Eleven Points Up – A Ringing Endorsement for Tidy Towns Effort

The 2018 Castleisland Tidy Towns graph with 2017 points comparisons.
Planning for 2018. At the post Tidy Towns results gathering at Garvey’s SuperValu at the end of September 2017 were: Mary Walsh (left) with: Doreen Killington, Castleisland Community College teacher; Séamus O’Connor, manager, Garvey’s SuperValu and Sheila Hannon. ©Photograph: John Reidy

The core handful of local Tidy Towns activists and their growing numbers of volunteers got the report they deserved this week and  probably, more importantly, they also got an increase of 11 points on last year’s adjudicator’s report.

An Avuncular Feel

Just as importantly, there is an avuncular feel to the remarks by the adjudicator in that the report is threaded through with encouragement and positivity and an understanding of exactly what’s involved in maintaining such a campaign in a busy town setting.

I wouldn’t expect a discouraging word if I mentioned the likes of Sheila Hannon and Mary Walsh and Terence McQuinn as deserving of all the points and praise they can get.

Localised Teams

In recent years they have managed to draw a number of very localised teams of workers around them to take care of the areas around their own doors.

The appearance of approach roads, in particular, is where this meitheal structure is working best.

On the Killarney Road the likes of Eamonn Breen and Francie Kenny hardly left the road over the past year and they were out in their hi-vis vests morning, noon and night – it would seem.

Mark of Dedication

On the Limerick Road, Andrew and James Kelliher and Denis O’Donovan left the mark of their dedication from Dooneen into town and Clounough Bridge is one of the more vibrant and visible examples of their caretaking.

The involvement of teams of local secondary school students will further enhance the appearance and points totals in the years ahead.

Involvement Duly Noted

The Castleisland Community College involvement under teacher Doreen Killington has also been instrumental in the points allocation and it has been duly noted by the adjudicator.

It should also be noted that it was at the invitation of the Tidy Towns group that the college team got involved.

A Ringing Endorsement

Eleven points is a ringing endorsement of the efforts put in by all concerned and there was no backward step this year in the allocation. The date of adjudication was July 20th.

The following is the 2018 Tidy Towns Adjudicator’s Report. Do please note that Tidy Towns reports rarely come without a máchail and this one is no different, Don’t get trapped in or tripped up by them. Do, as Con Houlihan often prompted, read on.

Community – Your Planning and Involvement / An Pobal – Pleanáil agus Rannpháirtíocht

Céad fáilte roimh Castleisland, Oileán Chíarraí chuig Comórtas na mBailte Slachtmhara Supervalu don Bhliain 2018, agus chuig Ceiliúradh 60 Bliain an Chomórtais. Many thanks for your entry in this year’s Tidy Towns Competition. Thank you for participating In Ireland’s biggest community project on this, its 60th year of making Ireland a better place. A huge thank you to all the people who were involved with the assembling of your Tidy Towns entry this year. This was a serious piece of work and it is acknowledged here. The entry form was neatly and comprehensively filled, the plan is well-laid out and the map was perfect for use on the day. Thank you for all of the supplementary information but the adjudicator would introduce a note of caution on the submission of too much information. The danger with submitting so much material is that the really important stuff can get overlooked among old or irrelevant reports or cuttings. As adjudicators we really want to see the work you’ve done in the best context.

That said, a great entry and very useful in getting to know Castleisland on this, a first visit.

Streetscape & Public Places / Sráid-Dreach & Áiteanna Poiblí

New projects listed by you in this category are the Heritage Trail and the Bilingual Biodiversity Information Boards.

Very good. The status of Fair Trade Town – is this new? The adjudicator thinks so. In which case, many congratulations to Castleisland and especially to the students of the Community College.

Castleisland has a lovely streetscape and the adjudicator was delighted to be able to take some time to enjoy this (even if the weather wasn’t as good as it had been all summer!). There are some gorgeous shopfronts whereon many vernacular features are still to be seen. Just the stucco-work alone bears long admiration. While it is great that buildings such a the Kingdom House have found new use, the individual signs of the businesses could be more sympathetic to their host (e.g. simply being properly sized and not overlapping the original name sign space).

There are too many lovely shopfronts to list but stand-outs include JK O’Connor, the Country Market and the Good Table.

