History

The national TidyTowns initiative was launched in 1958 by Bord Fáilte (now Fáilte Ireland). It was originally part of ‘Tostal’, a nationwide festival celebrating all things Irish. A step-up from the original National Spring Clean Campaign, which ran between 1953 and 1957, TidyTowns rapidly developed its own identity and has gone on to become Ireland’s most well known and popular local environmental initiative.

Right from the start, the primary focus of TidyTowns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. The competition aspect was an important element in developing friendly rivalry that would help boost standards across the board. The winner of the first competition held in 1958 was Glenties, Co Donegal. However, the emphasis was always on participating rather than winning as the very act of taking part brought benefits to the community. As a result of this focus on long-term results rather than quick returns, TidyTowns was seen as a unique and far-sighted initiative.

Although just 52 towns entered in its first year, TidyTowns rapidly increased in popularity with an average of 700 entrants per year. Its success also spawned many other initiatives at national, county and local level, which further boosted its reputation and impact. It is impossible to accurately estimate the number of people who have had some involvement in TidyTowns, but its safe to say it has run into the hundreds of thousands, and its influence on the transformation of Ireland’s landscape is undeniable.

The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs assumed responsibility for TidyTowns and now organises the initiative with the support of national sponsor SuperValu and a number of other agencies. While its success continues, and while it has moved with the times, the competition still retains the same core principle of its founders – “make your place a better place.”

Furthermore, to access additional information on the history of TidyTowns, make sure to check out our extensive on-line archive. This includes the full set of written reports on every participant since 1996, publications of special interest to TidyTowns over the years and the complete list of overall winners. This section will expand as we gather more and more items from the rich past of the SuperValu TidyTowns, so please make sure to visit from time to time.

TidyTowns of Ireland, 1958 – 2008, Celebrating 50 years

A commemorative publication commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and SuperValu to celebrate the 50th anniversary of TidyTowns, with a focus on the winning entrants since 1958. © Whitespace Publishing Group 2008.

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History of TidyTowns 1958 – 1982

History of TidyTowns commissioned by Bord Fáilte and carried out by Anco this is the definitive guide to the origins of TidyTowns. Reproduced with the kind permission of Fáilte Ireland. © Fáilte Ireland 1982.

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List Of Winners

  • 1958 Glenties, Co. Donegal
    1959 Glenties, Co. Donegal
    1960 Glenties, Co. Donegal
    1961 Rathvilly, Co. Carlow
    1962 Glenties, Co. Donegal
    1963 Rathvilly, Co. Carlow
    1964 Virginia, Co. Cavan
    1965 Virginia, Co. Cavan
    1966 Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan
    1967 Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan
    1968 Rathvilly, Co. Carlow
    1969 Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath
    1970 Malin, Co. Donegal
    1971 Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan
    1972 Trim, Co. Meath
    1973 Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow
    1974 Trim, Co. Meath, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan
    1975 Kilsheelan, Co. Tipperary (SR)
    1976 Adare, Co. Limerick
    1977 Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath
    1978 Glaslough, Co. Monaghan
    1979 Kilsheelan, Co. Tipperary (SR)
    1980 Newtowncashel, Co. Longford
    1981 Mountshannon, Co. Clare
    1982 Dunmanway, Co. Cork
    1983 Terryglass, Co. Tipperary (NR)
    1984 Trim, Co. Meath
    1985 Kilkenny City, Co. Kilkenny
    1986 Kinsale, Co. Cork
    1987 Sneem, Co. Kerry
  • 1988 Carlingford, Co. Louth
    1989 Ardagh, Co. Longford
    1990 Malahide, Co. Dublin
    1991 Malin, Co. Donegal
    1992 Ardmore, Co. Waterford
    1993 Keadue, Co. Roscommon
    1994 Galbally, Co. Limerick
    1995 Glenties, Co. Donegal
    1996 Ardagh, Co. Longford
    1997 Terryglass, Co. Tipperary (NR)
    1998 Ardagh, Co. Longford
    1999 Clonakilty, Co. Cork
    2000 Kenmare, Co. Kerry
    2001 Westport, Co. Mayo
    2002 Castletown, Co. Laois
    2003 Keadue, Co. Roscommon
    2004 Lismore, Co Waterford
    2005 Ennis, Co. Clare
    2006 Westport, Co. Mayo
    2007 Aughrim, Co. Wicklow
    2008 Westport, Co. Mayo
    2009 Emly, Co. Tipperary
    2010 Tallanstown, Co. Louth
    2011 Killarney, Co. Kerry
    2012 Abbeyshrule, Co. Longord
    2013 Moynalty, Co. Meath
    2014 Kilkenny City, Kilkenny
    2015 Letterkenny, Co.Donegal
    2016 Skerries, Co. Dublin