Working for the betterment of Castleisland town

WITH just two weeks to go until the results of the annual Tidy Towns competition are announced, the hard working volunteers in Castleisland are looking forward to a well earned break.

As usual, the town is looking amazing - but that doesn't happen by accident. It's all thanks to the tremendous work of the local group who, with the support of the community, work tirelessly to make their town as attractive as possible.

And their hard work certainly seems to be working, with Castleisland steadily increasing its marks in the national competition year on year.

2012 was a remarkably impressive year for the group, with the town gaining 12 additional marks from the previous year.

Mary Walsh has been an active volunteer for numerous years, and says that great credit is due to locals who strive to keep their own communities and estates in pristine condition. However, she says more bodies are needed on the ground.

To encourage locals to take part in the annual cleanup, and indeed the year long upkeep of their areas, the Tidy Towns Committee introduced a local awards scheme, which has proved hugely popular.

Last year, Cahereens West was deemed the best kept area, while it was the residents of Killarney Road who took honours the year before.

The group has also introduced its 'Adpot a Road' initiative, whereby locals are encouraged to take responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of certain roads in the town and its environs.

To date, Kathleen Murphy O'Connor has 'adopted' the road from Dooneen to Tralee Road, and also takes responsibility for the old Limerick Road, while Liz and Eamon O'Connor oversee the upkeep of the Black Road.

"As with all tidy town groups, what we need is more people on the ground, and while most people give us great support, we would love if others would come on board with our Adopt A road scheme and with the upkeep of their own estates," Mrs Walsh said.

While winning their category would be a dream come true for the local group, the real aim is enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the town.

"If we never entered the competition, we'd be doing this anyway," Mrs Walsh said. "What we're trying to do is make the town attractive not only for those who live here but for visitors, and hopefully attract business to the town. Of course it would be amazing to win, but it's not just about that."


AS part of their massive efforts to improve the look of the town in 2013, the Castleisland Tidy Towns Group compiled some top tips for locals to help make Castleisland a greener town.

The aim of the project is to encourage locals to think before they discard their rubbish - much of which can be donated, sold or given away or even repaired or made into something else.

The following are their top tips for Castleisland:

1. Save unwanted books, magazines, toys, jewellery, and bric-a-brac and donate to the annual Indoor Market in aid of the Parents and Friends.

2. Donate unwanted clothes, books and gifts to one of the many charity shops in the town.

3. Bring your old and broken furniture to 'ReVamp' at The Crageens.

4. Donate your old mobile phones and ink cartridges to charities.

5. Look out for the Electrical Recycling Goods day which takes place in the town annually. Look out also for Scrap Metal Recycling days. Use Bring Banks in Lidl car park.

6. Hold on to fancy packaging such as boxes, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper etc. It may be useful to your child's school or an art and craft group.

7. The Castleisland Day Care Centre may have use for knitting wool, games, magazines or CDs.

8. Prevent food waste by taking a little more time when shopping. Having checked the fridge and cupboards make a list and stick to it! Shop for what you actually need and avoid impulse buying. Try to buy loose fruit and veg, you get what you need and cut down on packaging waste in your bin.

9. Castleisland is the best market town in Kerry, Shop locally and support the local Farmer's Market every Thursday.

10. Think about taking a plot in the new Community Garden or plant your own fruit and veg and enjoy your own fresh produce.