Skerries cleans up at Tidy Towns
A Dublin seaside town is celebrating a double Tidy Towns victory, taking home two coveted awards.
Skerries Tidy Towns Committee claimed the awards for Ireland's Tidiest Town at a ceremony in the Helix, fighting off tough competition from 859 villages and towns across the country.
It also scooped the award for Ireland's Tidiest Large Town.
Ray Hunt, manager of the Skerries Mills visitor centre, called the win "unbelievable".
"Skerries has won the gold medal in its category so many times it's unbelievable, but we've never won the overall Tidy Towns," he told the Herald.
"Skerries joined the competition one year after it started - they've been in it for the long haul."
"There aren't big hotels or huge companies to give the money to the committee," he said.
"But after a sunny bank holiday weekend, the place can be trashed, with litter and everything," he said.
"Trying to keep the place tidy is a big job, and I know it's a big job for the committee."
He also said a promised Dart line to Balbriggan could put the hidden gem on the map.
"That (Dart) should bring a huge boost to the town," he said.
"Everybody says it's nice to be the best-kept secret, but we wish it wasn't."
Deirdre Fahy runs Olive Deli and Cafe in the town, and said the committee members were regular customers.
"They're normally in for lunch but I think they're away with a bottle of champagne now," she said.
"They work so hard. There's never any graffiti around the town - they're out painting it right away," she added.
Deirdre is also among the locals who helps out with keeping the streets pristine.
"I have one patch from the Rush Road to town. To be honest, there's hardly anything to pick up because people are really litter-conscious," she said.
"But if there is rubbish, it's my patch and I stop the car and pick it up."
On the seafront, news of the win for Skerries was spreading quickly among locals yesterday afternoon.
Anna Thornton and Wyn Rafter, who have lived in Skerries for years, were delighted with the committee's achievement.
"It's great news. Well done to the people that did it," Anna said.
"Every year, winter and summer, they're out making the place look lovely."
Meanwhile, Evie Anna McKenna from Drogheda was spending the day with her friends Leah Reid (22), Emma Hodges (22) and Leah's daughter Sadie May (17 months).
Evie Anna (21) said the awards came as no surprise.
"Near where we live, towards the end of the day it would be in bits," she added.
"You'd think Skerries would be too, for somewhere that's so popular."