Golden days for Ardee
Hubert Murphy checks out what the 2018 Tidy Towns judges had to say about the region
Tidy Towns are being urged to make contact with Louth County Council and introduce better cycling infrastructure for the entire community:
2018 Marks: 324. 2017 Marks: 314
(Ardee Tidy Towns, who were Silver medal winners in 2017 secured their first Gold medal bringing the total in Louth this year to four.)
What the judges said: 'While the vast majority of commercial and retail premises looked very well, a number stood out during adjudication. McGoeys, Muldoons, the Garden & Home Stores, the Railway Bar, Boylans, Landys Harp Bar and 'An Siopa' deserve special praise. The work by the art students (and their teacher) in the Ardee Community School on the Ardee Bakery murals was appreciated and it is no surprise to hear that they have drawn positive comments locally - as they looked exceptionally well and they divert attention away from the vacant commercial premises.
'We spent an enjoyable afternoon visiting the railway walk and it was clear that the hard work of the committee and volunteers have transformed this area into a high quality and much appreciated public space. Well done to Supervalu on the great work that has been undertaken in their car park.
'The Fair Green looked amazing on a warm summers evening with its varied planting and wonderful mature trees. The Riverside walk (pictured) was impressive and the Millennium Park and College Park were also admired. We would like to commend the committee on the excellent standard of maintenance that has these areas looking their best.
'We are interested to read in the 2017 adjudicator's report that cycling was becoming popular in Ardee but we were surprised to see how few cycling facilities like cycle lanes and cycle parking stands could be found. Perhaps this issue can be raised with the Council as better cycling infrastructure should lead to an increase in the numbers cycling.
'We were really impressed by your dog ambassador scheme and the resulting 65% reduction in dog fouling speaks for itself.
'It is great that so many residents associations in the town are getting involved and maintaining their own estates. In our view, Slieve Breagh set the standard with its wonderful entrance planting (comprising roses in bloom in decorative gravel beds), well-maintained green areas and wonderful mature trees. Cherrywood opposite also looked very well and we were most impressed with the work in Cappocksgate and Ferdia Park. Clonmore was also a highlight.'
2018 Marks: 246. 2017 Marks: 240.
What the judges said: 'Your annual Christmas event is a wonderful way of brining the community together and raising the profile of Tidy Towns. We admired the new 'Horse Seat' at the church.
Whyte's pub looks fresh with the well-maintained flowerbeds giving it a further lift. Planters at the church are struggling and require attention. We are impressed with the efforts of Centra, Priscilla's Beauty Salon and the Pharmacy to brighten up the appearance with floral displays.
'We welcome your efforts to choose wildlife-friendly and low-maintenance planting for Gough's corner - a large corner site at one end of the village. We were impressed with the cleanliness of the village - well done to all. Your daily litter patrols are paying dividends and hopefully changing the culture on litter. The grounds of Gormanston College impressed as we approached from the M1. Much work has been done to enhance this approach in the last few years.'
2018 Marks: 249. 2017 Marks: 246.
What the Judges said: 'We admired the unique design at the Church. The Memorial Garden is more relevant to the 'Landscaping' category. The Train Station could be more inviting. The building itself is rather tired and the boundaries are untidy. Shops in the village are neatly presented. Ones that caught the eye included Pat's shop, Cottage Inn, The Chinese Takeaway and nearby Bookmakers. Stack's pharmacy, the Indian Takeaway and O' Reilly's supermarket were neat.
'We noted your recent work to enhance the 1916 Memorial Garden - the addition of two picnic benches, litter bins and bollards to the roadside, shrubs and plants planted along the new fence and end wall. We positively note that the picnic benches are wheelchair accessible.
'From your recent attendance at the Climate Change seminar, is there an opportunity for any community group to apply for an SEAI grant/programme? We are delighted to hear that the location of the school encourages many students to walk or cycle. Any update on bike parking?'
2018 Marks: 301. 2017 Marks: 289.
What the judges said: 'We are delighted to read that you have an excellent working relationship with Tullyallen National School and that the schoolchildren take part in litter picking. We were particularly impressed by the wonderful natural stone Chapel of the Virgin Mary and we admired the many improvements that you have undertaken to the historic graveyard. The new graveyard map indexing family names and grave locations is a wonderful addition and you are commended on its provision.
'It was great to see the trees, hedgerows, shrubs and perennials on view in the well kept school grounds and we have no doubt that they provide lovely year round colour. Praise is also due to the residents associations of Ard Alainn, Lavin Park, the Glen and Burton Hall as their landscaping efforts were observed and appreciated.
'We were most interested to read that your committee, the West Ferrard Group and the property owners have created a nature walk in the grounds of Townley Hall and that you are applying for funding for a new walkway that is parallel to the King William's Glen site to link up with the Townley Hall woods.'
2018 Marks: 305, 2017 Marks: 295.
What the judges said: 'It was a pleasure to visit Castlebellingham - Kilsaran and to see all of the historical and highly original buildings and structures of interest. The castle building and its eye-catching natural stone entrance are wonderful structures and they looked very well on adjudication day.
'We are pleased to hear that your committee are working closely with Bellingham Castle and this partnership approach makes sense as both parties will benefit from continued improvements to your twin villages. The Widows Houses are considered to be excellent examples of 18th Century architecture and we are delighted to hear that they have been purchased and are awaiting restoration.
'We applaud your excellent refurbishment work on the World War I monument beside Foley's tearooms and we are pleased to report that this looked exceptionally well during adjudication. Well done to everyone involved in the upgrading of the area to the front of O'Connell's GFC. The new insect hotel with seating and planters at the Stabannon junction are lovely additions to this part of your twin villages.'