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Ardclough scores record 70.1pc (319/450) in 2018 Tidy Towns Competition

Ardclough score was a record 319 points (maximum points 450) in the 2018 Tidy Towns competition to finish joint winners in their category and joint seventh in Kildare, and maintained a record of having increased their score every year since first entering in 1998.

Tidy Towns Competition 2018 Adjudicators Report

  • Overall: 70.1pc(319/450)
  • 83.3pc Community involvement (50/60)
  • 82pc Nature and biodiversity (41/50)
  • 82pc Green spaces and landscaping (41/50)
  • 80pc Streetscape & public spaces (40/50)
  • 76pcApproach roads (39/50)
  • 72pc Residential streets & housing areas (36/50)
  • 60pc Tidiness & litter control (54/90)
  • 36pc Sustainability (18/50)

83.3pc Community involvement (50/60)Up 1 Thank you for your wonderfully presented and comprehensive Entry Form including location map, 3 Year Business Plan 2017-2019 and photographs recording all the works undertaken by your Committee over the last year. The Tidy Towns map included with your entry was clear and the legend provided helped greatly in the adjudication of your village. It was the Adjudicator’s first time to visit Ardclough and the first impression has been very positive. You currently have 8 members on your Committee with a further 6 people who volunteer to assist with your activities. It is noted that your Committee is affiliated with Muintir na Tíre and you arrange meetings at least monthly throughout the year. Your Tidy Towns work days are held on Thursday evenings which involves ongoing maintenance and some individual projects. You have engaged with a range of organisations to further your goals and you communicate with residents and members through Ardclough Community Whatsapp Group set up in 2017 and through social media, local noticeboards and parish newsletter. Your engagement with young people in the area is very strong and you co-operate well with the local National School on various projects. The involvement with the Tidy Towns Competition has been very beneficial for Ardclough and has improved the local environment and community spirit. Many different events undertaken under this category have served to bring the Ardclough Community together such as the Operation Transformation ‘couch to 5K’ event and the various Community Conversations held in the Village Centre. These Community initiatives appear to have been a great success – well done to all concerned with these. Your approach to the planning of your Tidy Towns work is very thorough and your 3 Year Plan is comprehensive and allows you to easily track progress on specific projects and also across categories – Tús maith leath na hOibre.

82pc Nature and biodiversity (41/50) Up 1.Your ‘Cat Collar’ project is interesting as there has always been a concern regarding the impact of domestic cats on wild bird populations. This is very worthwhile. The newly installed Wildlife sign was noted at Ardclough Bridge on the canal and it is good to hear that long-eared owls are present in the adjoining wet woodland and that rare mandarin ducks have also called to visit Ardclough. Public signage which is for permanent use should in most circumstances be bilingual. Well done on the smooth newt survey which has confirmed the presence of this species in the area..

82pc Green spaces and landscaping (41/50) Up 1Your flagship project under this category is the installation of a large heritage stone, which provides an insight into the history of the village, on the triangle opposite the church. The standard of maintenance of the triangle is superb and installation of the heritage standing stone here is appropriate given the name of the village. The works undertaken on this project are applauded. Perhaps a small quality herbaceous perennial planting bed should be provided at it’s base to provide further enhancement and deal with any maintenance issues arising. The nearby Ardclough Natural Heritage sign is superbly presented and very informative. Other works under this category have been carried out on the grounds around the Village Centre including the installation of a new park bench and the planting of a mini woodland. The grounds around the Village Centre are maintained in an environmentally sensitive and appropriate manner with extensive wildflower meadows and closely mown pathways – congratulations to all concerned with this.

