At an event in The Powerscourt Distillery visitor centre, the inaugural winners of the Spirit of Wicklow Awards were announced. The aim of the Spirit of Wicklow Awards is to honour the extraordinary spirit and unwavering mindset of the people of Wicklow, and it’s all brought together by the team at The Powerscourt Distillery. With over 700 nominations received, the Co Wicklow spirit was truly on show at the ceremony, with many nominees in attendance.

Winners of the four awards were:

  •  The Spirit of Wicklow Community Award – Lakers Social & Recreational Club (Bray)
  •  The Spirit of Wicklow Sustainability Award – ReWild Wicklow (Wicklow County)
  •  The Spirit of Wicklow Arts/Sports/Culture Award – Schoolhouse for Art (Enniskerry)
  •   The Spirit of Wicklow Enterprise and Innovation Award – Wicklow Wolf (Newtown Mount Kennedy)

The overall winner, as chosen by the judges, was ReWild Wicklow. ReWild Wicklow embodies the Extraordinary Spirit of Wicklow and received, in addition to the category prize, a €2,000 bursary to be awarded to a charity of their choice.

Speaking about the Awards, Caroline Gardiner, Head of Marketing, Digital & Communications, said,   “ We congratulate all the winners of the 2023 Spirit of Wicklow Awards and commend the exceptional quality of all the entries received. The remarkable craftsmanship, innovation, passion, and community spirit displayed by participants has solidified Wicklow’s position as a hub of extraordinary spirit. This event has showcased the vibrant spirit of our county and inspired us all at The Powerscourt Distillery”.

 Lakers Social & Recreational Club was founded in 1989 and is a Sports, Social and Recreational Club for children & adults with intellectual disabilities. Running over 60 activities a week with over 400 members, open 6 days a week, and supported by over 160 volunteers, Lakers encompass everything that is best in humanity and the Spirit of the people of Wicklow.

ReWild Wicklow’s mission is to monitor, protect, enhance and increase native habitats in Wicklow so that it can support a vast, biodiverse, balanced ecosystem of historical flora and fauna. In short – a Wicklow as wild as it once was. They aim to achieve this by working in collaboration with all public, private and NGO landowners across the county. With a strong emphasis on citizen science and people power, educating the public and encouraging volunteers to get involved with work to protect the natural habitats all over Wicklow. A clear demonstration of the “Spirit of Wicklow” and people power campaigning for radical action in restoring biodiversity in Wicklow, empowering the local community to lead the charge.

Schoolhouse for Art’s Neil Condren is the founder/director and was nominated for all he does in the community for art. And a fter 10 years in the heart of Enniskerry Village, he has opened a second venue in the inspiring and stunning grounds of RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE, Blessington, Co. Wicklow.

Wicklow Wolf’s mission is to brew exceptional beers without compromise and with true passion. Independently brewed for independent minds. They are locally rooted and at one with nature, brewing beers in a sustainable way. In 2022 they took their commitment to sustainability one step further and commissioned the installation of over 120Kw of solar panels, covering the entirety of their 17,000 sq. ft brewery roof.

The Awards Winner in each category received a specially commissioned Award made from hand-chosen Wicklow Oak created by local craftsmanship by Ian Robertson,a luxury hamper of Wicklow Produce, including a selection of the distillery’s award-winning Fercullen Whiskeys.