Congratulations to the Delvin Tidy Towns Committee and the small team of volunteers who helped earn the village 252 points (out of 470) in this year’s competition. The national winner was Glaslough in Co. Monaghan – they were awarded 346 points.
Community – Your Planning and Involvement / An Pobal – Pleanáil agus Rannpháirtíocht: 36/60 Cuireann an moltóir seo fáilte roimh Delvin – Dealbhna páirt a ghlacadh i gComórtas Náisiúnta SuperValu na mBailte Slachtmhara 2019. Thank you for this year’s application; the map submitted was helpful to a degree but did not feature projects as N (new) M (maintenance) or FP (future projects) as required. Four committee members with ten volunteers is quite a small number for a village the size of Delvin; it is acknowledged that there is an input as necessary from support organisations however perhaps an appropriate project would be to try to attract new members / volunteers via the village website and other social media? The committee’s good working relationship with Westmeath County Council and An Taisce is laudable in addition to support from youth clubs, sports clubs, Men’s Shed and more. Successes since last year’s competition in relation to the upgrading of road and estate markings and improvements to premises are fine achievements of which all involved can be proud. It is encouraging to note improvements to the built environment of Delvin over the course of the six years participation in the competition and the input from the business community.
Streetscape & Public Places / Sráid-Dreach & Áiteanna Poiblí: 36/60 Public buildings within Delvin are nicely presented; the Church and its grounds look well as does the school including its car parking and roadside area; the Garda Sation is neatly presented also. The curtilage area of the Great Gas petrol station enjoys good maintenance. Improvements to premises at the end of the village enhance the overall appearance of the streetscape as does the removal of the old Maxol petrol pump and sign. A number of frontages were admired for their presentation and include the YouthReach premises and the Handball Club premises; the Camán Inn premises looked good too. The strategic placement of colourful flower displays in the main thoroughfare enhances visual amenity; perhaps the biggest problem in the overall appearance of the streetscape is the overhead service cables, no doubt this has been brought to the attention of Westmeath County Council? The proposed involvement of the new Delvin Men’s Shed tomanufacture products for Tidy Towns will bring benefits to the committee and the community.
Green Spaces and Landscaping / Spásanna Glasa agus Tírdhreachú: 33/60 Some planting is suggested to the retaining wall of the Livestock Mart for greater enclosure to this large bare open space at an important entrance to Delvin; of course, the planted area will need protection and careful consideration of this factor will be necessary. Landscaping at the YouthReach premises was admired as was container flower displays at many locations especially the Camán Inn premises. Do consider the needs of pollinators in the choice of plants; the rhs.org.uk site has lots of suggestions for pollinator friendly planting. Keep in mind also planting for year-round interest and colour and plant native where possible. Saint Mary‘s graveyard is maintained to a high standard as are young and maturing trees, grassed areas and verges.
Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality / An Dúlra agus an Bhithéagsúlacht i do cheantar: 24/50 Although the committee feels that they don’t have the resources to get involved properly in this category of the competition perhaps this needs a little rethink! Simply choosing the right plants for pollinators would be a good start; check out the National Pollinator Plan for ideas on where to start. Guest speakers can be invited from a variety of organisations including BirdWatch Ireland and Bat Conservation Ireland and householders and school children encouraged to get involved. Social media such as Facebook and twitter can be very helpful in this respect. The landscaped picnic area in the village centre is charming.
Sustainability – Doing more with less / Inmharthanacht – Mórán ar an mbeagán: 12/50 Congratulations to the school children and their teachers for their Green Flag status; the ‘Active School’ flag and the GAA Five Star Centre flag is noteworthy too! For inspiration on how to make a start under this heading visit the EPA’s website localprevention.ie which is full of ideas for Tidy Towns committees. A relatively simple start would be water harvesting, perhaps the Men’s Shed could manufacture a number of water butts to harvest water for your landscaped areas and greens. Self sufficiency in compost needs is another practical step towards to sustainable planting. Any initiative that addresses prevention of waste at source would be invaluable and don’t forget to measure results, even a good ‘guesstimate’ will suffice! Consult the Tidy Towns Handbook for further information on performance under this heading.
Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair: 51/90 The overall appearance of Delvin on adjudication day was one of tidiness and litter control was excellent both in the village centre and on approach roads; the community is obviously litter aware! Weed control is less good and the kerb along the Ballivor road was choked to the point where it was difficult to distinguish the road from the kerb of the footpath. Work accomplished for derelict premises and their curtilage area has been a great investment in the visual amenity of the streetscape. Keep us informed of your other litter control activities such as participation in the National Spring Clean as this can attract more marks.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta: 28/50 Residential estates in general enjoy a favourable presentation especially in respect of common green areas and general tidiness; those at entrances to the village create a good first impression of Delvin. A number of dwellings leading into the centre of the village need painting and treatment to their roadside boundary walls. A lovely stone house with rose displays at the corner of the road leading to the school caught the eye favourably. The Cora Glenn residential estate features beautifully managed green verges and maturing trees however a few weather stained walls are a bit disappointing. Castle View estate has lovely greens, a few weather stained walls on the Ballivor road needs improvement together with some on the Navan Road.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí: 32/50 Road and footpath surfaces throughout Delvin are quite good and grass verges are well managed. Name plates and Welcome signs are attractively presented and are a good introduction to the village. A stretch of stone wall at the Mullingar end has what could be described as ‘bites’ out of it however, the entrance at this end of the village looks really well with its green verges, flower displays and more. The footpath, road surface and verges on the Navan Road are very good. Street furniture in general is well managed and there appears to be adequate finger post signage, at least one litter bin looked neglected.
Concluding Remarks Delvin is a handsome village with visually striking features and good interpretation on its history and architecture. The committee needs to attract new members and look to their performance in the areas of Sustainability and Nature and Biodiversity.