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

Bray People - - News - WED­NES­DAY, FE­BRU­ARY 25, 2009

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.

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