CARLINGFORD, A PRETTY lough-side town dominated by a 12th century castle, has been rated the best place to live in Ireland in 2011.
A website called LikePlace.ie had over 6,000 users rate places in Ireland and the Co Louth town came out on top with an average score of 4.5 out of five. A close second and third were ‘Skull’ in Co Cork (we presume they mean Schull) and Portmagee in Co Kerry.
Portmagee is probably less well known than Schull as a tourist spot but it is noteworthy for an interesting tradition the village observes every New Year’s Eve. The ‘Old Year’ Festival sees locals accompany an old wizened character up the main street in a torchlit parade. At the stroke of midnight, the ‘Old Year’ character ‘dies’ and is replaced by a younger, more vigorous version. The tradition was apparently brought to the area by the French crew of a ship that landed in the area in 1727 and has been carried on ever since. A more comprehensive history of it can be read here on moorings.ie.
The fourth best place to live in Ireland in 2011, according to LikePlace users, is Athlone, Co Westmeath and the Cork suburb of Douglas. A total of 1,849 places were graded on the site. On a county level, Co Donegal was rated the best to live in and Co Meath the worst. Sligo, Louth and Cavan were the runners-up for best quality of life while Dublin, Limerick and Wexford were rated almost as bad as Meath in 2011. Some of the comments on the site elaborate on why people voted the way they did…
The overall quality of life in Ireland was rated as 3.8 out of 5. This graph shows the fluctuations in sentiment over the past two years:
Graphs via www.likeplace.ie