80pc Streetscape & public spaces (40/50) up 1The Ardclough area has a rich heritage and has historic connections to the Guinness and Shackelton families. It has important associations with horse breeding and famous race horses of the early 20th Century. It’s location adjacent to the Grand Canal is also important in providing connectivity to the Arthur’s Way route to Hazelhatch, Celbridge and Leixlip. The canal provides many recreational and amenity opportunities for the residents of Ardclough. New development in the village will be positive but will no doubt bring challenges and a strong tidy towns voice will be important to ensure that changes to the environment of Ardclough are sensitively planned and are sustainable. It is quite evident on a walk around the village that the residents of Ardclough are very proud of their area and the work undertaken by the Tidy Towns. The Village Centre building is central to the community and its presentation was superb reflecting how important this building is for the Community. The new kitchen is a great addition as is the Community Noticeboard near the path. The painting of the window grids also helps the overall presentation – these little jobs can be very important. The large granite boulder with the engraving relating to Ardclough’s equine history was greatly admired. The presentation of the church grounds and frontage is to a very high standard as is the shop which is an important meeting point in the village. The impressive Scoil Aine Naofa school was visited. This is a wonderful educational establishment and is a great asset to the village. However, some additional tree planting is needed in car park area, on the traffic islands and along frontage, as these areas are quite bare and require a landscape enhancement scheme..

76pc Approach roads (39/50) up 1Approaches to Ardclough were well maintained and road surfaces and markings were generally very good and Ardclough namesigns well presented. It is good to see that the maintenance of roadside verges and hedges is carried out with a view to encouraging wildlife. The so called ‘Fringing’ of verges is a good option and is visually acceptable whilst retaining a strip for a suitable as a wildlife corridor. Perhaps consider providing a tree planting scheme to stabilise the newly constructed bank at the 13th Lock..

72pc Residential streets & housing areas (36/50)Up 1The floral containers installed on top of the stone wall boundary along the frontage of Wheatfield Estate were admired as were the high quality timber seats on the adjoining open space. This estate was spotless and the open space area was superbly maintained – well done to all the local residents here. Lishandra Manor is a gated development and it was not possible to gain access, although the entrance area was very well presented.

60pc Tidiness & litter control (54/90) up 1The new Ardclough Village Centre welcome sign and sign at the Village Shop requesting people not to throw litter shows your commitment to keeping Ardclough clean and tidy. During the visit all areas along roads, at the shop car park at the triangle and at the Village Centre were found to be neat and tidy with an absence of litter. Signs were clean and there was an absence of clutter or inappropriate signage. Well done. Thanks are also due to those involved in clearing of drains to prevent future flooding in the village and erecting anti-litter signs along the Canal. The remarking of the car park at the shop/church could be a project to be considered in the future.

36pc Sustainability (18/50) up 1Whilst walking through the grounds of the Village Centre a local resident was noted diligently watering vegetables in the community vegetable garden. The vegetable beds here are an important educational resource and despite the recent drought conditions, the vegetables plants are thriving. Your mini market for waste has worked well and the local community has engaged with this project. Your new leaf composter and composter sign on the grounds of the Village Centre were noted. In relation to future projects under this category, you might consider the possibility of a car-pooling initiative based near the shop car park area and promoting the use of low carbon vehicles and maybe pursuing the installation of an electric car charge point at an appropriate location in the village. The extension of cycle parking facilities in the village or along the Canal could also be considered. The further development of Arthur’s Way and other cycle routes will ultimately help Ardclough develop in the future and will need further promotion. The greater use of solar panels on roofs and heat exchange units to reduce energy consumption is a worthwhile initiative to consider – perhaps in the context futureproofing the energy requirements of the Village Centre building. The greater use of water butts or tanks to provide storage for the watering of plantings during the Summer period is also encouraged. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland website has good information in relation to the development of Better Energy Communities.

Concluding Remarks:It was a great pleasure to visit your village. Ardclough is making great strides in the competition and your committee is clearly working very hard to improve community spirit and the appearance and environs of your village – keep up the good work.

