Delgany The changing face of
It was once a sleepy hamlet in North Wicklow but now Delgany is having to adapt to the cold reality of huge housing developments and uninterested commuters. Mary Fogarty reports on how some people are attempting to bring community spirit back to the ‘Thor
AS THE Delgany Inn stands vacant, on the market, and a target to passing vandals, many residents fear that the sleepy picturesque village risks losing something of its rural character due to significant housing development in recent years.
Large housing estates Delgany Wood and Eden Gate have brought swarms of new residents to the area, as well as smaller developments of large luxury homes scattered throughout the village.
Lally de Buitléar who has been a resident of Delgany for 20 years, believes however that if the people living in the area pull together to preserve their village its spirit can survive and that the modern developments and newcomers to the area can integrate with and become a part of its tradition.
Delgany translates as ‘Thorny Place,’ and of course progress in rural Ireland is more often than not a thorny issue in itself.
‘There are far too many houses now for such a small village,’ said Lally, who wears a number of local hats. She will step down as Chairman of Tidy Towns in April; she was Chairman of Greystones Flower Club for 12 years and remains at the helm of the Community Council. She will still be heavily involved in all three bodies. ‘Most of the houses are occupied by
people who have moved here from other parts of the country. They have no interest in taking part in anything in the village. They have had the opportunity to attend garden openings and such events but have not done so.’
She explained that residents’ associations were informed of the events and responded with enthusiasm but that nobody from the newer developments turned up in the end.
‘They leave in the morning when it’s dark and come home in the dark,’ she said.
Delgany has recently been subject to significant change with the opening last summer of a new road at Barry’s Bridge.
‘They left our picnic area in a terrible state,’ said Lally, who explained that large road signs now stand on the site.
‘It was lovely and peaceful. People used to park up there for a cup of tea and a sandwich, the children might paddle in the stream. Holes were dug up and the clay left. They never used a mower or a strimmer before moving on.’
There have been further road works in the village to narrow the road and slow traffic down in the region of the school, which the Community Council supports.
‘Every Friday night all the bollards and railings are knocked down and spread on to the road, however,’ said Lally.
‘People are walking back from Greystones and through Delgany and causing damage. They are breaking the windows in the Delgany Inn. During the day, some people even throw their rubbish out the windows of their cars.’
On a more positive note, however, Lally said that she and her colleagues have some plans to bring community spirit back to Delgany.
One of those is to bring the market back to the Old Schoolhouse. ‘It will be run by local people, whose kids are in the school and who form a part of the community. We hope to re-establish the lovely village market we had before with vegetables, cakes, jewellery and even a cafe.’
One of the large housing projects underway is just on Lally’s doorstep at Glen Road. Work is to begin on 12 new houses on Stylebawn next month and a number of objections have already been made locally to the project.
Residents of Riverfield have felt the sting of development in recent times, having been subject to a controversial compulsory purchase order on portions of their gardens for the construction of a road to Delgany Wood.
‘It’s an aberration,’ said one of the owners. ‘We’re looking at the loss of much of the garden.’ He explained that the road will include a cycle lane, footpath and carriage as well as a grass verge and is a continuation of an existing road from the estate of several hundred homes. Across from Riverfield lies the site of yet another luxury development, the €1.5 million homes yet to be built.