SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Mullinalaghta praised for harnessing goodwill of greater community within parish

Mullinalaghta Tidy Towns committee advised that Derrycassin Woodland Trail is an amenity to be enjoyed but not to be over exploited

Alan Walsh

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Alan Walsh

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Mullinalaghta praised for harnessing  goodwill of  greater community within parish

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Mullinalaghta praised for harnessing goodwill of greater community within parish

Here's what the SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017 adjudicators had to say about Mullinalaghta and above are the marks Mullinalaghta received.


Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Mullinalaghta is very welcome to the 2017 Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition.
Thank you for the very comprehensive application form complete with supportive material in the form of extensive village enhancement plan and leaflets on Derrycassin Wood Walks which will be done at a more leisurely time by the adjudicator. I would suggest that you influence Longford County Council to put a name sign for Mullinalaghta on the N52 where the sign for Derrycassin Wood is. It’s not easy to get to the village if you are coming off the N55.
This was the adjudicator’s first visit to this secluded village hidden amongst the Derrycassin Woods and it was a pleasant one at that. The main development committee of 7 which also looks after the tidy towns is very proactive in its efforts to maximise the villages potential hence the large number of potential projects that are in the impressive village enhancement plan.
You have a good support structure within the local community who obviously value the work that you do on behalf of the village.
On adjudication day which weather-wise was a little bit of a mixed bag two gentlemen were working cleaning in front of the impressive church and strimming edges on the outskirts of the village as one heads for Granard.
Fostering good links with Longford County Council and other agencies that manage CES and RSS schemes is important for the future development of the village. Well done in harnessing the goodwill of the greater community within the parish.
Methods of communication are varied and effective in making people aware of your activities or for summoning people to meetings or work actions. You are also fortunate to have a committed teacher from St Columba’s School on your committee and this will serve you well in your dealings with the school in the years ahead.
The efforts that you have put into the competition over the last few years are beginning to bear fruit as you have made incremental improvement over the years.Thank you for your positive comments on the competition.
Before one forgets belated congratulations to the local St Columba’s GFC who won the Longford Senior Football Championship after 66 years and indeed what an idyllic setting that the Club Grounds are situated in.

