The National Tidy Towns 2014 Award winners have been announced.
The national tidy towns 2014 award winners were announced this morning. The awards ceremony was held in the Helix Theatre in DCU in Dublin and will be shown on Nationwide this evening at 7 pm on RTE 1. Overall there were 849 entries into this years tidy towns competition.
Overall Winner : Kilkenny City
Tidiest Large Urban Centre : Kilkenny City
Tidiest Large Town : Westport Co. Mayo
Tidiest Small Town : Kilrush Co. Clare
Tidiest Village : Clonegal Co. Carlow
Swinford Tidy Towns were awarded 237 points last year and although a 3 points increase might not seem much, it is an increase, we could have dropped 3 points! It also must be noted that there has been a significant change in the marking system this year, as was mentioned in a previous post earlier this year. In the categories, “Tidiness” and “Litter Control” were two separate categories in previous years and these are now combined into one category. The “General Impression” category has been removed from the competition this year. Some categories have also been renamed this year.
The Adjudicators did give us a very good report and pointed out a lot of the good work both the tidy towns volunteers and the people of the town did over the previous year. As always with tidy towns, it is an ongoing project from year to year. We have started some new projects since the judging was done in Swinford on the 8th of June last. The rainwater harvesting and the Swifts Project with the National school just to name two, will be a huge benefit to us next year in 2 of the new categories.
Adjudication Report For Swinford 2014
Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Fáilte Swinford. You are a welcome entrant to this year’s Tidy Towns Competition. Your population of 1,435 places
you in the small town category and you have worked well over the past year to bring Swinford to a better condition.
We note that this advance was achieved through the endeavours of fifteen committee members assisted by
twenty-five volunteers. It is great to see that you have your own town website and that you have inspired a wide
variety of bodies to sponsor your work. These helpers include people putting up wall brackets and other such
practical tasks like funding/supervising the panting of flower beds.
You are commended for involving pupils from the secondary school in your work. This is a great initiative, especially
for those students in transition year who are becoming aware of the wider issues facing the community. Hopefully,
some of these pupils will become committee members at a future date. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí. These young
people often enjoy such tasks as painting murals or planting trees and they can see the rewards during the
subsequent years. Thank you for the map included with your entry. Next year we would ask you to send it in a larger
format that is more easily read.
Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
We strongly commend Swinford for the re-use of the old railway station for the library. It is, in itself, an attractive
stone-built structure, probably with many stories to tell. Alongside the library, we saw the large house occupied by
the County Council offices. It is very well maintained and we admired the tree planting to the front.
The school (Scoil Mhuire agus Phádraig) was finely presented and we praised the mural we saw on the opposite
side of the road there. The Post Office looked well, as did the Gateway Hotel. At Swinford District Hospital we
stopped to admire the Willows building. It is a beautiful heritage structure. Its downpipes deserve attention due to
the activity of the local birds. This building really enhances its surroundings. We thought the Garda Station had a
pleasant open aspect.
Swinford Photography was well presented as was the premises of FG Phelan. Nearby, the Davitt Place building
(Courthouse) is in need of some refurbishment. Other well-presented properties included Mace and Andy Madden,
Spain’s, Horkan’s, O’Connell Medical Hall, Swinford Motors and Topaz.
Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
The library refurbishment project benefits greatly from the complementary tree planting. We particularly liked the
Monkey Puzzle tree and we hope it inspired the imagination of the young readers.
Several public monuments and sculptures caught our eye. We admired the torch monument dedicated to the Sisters
of Mercy, with its accompanying seats. We also liked the ESB mural promoting your objectives. Well done to the
young artists for giving this their time. The Musicians monument is nicely set off by planting at the Bollingbroke
The Connacht Gold garden centre was seen to be bright and cheerful. It displayed a wide variety of planting
material. Within the district hospital grounds we came across the famine plot and it appeared well-tended. It is a
secluded and thought-provoking place.
The trees along the Main Street had been neatly pruned. Well done to all involved with these varied projects.
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
We note you are planning more of the scheme for the looped walks and hopefully adding on the element of bird
watching. These are commendable initiatives that should increase awareness of the rich heritage and resource of
wildlife so close to the local people. It is great to see that you are pursuing this work with the involvement of the
school pupils by installing bird boxes and insect hotels. You may consider an annual survey as an outcome in terms
of keeping track on the number of species, whether they nest locally, etc. Young people often enjoy this kind of
survey work. You have a notable diversity of flora and fauna around the town. We sat listening to the rooks calling
close to the bridge at Rathscanlon.
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
The recycling centre at the shopping centre was found tidy and well ordered on adjudication day and so was the
waste collection/recycling facility at the Topaz site.
You are commended for initiating projects such as composting, and other innovative waste management schemes.
We could see that the sewage treatment works is well-managed. At the primary school we came across the
composting beside the raised bed. This is a commendable initiative to encourage young people in sustainable
gardening as well as good waste management. Well done.
The marks available in this category have been substantially increased and we hope this will encourage Swinford
now to extend its waste management further, with greater emphasis on the avoidance of waste generation in the
first instance ( at the source). This can gain you more marks over the next few years.
Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
Your work in regard to this category is noted. We especially commend the street league system you operate along
with the regular clean-ups. They inspire local residents to care for their immediate surroundings, all adding
incrementally to the town. Pay Coyne’s wall verge deserves some weeding and the Hancock Building on Main
Street requires attention as well. We found the entrance to the Baxter Healthcare site neat and tidy.
Congratulations to you on winning the award for the most colourful place in 2013. In view of the constant flow of
traffic through the main street you are dealing well with the issue of litter and tidiness.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
Meadow Park houses were well presented and the timber fencing at Railway Road is quite varied and well set-off
with bright planting.
The Rivergarden estate would benefit from attention, including the name plaque.
Larch Hill has solid gates and there were several dormer bungalows nearby that we admired. Fraunhill was neat
and litter-free, as was Coill Abhainn. Rath Dubh had some weeds in the verges but otherwise the place was well
kept and litter-free. Druid’s Court looked well and Gleann Darach was nicely presented although some of its trees on
the open space need replacing.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
There are kerbside weeds along the approach from Ballina. Beside the graveyard the speed limit sign is being
obscured by plants. The cemetery itself is well-kept. We note the number of dilapidated buildings and we praise
your efforts in tackling this issue. This is clearly something that cannot be achieved all at once. Molaim sibh.
View and download full report here. (pdf opens new tab)