Carlow is still considered "moderately littered" after a survey of 40 towns and cities by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL).
Kilkenny topped the IBAL litter rankings for a record 4th time, having last won in 2014. It finished ahead of Killarney, which was 3rd in 2018, and Swords at the top of the table.
The full report for Carlow has stated: "Once again Carlow disappoints, as another year passes without the town achieving the ‘clean’ status it enjoyed some years ago.
"The top ranking sites were exceptionally well presented and maintained e.g. Carlow Town Park, Carlow Castle and Carlow College – they were all excellent with regard to litter too.
"By far the most heavily littered site surveyed was along Mill Lane – a miscellaneous site which has been used as a dumping ground, over a prolonged period.
"This is just around the corner from Carlow Castle and could easily be an access route for same. Athy Approach Road was not as bad as the Mill Lane property but it was seriously littered, with several separate incidents of litter accumulations."
The report added:
Recycle Bank at Four Lakes Retail Park: Grade B. The main car park, planted areas and paving were in very good order with regard to presentation and litter. The small clothing recycle / bring facility was in poor shape in contrast to the surrounding environment. The 3 units were full, with loose litter items beneath the units and in the immediate vicinity. A black sack and other items had been discarded behind the units.
Carlow Town Park: Grade A. There was a complete absence of litter throughout this attractively laid out town park environment. 'No Smoking' signage and map of town at the entrances. Playground and all features within the park (seating / paving / planting etc.) were in excellent condition.
Miscellaneous site on Mill Lane: Grade D. Mill Lane is right beside Carlow Castle and a possible pedestrian route for anybody visiting Carlow Castle. The boarded-up house highlighted in the previous survey was still boarded up with graffiti and some litter. The dumping problem was at the adjacent blue garage door with up to a dozen black sacks / shopping bags of rubbish.
Carlow Castle: Grade A. This OPW run site is an imposing feature. There was plenty of informative signage and some artist impressions. The area immediately surrounding it was attractively planted and paved. It was excellent with regard to litter. Within the castle ruins, care needs to be taken with the area behind the black gate to ensure that litter doesn't blow about / build up.
Tullow Street: Grade A. The stretch of road with 'one-way' traffic only is particularly attractively laid out - paving, seating, substantial planting throughout etc. The remainder of the street was less attractively presented with chewing gum more obvious on the paving. There were many vacant / unoccupied outlets throughout the street but they didn't harbour litter, as can so frequently happen.
Carlow College: Grade A.. An exceptionally good site in terms of presentation, maintenance and litter. It was spotless throughout. Plenty of substantial planting, both mature trees and recent planting. Water feature was also clear of litter. Carlow College was deserving of a Grade A+ if such a status existed.
Athy Approach Road: Grade C. The overall impression created along this stretch of road was a littered one, with heavy levels in several separate incidents, on the right side and closer to the town, on the left side. As well as typical food related litter items there were cardboard boxes and alcohol related litter.
R448 Approach from M9 direction: Grade B. There was a litter presence on the left had side coming into Carlow town - it was most obvious at an area of fencing, vacant site, compared to the properties immediately surrounding it - mostly food related items. The remainder of the route was generally fine with regard to litter.
Carlow Town Shopping Centre: Grade A. The interior of the shopping centre features the old Carlow Gaol building with plaques / references to same – this area was excellent with regard to litter. The car parking area seemed fine. The entrance from the opposite side (near the Omniplex) was also good, but perhaps more cigarette butt facilities are required to prevent depositing of same in the large planter boxes.
M9 Carlow – Kilkenny link Road: Grade B. A moderately littered route, most notably along the Carlow stretch of road – mostly plastic bottles, coffee cups and fast-food wrappers.
In all, 21 of the 27 towns inspected were deemed clean, a great result but down on previous years. Galway edged out Waterford to claim cleanest city as it enters its year as European City of Culture.
Carlow meanwhile came 32nd out of the 40 towns and cities and was deemed "moderately littered".