The village of Tyrrellspass in County Westmeath has been chosen as Ireland's entry for European Architectural Heritage Year.
Tyrrellspass has been selected to represent Ireland in an international contest to find the community that has contributed most to European Architectural Heritage Year 1975.
Laid out in the nineteenth century by Jane Countess of Belvedere, local people have long taken pride in their village. Tyrrellspass won the Tidy Towns competition in 1969. The attractive village green is surrounded by a crescent of Victorian houses and St Sinian's Church of Ireland which was built circa 1810.
This announcement means that the village will be even further improved, as assistance and advice has been pledged by Bord Fáilte, Westmeath County Council and Bord na Móna.
Quinn from Bord Fáilte is one expert who has put his services at the disposal of the village. One of his recommendations is to relocate electricity cables underground, as they block views of Tyrrellstown Castle, which was built by Norman lords the Tyrrells and dates from the 15th century.
Outdoor street advertising and signage is another issue. Fred Quinn says that the project’s ethos of engagement with the local community at all levels and during all stages of the process means that it is also,
An entire experiment in gentle persuasion.
The village’s development committee is also aware of the delicate nature of the situation, and so far relations between all groups seem to be positive. Perhaps that is made easier by the fact that, as one member of the committee explains,
They’re a nice crowd here in Tyrrellspass.
There is also the issue of the village’s location on the main Dublin Galway road, and the ever increasing amount of traffic. Some have called for Tyrrellspass to be bypassed. Whatever happens, people are focused on improving their locality, and this project ties in with a vision of caring for the place they call home,
We’ve worked very hard on our own steam since 1967...now that we’ve the assistance of Westmeath County Council we’ll do extremely well.
This episode of 'Newsround’ was broadcast on 6 April 1975. The reporter is Seán Duignan.