What the Tidy Towns judges said about Clonbullogue

Clonbullogue increases already high mark by another six points

Offaly Express Reporter

Reporter:

Offaly Express Reporter

Email:

news@offalyexpress.ie

Tidy Towns

Tidy Towns

Clonbullogue scored a massive 322 points in this year's Tidy Towns

Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:

Thank you for your application to the 2017 Tidy Towns Competition. You took on the advice on last year’s adjudicator and supplied a more concise and clear application, many thanks. This year’s projects were clearly listed which is most helpful.

Avoid repetition of the same project or activity in different categories although it is recognised that there is some cross-over. The map was a little hard to follow but ok. Your three-year plan could be improved by including project partners and less vague actions e.g. ‘work with local school’. You are at a high level in the competition and it would be worth having a more comprehensive and ambitious plan. Seek advice from other tidy towns groups and consult the Tidy Towns Handbook.

You are lucky to have many volunteers that help with the work of the committee and you work with several other groups, agencies and local businesses. You use a wide variety of means to spread the word about your activities, which a good strategy. It’s good to read that your TÚS and CE scheme workers are going on to other employment and I hope you manage to recruit more participants to help with your work.

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:

The houses and pub facing on to the central village green are very well presented. The mural adjacent to the pub looks really well and the planting below is most attractive. The school also looked lovely with the mature trees and beautiful flower beds. The newly painted boundary walls of the churches, the bridge and the CDA all look very
smart. The River Figile Walk is a fantastic amenity for the community. The Daybreak shop is a bit cluttered out front
but the space is tight. The solid window covering in the shop is unappealing and doesn’t draw you in. There was no
litter here, however, and the flower planters were attractive.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:

As stated above the planting under the mural to the rear of the green looks really well. The newly planted trees at Figile Manor in the whitethorn hedge provide a lovely natural boundary for the estate. The new bed at the millrace is in a very shady spot. The planting looks well though and hopefully the plants can cope with low light levels.

This is a natural area so no further planting or ‘enhancement’ is required. It’s good to hear you are aiming to reducing planting of summer bedding. This will reduce your costs further in the long term. The trees along the main road look great along with colourful floral displays and neat hedgerows. Avoid planting flowers under trees if possible because they compete for water and detract from the beauty of the tree.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:

It’s great to hear you have entered the Waters and Communities Award. It’s also good to read that you are monitoring whether bird boxes are being occupied. It might take a while for swifts to take up residence in the nesting box. You are participating in the swift survey of Offaly with BirdWatch Ireland which is a very worthwhile project. A bat training evening is a great idea. These kinds of events help raise awareness and appreciation of local natural heritage. How about organising nature walks or talks along the River? Or a Dawn Chorus event with the support of BirdWatch.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:

The new bicycle stand at the school is a great addition. Cycle-training workshops in the school might courage more cyclists too. Do follow the advice of last year’s adjudicator and provide more information on the location and quantity of water butts. How much do they contribute to your watering of summer bedding? The school appears to be involved with the green schools programme but there is little mention of this in your application apart from a copy of an email. The ethos of the green schools mirrors that of the Tidy Towns Competition in relation to protection and enhancement of our environment. It would be great to see more mention of school projects in your application. A SEAI workhop could also be run for the wider community as well as the school. Is there much home composting in Clonbullogue? Could this be expanded?

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:

Clonbullogue was very tidy and more or less litter free on adjudication day. There were some dumped bags at the brink bank, which unfortunately this is a common sight in many places. The bring bank is in an out of the way location which probably doesn’t help but I agree it is a difficult problem and all you can do is keep monitoring etc. You have several innovative approaches to keeping the village litter free- adopt a patch, grandparents helping keep the school clean and providing bags for dog waste. The reduction in litter bins appears to be having a positive impact.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:

The strong pride of place is evident in Clonbullogue with the many attractive gardens, boundary treatments and well-maintained houses. Figile Manor and Woodlawn are both very well presented with attractive landscaping, well maintained green space and no litter.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The approach roads to Clonbullogue are very attractive with hedgerows and trees, and stone walls in places. It’s good to hear you are leaving some verges unmown for the benefit of pollinators. There are probably more wide verges that could be left uncut during the summer months. The abundance of attractive trees is particularly striking and they really enhance the road network.

Concluding Remarks:
This was my first visit to Clonbullogue and it was most enjoyable, especially a stroll along the river walk.