SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Drumlish has potential to maybe get to the pinnacle of Longford Tidy Towns

Adjudicator says Drumlish has a lot going for it

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Drumlish has potential to maybe get to the pinnacle of  Longford Tidy Towns

SuperValu Tidy Towns 2017: Drumlish has potential to maybe get to the pinnacle of Longford Tidy Towns

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


Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Drumlish is very welcome to the Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition for 2017.
Thank you kindly for the excellent application form which was very concise and straightforward. The additional material that included paper cuttings and plans for the proposed pedestrian bridge was supportive of your application.
The map submitted was excellent in that it made it easy for the adjudicator to 1) become familiar with the village  layout and 2) identify the relevant areas and projects that formed part of your overall submission. This was the adjudicator’s first stop off in the village and whilst it has been made famous in song for its “Marquee” it certainly has a lot going for it other than that association.
One had but to be impressed with the level of work undertaken under all categories of the competition over the years. Without stating the obvious a proactive committee is the key to success in any community organisation and you certainly have that in Drumlish. The structure of your committee is spot on as there is executive control and sub groups give their input as required. It is also important that you foster good relationships with local residents associations as it will bring new people into the fold.
Isn’t it great to see that your efforts are being appreciated judging by the list of those who support you in the work  that you do from Longford PPN to the Declan Nerney Showband – how diverse. The methods of communication are a mix of the trusted like the weekly notes in the Longford Leader to Twitter and to participation in various meetings and talks that are held in the County. Even though it is not mentioned in your submission one assumes that word of mouth is important component of your communication as well.
The adjudicator was impressed with the achievement of St Mary’s National School in achieving its 5th Green Flag and you as a committee have contributed to those achievements by your interaction with the school on various projects.
In your 13 years in the competition you have made great strides as of now your rank 5th overall in the county. Lots of innovative activities taking place within your community and as you state you are “the leading force and motivator” of all transformation projects taking place in Drumlish. A fairly forthright statement but maybe a little bit over the top and slightly dismissive of the efforts of other groupings in the parish!!
I’m sure that the lads and lassies of your well known GAA Club Fr Manning Gaels would consider their contributions to the parish development as fairly worthwhile as well.
At this point the adjudicator would like to point out that it would not be possible to comment on all of the content of your excellent application but feel assured that all has been read and noted and that the adjudication will be objective,fair and in keeping with the guidelines.

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
The most impressive aspect under this category was the effectiveness and quality of the infrastructural improvements that have been made to the streetscape of the village core. When one enters Drumlish the first thing that strikes one is the good road surface, excellently designed footpaths  and traffic calming measures that have been put in place.
The skyline is not dominated by overtly obtrusive overhead wiring and this makes a difference as well. Street furniture also adds a bit of additional attractiveness to that core area and of course the striking street bilingual nameplates are an attraction in their own right.
The projects that you have listed as being completed or in progress since 2016 were noted by the adjudicator and visited where relevant. Just as matter of interest where is O’Higgins Heritage Project going to be sited in the village? Maybe you might inform us in next year’s application.
The following were objective observations that this adjudicator made on the walkabout. Getting the little or no negative issues out of the way first, just to note that there are letters and numbers missing on the Cavan R198 and this can be a bit off putting for visitors passing through. Some sections of foot paths on the outskirts are a little rough but then the standard is so high this might be normal in other villages.
Full marks for creativity in camouflaging premises that are unoccupied one in particular on the corner of St Mary  Street and Hill Road stood out. St Mary’s National School and the excellent Community Centre were presented to a very high standard and the area around them was conducive for good parking being marked off with that in mind.
O’Reilly’s Pub and Olde Village Inn, two hostelries near one another, looked good on fine week end evening. The Credit Union is housed in a nice colourful compact premises and the refurbished Garda Station was admired  also. St Mary’s RC Church is in a prominent position in the village and has excellent grounds and parking facilities for parishioners. One presumes that the rather large residential establishment beside the Church is the Parochial House? Then maybe not.
The Emo Service Station was very well presented and had a pretty tidy forecourt as well. Quinns Pub and Restaurant farther down Mary Street had a nice appeal about it with contrasting colours. The Land League memorial is well looked after and credit is due to those entrusted with its upkeep. Mitchell Butchers Shop is keeping up the high standard of presentation of butchers shops that this adjudicator has seen in his travels over the years. Kanes PO on Main Street was also very well maintained. There were many fine private town houses to be viewed in the village core and on the outskirts. Overall the standard in this category was very good.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
Much work has been done in this category in the last year and this is reflected in the colourful and practical changes that are evident at the areas that you have mentioned in the submission. The adjudicator has visited all the works that have been completed and those that are in varying states of progression.
The unique wood planters are a feature of the village and these were populated with colourful annuals and perennials no doubt to be supplemented as the seasons change. You are wished well with your proposed projects, these add greatly to the overall landscaping of the village. The adjudicator was very impressed with the re planting that has taken place at the the junction of Newtownforbes (Clonguish!) and Longford Roads. This creates a very striking first impression of Drumlish as one enters from either road.
The adjudicator was impressed with your approach to ensuring that what is in place is looked after properly and seen at its best all year round. Too many places allow shrub beds to over grow, flowers in planters and hanging baskets to fade as seasons ends, and often don’t look after young saplings so well especially if planted away from a central area.
Well done on your approach in this category and well done to the owners of the many private homesteads who had  some wonderful front and side gardens on view on the day of adjudication.
This category is one of your strong performers and merits an increase in marks.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
You have listed a multitude of mini projects under this category heading, 17 in all which is quite substantial and one would be concerned that you would have the resources to manage them in a sustainable manner all year round. One presumes that this is where you your subcommittee structure comes into focus. Not being nitpicky but in last year’s report mention was made by the adjudicator that a swarm of bees was donated by a local beekeeper. Is this a new bee hive that was donated by the beekeeper this year?
The Biodiversity signage was mentioned last year as a good initiative but it’s not clear in this year’s entry whether the Biodiversity signage mentioned is a reference back to 2016. This lack of clarity is a bit confusing for the adjudicator to be honest as it doesn’t indicate whether it’s a “new” project or otherwise.
The adjudicator visited the biodiversity Boards at the Mill Building and across the road on the Cavan exit. These are informative and very impressive and of course they do what is required in this category – create an awareness of the biodiversity that is all around your area depicting both the fauna and flora of the immediate Drumlish area in a clear manner.
Japanese knotweed is a most invasive and destructive plant and over the last few years it has made unwanted inroads around the country. Reporting its existence to the Local Authority is the proper course of action and well done to you in spreading this message to the community. For the uninitiated it can be hard to recognise and there are individual websites that can be referred to in order to get more information. Your comment on the now ubiquitous insect hotels is spot on.
Well done on the other proposals that you have mentioned under this section as they all contribute to the main objective of creating an awareness of the need to cherish and protect the different forms of biodiversity within the habitats of your area.
Regular reference to websites such as www.biodiversityireland and consultations with ecologists will keep one updated on the subject.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
The objective in this category has moved on a little from the reduce reuse and recycle mantra to one of promoting the concept of reducing the production of potential waste at source such as excessive packaging. Activities that describe how as a community you  manage waste and promote efficient use of resources and promote awareness is the key to gaining marks in this category.
As well as marks gained the practical benefits of  good waste management and control of unnecessary production will be seen as a major contribution to a better environment. The list of mini projects that you have included are very much fit for purpose and there is no point in the adjudicator repeating them back to you verbatim. You are to be commended for the variety and practicality of all included. Many have been replicated all over the country but the key for community such as yours is to ensure that you have the resources to manage them in a sustainable manner.
Interesting to note that amongst the list  of 17 is the re using of cattle feed and coal bags for litter picks – you can add the bagging of turf, collection of garden waste and other usages to this.Coal and feed bags have been used for years but nobody ever considered their contributing to waste reduction. Other areas to look at as well as www.localprevention.ie for ideas would be www.greenhomes.ie and www.sustainableprocessing.ie
Also make yourself aware if you have not already done so with the circular economy- too long to explain here but I’m sure Professor Google will oblige.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
Congratulations on the work that you have done over the last year in trying to persuade people to be anti-litter and making it known that it helps the village  in terms of appearance, tidiness and environment protection. Good to note that you have regular litter pick rotas and well done to whoever is in charge of the rota. Also you have taken upon yourself as a committee to organise a dedicated Drumlish Spring Clean day with the support of the County Council and TUS workers.

