Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 5 December 2016

Follow Dromone's lead and plant trees for a better Ireland

Joe Barry

Published 02/08/2011 | 05:00

I noticed recently that Co Meath's Dromone Engineering had won yet another award, this time for a pick-up hitch, which seems to be one of its specialities.

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It is really great to see an Irish firm beating global competition and doing so in the depths of a recession. Dromone produces top-quality innovative products that are sought after throughout the world and have been doing so for years from a location in the heart of rural Ireland.

Not only is it a large employer at a time when jobs are scarce everywhere, but it also exports more than 90pc of its produce. So how is it done? I am no expert when it comes to machinery and engineering but I had been to Dromone's factory a few weeks earlier, primarily to look at the trees and landscaping, and was immediately struck by the attractive appearance of the premises.

On arriving at the entrance gates, all I could see was woodland of mixed ages and species. Driving up the tree-lined avenue, edged with shrubs, I could not see the working area until I arrived at reception, and even the large buildings nearby were separated by clever planting. It was obvious that these are people who do things properly and the layout and tidiness of the place simply endorsed the quality of what was being produced within.

Maybe that all sounds over the top but when you think about the manner in which this firm has created an attractive workplace and the way in which it cares about the appearance of its premises, you begin to appreciate at least some of the reasons for its success. Dromone Engineering is not alone in this approach to both landscaping and screening yards and buildings -- and many successful farming and other businesses have done the same.

Some people know how to do things well and the evidence of Dromone's competence and ability is plain to see by looking at its working environment.

Maintenance

Unfortunately, many others do not bother and the signs of poor maintenance and a disregard for appearances can be found throughout the country.

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Most large buildings, including farmyards, have potential to be eyesores. Unless screened by trees and planned carefully, they are often blots on the landscape. The same can be said for slatted sheds, silage pits and, even worse, the awful sight of scruffy yards with black plastic flapping in the wind and piles of old tyres spilling out on to the adjoining fields.

GAA stands and pitches are rarely screened and do little to enhance their surrounds. New houses, graveyards, industrial estates and warehouses also come into that category.

It's not difficult or expensive to plant a five-metre-wide strip along yards and buildings. All you need is to first fence it carefully to keep out livestock, hares and rabbits, then choose a mix of trees that will look good throughout the year.

Birch, Rowan, Cherry, Larch, Scots Pine and Norway Spruce are all easy to grow and make a lovely screen and shelter belt if planted in small clumps with further species mixed throughout. Plant an understory of Holly, Thorn and Hazel with the odd Crab Apple and you have a perfect wildlife habitat that will look great for years.

Donated

Driving home from Dromone, I passed through Athboy and stopped at its lovely fair green, which, according to a plaque erected there, was donated to the people of Athboy in 1910 by Lord Darnley.

It is now a public park, but I remember it packed with cattle on fair days and walking after my father as he bid for groups of livestock gathered tightly along the walls. My most enduring memory of the fair was looking forward in excited anticipation to meeting an old friend of my father whose family owned a busy mill in the centre of Athboy. I knew that he would always slip me a 10-shilling note, a fortune for a small boy in those days.

The mill is no longer there and in its place is a large housing development, but the fair green lives on with its splendid beech, chestnut, oak and sycamore creating a scenic amenity for the residents.

Whoever planted those trees has left a wonderful legacy, something we can all benefit from. Rural Ireland could be a far nicer place if we follow the example set by those people who look to the future, plant trees and are prepared to do that little bit extra.

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