Ardara is officially the Best Village To Live in Ireland.
But the overall title of Best Place has gone to the Co Mayo town of Westport.
“Westport is a beautiful place, well-kept and pleasant to visit, but those aren’t the reasons it won”, said Conor Goodman, Irish Times features editior, who chaired the judging panel.
“The judges chose Westport because it is a community of people working together to make the best of the town’s many advantages.”
Edel Morgan spoke passionately for Ardara: “They have done everything in their power to make the very best of what they have . . . That has to count for something”.
Morgan described as the “unbelievable community spirit” of the people and the stunning beauty of Ardara; the 12 festivals (one to welcome those from ethnic backgrounds); the state-of-the-art creche set up by a woman who worked without pay for the first year; the huge GAA presence?
She also spoke of the 30 per cent unemployment rate, how people double- and triple-job to survive. But above all came the message that this is a place where people look out for each other. Brian Forrest, a “blow-in” from Scotland, who now runs North West Sea Kayaking in the village, would not be “lured away by a better income elsewhere. Ardara is rich in a lot of other ways”.
For more, see today’s Irish Times.