Swords Tidy Towns show off their gardens in public open day
North Street in Swords was in bloom last bank holiday weekend, with a sweet scent of summer flowers emanating from Swords Tidy Town's gardens, open to the public for one glorious sunny day.
Sponsored by the Fingal Public Participation Network for National Community Weekend 2019, Swords Tidy Towns displayed its large polytunnel and colourful collection of plants and flowers, offering advice and tips to all budding gardeners.
Ken Duffy, Chairman of Swords Tidy Towns, explains what happened on the day: 'We wanted to have an open day to educate people on what Swords Tidy Towns do, where all monies raised goes to, to show the large polytunnel where the plants are grown, and to show all the plants that are rescued.
'We wanted to bring people in and show them what we're doing, and maybe to encourage them to come out and join or maybe tell their parents or whatever, or if they know someone who's retired and looking for something to do.
'The day went very very well. The Leinster Pipe Band Championships were on in Swords Castle, so we were trying to pick up some trade from that. We had our members outside to drag people in, and they appreciated the coffee, tea and biscuits and the chat.'
Based on North Street, Swords Tidy Towns' has a dedicated team of garden workers, from the group's own volunteers to a number of workers on back-to-work schemes, who have been with Swords Tidy Towns a number of years.
Ken says Swords Tidy Towns is in the process of educating people about plants, flowers and gardening, and planting pollinator patches, which is 'a big issue at the moment.'
The gardens also have a vegetable garden with exotic vegetables and olive trees, to give people an idea of what can be grown here in Ireland.
Visitors were also treated to a free plant on the day, with donations, though not necessary, going to Swords Tidy Towns.
Meanwhile, Swords Tidy Towns also recently paid tribute to one Paul Reid, the outgoing Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, who will take up his new job at the head of the HSE, this week.
According to Ken, Mr Reid 'put his heart and soul' into representing not just the people of Swords, but the wider Fingal area.
Paul now moves on to a new role with the HSE, and his departure, Ken says, will be 'a great loss': 'Myself and the secretary of Swords Tidy Towns met up with Paul in the Atrium in Swords, and presented him with a crystal thanking him for all of his support, but also to verbally thank him as well.
'He was delighted with it, and said it meant a lot because it was a local award coming from local people. Paul is going to be a great loss; we've been through a few county managers, but he's the first Fingal native county manager who really put his heart and soul into changing the format of how things are done in Fingal, and prioritising things that had been neglected over the years.
'And I have to say, he did it very very successfully.'