Well done to these workers whose efforts often go unheralded! This is not an easy job and demands commitment of the highest order. It would be a little churlish of me to identify areas in the heart of the village where small pieces of litter and farm related activity residue was observed. The adjudicator has no doubt that these areas are being monitored and cleaned up on a regular basis.
General tidiness was quite acceptable in an overall context and the work that you have carried out such as power  washing of pavements, cleaning signs and removal of moss from footpaths etc all contribute to this. Obtrusive banners at roadsides seen at this time of year advertising festivals and country music stars (not your famous son should I hasten to add) were thankfully absent on the outskirts of the village.

A few untidy individual side areas were noted and these stand out in a place like Drumlish but would not be noticed  in other places. This shows how the majority of your residents have a pride of place mentality. Litter bins were pretty ok as well considering it was a weekend day. Overall the standard was very good.


Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
It’s hard to imagine that there are 15 housing developments in the village and its environs.
The committee has recognised the efforts of the residents of these estates in your comments under this heading. It is obvious that there is a good cooperative spirit within these areas as witnessed by the adjudicator in his walk about.
Church View Drive has a nice name stone and brick surround effect flower bed but you need to replenish it with more colourful annuals to make it a vibrant entrance into a well maintained estate of houses. Esker Glen has also a nice attractive black with gold writing encased in the wall clearly visible to all and sundry. The version As Gaeilge Gleann na hEascrach far more melodic. Cairn Hill also identified by stone sign of nice quality and the estate itself was clean and tidy. Town houses in the village were very well maintained and those on the outskirts.
Other aspects of presentation relative to town houses and communal areas have been made under Built Environment and Streetscapes. The standard was good and very acceptable.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The entrances into the village from all sides were very impressive especially at the Longford Road/ Newtownforbes Junction where the new planting arrangement has created an idyllic visual impact as one approaches for either direction. Similarly the entrance from Arva, Cavan has been enhanced by the excellent rockery and some nice residential homes as one approach nearer the village.
The Road in from Mohill into Main Street acceptable but there are a few untidy areas at that entrance. The Ballinalee Road also well presented with very nice name sign a little out from the Old School which seemed to be undergoing some building work. The Hill Road out to St Mary’s NS had very attractive planters against a backdrop of a freshly painted boundary wall.
The adjudicator thought that general condition of road surfaces was good but maybe down Main Street there may  have been room for improvement.

Concluding Remarks:
It was good to pay a first stop visit to Drumlish and experience a very nice village that has been well looked after and that has potential to maybe get to the pinnacle of  Longford Tidy Towns. A more leisurely visit back maybe to the Marquee made famous  by one of your favourite sons is due!

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