The 2017 Tidy Towns results were announced on Monday afternoon – and the Ardee Tidy Towns committee have overseen an improvement in their result from last year, earning 314 points and a superb silver medal.
Ardee has moved from 303 points to 314 in Category E (small town), an increase of seven points over the last 12 months and 11 points since 2015. It is their best performance in over a decade.
The town did not drop points in any category. In fact, they gained points in the ‘Landscaping and Open Spaces’, ‘Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities’ and ‘Sustainable Waste and Resource Management’ categories.
In another strong year for the county, Drogheda (317) and Dundalk (314) won gold medals – the ninth and tenth years in a row respectively, while Tallanstown pipped Ardee to be the pride of Mid-Louth with a score of 327. All in all – it is Louth’s best ever showing in the competition.
Birdhill, Co. Tipperary, won the overall award of Ireland’s Tidiest Town, while they also took home the prize for Ireland’s tidiest village, winning that for the second straight year.
Four years ago, Ardee came home with a score of 297, while in 2012 they scored 295. In 2012, the then Ardee Town council held a civic reception for the local Tidy Towns committee, including chair Brendan Matthews, in honour of their bronze medal award. Perhaps the committee will get another civic reception this time around on the back of their silver medal award.
Among those singled out for praise in the adjudicator’s report for the competition were Hamills – who were commended for their traditional premises and Finlays Sweetshop which “caught the eye” while buildings such as the Civic Services Centre and Courthouse were said to bring a modern element to the area.
A mention was made of the murals at Bridge Street although the report stated “this is probably the last year they will survive before they disintegrate.” The report did state the removal of overhead wires on the town was a must and many shops using exterior shutters when closed took away from the look of the town. “They give a negative impression” said the adjudicator.
The adjudicator added it was “upsetting” to see the old church and formerly Wogan Interiors closed but there was praise for Donal McGoey Pharmacy, Simply Fashion, Paul Sharkeys, Revolve, Moods, Pasma, Bambino, Home & Garden Stores and O’Neills Menswear for their window displays.
The visiting party came to Ardee around the time of the AOIFA Festival, according to the report, which meant the town was looking particularly resplendent. This helped gain points in the Landscaping and Open Spaces category.
Ardee Credit Union were singled out for hanging baskets and the 1916 trees were also noticed. Admiring the trees around Ardee was described as a “delight” by the adjudicator. One questions posed, after a stroll down the Railway Walk, was; “What bugs are renting rooms in your insect hotel?”
Housing estates were praised in the report too including Sliabh Breagh but others didn’t impress too much. The adjudicator was “alarmed” by use of weedkiller along the edge of the stream running in front of Cherrybrook while they also wrote the large grass area at the junction of Rockfield and Stoney Lane should not be too tightly mown to help with pollination.
There were no gains made in ‘Tidiness and Litter Control’ category. The adjudicator noted that – hardly surprisingly – that the recycling bins at Ferdia Park were “grubby” but they did congratulate volunteers litter pickers who were out in force during the visit. They also felt the Christmas lights on the library and the trees on Ardee Castle were out of season.
The adjudicator’s concluding remarks read, “Your adjudicator enjoyed exploring Ardee and seeing how the businesses and the community and the educational bodies are working together. It was obvious that you all work together for a greater aim – the maintain and build a vibrant town of which you can be proud of. Well done on your endeavours this year and every year for the past 43 years!”
This was Ardee’s 43rd year of entry into the nationwide Tidy Towns competition. In Category A, Reaghstown is up five points to 311 while Stabannon is up seven points to 295 (they also won the Gum Litter Taskforce Award, plus €2,000). In Category B, Collon is up three to 287, whilst in Category C Dunleer gained 298 points (+9). Dunleer Tidy Towns also won the Tree Project Award and €1000. You can read the full Tidy Towns 2017 report on Ardee by clicking here.