Community Spirit in Coolaney

Yesterday was an exciting day in Coolaney village when the judges for the IPB Pride of Place Awards came to visit. Coolaney was one of two Sligo places nominated and it was a real community effort. There was the butcher, the bakers and the candlestick makers…OK maybe not the latter but certainly the rest.

I’ve lived in Coolaney for almost 28 years, in fact all the time that I’ve lived in Ireland. There’s no other place I’d like to live. We have a beautiful scenic village, lots of different groups to be a part of and a great community spirit. There’s always a friendly smile and a cheery hello.

You can take part in singing, drawing, football, cycling and that’s just to name a few. The Coolaney Tidy Towns have won awards for over 20 years, the ICA have been in operation for over 50 years and Mary told us and the judges all about their lovely organisation in the fantastic event yesterday.

There was Irish music, Irish dancing – including a dance down by the river – an actual, real, Riverdance! There was gospel singing, afternoon tea, Italian food, cup cakes, sandwiches and so many smiling volunteers.

“The purpose of the competition is to acknowledge the work being done every day by communities all over the island of Ireland. Since the competition commenced our judges have met hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom are proud of their place. The competition is based on communities demonstrating directly to the judges their pride in their place by oral presentation, exhibitions of community activities and culture and a tour of the area highlighting the aspects of which they are particularly proud. It is also important that the community demonstrates real partnership with their local council and shows that all sectors of the community are included.”

Hopefully our village showed the judges that we are an inclusive community, there really is something for everyone. It’s only going to get better with the new Mountain Bike Centre and the new Community Cafe which are planned for next year. So fingers crossed for the winners announcement and even if we don’t win I was proud to be a part of it.

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