Community spirit is the key to Entente Florale success in Abbeyleix

Michelle Hogan


Michelle Hogan

Community spirit is the key to Entente Florale success in Abbeyleix

Abbeyleix has done Laois and Ireland proud by winning silver at the Entente Florale Europe competition.

The town also took home the President's Prize for biodiversity for Abbeyleix Bog.

The awards ceremony for the European competition took place on Friday, September 15 in Podčetrtek, Slovenia.

When announcing the award the host said: "You were one of the first rural towns in Ireland to get electricity and the Entente Florale judges found that you are still a shining light and for that you are awarded a silver medal."

John Joe Fennelly is the Chairperson of the Abbeyleix Tidy Towns. He was one of a group of five that went to Slovenia for the results show.

He said that everybody is delighted and that it could not have come together without all of the different community groups working together.

“It is absolutely fantastic, the whole community got into this competition from day one. Without the whole community pulling together this wouldn’t have been possible. Everyone put in a phenomenal amount of work.

“It just goes to show, to win that President’s Prize for the bog project is big, it is a great privilege as there is only one President’s award in the competition.

“We are over the moon. This would never have happened without the community spirit in Abbeyleix and all the volunteers who come out every Tuesday night, the businesses and all of the different groups,” John Joe said.

The aim of the competition is the social and cultural development and enhancement of the quality of life of urban dwellers, primarily through landscape development and horticulture.

Ricky Whelan is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Abbeyleix Bog Project which is a voluntary group that has actively been conserving the bog for almost 10 years.

“It is prestigious in its own right as it is the only Presidents Prize in the competition, we are delighted.

“The judges did seem taken aback, they spent more time at the bog than was scheduled on the day, it was like a breathe of fresh air.

“It is a case study for what other people could be doing to preserve bogs,” he said.

Abbeyleix was one of two Irish entries to the annual competition which also had finalists from Italy, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium and Austria.

Abbeyleix is now awaiting the results of the Tidy Towns competition and hope to hold onto their gold medal from last year.

Read more about the Entente Florale Competition here.