Limerick City and County Council has announced that four local projects have been entered in the 2021 Pride of Place competition. 

Tournafulla Community Council, Draw Out Limerick, Lough Gur Development Cooperative Society and Woodlawn Park Residents Association have been nominated as this year’s entries in the following categories.

  • Community Resilience: Tournafulla Community Council
  • Creative Place Initiative: Draw Out Limerick, category
  • Community Tourism: Lough Gur Development Co-operative Society
  • Cities/Urban Neighbourhoods over 3,000: Woodlawn Park Residents Association

The Irish Public Bodies (IPB) Pride of Place 2021 awards are presented in association with Co-operation Ireland. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the competition. This all-island competition is run in conjunction with local authorities north and south. It aims to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that communities make to society along with generating awareness, respect and inclusion for every facet of society.

Pride of Place has enjoyed tremendous success and continues to grow in terms of prestige and popularity.

Traditionally each participating group holds a festival day showcasing its work and its impact on the community for the visiting judging panel. However, during 2020 and 2021, due to Covid restrictions, it was not possible to arrange visits to communities by the judges. While all judging took place virtually in 2020, a mix of virtual and face-to-face meetings with project promoters is the format adopted this year.

Limerick welcomed the judges on 30th August to meet with representatives of two of the projects: Woodlawn Park Residents Association and Draw Out Limerick. Judging of the Lough Gur Development Co-operative Society and Tournafulla Community Council projects took place via online meetings on 31st August.

Congratulating the four Limerick groups, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler said: “These four groups are wonderful advertisements for the community spirit that exists across the city and county. The purpose of the competition is to acknowledge the work being done by communities all over the island of Ireland, recognising endeavours of local people to create civic pride and make their communities great places to live. I think these four Limerick projects demonstrate how people can come together to shape, change and improve the daily lives of people in their communities. They also demonstrate real partnership with the Council and show that all sections of the community can be included.”

Eileen Humphreys, Urban and Rural Community Development, Limerick City and County Council said: “We are delighted with our entrants to Pride of Place in 2021. The efforts and actions of communities are particularly relevant taking into account the challenges that presented over the last 18 months with Covid-19. Each of the nominated projects shows tremendous community spirit, offering support to people in their communities that need it, bringing together different sections of the community including young and older people and taking innovative responses to maintain and grow their projects. Pride of Place is another opportunity to showcase the community spirit throughout the city and county. There is no doubt that the four groups nominated to Pride of Place this year will do Limerick proud and I wish them the very best of luck.”

Limerick has an impressive track record in the competition: Limerick’s previous competition winners were: in 2020, Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project, First Place Winner in the 1,000 – 2,000 population category; 2019 Abbeyfeale Community Council, Runner-up in the 2,500-5,000 population category; in 2018, First Place Award, The Children’s Grief Centre under the Communities Reaching Out Initiative, along with Runners-Up awards for Limerick Civic Trust in the Creative Place Initiative and Kilmeedy in the 0-300 population category.

Among the other Limerick winners were: Broadford in the 0-300 population category in 2016, with Liskennett Farm receiving a Special Award.

Kilteely were the winners in the 0-300 population category in 2015, while Castleview Estate in Newcastle West won their category (Housing Estate) in 2013.

A Special Award was also received by CWell Kings Island in 2014.

The 2021 winners are expected to be announced at a ceremony either in winter 2021 or early in 2022.

The four groups representing Limerick are:

  • Tournafulla Community Council: Tournafulla is a small village in the southwest of the county that has suffered from rural decline. The community, however, is proving its resilience with local initiatives to improve the environment and services for local people, driven by the Tournafulla Community Council. The Community Council is only recently established, set up in March 2019, and is supported by a team of some 50 volunteers including young and older people. The Community Council has worked to create a new vision for the village as well as develop and source funding for local projects.

