Needless to say, the people involved in the ongoing Tidy Towns effort here in Castleisland have no idea as to the identity of the adjudicator in any given year.
However, the strain of positivity which runs through the 2017 report strongly suggests that this adjudicator was here before – and not so long ago either. And there’s a hint on invasive species of plants along by the river for the second successive year.
Even the opening line drips with the afore mentioned positivity as it pays tribute to the work achieved by the small but growing group of workers..
In the old days when we all had to sit down and type the report from start to finish, it was easy to give way to a vision of a grumpy old man glowering his way through the town from litter black-spots to derelict buildings and noting away accordingly.
Giving due Recognition
Not that this loosening up and giving due recognition to those on the ground shirks its responsibility to its employer or to the communities under its gaze.
Where there are improvements in appearances or presentations apparent they are highlighted.
It’s a long and winding road between 1992 and 2017 and there are people involved in the Tidy Towns campaign locally for every single season of that span.
I know there are many others involved now, but Sheila Hannon’s name is there right from the start. Mary Walsh and Terence McQuinn came on board later and between them they are a formidable force.
Publishing days for the Tidy Towns reports over the years are their big days. Like a day on which you get your exam results. And there have been some rough days in there with the good ones.
Community College Team
This, 2017 report, is one of the really good ones and it has genuinely given the ground forces that encouraging lift.
With congratulations to all involved for all the years and on all roads and streetscapes and a special word to Castleisland Community College teacher Doreen Killington and her Water Explorers team on a year in which they’ve won all before them.
Ms. Killington has instilled a pride of place in her students and she, in turn, is proud of them and their achievements this year.
With that, here are the views of the adjudicator on Castleisland’s standing in the Tidy Town’s Competition in 2017.
Community Involvement and Planning
It was a pleasure to revisit Castleisland and witness all the fine work that has been achieved for the town over the last number of years. Thank you for your submission which included a multi-annual Tidy Towns Plan and a helpful map; the latter would have been more helpful if this year’s projects had been colour-coded in addition to being linked numerically to details in the entry form. Castleisland is welcome to 2017 SuperValu National Tidy Towns Competition and thank you for your continued participation over the 28 years, it has been a pleasure. The network of supporting statutory bodies, groups and agencies for Tidy Towns in Castleisland is impressive as is the strong working relationship with schools especially the Community College. It is satisfying to note that Tidy Towns is a tool with which projects are initiated and supported.
Built Environment and Streetscape
The majority of the town’s shopfronts are very well presented and complement the Main Street of Castleisland beautifully; many buildings appear to have been recently painted and both the Fire Station and the old Library were admired. It was a pleasure to note very little evidence of roller security shutters on shopfront windows and appropriate treatment to derelict premises. Overall the visual amenity of the streetscapes the town centre is good. Some premises of course are still in need of attention however these are in a minority.
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities
The riverbed was very clean during adjudication with the small exception of a blue barrel and the branch of a tree; the community is indebted to the Transition Year students of the Community College for their excellent work in this respect; the results of their water quality research is reassuring for all. Your adjudicator would like to congratulate the students and their teachers on their fine work with the Castleisland Tidy Towns committee on their Waters Explorers initiative and its fascinating results with local and global implications. Invasive species have been noted by the adjudicator along the river walk and while there are signs identifying these there is no indication of how they should be treated (avoided) by the public. Some commercial properties within the environs of the river walk could pay more attention to the presentation of their boundary walls and cartilage areas. Public seating could be refurbished and the grass maintained trimmed around the sign for dog owners. Stretches of fencing along the river walk could be planted for greater screening of commercial yards and for visual amenity to the standard achieved for fencing along the perimeter of the running track in the Health and Leisure Centre. The new handrail is favourably noted.
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management
Congratulations to pupils and their teachers of all schools participating in the Green Flag programme and their success. Initiatives such as Earth Week, Planet Savers and Fair Trade are applauded and the seminar on Water and Communities attended be members of Castleisland Tidy Towns committee no doubt will reap rewards in due course. Awareness heightening with the Ten Top Tips under this heading is noteworthy also. The range of initiatives in place in the Community Garden are impressive. It is now time to start quantifying the results of your efforts in sustainable waste and resource management; it doesn’t matter if these are informed ‘guesstimates’, the idea is to give you feedback on how well you are doing as a green community.
Tidiness and Litter Control
Litter control is excellent in Castleisland and there was very little evidence of untidiness present at the time of adjudication; be a bit more vigilant regarding weed growth, the stretch of kerb along the footpath from the Main Street to the Health and Leisure Centre was very weedy. Well done on the segregation and exploration of the types of litter and on the Adopt a Road initiative. It would be interesting to know if awareness of types of litter and popular locations has facilitated a strategy to bring about a reduction in clean-ups necessary? It was a pleasure to note the absence of overhead service cables and attractive lamp standards in the town center. Vigilance regarding advertisement signs is praiseworthy as are efforts regarding unoccupied shop front windows. Do keep us updated on the success of your dog-fouling initiative. Participation in the National Spring Clean and County Clean-ups is favourably acknowledged.
Residential Streets and Housing Areas
It’s good to note that each area of Castleisland has its own Tidy Towns group with responsibility for their own area and the strong working relationship between the committee and groups is admirable; residential areas are nicely presented. Dwellings within the centre of the tows in most instances look well. Consideration might be given to container planting (window boxes) to roadside of dwellings along the Main Street, however trees in the median enhance the streetscape significantly. Keep up encouragement to residents to maintain their roadside boundary walls and areas immediately outside of these to as high a standard as that achieved for their dwellings.
Your adjudicator was very impressed with the entrance to Castleisland from the roundabout on the N21; well maintained green spaces complemented maturing trees, shrubs and colourful flower displays. Clonough Bridge with its flower displays represent an excellent introduction to Castleisland also and of course name-plates were especially admired at all entrances. Road surfaces in general are good and footpath refurbishment is noted also in two locations. Car parking is well organised throughout the town and appears to be adequate. Street furniture looks well especially road signage.
The overall appearance of Castleisland suggests a cohesive community with a strong commitment to their hometown. Your adjudicator admires the contribution of the business community in particular to Tidy Towns in Castleisland.
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