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Chambers at Large in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, Ireland

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

I’m a little late congratulating the county town of Leitrim for winning the Best Kept Towns Competition 2023, but better late than never! A hearty congratulations to Carrick-on-Shannon for being the overall winner of this annual competition which encourages cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland to clean up their homeplace and take heart-warming pride in their locality.

I visited Carrick-on-Shannon earlier this week with a friend from England and we were both very impressed with the town, deservedly gaining the national award. It just goes to show that with a little ingenuity, a bit of money and an inspiring team of workers a town can actually blossom, and I mean that literally and figuratively!

Carrick-on-Shannon is on the main road from the west of Ireland (Sligo) to Dublin, but a busy thoroughfare did not daunt the Tidy Towners. A fabulous rural area has been created along the banks of River Shannon, where people were walking, cycling and taking in the glorious mid-September weather. A copse of woodland is a bird sanctuary complete with bird boxes; apple trees grow in a small orchard and I’m told locals availed of their fruits; and there is a beautiful herb garden which smelled delicious.

A small library is even available where people can borrow a book for free! I will certainly contribute to that when I return.

Stunning wild flowers attract butterflies and bees and lovely signs declare:

pardon the weeds, they’re for the bees.

I admit I am going to place a few of those signs around my own homestead in order that visitors believe I’m not a lazy gardener, but an environmentalist!

A walkway over the river, allowing people to avail of lovely views of the waters, the ducks and the swans, is a pleasure to behold.

The cruisers and boats moored nearby bob by the reeds and I really must take a tour along the river one of these fine days.

A beautiful sculpture of St Eiden stands proudly overlooking the garden walkways. She founded a convent circa 600AD near Carrick-on-Shannon and although the nunnery is long gone “eleven pure gold balls were found” near the site in 1834. Nine are now displayed in The National Museum of Ireland. (Yet another place I must visit when in Dublin!)

There a several places to stay in the town and the main streets are abustle with shoppers, diners and flaneurs, like myself, who just likes to bumble around seeing what bargains can be had, or spot a little photographic gem like a clocktower!

On the corner of Bridge Street is the smallest chapel in Ireland, perhaps the second smallest in the world. It is the resting place of Mary Josephine and Edward Costello, the latter commissioning the chapel after the death of his wife in the late 1800s. It most certainly is “a remarkable example of one man’s deep love for his wife” and both lie in coffins under glass within the lovely church.

This tiny, espousal memorial is in stark contrast to St Mary’s Church which is in the centre of the town overlooking the multicoloured buildings, adorned with bunting and fabulous floral displays.

Kudos to all those who worked hard to ensure Carrick-on-Shannon was made the worthy winner of the Best Kept Towns Competition. I hope my photographs of the town do it justice!


Carrick-on-Shannon is not far from Lough Key which I have previously featured in my blog. Please click on the link to learn more.

And just down the road heading north is the Arigna Mine which is filled with local history and well worth a visit when in the area.

A lovely drive around north Leitrim and north Sligo with a tale of daring can be discovered on the de Cuellar trail. Learn more by clicking on the link please.

Keep heading north and you will come to the lovely lakes of Fermanagh. Tranquil and seeped in history.

It is surprising what you will find on your doorstep and many places do not require an entrance fee, an added bonus!

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How nice to know this is not far from your home. I especially like the photo of the bike with flowers in its baskets, parked by the post or tree. At first I thought it was really a personal bike, parked while its owner was running an errand .....and then I realized it was a Tidy Town display.

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