    A key project is the Community Shop, The Homestore, set up in October 2019. The Community Shop operates as social enterprise running a small grocery shop, newsagents, local craft and food stalls and basic hardware items, and is run by a team of local volunteers. The Community Shop is a focal point for community and has been important in responding to challenges presented by Covid-19, providing a social outlet for people as well as a necessary local service. The Community Council works closely with the GAA club promoting active and healthy lifestyles and with the local national school. Tournafulla and the work of the Community Council offer a model for other small rural villages facing similar issues of remoteness and rural decline.
  • Draw Out Limerick is an urban art initiative established in 2013. Draw Out creates large-scale murals to enhance the urban landscape of Limerick. It responds to the environmental/artistic needs of the city and its communities, identifying, re-imagining and regenerating derelict sites across the city while including the wider community. The project, with its iconic images around the city, including local Limerick personalities, local history and urban culture, contributes to civic pride, cultural identity and the community’s sense of belonging.

    The Group is also involved in projects that support training and employment pathways for most disadvantaged groups targeting former prisoners and youth at risk. Draw Out Limerick builds relationship with public and private institutions within the arts, local and national government and works closely with Limerick City and County Council.
  • Lough Gur Development: The ancient site of Lough Gur is recognised as a site of international significance. The existence of a community in Lough Gur can be traced back over 6,000 years. The site includes over 5,000 monuments within a 5km radius, with over 200 monuments in State care; it has Limerick’s only natural lake of significance and is home to Ireland’s largest and stone circle. The Great Grange Stone Circle of Lough Gur dates back 5,500 years, pre-dating Stonehenge, and is the oldest and largest stone circle in Ireland aligned to the Winter and Summer Solstice.

    Lough Gur Development Cooperative Society is a long-established community group, formed in 1969. Developments at Lough Gur to create and manage a tourism attraction of national and international significance has been supported by a strong partnership approach with Limerick City and County Council, the Local Development Company, Balllyhoura Development, and the local community. Lough Gur Development successfully project-managed the restoration and refurbishment of the Lough Gur Heritage Centre in 2013, which is now listed as one of the top tourist attractions in Limerick city and county. In the recent period, the Group has successfully completed a number of projects to improve the site and facilities and services for visitors. These include: the Lough Gur Solstice Park for children and an Environmental Information Point Kiosk.

    The company also operates Honey Fitz Theatre (on-site at Lough Gur), festivals and events. Lough Gur Development moved online during the Covid-19 crisis and developed a webinar series, which gave access to an online tour and 360 interactive tour service to bring people to Lough Gur when they could not reach the site. The Group promotes best practice visitor management policies through careful management of waste generated by visitors and includes supply of compostable materials, reduction in purchase of pre-packed goods, training of all staff on environmental information, training school groups and visitors on care for the environment. Lough Gur Development is on track to become one of the inner most areas to receive International Dark Sky status, an award recognising a community area’s to protecting their natural environment.
  • Woodlawn Park Residents Association is established for 50 years (set up in 1971 in a newly built estate at the time). The group takes great pride in the area and over the 50 years of its existence, it has been actively promoting environmental improvements, running social activities including family days and outings and generally supporting community – all based on volunteering. The Residents Association has a strong community ethos encouraging involvement of all residents in the estate. The Group promotes inclusiveness and has built a strong sense of community and caring for the residents.

    During Covid-19 restrictions, the work of the Group was crucial in addressing isolation, loneliness and promoting personal and collective wellbeing and mental health. Residents support each other and reach out to any resident in need, especially to the vulnerable, elderly and lonely residents. In relation to the environment of the estate, the Group works to improve biodiversity, maintain the green areas, fruit garden and plant flowers and shrubs. The Grotto at the entrance of the Estate, created by the Residents Association, gives an opportunity for the community to worship, while a memorial Rose Garden has been established in memory of residents who have passed away.

    Over the 50 years of its existence, the Group has organised many events, social, cultural and educational for children and adults, reaching out to all residents. The Group has participated in National Tidy Towns and local Going for Gold competitions, winning various awards. Woodlawn Resident’s Park is working in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council to promote and support environmentally-friendly and well-being projects. The Group’s ethos of “giving back” to the community where the skills are embraced and leveraged to ensure that Woodlawn Park continues to be thriving and beautiful place to live.