After years of work and months of waiting, the Entente Florale Europe Awards will be announced this week.
There will be a prize giving ceremony in Slovenia organized by the Municipality of Podčetrtek on Friday, September 15.
A number of people from Abbeyleix will be in attendance to see if their bid at the Entente Florale competition will result in one of the top prizes.
The ceremony will be a prestigious event and all delegates of the participating towns and villages will be in attendance.
At the prize giving ceremony, bronze, silver and gold awards and two thematic prizes will be handed over to the representatives of the participating communities.
On Saturday, September 16 there will be a European market in the town of Podčetrtek. At this wonderful event all participants of the Entente Florale Europe competition will present themselves.
People in Abbeyleix put a huge amount of work into the competition.
Back in July, the Entente Florale judges came to Laois to see the wonderful work that had been done in the town.
At the time, 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.
“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.
There are participants from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands and Slovenia in the competition this year.
Italy and Ireland are the only countries to have two entries.
A community in Glaslough, Co Monaghan has also entered from Ireland.
Best of luck to all in Abbeyleix who have taken part!