Cadamstown increased its Tidy Towns score by two points this year.
Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Thank you for your application to the Supervalu 2017 Tidy Towns Competition. Your application was clear and concise with a lovely map. More information on your activities would be helpful however. You have a long record in the competition and it’s great to hear that you feel your community has benefited by improved community spirit and increased tourist numbers in the area. Indeed on adjudication day a large group of young adults were walking through the village.
As suggested by last year’s adjudicator, I think it would be helpful to your work to have a three year plan. This would allow a more strategic and long-term approach to the development and enhancement of Cadamstown. Most groups at your level in the competition are working off a plan. You could consult with other Tidy Towns Groups to see how they went about producing a plan.
Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
Cadamstown and environs have a rich history and heritage with the old mill, sean scoil, Ardara Bridge, archaeological monuments etc. It would be great if more information was available. You already have quite a bit of signage/ information panels so it would be worth consulting with the Heritage Officer in Offaly County Council to discuss the best option to promote your local heritage. Dempsey’s Pub is very well presented as is the Church.
The car park has attractive nature and walking signage, as well as colourful planting behind the panels. The small walkway at the end of the carpark down to the old way was a bit overgrown with brambles. The bring bank had a small amount of rubbish on the ground and to the rear is an area that looks like it was heavily sprayed with herbicide. This area and the adjacent concrete wall could be screened by planting a native hedge along the nice wooden fence.
All the benches and picnic tables are well maintained. The information panels in the car park and road signs around the village were all clean. The old walking sign on the main street needs replacing. Perhaps it is no longer required as there is good information in the car park where visitors will stop. It might be an idea to audit road signs (the brown ones) in the village and determine if they are all useful and pointing in the right direction. Again the Heritage Officer might be able to advise. The Irish language signage is nicely done and informative. For future reference, it’s not a good idea to paint bug hotels as it might have a negative impact on the residents! It’s ok if it starts to look a little weathered.
Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
The Silver River is a focal point in the village and the beautiful trees and shrubs that line much of the river greatly enhance it and create a lovely atmosphere. There has been some planting of trees and shrubs on the River Walk (across the road from the car park) and several of the young trees have inappropriate tree ties, as noted by last year’s adjudicator. Please replace or remove as string will damage the trees. Avoid any herbicide use near to the river as it can have negative impacts on water quality and wildlife.
The natural vegetation adjacent to the river should be left uncut as it will protect water quality and provides cover for wildlife. There are several colourful and attractive planters along the main road through the village that contrast nicely with the stone walls. The stone planter behind the information panels also looked very well.
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
The river also provides a wonderful natural habitat for wildlife. The bug hotels and bird houses are welcome additions but do take care manage in a way that doesn’t disturb any resident wildlife i.e. avoid painting or putting up boxes with nails. It’s good to hear you liaise with the relevant bodies in relation to the river. Events to raise awareness of the rich biodiversity in your area could include a nature walk along the River Walk during Heritage Week, a Dawn Chorus Walk in early Summer or a Tree Week event. The Heritage Officer could advise on potential walk leaders. Running such events can help build community spirit as well as promote your area and they are as important as doing projects.
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
The bring bank in the village is essential to facilitate recycling. It’s great that you highlight this to visitors but you need to promote the reduction of waste production through stopping food waste, promoting compositing, harvesting rainwater to water planters etc. Talk to the Environmental Awareness Officer in the Council and they may be able to help you organise some workshops on reducing waste and reusing items, and to help with this category in general.
Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
Some photos of the Annual Spring Clean and other litter picks would be helpful here. Cadamstown was very tidy and more or less litter free on adjudication day (apart from the Bring Bank). You regular litter patrols are working well. It’s great to include children in this activity as you have.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
Residences in Cadamstown are presented to a high standard. It’s great to hear that you have a high level of co-operation with your work. Some particularly nice gardens were noted.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
The approach roads to Cadamstown are very attractive with trees and hedgerows. Are there are road verges that could be left uncut during the summer months to create a habitat for wildlife? Talk to the Heritage Officer in the County Council for more information on the ‘Don’t mow- let it grow’ campaign that many Tidy Towns Groups are involved with for the benefit of pollinators.
I really enjoyed my first visit to Cadamstown and hope to return very soon to walk one of the trails. Do consider developing a three-year plan and keep up the excellent work.