score highly enough to win these awards, it can still win a special prize for particular projects undertaken in the community.
How the competition is marked
Participants are assessed under 8 criteria with a total of 450 marks as follows:
- Community involvement and planning (60 marks)
- Built environment and streetscape (50 marks)
- Landscaping and open spaces (50 marks)
- Wildlife, habitats and natural amenities (50 marks)
- Tidiness and litter control (90 marks)
- Sustainable waste and resource management (50 marks)
- Residential streets and housing areas (50 marks)
- Approach roads, streets and lanes (50 marks)
These criteria are deliberately broad and incorporate everything from the historical and cultural uniqueness of the location to the conservation of natural amenities and wildlife areas. Participants can identify sub-areas for judges to look at but judges assess the full area of the town or village. Where boundaries are not clear (for example in urban areas) judges generally assess a one-kilometre area in all directions from the centre.
There are no entry fees for the competition, but you must enter the correct population category for your town. You can check your town's population figure against the results of the latest Census of Population.
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How to apply
Contact the Tidy Towns Unit of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to check if there is a committee already set up in your area. If your area does not have a committee, the Tidy Towns Unit will advise on how to set up your own committee and assist you in applying to participate in the competition. The Unit also has information and advice about preparing for the competition.
You can request a Tidy Towns application form from the Unit and return the completed application form to it at the address below.