Drogheda tops again
Even friendly members of the gardai in town get a mention as Tidy Towns judge praises the spirit of the Boyneside. Hubert Murphy looks at the highs and lows
Drogheda retained its Gold Medal in this year's tidy towns awards, scoring 317 points, up five from 312 in 2016.
And the adjudicator's report gave a great insight into the town and its transformation in recent years.
The judge had not been in Drogheda since their childhood and arrived on the weekend of the Maritime Festival - so 'not a guest or hotel room was to be had which is great for the tourism industry of Drogheda! It also meant your town was seen full of tourists and with traffic at capacity. It was interesting to see how well the town managed with this influx of visitors.'
Walking about town, they got the assistance of two very friendly gardai to find the skate park, allotments, and the running stadium.
They then walked around, remarking on the few businesses on West Street that use interior shutters such as West Pharm and Vincent's. Other shutters that did look really well were on 'Kirwan's' Lawrence Street with its lovely coastal imagery.
'The new courthouse is a very striking building and looked very well beside the Garda station. Your adjudicator was also struck by the position of other inaccessible church ruins in back gardens by the Garda station!
'Occasionally little gems caught the eye such as the red brick simplicity of the Crilly School of music on Fair Street. Nearby the Malta services building was nicely presented.
'The use of sculptures through Drogheda was really enjoyed. In particular the iron sculpture of a person as you cross the pedestrian bridge that then turned into a flying bird as you approached from the skate park. Have you developed a sculpture trail for visitors to enjoy?,' they asked.
The adjudicator spent two days exploring in and around Drogheda on a very busy weekend and whilst public litter bins were serviced and cleaned, ' it was disappointing to see the build-up of litter in quite a number of places.'
In Lawrence Street carpark, three clothing banks were at capacity and a lot of donations were lying around.
'This adjudicator loves good quality graffiti in the right place so really enjoyed seeing the murals under the bridge at the river and at the skate park. But as you mention, there is a lot of tagging and a lot of graffiti in alleyways, utility boxes and on bins. You have a graffiti swat team in place, perhaps more litter volunteers could be offered wipes to target newly tagged places?'
They added that 'arriving into the town it was great to see the baskets on the railings over the Boyne. The railings themselves and at the pedestrian bridge will need attention.'
Drogheda Tidy Towns Committee expressed its delight that Drogheda has been awarded its ninth Gold Medal.
'Our goal at the beginning of the year was to retain our Gold Medal and to increase our marks. To achieve both goals is very satisfying and reflects very positively on Drogheda in advance of the arrival of the Fleadh next year.
'We achieved a mark of 317 this year which is a huge jump of 5 marks from last year. I would also like to recognise the tangible increase in the level of community spirit in Drogheda recently which has led to much improvement in the appearance of our town centre,' Kevin Callan, local Tidy Towns chair, stated.
Mayor of the Borough District of Drogheda, Cllr. Pio Smith added his thanks to all those who have contributed to Drogheda's success.
He said that he "congratulated the Tidy Towns committee while also recognising the continued contribution of Council staff, Residents Associations, local Green Schools and the residents of Drogheda who contribute hugely".