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Blooming lovely! Broughshane is named best kept town in Ireland

By Linda Stewart

Broughshane has scooped the top gong at the Ireland's Best Kept Town Awards.

It was named best kept small town before being unveiled as the top winner at a ceremony in Belfast's Riddell Hall.

The all-Ireland title confirms the village is the cleanest, tidiest and best kept town on the island.

Armagh scooped the accolade of best kept large town - a category that includes cities.

Terryglass in Co Tipperary took home best kept village, and Ballincollig in Co Cork was the best kept large urban area.

The annual awards, part of the Tidy Towns initiative, recognise towns and villages across Ireland that consistently take pride in their appearance.

This includes enhancing their natural environment with flowers and foliage, maintaining the exterior of buildings and public facilities and general cleanliness.

Presenting Broughshane with the award, Michelle McIlveen, Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural affairs said: "I congratulate Broughshane on winning this prestigious award.

"I am particularly pleased for those volunteers in Broughshane who, after many years of trying, finally take home this year's overall winner award. To be named best kept town in Ireland is a huge achievement and demonstrates that our small towns can compete on the biggest stage.

"I commend the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) on its success in promoting civic pride for almost 60 years. The work they undertake, in partnership with volunteers, such as those in Broughshane, has obvious immediate effects, for example tidy streets, neat towns and colourful floral displays, as well as neighbourhood pride and community involvement.

"This work also enriches the experience of the tourists who come to our shores and promotes Northern Ireland as a place to visit. The organisers and volunteers in Broughshane should be rightly proud of their award today."

NIAC President Doreen Muskett added: "The competition is designed to reward those who take pride in their communities and those who work tirelessly to make their local environment a pleasant place to work, live and play in. 

"My sincere congratulations to all of this year's award recipients.

"The panel of esteemed judges from all over Ireland had a very difficult task in comparing and selecting the eventual winners, which is a testament to the stunning towns and villages that we are lucky enough to have here in Northern Ireland.

"I am delighted that Broughshane and Armagh have been recognised amongst Ireland's most beautiful spots. It is outstanding to see Broughshane take the overall title. This is a terrific achievement."

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