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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.

 

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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

Judges report for Ardclough in 2016 Tidy Towns Competition

Ardclough scored a C1, 68pc in the Tidy Towns Competition 2016

Ardclough score was a record 305 points (maximum points 450) in the Tidy Towns competition to finish second in their category and ninth in Kildare, and maintained a record of having increased their score every year since first entering in 1998.

Ardclough’s record in previous Tidy Towns competitions

1998: 50pc (150/300). 1999: 51pc (154/300), 2000: 53pc (164/300), 2001: 58pc (175/300), 2002: 60pc (181/300), 2003: 61pc (183/300), 2004: 62pc (185/300), 2005: 63pc (188/300), 2007: 54pc (219/400), 2008: 59.5pc (238/400), 2009: 62pc (248/400), 2010: 63pc (252/400), 2011: 65pc (259/400), 2012: 69pc  (271/400), 2013: 70.5pc (282/400), 2014: 65pc (291/450). 2015: 67pc (300/450), 2016: 68pc (305/450)

In 2016 Straffan won the County Kildare award for the ninth successive year with a record 320 points ahead of Naas 318 and Rathangan 315, Kill scored 314 points to finish fourth.

Marks awarded in 2015: Community Involvement & Planning 49/60 Built Environment 38/ 50 Landscaping 38/ 50 Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities 40/50, Sustainable Waste and Resource Management 16/50, Tidiness and Litter Control 52/90, Residential Streets & Housing Areas 35/50, Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes 37/50 TOTAL MARK 305/450 (68pc).

Judge’s comments, Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:

We welcome Ardclough Community Council to the Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition 2016. It was a pleasure for this adjudicator to visit your lovely community for the first time. We would kindly ask that you fill in the ‘Estimated location’ section as this helps us greatly in finding smaller places not on some maps. You have taken time and effort with your entry form – the information is clearly spelt out and it is beautifully presented.. Thank you for the helpful map with numbered projects. Please include a key on or near the map page of what the various numbers stand for so that we can see at a glance without searching the entry form each time.

For a relatively small community, you have a sizeable committee of 14 members involved in several worthwhile community projects, about nine are involved in Tidy Towns activities. You are affiliated to Muinitr Na Tire and have good support from volunteers in the community. This shows sign of strong community spirit and residents working together for the greater good of the community. It is good that you are welcoming new residents to become involved in your community activities.

You have good links with outside agencies such as Kildare Council, Waterways Ireland and Kildare Leader Partnership. You are fortunate to recently have had a Tus scheme. We hope you succeed in securing a similar scheme soon in order to assist you with your maintenance efforts. You are quite proactive in your communications strategy and we look forward to hearing more about the impact of social media in reaching out further to the community. You have good support from local businesses and from community groups such as the GAA club. Thank you for submitting your excellent 3 year Plan (2014 – 2016). It clearly sets out your actions under each of the Tidy Towns category and is enabling you to monitor and review your progress each year. We look forward to seeing your new Tidy Towns Plan next year.

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

We admire the energy that has gone into your recent projects such as the refurbishment and taking over of the old school 3 years ago. This building now appears to be a hive of community activity. The new school is a fine modern development with extensive grounds – no doubt all the children are delighted with their new ‘home’. The new mural was admired here. The ‘National’ Heritage’ sign at the village green gives an excellent overview of what can be seen in the surrounding area. The GAA grounds looks very well with some attractive planting along the side boundary wall. Treatment of the derelict cottage has enhanced its’ appearance.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:

The church ground is beautifully maintained. The village green is simply landscaped, which works well here. Visitors to the village are greeted by clean ‘welcome’ signs complimented by simple flower beds. We have to mention Wheatfield under this category (as opposed to Residential) as we were so impressed with the attention to detail and high level of maintenance carried out here. The manual edging along footpaths was evident, so nice not to see yellow lines following weed killer use. The beds were in excellent order and contain a good variety of plants. Well done to all involved there. We observed the colourful perennial flower bed from the roadside, installed recently as part of your ‘Ardclough bee happy’ project. This bed is of much higher value to pollinators than your standard bedding plants. We would recommend that you include a future plan to remove the old evergreen hedgerow from the old school and replace with a native (or beech) alternative. Would you consider managing some of this large green area as ‘wildflower meadow’? We commend you for your vigilance with regard to pesticide use and for attending training on new regulations. You have come up with some interesting alternatives! Your ongoing tree planting/maintenance programme is noted. The flower planters on the Wheatfield give an inviting impression to passers-by.

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

Ardclough is blessed with a beautiful natural landscape and canal side location – ideal for walking as well as providing several habitats for wildlife. Indeed your ‘Get Kildare Walking’ initiative could be included under this heading. Your participation in NUI Maynooth’s Bioblitz project sounds like an enjoyable learning experience. We are impressed by your Bumblebee workshops for both adults and children but would like to know a bit more about who facilitated it/funded it? Perhaps you have local expertise or did you apply for this initiative? How many volunteers attended from Ardclough and has there been any subsequent follow up? We are impressed that you annually update your bird species list. You have good links with Birdwatch Ireland. The true story of the peregrine falcon made for fascinating reading as did that of the nesting cobb swan. We would have like more time to walk the canal but you show a good appreciation of the important wildlife and habitats you have here. You are promoting this to locals and visitors alike with your new wildlife signage. This is one of the best WHNA submissions we have seen from a small community – well done to all involved.

Bedding plants. We would recommend that you include a future plan to remove the old evergreen hedgerow

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

Well done for attending the IPCC course on community composting and your subsequent building of your home-made composter made from salvaged timber. As you become more confident in its use, perhaps you can further promote home composting by individuals in the community? We admired the community garden where a small amount of vegetables are being grown – this is a great way to cut down on packaging, chemicals and of course air miles. Again you show that you have been proactive in this category by approaching the school with regard to carrying out a food waste project with householders via the school children. We look forward to hearing your full results next year – well done to all involved.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:

There was no litter in Ardclough on the day of our visit so well done to all involved in your regular litter picks, National Spring Clean and your ongoing anti-litter campaign. Again you show your innovative approach such as inviting your young canoeists to help pick water-borne litter. Fantastic! Your ongoing challenges regarding passing traffic litter, tourist litter and dog fouling are noted. Unfortunately there are no easy answers. We like the new ‘canal’ anti-litter poster – very eye-catching.
Did you carry out any recent work relevant to ‘Tidiness’? Please read the blue text under this heading on your entry form as a reminder of what is being asked for.

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

Ardclough is made up of individual houses and two housing estates. Most were neatly presented with attractive gardens and many lovely trees. We referred to the lovely Wheatfield Upper estate above under ‘Landscaping’. Thanks for the new sign indicating the community garden – definitely warranted! We like the idea of the new seat facing the evening sun in what looks like a lovely, peaceful area. The gated Lishandara estate is also nicely maintained with some lovely tree planting. You are engaging very well with all residents and encouraging them to play their part in some way. Well done to all involved.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:

Approaches and road verges were well maintained but not overly so. They are made more welcoming by the positioning of welcome signs and flower beds. Well done for addressing signage in need of attention. The discreet but effective pathway from the village to the new school is cleverly designed, with the original roadside hedgerow remaining intact as a wildlife corridor.

Concluding Remarks:

We are delighted to hear that Tidy Towns is providing the motivation to Ardclough residents to continually improve the local environment for all. An impressive entry – keep up the good work.