Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

274 MARKS (264 IN 2018) Com­mu­nity – Your Plan­ning and In­volve­ment

Thank you for your en­try form, map and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion. This ad­ju­di­ca­tor felt that Dunlavin is hid­ing its light un­der a bushel some­what with your ap­pli­ca­tion! Dunlavin is a beau­ti­ful vil­lage with much to rec­om­mend it that this ad­ju­di­ca­tor hadn’t re­alised be­fore as I had only ever driven through and not stopped. Next year make sure to list all your on­go­ing main­te­nance work (M) as well as new (N) and fu­ture projects (F). I was over half­way through my visit when I re­alised there was a beau­ti­ful lit­tle pub­lic park in the cen­tre of Dunlavin that I had missed notic­ing on your map. You have a good ba­sic map with plenty of room at A3 size so next year make good use of it and use coloured mark­ers to write num­bers for the dif­fer­ent projects which re­fer back to project num­bers in the text – colour coded for each cat­e­gory. As your 2018 ad­ju­di­ca­tor pointed out, num­ber all the projects se­quen­tially – don’t restart num­ber­ing in each cat­e­gory and then these num­bers can be writ­ten on to the map. In this way you can be sure that ev­ery­thing is high­lighted for your ad­ju­di­ca­tor who will prob­a­bly be new to Dunlavin like me! Also you will have more space for text if your form can be typed next year – maybe this is a project that some of your help­ful stu­dents in St Kevin’s Com­mu­nity Col­lege could help with? This vol­un­teer ef­fort should also fit in un­der the Gaisce Award. If the form can­not be typed then feel free to add pages to your en­try form if you need to. You have a good num­ber of vol­un­teers and are do­ing great li­ais­ing with lots of pub­lic bod­ies and lo­cal busi­nesses. Dunlavin looked beau­ti­ful on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day and is clearly well looked af­ter by its res­i­dents – this can only in­spire more to join your ranks. You note that you are seek­ing help to get a three year plan started. This need not be com­pli­cated – a sim­ple ta­ble listing your as­pi­ra­tional projects over the next three years, what cat­e­gory they are in and who or what group are del­e­gated to car­ry­ing them out along with a col­umn for mark­ing your progress is all that is needed. It may be that there is some­one in your com­mu­nity who is used to writ­ing re­ports and ta­bles who may not have the time to com­mit to Dunlavin TidyTowns reg­u­larly but might be only too will­ing to help with this once off project.

Streetscap­e and Pub­lic Places

Dunlavin is blessed with a beau­ti­ful streetscap­e with many high­lights. The old Mar­ket House build­ing crowns the top of the street and makes a dra­matic view com­ing from the Kil­cullen road. It is great that this build­ing is in pub­lic use as a li­brary, very fit­ting and ac­ces­si­ble. The gran­ite cob­bles here are very fit­ting in their sur­round­ings. It is a shame to hear that they are slippy in wet weather. Make sure to get the best ar­chi­tec­tural ad­vice if mak­ing changes here – your lo­cal author­ity ar­chi­tect and Wick­low County Coun­cil’s Her­itage Of­fi­cer will ad­vise. Also the The Her­itage Coun­cil (www.her­itage­coun­cil.ie) in Co. Kilkenny have lots of prac­ti­cal ad­vice for com­mu­nity groups man­ag­ing old build­ings and their surrounds. Road sur­faces were noted to be patchy in places, keep up your re­quests to the Roads De­part­ment on this, your wide Main Street is very un­usual and some­thing to be minded. Many shops old and new were look­ing well on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day while the evening visit meant many were closed, there were some in­ter­est­ing win­dow dis­plays – The Weaver’s be­ing par­tic­u­larly eye-catch­ing and un­usual. As noted above I nearly missed the Pub­lic Park dis­creetly perched above the Main St. so per­haps a nice small sign or in­deed just sim­ply the words Pub­lic Park could be painted onto the gate pil­lars – some­thing as el­e­gant as the Park it­self!