Ardclough’s record in previous Tidy Towns competitions

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Ardclough scored 68.9pc in 2017 Tidy Towns

Ardclough score was a record 310 points (maximum points 450) in the 2017 Tidy Towns competition to finish second in their category and tenth in Kildare, behind Straffan 325; Naas 324; Maynooth 323; Kill 320; Broadford 316; Rathangan 315; Ballymore Eustace 313; Leixlip 312 and Celbridge 311. Ardclough maintained a record of having increased their score every year since first entering in 1998.

 See 2017 Ardclough Tidy towns report

Ardclough’s record in previous Tidy Towns competitions

1998: 50pc (150/300). 1999: 51.3pc (154/300), 2000: 54.7pc (164/300), 2001: 58.3pc (175/300), 2002: 60.3pc (181/300), 2003: 61pc (183/300), 2004: 61.7pc (185/300), 2005: 62.7pc (188/300), 2007: 54.8pc (219/400), 2008: 59.5pc (238/400), 2009: 62pc (248/400), 2010: 63pc (252/400), 2011: 64.8pc (259/400), 2012: 67.8pc  (271/400), 2013: 70.5pc (282/400), 2014: 64.7pc (291/450). 2015: 66.7pc (300/450), 2016: 67.8pc (305/450) 2017: 68.9pc (310/450)

The year 2017 saw gold medals for Naas, Straffan, Maynooth & Leixlip, along with silver medals for Celbridge, Kill & Newbridge. Clane & Ballymore Eustace got bronze medals.

Tidy Towns Competition 2017 Adjudicators Report

  • 81.7pc Community involvement
  • 80pc Wildlife & habitats
  • 78pc Landscaping & open spaces
  • 78pc Built environment
  • 76pc Approach roads
  • 70pc Residential streets
  • 58.9pc Tidiness & litter control
  • 34pc Waste management

81.7pc Community Involvement & Planning 49/60 Flat Ardclough is welcomed to the 2017 SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition. Thank you for your well-presented application and copy of plan for your beautiful village. This is the second visit to the village for this year’s adjudicator and once again it was a pleasure to revisit after a number of years. Ardclough Tidy Towns has an active committee under the umbrella of Ardclough Community Council. All organisations work well together to develop and enhance the village. The residents’ association do good work in maintaining and enhancing their estates. You engage well with all the relevant agencies and businesses of Ardclough and surrounding area. This communication with the wider community is through a number of ways such as social media, public meetings and parish newsletter. It seems to be working well as all organisations are rallying to the cause. The youths’ involvement have been honoured with awards for their work in the community during the 2016 Tidy Towns awards which were held in Maynooth College. Since joining the Tidy Towns competition the village has seen a marked improvement to the physical aspect of the village and its surrounds. Continuing your good work will ensure a continuation of this improvement into the future.

80pc Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities 40/50 Flat Well done on the projects that you have undertaken for the competition. The village has a superb amenity in the canal and the Arthur Guinness way. Partaking in projects that the school has engaged in will help them to identify bird species local to their area, also plants that are native and non-native. It will also give them a better understanding and awareness of the importance of good management of our waterways protecting it from any source of pollution that can harm the water supply and also the wildlife that live therein. The list of birds and mammals that have been identified around Ardclough provides the children and the community with an interesting project, identifying what species that are no longer on the list and new ones that join. Their habitats and habits have then to be studied. It is good that you have the expertise within your group that can demonstrate the different species to the community. Keep up the good work you are an inspiration to other groups.

78pc Landscaping and Open Spaces 39/50 up 1 Ardclough has many fine presentations of landscaped beds. Lishhandra and Wheatfield upper has to be commended on their excellent presentation. There is superb planting in these areas that attracts birds and bees providing a nice tranquillity to the surrounds. The seating provides a place for one to sit and enjoy. There is also pleasant planting in and outside the Church. Do ensure that the grass in this area is cut more frequently thus avoiding a large amount being left which gives an untidy appearance. The landscaping on the approach roads was bright and welcoming. The area at the village centre with planting and grass uncut for wildlife is superb. The mowed paths enabled he community to ramble through. This could be developed more with further planting of fruit trees and other bee loving shrubs and plants.

