Friday 19 July 2019

Blackrock Tidy Towns marks 25 years

Founding members, Larry Magnier, Chris Fingleton, John Horan, Brendan Roche and Liam McCallion at the Blackrock Tidy Towns 25th anniversary celebration night in The Clermont Arms
Founding members, Larry Magnier, Chris Fingleton, John Horan, Brendan Roche and Liam McCallion at the Blackrock Tidy Towns 25th anniversary celebration night in The Clermont Arms

Dundalk After Dark

On Saturday night I headed for the Clermont Arms where the members of the Blackrock Tidy Towns group were enjoying a meal to celebrate their 25th year in existence and a large crowd were in attendance for the celebration.

I wasn't too long in the door when I met up with my old friend Brenda Roche from Rock Court and his delightful wife Attracta. He told me he used to keep Rock Court tidy and realised that the village needed the same attention. He advertised a meeting in the community centre and invited Richie Barry from Tallanstown who arrived with a TV and video player to show what was happening in Tallanstown. Initially their sole purpose was to get trees planted along the promenade, but they realised they had major work on their hands when they filled ten skips of rubbish on their first sweep through the village.

Now 25 years later on there are attacking the invisible rubbish, plastics. They recently had a survey done by the DkIT which revealed that all molluscs and shell fish show traces of plastic in their make up, so their quest is to attack this problem along with improving the look of the village.

Attracta and Brendan were enjoying the meal with treasurer Brian McElroy from Elm Park along with Carmel and Noel McHale who were up specially for the meal from Belfast. Carmel had been part of the Blackrock TT for 10 years and was delighted to be back to see all the changes implemented.

Also in their company were David and Breda Humphries from Ard Na Mara who were enjoying their meal with Maureen and Gerry Hughes from Beech Park who had 20 years' service with the group.

Next I caught up with two other founder members from 25 years ago John Horan from Wallace Road and Liam McCallion from Golflinks Road who were with their respective wives Mary and Marie who were all in great form and thoroughly enjoying the meal and the crack.

After this I headed over for a word with my old neighbour Ide McDermott from Rock Road who was with husband Michael. Ide told me she specialises in picking papers along with her dog Fursey and was having a great night along with Ann Campbell from Ard Na Mara and Ann Fennelly from Elm Park.

Beside them were Gerri and Tommy Healy from Rock Road who told me Gerri is on the park committee and were definitely up for making it a real night to remember.

They were enjoying the company of founder member Chris Fingleton from Rock Road who told me that the village, through years of hard work, had won awards on both county and national level. He was joined by Michael McDermott originally from Strokestown in Roscommon who said they'd have to build a property next year just to keep all the trophies in it.

Heading for an adjacent table I got a word with Kate Smyth from Sandfield Gardens who had brought along Brennie Connor from Howth who were chatting to Cllr Maria Doyle vice chairperson of Louth County Council and Mary Murtagh from the Louth Tidy Towns who both wanted to congratulate the committee and volunteers on their exceptional work programme down throughout the years and concluded by saying 'long may it continue'.

After this I headed over for a word with Garret and Grace Shine from The Links who were in the best of form and unfortunately I wasn't able to print any of their suggestions!

Not too long later I met founder member Pat Rafferty from Marlbog Road who is now a community services supervisor over 26 people in the Blackrock, Dromiskin and Darver area and said the changes made by the Blackrock TT over the years are only fantastic.

Finally, before I departed I got talking to another founder Larry Magnier from Rock Court who is very pleased with overall development over the quarter century and said it's all down to volunteers, businesses and residents who pull together to make the village look as well as it does.

The Argus