How to Apply - Tidy Towns Competition

The National Tidy Towns is an annual competition organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development. It was first held in 1958 and has changed significantly over the years. It is now recognised as an exemplar competition in terms of sustainability and the environment.

Athea - National Tidy Towns Competition

    Competition Prize Categories

    The competition is organised on a national basis and prize categories are based on cities, towns and villages population size.

    • Villages: A (Under 200) and B (201 to 1,000)
    • Small Towns: C (1,001 to 2,500) and D (2,501-5,000)
    • Large Towns: E (5,001 to 10,000) and F (10,001 to 15,000)
    • Large Urban Centres: G (15,001 to 25,000) and H (25,0001 and over)

    The deadline for submission is normally towards the end of May and the competition is judged during the summer months (May to August) by an independent adjudicator, who issues each town with a written report complimenting positive development and actions and providing positive suggestions on how the community can improve their general surroundings. This competition covers many aspects of environment and prizes are awarded to winners of all areas. Other than that, there's an overall winner named as Ireland's Tidiest Town which is announced in autumn.

    Topics currently included in the application form:

    • About You
    • Community; Your Planning and Involvement (60 Marks) - Includes Map and A 3-5 year TidyTowns development plan
    • Streetscape & Public Spaces (60 Marks)
    • Green Spaces & Landscaping (60 Marks)
    • Nature & Biodiversity in Your Locality (50 Marks)
    • Sustainability; Doing More With Less (50 Marks)
    • Tidiness & Litter Control (90 Marks)
    • Residential Street & Housing Areas (50 Marks)
    • Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes (50 Marks)

    Community - Your Planning and Involvement (60 Marks)

    Marks are awarded for the overall quality of the Application Form, town/village map and appropriateness of backup material submitted with your entry. Other key issues are the participation of the local community, businesses, schools and youth in general, working partnerships with local civic agencies, works carried out and appropriate projects completed, existence of an achievable updated TidyTowns Plan. Consideration will be given to social inclusion, whole of community approach, the role of volunteers and new residents in activities.

    Streetscape & Public Spaces (60 Marks)

    Buildings: Conservation and presentation of heritage buildings and quality of shop-fronts will be considered, taking account of the design, sustainability, accessibility, usability and suitability of new structures or civic amenity buildings for all people, regardless of age, size, ability or disability. Please highlight the efforts made to address derelict sites and unoccupied buildings even if unsuccessful.

    Public Spaces: Consideration will be given to squares, parks, streetscape, paving, landscaping and street furniture mindful of sustainability and access for all. Condition of street lighting, building facade lighting, appropriately designed signage and way-finding relating to streets and place nameplates. Attention will be given to the presentation of parking locations, historical trails, walkways and access points to local amenities or facilities and the general use of the Irish language.

    Green Spaces & Landscaping (60 Marks)

    Communities should demonstrate the following:

    • The planning, design and management of green spaces.
    • The selection and appropriate siting of trees and their ongoing maintenance, including formative pruning, watering and attention to the stakes and ties.
    • Presentation of landscaping of all entrances to your town/village/locality in consultation with your local authority, where appropriate.
    • The use of suitable plants for hedges and shrubs for year round effect is important as is the siting of seasonal bedding schemes where you wish to highlight important areas.
    • The use of plant containers can provide impact where it is not possible to plant directly into the ground. To reduce maintenance tasks limit the use of containers.
    • To demonstrate the year round impact of the landscape works in your community, you are encouraged to provide dated photographs of, for example, daffodil schemes which are not evident in summertime.

    Nature & Biodiversity in Your Locality (50 Marks)

    Show your understanding and awareness of nature and biodiversity in your locality. This may include protected areas and/or areas important for conservation e.g. waterways, field boundaries, coastal features etc.

    Show an appreciation of how your local species and habitats should be best managed and protected. Evidence of co-operation with expert groups and relevant authorities, especially in carrying out work in sensitive areas is desirable.

    Sustainability; Doing More With Less (50 Marks)

    Describe how your activities help to make your centre more sustainable and reduce your environmental impact. For example, consider how you use your resources (e.g. methods or materials you use), in your project work under one or more of the following key themes: sustainability, water, transport, waste, energy, and climate action. Describe awareness raising activities carried out across your community and detail any involvement with other Community Groups in this category.

    Tidiness & Litter Control (90 Marks)

    Tidiness: General lack of clutter, blocked footpaths, redundant poles, unsightly overhead electric cables, absence of graffiti and fly-posting and evidence of control of weed growth at kerbs. Absence of unsightly and/or inappropriate advertising, such as that on gables of buildings and mass produced advertising banners in shop fronts. Please note that although general tidiness is evaluated and marked in this category, tidiness is also considered under other categories including the Streetscape & Public Places, Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes.

    Litter: The adjudicator will assess the absence of litter and dumping, evidence of litter control strategy, including regular litter patrols, segregation of collected litter during clean-ups and promotion of anti-litter awareness throughout community.

    Residential Street & Housing Areas (50 Marks)

    Residential streets that include town houses are integral parts of towns and villages and should be treated in a similar fashion to public and private housing developments. Consideration is given to proper presentation and maintenance of all properties with due awareness given to maintenance of frontages, boundary and gable end walls. Gardens, where applicable, should be presented to a good standard. In housing developments green areas should be cut regularly. Children’s play areas to be considered with equipment maintained to best standards. Where possible individual estates should have suitable name signs - stones, plaques, sign posts, etc. preferably bilingual. Unfinished estates will not reflect badly on the efforts of any community but examples of how the community is addressing this issue should be highlighted.

    Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes (50 Marks)

    Appropriate presentation of approach roads, including the roadside verges and their boundary treatment. The appearance of town and village streets, connecting roads, laneways, bridges and cycle lanes. Provision for inclusive access and pedestrian connections.

    Mapping your Town or Village

    Please draw or attach a sketch or printed map of your town/village/area with street and place names and prominent landmarks. The locations of your new work for this year’s competition should also be marked. Ensure each project is clearly listed in the legend.

    Please refer to the notes on Page 10 of the application booklet SuperValu TidyTowns 2021 Entry Form available on

    Please note the following advice:

    • A hand-drawn map is perfectly acceptable if a formal printed map is not available or suitable
    • Map should be a manageable size; A4 or A3 depending on the layout of your town or village
    • Please name priority streets/roads as necessary and mark the key public buildings/landmarks
    • You are advised not to use Google mapping
    • You may find Ordnance Survey Ireland Urban (or Rural as applicable) ‘Place’ Maps most useful
    • A clear legend is essential; please ensure that a unique numbering sequence is applied