The judges in the Enterprising Town Competition who visited Kilcullen this morning said they were leaving with a very good impression of the town, writes Brian Byrne, especially its welcoming nature, ability to get down to doing things, and the passion which everybody in the town has for the place.

The judges were Jaqui Gollogly of Bank of Ireland, sponsors of the competition; Tom Hayes, formerly of Enterprise Ireland; and Eddie Breen, formerly Chief Executive of Wexford County Council.

A presentation made under the auspices of Kilcullen Community Action included inputs from KCA chairman Ray Kelly, Nessa Dunlea, Laura Bowen, and representatives from social and sports organisations and business interests in the town. It also showed two videos made by Gareth Landy relating to the town, one on the River Festival last weekend, the other on the plans to redevelop the market square.

A number of residents from the very strong attendance told why they like living in the town, and there was a strong emphasis on how the various elements of the community support each other in many ways.

The Mayor of Kildare, Cllr Martin Miley, noted how Kilcullen has ‘survived and thrived’ up to the present day, and has managed to sustain its deep rooted heritage while embracing modernity.

“Self sufficiency is something that Kilcullen does really well,” he said. “It is known across the county and nationwide as a tight knit and very united community, whilst accepting and encouraging individuality and diversity.”

After the presentation the judges were taken on a short tour of Kilcullen where they saw the historical and modern that underpins and contributes to today’s town. They visited the Community Centre campus which has a wide range of sports and social clubs all in one place. And they spent time in a number of shops, including two of Kilcullen’s icons — Berney Bros Saddlery and Nolans Butchers.

Kilcullen was entered in the competition by Kildare County Council, to represent the county. Sonja Kavanagh of Kildare County Council spoke on the reasons why Kilcullen had been selected. The national results will be announced in November at a function in Tullamore.