Ballon Village is participating in the Bank of Ireland Enterprising Town Awards for the second successive year. As a result of this, three judges, Carmel Fox, director of Ballyhoura Rural Services, CareBright, Gorta – Self Help Africa and the Maigue Rivers Trust; Tom Hayes, retired Divisional Manager of the Entrepreneurship and regional Development Division of Enterprise Ireland and Maurice Healy, Director, Corporate Banking, Bank of Ireland visited the village on Wednesday 22 August to evaluate Ballon. Maire George, chairperson of BIG, acted as MC and after a short launch introduced John Smyth as the principal speaker. This was held in the upstairs room of the Community Centre which gave a bird’s eye view of the main hall and exhibition space. John’s presentation was very detailed and persuasive leaving no doubt about the entrepreneurial spirit and imaginative business acumen that is the core of the area in the past, the present and into the future. The judges asked many questions about what had been said and learned more from speakers in the audience.

After this session the judges visited the tables showcasing the products, services and sporting groups on offer and in the pipeline for development. There were about 20 entries on display and the judges showed a keen interest.

This was followed by a tour of Altamont Gardens where Robert Miller and Pauline Dowling gave some of the history of the original owner, Corona North and the many specimen trees and plants there.

This was followed by a visit to Buggy Curtain Making Services and Cheetah Electronics.

Finally, a fashion show of previously loved garments was held in Siopa Glas where models of all ages displayed their haute couture.

On completion Tom Hayes gave a very complimentary summation of the day’s events leaving the impression the judges were impressed.