Castlebar and Belmullet both enjoyed success last night at the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards in Kilkenny.
Castlebar scooped the prestigious Rising Star accolade in recognition of the town's commitment to community, retail and tourism development.
The prestigious prize comes with the added bonus of €20,000 to be invested in community projects.
The judges were impressed with Castlebar based on an initial visit in September where they were shown around the town before a presentation was made. The judges returned a second time to consider the town for the Rising Star award based on what they saw.
In what was a strong category Castlebar overcame the challenge of areas such as the Dublin Docklands to win the award. The recent investment in the town by the likes of Carraig Donn and Meissner was a huge boost.
Bernard Hughes from the Castlebar Chamber of Commerce says it’s a recognition of all the hard work that has gone in over the years.
Belmullet was the other big winner on the night.
The North Mayo community were winners of the Enterprise Town Awards in Connaught/Ulster region for towns with a population of less than 2,000.
Local Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Coyle says it’s an amazing achievement for the town.
Ballina were also nominated for an award at the event in Lyrath Estate last night.
The annual awards, which are now in their fourth year, bring business, community groups and local authorities together, in each town, to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local area. There are over 40 awards available from a total prize fund of €193,000.
After being nominated by the Local Enterprise Office, Ballina, Castlebar and Belmullet were visited by the judges on September 25 & 26.
Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, welcomed the news; “Strong local economies are the backbone of the County and as a Local Authority we are proud to support businesses and community groups working together to create jobs, drive growth and build thriving communities in Co. Mayo.