No stone was left unturned for the judging of the Entente Florale Europe competition in Abbeyleix on Friday, July 7.
Mary White from Abbeyleix Tidy Towns said the experience was “an epic journey.”
“It was a fantastic day for the town, everyone supported us and we gave it our best shot,” she said.
Abbeyleix is a gold medal National Tidy Town and is a Heritage Town of Ireland.
“Ireland is the only country that has entries from voluntary Tidy Towns groups. It was obvious that the work in Abbeyleix has been ongoing for years and we were not just putting on a front for the judges. We already had the silverware we just polished it off,” Mary added.
The judges were blown away with the passion of the people in Abbeyleix in whatever role they were playing in the town.
The judges were shown around Abbeyleix Heritage House, the local playground, Abbeyleix South National School and the community garden to name a few areas.
“It is good fun, you get to be an ambassador for the town. People often come off the motorway to pass through the town,” Mary said.
“Entente Florale Europe is not about flowers, it is anything but. In the stream on the Ballacolla road we have a water pump system that does not use electricity, we plant edible flowers, herbs and vegetables, we bring environmental education through the Green Schools,” Mary explained.
The competition was judged under a number of categories including Development, Water Quality, Greener Gardening, Waste Management, Pollution Reduction, Air Quality, Sustainable Energy, Cleanliness and Tidiness, Wildlife and Habitat, and more.
“The judges thought that Abbeyleix bog was a fantastic amenity that we should continue to use for tourism and leisure,” Mary said.
RTÉ Nationwide was on hand filming the judging for their coverage of the competition so keep an eye out for Abbeyleix on the show.
Abbeyleix Parish Choir wowed the judges in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary.
A banquet was held on Friday evening in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel. Spink Ceoltas group took centre stage entertaining the crowd.
“It was an epic journey that really tested us. It wouldn’t have been possible without our partners Laois County Council and the Community Employment Scheme. They had the expertise and they worked the whole week through,” she added.
The results will be out on September 14 in Slovenia where a trade fair will take place giving Abbeyleix an opportunity to showcase Laois on the international map.
See all of the photo from the fantastic day in our gallery. Pictures by Alf Harvey.