The River Island Hotel was busy but so neat. Tomo’s Electrical was bright and spotlessly clean. McCarthy’s Bar was unfortunately only admired from the outside. Mrs Nelligan’s Bakery and the nearby Daly’s Fish Shop were sparklingly clean on the day. A word of praise for the volunteers of your second hand shops and the effort that they put into The Carnegie Building – now your library looked so good. The Credit Union neat and clean. It was felt that the banks could bit of better overall. The Presentation Secondary School is a lovely old building and is on the very enjoyable Con Hoiulihan Trail. A Green Flag was noted here. The Supervalu / Maxol was bright and decorated with hanging baskets and just about zero clutter. The Fire Station was spotless – as are most – but there is a lost opportunity for some lovely landscape planting here to the left hand side of the building as it is faced. An Ríocht leisure Club is a really super facility. However, the AC car-park looks really poor and unfinished. On a more positive note, the 5k signage was great to see. Some tree-planting here would be good. The derelict garage on the Limerick Road is in need of help. A few planters or containers here would make a great difference.

Green Spaces and Landscaping / Spásanna Glasa agus Tírdhreachú

You have not reported any new projects in this category this year but that is only to be expected when so much of your efforts re directed to maintenance. You report maintaining of planted tub, pruned trees, grassy areas, riverbank areas… Lots to keep you busy! Your future project here is the reinstatement of the Tralee Road roundabout. A prominent area this and one that deserves your attentions. The concrete/stone planters could bear the Castleisland Tidy Towns name and/or logo if you wished.

Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality / An Dúlra agus an Bhithéagsúlacht i do cheantar

The Bilingual Biodiversity Information Boards are one of the new projects you have listed here. Very good. Others are a riverside bench and a new entrance to the school being allowed to become biodiverse. A Swift box project is planned for the Community College as part of their Green Flag effort and that is a super idea – who doesn’t like Swifts? – as this is potentially an endangered species that can use all the help that it can get.

Your river walk is lovely! Japanese Knotweed here appears to have been treated but vigilance is cautioned here.

Further on, Himalayan Balsam – another invasive – was found in isolated areas. This will need attention immediately if it is not to become a long-term issue. Grass was a little bit too well-cut in places. Give the riverbank some space!

Trout, Grey Wagtail and Water Crowfoot were seen to be abundant on the day. The benches are excellently situated. A really lovely walk, all in all. The adjudicator apologises for pointing this out but you should check your new biodiversity signage. That yellow flower pictured is Marsh Marigold (not Lesser Celandine) and it is thought that this is a picture of a Pied Wagtail rather than a Grey.

Sustainability – Doing more with less / Inmharthanacht – Mórán ar an mbeagán

A very good entry here by you in this category. A range of worthwhile and useful initiatives are listed. You cover Food Waste, resource best practice and climate action. Your submission relies a little too heavily on the work of the Community College and we’d like to see more community-wide initiatives in next year’s entry please. It is acknowledged that some of the projects by the college, including the future project as listed will target the business sector. Your support of your various second hand shops is a very valid listing too. It was great to see a reuse business like Kingdom Furniture Revamp looking so busy.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair

Another good entry by Castleisland here too. Fencing along the river walk is your listed new project. As is logical, most of your work is ongoing maintenance. This you have described concisely and clearly. The adjudicator is aware of how many ‘person hours’ are behind each and every one of these words. Well done.

Don’t permit the use of outsized corriboard advertisements on your pavements – these are your streets and pavements and not advertising spaces. There are faded and unreadable signs here and there (e.g. for the caves) that should be redone or replaced soon. Watch out for algae (green staining) on litterbins, especially under trees. Papa Joe’s Pizza has an excellent Castleisland branded litterbin, very good. There appears to be a large road sign missing from the street outside Molly’s.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta

Another clear and succinct entry here. Your new project has been the enhancement of the bridge on the Tralee Road with hanging baskets. Very good. A derelict on Loftus Road looks very poor.

Could this be painted at least?

O’Connell’s Demesne has super hydrangeas. There is lots of space for tree-planting or wildflower gardening at St. John’s Park. Desmond’s Avenue is very well kept with lovely trees. Castleview Drive has good trees too. Riverside Drive was very neat with no litter.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí

Your new school entrance and the Limerick Road roundabout appear again here – it is acknowledged that overlap is inevitable betimes – and this is your new project for this year.

Again, maintenance of approach roads is the bulk of your work in this category and this is understandable.

You have a beautiful wide Main Street that had more traffic than it should (but far less that in that photograph of yore!) due to the bypass. The consistent building sizes and scale make this a really pleasant street to walk. Watch out for the laneways and back streets. The quality of pavement and general cleanliness of same was uneven.

Road markings could be better and clearer (e.g. at pedestrian crossings). It was felt that an additional pedestrian crossing toward the middle of the town might be of benefit. Lots of people were seen doing you-turns in front of the Carnegie Building. Would a roundabout here be an improvement? Get adventurous with the Tralee Road roundabout.

Concluding Remarks

A truly enjoyable visit, so thank you Castleisland Tidy Towns for this. Great work done and lots of energy and imagination on display. The adjudicator believes that you’ll go far in this competition.

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