In 2012, Swords was named the third best town in Ireland to live in. The survey conducted by Retail Excellence Ireland took into account safety, retail, dining, entertainment, events, car parking and overall attractiveness of the town. Since the mid-1990s Swords has seen improvements in shop fronts, public buildings and footpaths and the restoration of Swords Castle. In 2003 the Irish Business Against Litter survey scored Swords the worst litter blackspot in the country. Following a huge improvement to litter in the town, in their 2011 survey Swords was declared the second cleanest town in Ireland.