Abbeyshrule may have won the overall title at the National Tidy Towns Awards this year but that should not overshadow the monumental work carried out by Tidy Towns volunteers right across the county. This year, in particular, their work would seem to have paid off. Every one of the county’s entries improved on last year’s marks, with one town increasing their marks by a whopping ten points. For this achievement, Lanesboro won an Endeavour Award and much praise from the judges.
Former Tidy Towns winner, Newtowncashel won a Silver Medal, a significant recognition of the committee’s efforts over the past year. Another former overall winner, Ardagh was Commended by the judges .
The category winners in Longford were: Abbeyshrule 312 (307 last year); Drumlish 274 (267); Edgeworthstown 224 (220) and Longford 281 (278).
Of these, the achievements of Drumlish and Edgeworthstown are worth noting. Drumlish is in the same category as Clondra and the Tidy Towns committee pulled out all the stops to beat their rivals by 3 points. Edgeworthstown is only a relatively new entrant to the Tidy Towns competition and its success this year will surely be a boost to the burgeoning committee.
Newtowncashel’s band of volunteers were praised as a “well organised and hard working group” by the judges. The map of the village was as good as the judge ever saw, with the welcoming approach of the town also praised. The entire area was described as “most picturesque, with wonderful sculptures”, notably the latest one of Herbert Donn in the village green. Landscaping is done in a most professional manner with little delights in many areas of the village, the report says. It was also noted that Newtowncashel has great scope for improvement in the waste minimisation category.
Over the years Ardagh has played a significant role in the Tidy Towns Competition, repeatedly a top contender in the county and indeed claiming the National Title three times, most recently back in 1998. This year, the adjudicator noted that it would appear upon detailed inspection that maintaining all the areas in the village was becoming difficult with some key areas, such as the wildlife park, becoming neglected. However, the judge noted the continued efforts in conserving the built heritage of Ardagh. The judge stressed that Ardagh should not be disheartened and should take on board some suggestions to get back in top form.
Lanesboro’s group of large and dedicated volunteers were singled out in praise, with their ability to consistently garner great support from other agencies, residential committees, schools, businesses and the local community noted as very positive. The ESB’s power station threatened to over shadow the town, the report said, but the “delight of the Main Street and the River Shannon” didn’t allow this to happen. Improvement works could be carried out on some shop fronts, the report noted, especially among vacant units. The traditional shop front of Casey’s butchers was admired and Clarke’s pub was also well presented. Both the Library and Rathcline GAA club were also commended.
Drumlish’s 26 volunteers was seen as a positive indication of the strength of enthusiasm for the competition, especially given that the north Longford village entered the competition for the first time in 2006. The committee was commended for communicating very well with the community and praised for its fund-raising initiatives despite the tough economic climate. It was also noted that if the committee keeps the current momentum it will go far in future Tidy Towns competitions.
Edgeworthstown’s Tidy Towns website was hailed as an informative site, with the committee’s work with local schools highlighted as particularly positive. Edgeworthstown, the report notes, has scope for improvement particularly in the waste minimisation and residential areas categories. It was also suggested that the formation of more residents’ associations for estates would be a positive step. The judge noted that it is important individuals are encouraged to take responsibility for their areas; Kilbride Park was given as a excellent example of an estate taking pride in its appearance. In summary, Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns group are making “steady improvements in the competition”, with the judges stressing that the committee “continue to keep up the great work.”
Longford’s good relationships with the key agencies/bodies in the town including the Town
Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club and Longford Community Resources Ltd is noted. Longford Town has much to offer in terms of the varied built environment, attractive Mall Amenity area and the canal and mall walks. The completion of the new N5 bypass should further enhance the town centre by reducing traffic congestion in certain parts. Consideration of improvement opportunities to the street-scape in certain areas of the town would also be timely at this stage. It is hoped that the hard work of the volunteers in Longford will encourage others to get involved, the report concluded.
There were 21 entrants in this year’s Tidy Towns competition from Co Longford in total. In Category A the results were (last year’s points in brackets): Abbeyshrule 312 (307); Newtowncashel 305 (301); Ardagh 289 (287); Derrahaun 222 (220); Mullinalaghta 210 (207); Carrickboy 205 (203); Killashee 205 (n/a); Ballycloughan 203 (197); Tahshinny 194 (189).
Category B: Drumlish 274 (267); Clondra 271 (268); Cullyfad 257 (255); Kenagh 247 (244); Abbeylara 238 (237); Newtownforbes 236 (232); Ballinalee 235 (234).
Category C: Edgeworthstown 224 (220); Lanesboro 212 (202); Granard 210 (202); Ballymahon 201 (n/a).
Category D: Longford 281 (278)