The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards, which is now in its fifth year, bring business and community groups together to support local recovery and rebuilding.

Kinsale in Co Cork has claimed the top prize in the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards 2020, taking home the trophy and a cash prize of €50,000.

Kinsale, which now holds the title of Ireland’s Most Enterprising Town, was revealed as the overall winner on Virgin Media Television’s Ireland AM programme this morning.

The Cork town has embarked on a ‘Kinsale Comeback Campaign’ to attract domestic tourists, and this initiative stood out to the judging panel.

“The enterprising spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude of our communities has always been strong but this is no ordinary year”

The Rising Star Award, which recognises towns that have overcome major challenges, was won by Tallaght in County Dublin, winning a cash prize of €20,000. Carlow town was the runner-up in this category and received €5,000.

Newry was the winner of the City Award and collected a cash prize of €10,000/Sterling equivalent, with Dublin’s Grafton Quarter finishing second in this category.

Category award winners for enterprising towns with populations ranging from under 2,000 people to more than 14,000 people went to Clonbur, Carndonagh, Kinsale, Ballina and Ennis, with each town collecting a cash prize worth €10,000.

“No ordinary year”

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards, which is now in its fifth year, bring business and community groups together to support local recovery and rebuilding. The initiative was fast-tracked to provide funding to winning towns in early October and directly assist their Covid-19 recovery.

“For most of this year, we’ve all had to keep apart but that won’t stop us from working together”

This year, three special Covid-19 response awards were also introduced. Tramore took home a prize of €20,000 and claimed the Local Business and Community Response Initiative Award. Via Wings, a Dromore-based social enterprise, won the Local Community Enterprise Initiative Award and New Ross won the Local Town Promotion Initiative Award.

“The enterprising spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude of our communities has always been strong but this is no ordinary year,” said Francesca McDonagh, CEO at Bank of Ireland.

“Communities across the island of Ireland told us their stories and I’ve been really impressed by their sense of partnership, passion and ambition. This year’s winner – the town of Kinsale – is a wonderful example of those qualities and I congratulate them on everything they have achieved.

“For most of this year, we’ve all had to keep apart but that won’t stop us from working together. The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards are positive proof that communities and businesses can and will overcome this challenge and I’m proud that we at Bank of Ireland can support them,” she added.

The Begin Together Awards are one strand of the Bank of Ireland Begin Together programme, a €4 million three-year initiative to improve the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of Ireland’s communities.

In April, Bank of Ireland also donated a further €1 million in emergency funding to communities with urgent needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more about all of this year’s Begin Together Awards prize winners, visit the Bank of Ireland Begin Together website

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 6 October, 2020

Recommended