RESIDENTS of heritage haven, Westport, may already know the pretty Mayo town is the ‘Best Place to Live in Ireland’ but now thousands of readers of The Irish Times are set to discover the badly kept secret. The newspaper has commissioned a panel of judges to find the best place to live in the country and, unsurprisingly, Westport, is on the longlist of 25.
Westport’s entry was submitted by John O’Callaghan, who used the lyricism of the late writer, John O’Donohue, to encapsulate the town’s appeal: ‘a place could have huge affection for those who dwell there’ (Divine Beauty) and ‘place is not simply location’.
In his citation, Mr O’Callaghan wrote: “Westport has it all. Lovely people, fantastic amenities, gorgeous scenery, a thriving arts and cultural scene, great sports and leisure facilities, a palpable community spirit, a choice of good restaurants, fine schools, a caring social services centre, an active retirement group, flourishing overseas partnerships and more.”
He continued: “There’s always something happening in Westport. The Rolling Sun Literary festival, Gaelforce and Sea to Summit adventure events and the Westport Street Festival every summer, to name but a few. Westport Arts festival always has a great programme and the local St Patrick’s Drama Group have sell-out productions.”
Naturally, he cited holy mountain, Croagh Patrick, as an inspiration for the many the artists and visitors.Speaking about the finalists, Conor Goodman, The Irish Times Features Editor and judging panel chairman , said: “The competition has been very competitive, with so many entries from every part of the country. Now only 25 areas remain, and the judges have an even tougher decision ahead of them. They will be looking at every aspect of these places, from their beauty, to their community spirit, their services, and transport issues. We look forward to revealing the winner in two weeks’ time.”
The winning place will be named ‘The Best Place to Live in Ireland’ on Monday, June 25, in The Irish Times.
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