Congratulations to our local Tidy Towns committee and their small army of volunteers on achieving a respectable score of 243 in the national competition (237 in 2016). Once again the village has been placed second from the bottom in Westmeath but looking at some of the comments made in the judge’s report, I think we can laugh that off.
So here it is in it’s entirety – the 2017 Adjudicator’s Report.
Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil 35/60 Welcome Delvin Tidy Towns to the 2017 Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition. Your entry is very much appreciated.
Thank you for your entry form, map and youth award application form. Your population category is village B. Your committee of 3 is noted. You also have 3 community employment scheme workers. You meet regularly as workload requires. Westmeath County Council and a church gate collection provide your resources. We note that you have no Junior Tidy Towns at present.
This is your fifth year in the competition and you are seeing results. The value of the competition to your community is well set out in your entry form. Your channels of communication include the village newsletter and parish bulletin and local press (ahem?). No doubt word of mouth is used also. Previous adjudicators have suggested other possible sources of funds, using social media, etc. There is no need for this adjudicator to remind you. Scoil Naomh Tola is home to St Tola’s Youth Gardening Club which has an entry in the Youth Award. It is not marked on your map. A gentleman in McCormack’s shop kindly gave directions.
Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha 35/50 The most iconic building in Delvin is the ruin of Delvin Castle. It is impressive. An informative Delvin display board stands beside the castle together with 2 stone planters. The Church of the Assumption, Delvin, is very impressive and in excellent condition. Its grounds are well-maintained – grass, shrubs and mature trees. The Garda Station, while small, looks well. (Size isn’t everything!) Nice planting in raised beds, mixture of flowers and shrubs. Delvin Handball Club building stands out. Very modern. Delvin Youthreach has a lot of property for such a small village (how on earth is this relevant?!!).
St Patrick’s Hall 1918 is well presented. There is a major landscaped bank beside it. At the back of the building is an old plaque “This chapel were erected in the year of our lord 1832. Rev. Joseph Fitzgerald P.P”. One wonders where that came from (Yes, one is always wondering about this)? What looks like a bowling green is beside the hall – Delvin Astro Park. Post office and shop (Michael Leonard) was originally Delvin Parish School 1843. Dealbhna Mor GAA on the Mullingar road has a good entrance with well painted walls and gate. Small well-presented club house. The cemetery is neat and tidy. It has good wrought iron gates and railings. Mature trees. A plaque reads “supported by the Dept. of Social Protection and Pobal and Westmeath Community Development under The Rural Social Scheme”. Money well spent.
The children’s playground has lots of colourful play equipment. Excellent amenity well-maintained. Two shops shuttered. Name boards broken. Row of black bollards badly need cleaning. Residential areas close by have no names. Generally, houses look well. The Caman Inn is the most standout pub in Delvin. Well painted under a massive floral display. Every window has a window box. Hanging baskets add even more colour. Two black milk churns have white flowers stuffed in their neck. Well done to all involved.
Dee Tangles Beauty Room has a traditional shop front. Fine building. Roma Italian restaurant looks well. Lenihans Family Butcher also has a traditional shop front, hanging basket and a large photo mural on a gable end. The Greyhound Bar is another with a traditional shop front. The Blue Hackle is a fine big premises at a key location in the village. Well painted. Hanging baskets add more colour. O’Shaughnessy’s Bar is well-painted and stands out.
McCormack’s is a colourful shop and a gentleman in it gave directions to this adjudicator. The Pharmacy Ellen Betrix (AKA Barry’s!) with its lantern and exotic flowers in containers on the footpath stands out. Gaffney’s lounge is colourful with a flag and flower containers. Three derelict containers have been camouflaged with a good outcome.
Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte 32/50 The verges on approach roads and elsewhere in the village are well maintained thanks to the CE scheme workers. Residents in the residential estates have good planting at their entrances and greens are well-maintained. Young trees are planted. We wish your negotiations in relation to wall improvements every success. Colourful planters were seen on the footpath at the old church ruin. Three large well filled planters added lots of colour at the junction of the Ballivor road. Two stone planters also beside the castle. Beside St Patrick’s Hall is an impressive landscaped bank. Roads in the mart area of the village have well-maintained grass areas, raised flower beds, wooden planters, shrubs, mature and young trees – all adding colour.
