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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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'It's not just about tidiness, it gives you a network and set of friends'

Members of the Wexford Tidy Towns committee travelled to Tidy Towns winner Skerries as part of the Journal Journeys competition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Source: Joe Ryan

LAST YEAR THEJOURNAL.IE teamed up with Irish Rail to give away 100 free group train journeys.

As part of the initiative, groups of up to 50 people could travel to somewhere else in Ireland.

Last weekend, members of the Wexford Tidy Towns committee travelled to Skerries in Dublin, which won the Tidy Towns competition in 2016.

Joe Ryan was among the group to travel to Skerries. He has been involved with the local Tidy Towns committee for about three years.

The group has previously won bronze and silver at the awards and members were hoping people in Skerries could give them some tips on how to go one step further.

Ryan says a number of Tidy Towns groups have visited Skerries in the hope of emulating their success. He notes that, as “an awful lot of place in Ireland have a lot of natural beauty”, towns have to go the extra mile to win the top prize.

“For any voluntary group, winning Tidy Towns is just fantastic. What struck me [Skerries] hadn’t just entered the Tidy Towns, they’re an Age Friendly Town too.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Source: Joe Ryan

Ryan says the group from Wexford met Mary Conway, the secretary of Skerries Tidy Towns, who told them different local groups are responsible for maintaining certain areas.

“It’s not just about tidiness, it promotes a wider understanding of the environment and the value of buildings. It’s a great thing for people who have an interest in plants or environment,” Ryan explains.

Beyond fostering local pride, he says there’s an added benefit for the volunteers, particularly people who may have recently moved into a new area.

“It gives them something to join and look forward to, it gives you a network and set of friends.”

More information on Wexford Tidy Towns can be read here and more details on Skerries Tidy Towns can be read here.

Read: All aboard: 5,000 of you are going on a Journal Journey with Irish Rail

Read: Journeys with TheJournal.ie: ‘In the country, there are people who don’t go beyond the local shop’

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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