The Tidy Towns competition began as a national spring clean festival called An Tostal which translated to “Ireland at Home”. It encouraged civic participation and pride of place. 
The qualities and aspirations of the Tidy Town committee has always been to make our place better, to instil pride in our community and to protect our landscape and heritage to hand on to the generations to come after us.

Kenmare is naturally endowed and we in Kenmare Tidy Towns work hard to protect and enhance the beautiful canvas that we have inherited.

Kenmare Tidy Towns have been entering the Tidy Towns Competition for over 60 years, since 1959.

At the beginning we took baby steps. But with planning and action we gradually improved in the Tidy Towns competition, winning Endeavour awards, Kerry’s Tidiest Town, Ireland’s Tidiest Small town, and Ireland’s Best Kept Small town (which is a 32 county award).

We also won the overall award in the Best Kept Small Town competition making us Ireland’s Tidiest Town in the 26 counties and Ireland’s Best Kept town – in the 32 counties.
In 2015, 11 year old Lucy Daly was highly commended with a Supervalu, Tidy Towns Junior Community Hero Award. Lucy, who was nominated by fellow Kenmare Tidy Towns Committee members and local Kenmare SuperValu retailer Derry Murphy, was recognised for her unwavering commitment to enhancing the town.

In the year 2000 Tidy Towns introduced Gold Medals for the high achievers. In September 2019 we won our 20th Gold medal for Kenmare. We are very happy and proud, as this means we have maintained an extremely high standard.

 Participation in Kenmare Tidy Towns is open to all age groups, young people are encouraged to participate.
In 2020, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, and the restrictions put in place to curb the disease, the competition was cancelled.
For 2021, with the pandemic ongoing, the competition was be judged remotely. This was also the year that the UN Sustainable Development Goals became part of the application form. 
We now have 23 gold medals, an achievement which we are very proud of!
Our trophies can be found in the display cabinet, located in the Supervalu Railway Road shopping centre.

Archdeacon Michael Murphy 1925-2020 

 “He came from Sneem among the hills, To our little nest Kenmare, Like the North Atlantic Drift,  He was a breath of sweet fresh air

Originally from Headford, Fr Murphy served in Kenmare from 1989 to 2004. He spent a number of years in Sneem before coming to Kenmare, winning a gold medal for the village in 1987. After arriving in Kenmare, it wasn’t long before Fr. Murphy had whipped the town of Kenmare into shape and in the 14 years that he spent with us we went from strength to strength, both spiritually and in Tidy Towns.

He had a positive attitude. He was always vibrant and fun to be with. He taught us to have pride of place – whether we won awards or not. He had a very warm smile that lit up his face.  He was a man of vision. He could see the little things but he was always aware of the bigger picture. Vision without action is only a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. But vision with action can change the world. He always said that leadership and example are very important but that you can’t have leadership without example.

In Christ’s teaching he says “He who is the greatest must become the least and become the servant of all.” In those years, litter and cleanliness were very big topics in the Tidy Town competition.

Fr. Murphy did not expect us to be the litter pickers alone. He came out with us, put his shoulder to the wheel and showed us that there was no shame in picking up litter and making our town litter free. When Fr. Murphy was on the prowl - every piece of litter felt like a turkey does, before Christmas! He did not do it for self-gratification but for the good of all.

In 2004 he moved to Killarney, resulting in a third Kerry Town under his watch becoming the overall winner in 2011.

In November 2019 - the Kenmare Tidy Towns committee visited him on their return from the award ceremony in Ennis to show him Kenmare's 20th Gold Medal. He was proud and honoured to hold it in both his hands. He was thanked sincerely for all his help and he humbly said “Sure we did it together”.

Bhí sé flaithiúil lena chabhair agus a chomhairle agus a mholadh. 

Guímid rath Dé air agus gabhaimid buíochas mór leis.

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