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha 24/50 Delvin is located in countryside teeming with wildlife. The landscape also has a variety of habitats, including the natural lake that you mention in your entry form. The Tidy Towns handbook has advise and tips for projects in this category. Also, schools in the green flag programme try to earn a flag for bio-diversity. This usually involves the pupils doing a survey of the birds seen in the school yard and its environs. In some parts of Westmeath, Tidy Towns groups co-operate so closely that up to three of them combine to carry out a project. Copying is not against the rules. Last May Westmeath County Council held a workshop on how to score marks in the Tidy Towns competition. You should attend events such as that one. Ensure that the local authority’s Environment Officer has you on the mailing list for such events.
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe 12/50 The bottle bank and the clothes bank were visited and no issues arose. Priorities in this category have changed. It has evolved in line with current waste prevention and ‘best policy’ guidelines. These guidelines are based on the revised Tidy Towns Handbook guidelines distributed to Tidy Towns groups in 2013 (a riveting read).
The EU Waste Management Hierarchy now puts waste prevention ahead of waste treatment in terms of priorities. Lesser priorities such as energy conservation, composting, etc. are still important and should be encouraged. Schools in the green flag programme must implement an energy saving/waste reduction regime to earn a green flag in this subject. Tidy Towns groups are expected to give leadership in their community by promoting the principles of waste elimination/prevention by conveying these principles through your communication channels.
Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair 48/90 All over the country there are Tidy Towns groups wishing that their wire scape would be put underground. Ofcourse, that is not going to happen (heaven forbid!). This adjudicator is pleased to say that on adjudication day there was no litter evident on the roads or paths of Delvin. No doubt your employment scheme workers help out with that. Your lack of volunteer resources must result in an absence of regular litter patrols. You probably have no need to participate in An Taisce’s National Spring Clean in April. There were no weed or graffiti problems either.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta 27/50 Lacora Glen has name plaques on the entrance pillars. Good roads and paths with no weeds. Well-kept large communal green areas with mature and young trees. Residences well-presented.
Castle View also has its name on the entrance pillars. Good planting at the entrance. Houses well-presented and of different styles – simple and two storey. Roads and paths good and greens well maintained.
Stoneyford Park has an attractive metal name sign on railings. Shrubs at the entrance. Houses look well. Grass well-maintained. Young trees. The Green has mature terraced houses that look well. Grass area in front well-maintained with mature trees and a flower bed. Between the church and the mart there are individual residences of different styles and types, generally well-presented.
Cois Caislean is a sign standing on neat grass. It is a small group of well-presented houses. Well-marked parking spaces.
Householders throughout the community make an effort to project Delvin at its best by making sure that their properties look well.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí 30/50 As you know approach roads are important in helping to create the first impression of a village. In the absence of a local authority or Tidy Towns village name sign the Tidy Towns boundary is taken to be the speed limit sign which has Delvin on it. The Mullingar approach has good paths and good verges on both sides. Well filled planters on both verges at the entrance to estates and on into the village. A good first impression. The Ballivor approach has no village name. On the Castlepolllard road there is a black and white bi-lingual name sign standing in a verge. No flowers. Narrow twisting road. Reasonable first impression.
A green and white bi-lingual village name sign stands in a flower container on the Kells road. Good verge. Close to village. Narrow twisting road. Reasonable impression. There is a lot of housing along the Athboy road, mainly individual residences of all types and styles. Generally, well presented. Good road. Path on one side, verge on the other. Wooden planters extend from the village a good distance along the verge. Good impression. Tidy Towns groups tend to standardise the signage on major approach roads in an effort to ‘brand’ their village. Usually the local authority co-operates in harmonising the colour and style. As resources/sponsorship increases the signs become more elegant and custom made. The floral display at each sign is also harmonised. The improved wall was noted. Hopefully, the local authority will erect anti-litter signs.
Concluding Remarks Thank you Delvin Tidy Towns for the opportunity to adjudicate Delvin. It was an interesting experience. WE look forward to receiving your entry in the 2018 Supervalu Tidy Towns competition.