Clare will be represented in the all-island initiative by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd. in Category 3 for population centres of between 750 and 1,500 people, Clarecastle Community Development Ltd. in Category 4 for population centres of between 1,500 and 4,000 people, Tuamgraney Community Woodland in Category 6 (Eco Community Initiative), and Clarisford Ltd. (Killaloe/Ballina)
The four communities will be hoping to emulate Clare's success in last year's competition when Miltown Malbay was named overall winner of Category 3. Clare was also represented in 2013 by An Sean Dún Housing Estate in Roslevan and Mountshannon Community Council.
The annual all-island competition, which is run by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with local authorities north and south of the border, aims to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that communities make to society. The 2014 award ceremony is this year being hosted by Clare County Council and will be held at Treacys West County Hotel, Ennis, in November.
Reacting to the news of her group’s nomination, Marie Clare Gorman, Secretary of Clarecastle Community Development noted how Clarecastle can be characterised by "its strong volunteerism culture and sense of togetherness."
She added: "An enviable GAA complex, Peoples Park, new primary school, Daycare Centre, new playground, community garden and thriving village market are testaments to a proud community’s capacity to continuously improve life for its residents. Community spirit is best epitomised by a resurgent Tidy Towns committee and almost 50 voluntary community organisations."
Joss Lowry, Clarisford Ltd commented: "Clarisford Park is an example of how sport and recreation can facilitate change in community, grow friendships, develop social relationships and flourish community spirit into undertaking new initiatives. The positive effect Clarisford Park is making on community life is evident not only in the increase in numbers participating in sport and recreational activity but also the number of new groups set up as a result of available resources. This momentum in community activity has built on the ‘Two Towns, One Community’ concept of cooperation in Killaloe Ballina."
Paddy Dunne, Chairperson of Lisdoonvarna Fáilte paid tribute to the local groups and associations who have combined to create "a modern and vibrant business, tourism and agricultural hub for the wider region".
He continued: "A commitment to safeguarding the social and economic sustainability of its communities, whilst also ensuring the sustainability of its exceptional natural and cultural heritage, is a binding principle for all active groups. Led by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd, the community is currently engaged in a process of re-invigorating Lisdoonvarna’
Mary Cassidy, Chairperson of Tuamgraney Development Association welcomed the inclusion of Tuamgraney Community Woodland in this year's Pride of Place competition. "The Woodland was established in 2007 to help raise awareness of biodiversity within the local community and act as an outdoor classroom for the children of the area. Our inclusion in this year's Pride of Place competition will help to raise the profile of the wonderful native woodland amenity in the wider Tuamgraney area," she added.
The participating Clare communities will be busy preparing while waiting on their judging dates during which each will have 2.5 hours with the judges to showcase their work. Community group winners, runners up and special award recipients will receive a trophy and a monetary prize at November’s awards ceremony in Ennis.
Pride of Place was first piloted in the summer of 2003 and came from the Local Authority All-Island Steering Forum - a forum that encourages strategic, sustainable approaches to cross border co-operation.