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Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
The adjudicator would be hard pushed to see church an impressive Church as St Columba’s RC Church on an elevated site in the core area of this small rural village.I believe there is a history behind the design of St Columba’s as it is quite distinctive and more akin to a church of what was once referred to as the Establishment. Your notes on its origin do not subscribe to this view and explains clearly its background.
Some of the items of work that you have included under this section would be more suited to the landscaping section but of course some sections overlap.
The community centre which came in for comment on its condition last year was well presented and the work done on the area around it as well as the building has made it a lot more presentable. The graveyard was well maintained and it looked as if some remedial work on the boundary wall had taken place since last year. The post and rail fencing across from the graveyard was newly painted.
St Columba’s National school in Cloonagh was in a very good state of presentation and credit is due to the volunteers who look after it’s up keep. Yes indeed so rural with hens rambling around at their leisure.
St Columba’s GAA Club has one of the most idyllic settings that the adjudicator has come across in his travels in the course of this work. Both the grounds and clubhouse were admired for their cleanliness and tidy parking area plus the fact that the surrounding fence looks as if it was recently painted.
Both hostelries Keogh and The Anglers Rest were in acceptable condition but could do with painting and in the case of the Anglers Rest the old petrol pump should be camouflaged of taken away.
Overall the standard was good and merited an increase in marks.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
The adjudicator was impressed with your approach to ensuring that what is in place is looked after properly and seen at its best year round. The entrance from Granard is enhanced by an excellent flower bed which has been recently filled with colourful  annuals. The Church grounds were resplendent and looked very well on the day the boundary walls were further enhanced by flower pots placed at intervals along it.
Across the road the area that houses the defunct petrol pumps could be improved upon as despite the hanging containers on the post and rail fence the main area looks a little bare and could do with two large planters that would break up this bare look. The ground surface around here is a little rough as well. A little more colour at the base of the Mullinalaghta Information Board would brighten this whole locale.Hopefully the wire fencing here could be replaced by an attractive timber fencing in time as its looks a little tatty at present.
This whole area could deal with under the proposed village enhancement plan which is going to take time to implement.
One does appreciate that you are trying to effect incremental change year on year under the tidy town’s umbrella. The planting arrangement at the National School was admired for the colour and sustainability in that it will have year round effect. The GAA grounds were kept very well and it is to the credit of the members that look after ground maintenance that  this is the case. The adjudicator took a stroll around the community walk way and was impressed with the saplings that were planted to provide shelter.
Derycassin Wood Walks will done when ones visits for leisure only, hopefully that will not be too long. Overall the standard was very good and merits an increase of an additional mark.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
You are very fortunate that the village is situated in one of the most tranquil parts of the island where one is not encumbered by heavy traffic flows or unsuitable housing developments. This area is a haven for many species of wildlife and in fact it has so many natural habitats that you are spoiled for choice. How one promotes the wildlife of this area in a sensitive manner is the key.
The Derycassin Woods is the driver of visitors to the area and it’s good to note that the community spirit exists whereby the local GAA Club make their premises available for various events that take place.The Woodland Trail is an amenity to be enjoyed but not to be over exploited and if it gets too many events over the period of the year it could affect wildlife balance.
It has happened in other areas where too many people and too much bustle affected the well-being of its natural inhabitants.You have put much effort into this category and an increase in marks is merited.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
This is a category that has created quite a lot of concern for committees around the country. Most were not able to grasp the idea which may have been a little complicated. Since then the category has become a lot clearer and the main objective is to promote “the reduction of production” of unnecessary waste and to help reduce the large volumes that go to landfill each year.
The initiatives that you have mentioned are very suitable but there is a lot more potential for you to work on. I like your one “make a shopping list and stick to it” and if people adhered to that principle well we would be a long way down the road of reducing the production unnecessary waste.It is good to note that the school has received its first green flag for sustainable energy and hopefully more will follow in due course.
Consult, if you have not already done so, your local environmental officer for a little additional direction to see if he/she can come up further project ideas, Also consult the following websites www.localpreventoin.ie and www.greenhomes.ie  as well as www.sustainableproduction.ie
Also examine options under the circular economy which can googled to give you a cross section of websites that explain and promote the concept. The Tidy Towns Handbook also provides you with good information on this subject as well.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
Well done on the annual spring clean up days and judging by the photographs it was a very successful venture. These days tend to get communities enthused and working together for the betterment of their towns and villages. Your idea of having two days one for children and one for adults is something that could be replicated in many other  centres of bigger population.
Top marks also to those people within your group who coordinate and manage such undertakings as they just  happen by themselves. Also well done to the members of Forage and the local St Columba’s GAA Club who rowed in behind you in this  operation.
The village is rather elongated and not densely populated with houses and there are no parts that could be termed as litter traps. General tidiness was good with a few exceptions which are known to the committee.
For all the effort that you have put into this category you have earned an increase in marks.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
The village of Mullinalaghta does not have any housing clusters that are part of other villages and towns. It is quite a long village by definition stretching from the GAA grounds at Derrycassin Wood to the lake at the Gowna end of the village.
There are some very fine farmhouses, one in particular near the impressive church, to be seen when traversing the area. The private dwellings encountered were well presented with nice gardens and boundary walls where relevant painted and complementing the surroundings.
The new play area at the Derrycassin Wood beside the GAA grounds will be a big addition for the community’s small people. Well done on this co operative venture and patience on your behalf has finally paid off. Overall the standard was very good.


Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The timber welcome signs into the village have been repaired and they give that rustic look that one would associate with a village nestled amidst the Derrycassin Woods. The improvements to the stone work and flower beds on the Granard Road were also noted as one entered from this end of the village.
The Gowna entrance in by the Graveyard was also up to an acceptable standard and creates a good impression as one approaches the village. As stated in an earlier section verges were being strimmed on the outskirts just near Keoghs Pub. Again attention to the basics has merited an increase of an additional mark.

Concluding Remarks:
This was the adjudicator's first time visiting Mullinalaghta and it certainly was a pleasant experience.This is a rural retreat with a strong community spirit that must have rubbed off on the local Football Team who created their own piece of history last year. One will be back to walk the Derrycassin Wood at the earliest possible time.

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