Posted by Jacqueline Hogge, The Tuam Herald in News.

Two of Galway’s communities are celebrating honours at this year’s National Pride of Place competition with Belclare-Sylane and Claregalway flying the flag for Galway at the All-Ireland awards.

More than 800 people attended a gala ceremony in Ennis last Saturday evening for the 12th Annual IPB Pride of Place Awards in association with Co-operation Ireland.

Belclare-Sylane Community Council were runner up in their category, which honoured communities between 750 and 1,500 in population, while Claregalway also made it to the podium on the night as runner up in the population category 1,500–4,000.

The awards recognise cities, towns and communities that show respect and inclusion for every sector in local areas and create communities to which the people are proud to say they belong.

Speaking to The Tuam Herald this week, Belclare Cllr Sean Canney said it was a fantastic achievement for the area, to receive national recognition for its community work.

“To think we are second out of 32 counties to be acknowledged for the work our Community Council has been doing since it was established is tremendous,” he said. “This was the first time we were nominated for the awards by Galway County Council who were impressed with our work in establishing the sports community project in the village in recent years.”

“When we found out we were being nominated for Pride of Place we extended it out to include all the other amazing work that has been done through the years across both Belclare and Sylane. The Community Council want to acknowledge the efforts of all the people and organisations who helped with our submission. We also acknowledge the assistance received from Galway County Council who nominated us for the competition. Belclare-Sylane Community Council was setup in the 1970s and this award is in recnogition of the work and sacrifices of many people over that time.”

Both communities received crystal trophies and a cheque for €500 as part of their prize, with the trophies expected to go on display in both villages over the coming weeks.

Galway claimed five awards on the night with Doughiska-Merlin Woods scooping the top prize in Category Two of the cities competition, which is for communities of over 1,000 people. Chonamara Láir came runner up in the Islands and Costal Communities Category and was also nominated for a LivCom Award.

“Pride of Place celebrates what people like about where they live, the people and the areas that make a community what it is,” said Peter Sheridan, Co-operation Ireland CEO.

“Co-operation Ireland values this Pride of Place competition as a key driver in community development and for the past twelve years, it has been an integral part of our work. However, we would not be able to do it without the support of our sponsors IPB, our judging panel, the Pride of Place Committee and everyone who works to make it a success.”