While any local authority aims for the highly-coveted Tidy Towns Award, Clare County Council’s capital town of Ennis achieved international success in the 2023 Communities in Bloom (CiB) awards ceremony held at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, in October 2023.
Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit volunteer and partnership-driven organisation that uses a multi-tiered competitive evaluation process to foster community strength. Ennis was nominated for entry to the prestigious annual competition and picked up ‘5 Blooms’ and the title of overall winner (Gold) in the ‘International Challenge Medium’ category, as well as a special mention in the ‘Pollinator Friendly Gardens’ category of the competition.
Following a visit to Ennis this summer by CiB adjudicators, the town was evaluated under the criteria of community appearance, environmental action, heritage conservation, tree management, landscape, and plant and floral displays. Other countries that nominated entrants to this year’s competition included Canada, USA, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia.
International judges from CiB visited Ennis in late July when they met with Council officials and community leaders and were taken on guided tours of community and local government schemes and initiatives.
Communities participating in the 2023 Communities in Bloom (CiB) were evaluated using a “Bloom” rating determined by the total score of the evaluation: 1 Bloom: 0-55%, 2 Blooms: 56-63%, 3 Blooms: 64-72%, 4 Blooms: 73-81%, 5 Blooms: 82%. There are four levels of ‘5 Blooms’ exclusive to the National and International Edition: 5 Blooms: 82-83.9%, 5 Blooms – Bronze: 84-86.9%, 5 Blooms -Silver: 87-89.9%, 5 Blooms – Gold: 90% and above.
Welcoming the news, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Cllr. Joe Cooney said,
“Ennis has a lengthy and proud track record of successful participation in national and international competitions and the recognition given by the Communities in Bloom judges is further evidence of the high quality of the planting and maintenance of public spaces across the town.”
Carmel Kirby, Director of Economic Development and Ennis MD with Clare County Council,
“The participation of Ennis in this competition has proven to be an inspirational experience for everybody involved as it brought together the local authority and the community to demonstrate to the visiting international CiB judges how such a collaborative approach has transformed our town into the attractive place we know of today, as well as assist Clare County Council in delivering on its mission of building and developing stable communities.”
To learn more about Clare County Council, read our member-only briefing on Clare’s renewed Rural Development Strategy, which follows the successful implementation of Ireland’s first county-wide rural strategy in 2017.
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