Originally from Castletownbere, Winnie O’Sullivan, Chairperson of Bantry Tidy Towns has lived in Bantry for 46 years. A member of Bantry Tidy Towns for over 20 years, Winnie, who also volunteers at CoAction, says she loves being involved in an organisation that works at improving her adopted hometown.
“I love it,” she says “it’s nice to be living and working in a place that looks so well. And we truly have the most amazing volunteers…most of the men and women in the Tidy Towns group are in full-time jobs during the day and manage to come out volunteering with the Tidy Towns before even going home for their dinner in the evenings. There is a great sense of pride in the Bantry community.”
In May of this year, Bantry scooped the overall prize at ‘Ireland’s Best Kept Towns Awards’. The town also picked up the ‘Best Kept Small Town Award’.
Bantry Tidy Towns is part of the Bantry Project Group, which also includes Bantry Business Association, Bantry Chamber of Commerce and the Bantry Development and Tourism Association.
“We were amazed and delighted at the win,” shares Winnie. We had amazing community support and we all worked extremely hard and well together in achieving this fantastic result. We are so proud of our wonderful volunteers, businesses, groups and individuals who have supported us. Nobody ever says no to our requests, which is heartening.”
The community in Bantry has a great commitment to the quality of their environment and community development.
Three years ago, the Bantry Tidy Towns committee made out a programme of improvements they felt needed to be made in the town. Since then, a number of areas in the town have received a makeover by the Tidy Towns’ team, from the Peace Park to the playground. Bantry Peace Park Project recently won the Best Project in a Large Town in West Cork in the 2019 ‘Pride in our Community’ Competition.
For a number of years, the Peace Park was just a green space until Bantry Tidy Towns under Winnie took on the project, installing a Muga – a multi-use games area for basketball and football; and planting a number of native and fruit trees and a large pollinator bed. Future plans for the Peace Park include a sensory garden, a maze and a walkway around the perimetre of the park.
Planting for pollinators is high on Bantry Tidy Towns’ list of priorities with the planting of the pollinator bed in the Peace Park, a mixed native hedge and a living willow tunnel in the town so far this year.
With nine points gained in this year’s Tidy Towns competition, another fantastic achievement, Bantry surely has Gold in its sights for next year!
Volunteers are always welcome to join Bantry Tidy Towns group. Every Tuesday night, the group meets at the Square at 7.30pm from March onwards.