Locals in Malin still remember the 3rd of May, 1992. That was the day President Mary Robinson visited the small Donegal village to unveil a plaque celebrating their National Winners award in the Tidy Towns Competition.

“That win 25 years ago was the start of a great run for us,” says committee member, Anne Monagle. “For example, we’ve gone on to win either silver or bronze almost every year since the millennium.”

“Continuity has been very important for us. The 10-person committee includes four members who have served since we won in 1992. We’re a small place, with a population of a few hundred, so we’ve always found that small things make a difference. For example, we don’t allow fly-posting and there were no posters put up during the election. It isn’t a law, but we ask people to comply for the sake of our village and they’re happy to help out. You really notice that extra bit of tidiness when you arrive in Malin.”

“I’m delighted the way community groups, religious groups and the G.A.A work together for the benefit of the area. This gives us all access to a team of people in community employment groups, so there is no shortage of manpower and womanpower for community projects around Malin. And of course Canny and Doherty’s SuperValu in Carndonagh has been there for us every step of the way.”

The competitive spirit is alive and well in Malin. “We’re always looking for ways to improve the town, see if we can turn those silver and bronze medals into gold. So, for example, we have a new wildflower garden and bird-watching spots at the entrance to the town. And our community garden, which is allotments for locals, is fully up and running now. Working together, we really feel like we are pulling out all the stops this year.”

And will they win? “Well, if the sun shines on Malin it’s one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. So we’re hoping for good weather when the judges arrive!”