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Mulranny pull out all the stops for Entente Florale visit

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TEAM EFFORT Members of Mulranny Entente Florale Committee, Mayo County Council representatives, local volunteers and jury members pictured on Mulranny Promenade at the Entente Floral adjudication day in Mulrannry. Pic: Conor McKeown

Judges visited Mulranny to assess village for prestigious European competition

Anton McNulty

THE publicity and the positive community spirit fostered by the Entente Florale competition made the whole experience worthwhile, according to the Chairperson of Mulranny Tidy Towns, despite some criticism from the judges last Friday.
The nine judges in the 2019 Entente Florale competition arrived in Mulranny on Friday morning where they were given a presentation by the local organising committee in the Mulranny Park Hotel, before they were taken on a tour of the village.
Entente Florale Europe is a competition for villages, towns and cities in nine European countries and Mulranny was chosen as Ireland’s representative in this year’s village category.
The aim is to raise the awareness of the importance of the green environment to the quality of living in participating communities.
Mary Joyce, the Chairperson of Mulranny Tidy Towns, said they were delighted with how the village looked for the judges and that the whole community had bought into the competition and ‘pulled out all the stops’.
“We are very happy with it and it was a great experience to be involved in. We have been working with the council on this for the last six months and are delighted that a number of jobs such as footpaths and new street furniture and signage have resulted from it. The whole community bought into it and pulled out all the stops to have the village looking wonderful,” she said.
Among the locations which the judges visited were: St Brendan’s Village, The Promenade, The Great Western Greenway, Tourist Office, the Old Station House, The Pier, the local national school and the Murrevagh Cemetery.
The nine judges, chaired by Rudi Geerardyn from Belgium, had ten criteria which they were adjudicating on and quizzed the local organisation on these criteria. While they praised a number of aspects such as the landscape, the Greenway, the involvement of the local schoolchildren, and the restoration of the station house, Mary said she was surprised that they were critical of the new promenade, seen by many in the village as the jewel in the crown.

Feedback
“We did not know what to expect but we received feedback at the end and they were critical of aspects which we were surprised with. They did say at the beginning that they were not here as tourists but as adjudicators, but even the council officials were a bit shocked at some of the questions.
“They were critical of the promenade, which they thought was just concrete, and they did not like the idea of cars at the beach. They felt the beach should be just for walkers and bicycles.
“We were a bit surprised by what they said about the promenade because we think it is beautiful and a great asset for the village. It allows people to sit outside, take in the views and is a fantastic spot.
“We were a bit taken aback to be honest but our mentor Christy Boylan [one of the Irish judges] said not to worry about it as they are critical with every place they visit. I am not a bit worried, we have the village looking wonderful and we are happy with that,” she said.
The judges will mark each entrant based on ten criteria and the results will be revealed in an awards ceremony in Austria in September where based on their results, winning entrants will be given gold, silver or bronze medals.
Mary said they will take feedback given by the judges on board and see how they can improve the village but added they were hampered by what they could do by the lack of space. One project which they will look to advance is the restoration of a grass walkway along the causeway, which was damaged by storms and the redevelopment of the pier.