President Higgins unveils the SuperValu Tidy Towns plaque in Birdhilll watched by his wife Sabina; Ann Barry, PRO Birdhill Tidy Towns, and Denis Floyd, Birdhill Tidy Towns chair
On a day of glorious sunshine, Birdhill celebrated its National Tidy Towns award in equally glorious fashion last Saturday with a visit to the village by President Michael D Higgins.
President Higgins and his wife, Sabina, mingled with residents, listened to the wonderful entertainment provided by local Comhaltas musicians and took a stroll in Birdhill's fabulous park following a guard of honour by pupils from Birdhil National School who had made their Holy Communion that morning.
President Higgins told the gathering that he knew the village well from his travels to and from Glenstal Abbey, and he could see there was “no doubt why you won”.
He was delighted to see at first hand the fruits of their labour, he said.
He knew their reward had been built up over a number of years and, he said, “to achieve what you have achieved requires spirit and community. When you see people work together it is very impressive and is good for the future of your community.”
The President was delighted to see young people involved in the work, and, referring to the trees in the park, he said they would “grow and flourish” like the children themselves.
Mr Higgins acknowledged the level of stress Birdhill had put on the evnironment, which he said, was an example to everyone.
He said it was wonderful that the community had put into practice the ideas of the Paris Climate Cange Agreement and the papal encyclical Laudato Si.
“You are giving practical example to respect the environment and to climate change challenges,” he said.
President Higgins said that Birdhill was an inspiring role model for communities all over Ireland and their Tidy Towns win had brought them admiration and respect “from across the land”.
Referring to the use of the old phone box in the village as a space for a book exchange, the President quoted from Charles Kickham's Knocknagow, saying that its message of for the sake of the little village “so perfectly captures your ethos and sense of pride”.
The chairman of Birdhill Tidy Towns, Denis Floyd, said it was 26 years since the village first entered the competition.
“This is a wonderful day for Birdhill, when the little village takes centre stage and stands proud,” he said.
“Birdhill is small but big in spirit. Long may the little village be a beacon for the rest to follow,” he said.
Mr Floyd said Saturday's celebration was not just about the village but about the community in it.
Also attending was Cllr Phyll Bugler, Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council; Cllr John Carroll, Cathaoirleach, Nenagh MDC; TDs Jackie Cahill and Alan Kelly, local councillors and council officials.