78pc Built Environment and Streetscape 39/50 up 1 The GAA complex in the centre of the village is maintained to a high standard and provides a superb amenity for the village and its surrounds. The village centre is also well presented and used well by the community. The new heating system installed will add greatly to the running of the building both structurally and economically. It still contains its educational history with classes being run for the community on a regular basis. Activity here was noted on day of adjudication. The Church and grounds are also well maintained. One must not forget the village shop which is such an important part of the community and it too was busy on day of adjudication. The new modern School building provides an excellent education point for the youth of the area. The canal provides an excellent amenity in its walking way. The bridge over the canal is quiet Narrow and maybe would benefit from lanterns or bright floral containers on its parapet.

76pc Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes 38/50 up 1 The approach roads to the village with colourful planting around village signs gives a good first impression of the village and the village itself does not disappoint the visitor. The nicely trimmed verges and clean signage complements the hedging and trees along the roads. One recommendation would be to ask Kildare County Council to continue a footpath up to the bridge. There is a grass verge along that could be used as a footpath and make it somewhat safer for walkers along this stretch of road.

70pc Residential Streets & Housing Areas 35/50 Flat The houses on the approach roads and throughout the village are commended on their superb presentations. Lishandra Estate and Wheatfield upper are also to be commended on their excellent presentation. The well cared for green areas and colourful planting was admired. The resident’s associations are doing great work in maintaining and enhancing their areas with the addition of new planting each year. Well done on their work for this year’s competition

58.9pc Tidiness and Litter Control 53/90 up 1 The village generally looks neat and tidy. No weed growth along kerbs was noted. The cut grass on green area at the Church looked untidy but if cut more often as mentioned earlier this would be addressed. Your litter control plan is also working well. The planters, planted with spring bulbs could include summer flowering bulbs for summer colour? Along the canal where such a volume of walkers’ use was also tidy which was complemented by the eye catching poster. The artistic painting of the cottage looks bright and cheerful.

34pc Sustainable Waste and Resource Management 17/50 up 1 Well done on the master composting course which has provided training to two of your members that will help share the knowledge with the wider community. Have you noticed any improvement in waste reduction such as food waste? Are the community becoming more aware of ways to reduce the amount of waste been produced. Have you got the results of the survey undertaken with St Woltan’s back? The result of this survey would indicate the habits of the community and identify areas where savings could be made by the community in reducing the amount of waste being produced.

Concluding Remarks: Ardclough is a good example of a community working together to develop and enhance their village. It was a pleasure to visit the village and do continue the good work. Well done.

 

Heritage walk to Lyons church & hill August 20 2017

 

  • Heritage Walk: Lyons castle, church and hill

  • Time – 14:00 on Sunday next August 20
  • Assemble at gates of Lyons farm 13.50. 
  • It is a separate, marked entrance on the Kearneystown to Newcastle road on the Newcastle side of the entrances to the Cliff at Lyons and Lyons house  Gate is at N 53.30220 W 6.52959T
  • There will only be one access time to Lyons, so if people are not there then they cannot get in later, with no exceptions.

The walk, organised by Ardclough Community Council for Heritage Week, will take three hours and have two stops,  The first will be at Lyons 13th century castle, the 14th century church and graveyard   The second, for those who wish to continue the uphill hike through fields, will be at the top of Lyons Hill  Listen to an explanation of the historic and strategic importance of the iron age fort on the hill, the 8th century royal site of the kings of Leinster, and the castle, which was home to the powerful Aylmer family Lyons was an extremely important site in ancient and medieval Ireland and played an important role in major events such as the lead in to the Battle of Clontarf  The story of Lyons helped determine the locations and geography of the modern communities of Ardclough, Newcastle (originally Newcastle Lyons) and Celbridge