Green Spa­ces and Land­scap­ing

The new plant­ing at Cow Green was ad­mired. All the plants you chose are in­deed pol­li­na­tor-friendly which is great to see par­tic­u­larly close to St Ni­cholas NS who have lots of pol­li­na­tor-friendly ini­tia­tives go­ing on in their grounds. How­ever, it was dis­ap­point­ing to see that the newly planted ar­eas had been sprayed with her­bi­cide along their grass verges. Un­for­tu­nately, this will have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on all your hard work for the pol­li­na­tors as chem­i­cal her­bi­cide spray poi­sons our pre­cious pol­li­na­tor species as well as plants and its overuse is a big rea­son be­hind their cat­a­strophic de­cline in re­cent decades. Please use your knowl­edge of pol­li­na­tors and their im­por­tance to in­form who­ever is spray­ing that it is not nec­es­sary here - a liv­ing green grass verge is much nicer than a dead brown one! Make sure to down­load your copy of the Com­mu­nity ver­sion of the All Ire­land Pol­li­na­tor Plan at www.pol­li­na­tors.ie/re­sources which gives great ex­pla­na­tions and ideas for fu­ture projects. In TidyTowns, the only time that her­bi­cide use is nec­es­sary is for the treat­ment of in­va­sive species such as Ja­panese Knotweed and even then it should only be done by pro­fes­sion­als. Keep­ing the ar­eas around young trees (less than 5 years planted) weed-free (and re­mem­ber a weed is sim­ply a plant in the wrong place – ac­cord­ing to a hu­man!) is im­por­tant to help get the tree es­tab­lished. Man­ual weed­ing is al­ways best for this – keep­ing on top of weed growth af­ter the tree is planted. Af­ter 5 years, how­ever, the tree will be well es­tab­lished and not mind grass grow­ing at its base – think of wood­lands and hedgerows where this is nor­mal. An­other re­ally help­ful guide avail­able from the above men­tioned pol­li­na­tors web­site is the Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing Code. This has lists of count­less dif­fer­ent plants, shrubs and trees to suit ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, all of which are pol­li­na­tor friendly. Please re­fer to this list for fu­ture plant­ing as with our pol­li­na­tor species dy­ing of hunger, we re­ally can’t af­ford to ig­nore the prob­lem and con­tinue with pollen-less an­nu­als be­ing planted. The tubs at the li­brary were very colour­ful but had few pol­li­na­tor-friendly plants. If they could be planted with peren­nial gera­ni­ums (es­pe­cially blue ones which the bees love and they’d match the tubs!), lady’s man­tle and as­tran­tias you’d have colour from April through to Oc­to­ber and wouldn’t need to re­plant next year. Great value for money es­pe­cially when the plants could be split and planted else­where af­ter a few years! Also the flower beds in the Pub­lic Park and the Fair Green could be sup­ple­mented with some pol­li­na­tor-friendly herba­ceous peren­ni­als over the com­ing years. The two new weep­ing wil­low trees down the Lu­ga­tryna road were seen. This is an­other lovely lit­tle spot to take a rest by the bab­bling brook. The bench looked in need of a lick of paint but it is very invit­ing be­ing so well placed by the stream and will be nicely in the shade of the wil­low in years to come.

Na­ture and Bio­di­ver­sity in your Lo­cal­ity

I had a very pleas­ant wan­der around the grounds of Scoil Nio­clás Naofa on my ad­ju­di­ca­tion evening visit. There were lots of bio­di­ver­sity and pol­li­na­tor-friendly projects to ad­mire and all with colour and fun in mind – the pink croc bird house looked very cute! A good un­der­stand­ing of the im­por­tance of bio­di­ver­sity in our lives and look­ing af­ter it for our own ben­e­fit as well as that of other species is ev­i­dent through these projects. Just please use that knowl­edge to pass the word around your com­mu­nity to en­sure that the un­nec­es­sary use of her­bi­cide is not re­peated and prac­tices such as leav­ing the first an­nual mow­ing un­til April/ May in or­der to let the all-im­por­tant dan­de­lions flower and then not mow­ing as fre­quently in or­der to let other small flow­ers like daisies, but­ter­cups and clovers flower. An­other im­por­tant mea­sure is to make sure to leave grass ar­eas at the bases of hedgerows and walls as these are where our bum­ble bees nest and hi­ber­nate. This is why we sug­gest on the en­trance roads to towns and vil­lages where pos­si­ble just mow one lawn mower’s width along the road­side edge of the verge and leave the in­ner edge up against the wall or hedge to grow and you’ ll be re­warded with a lovely show of wild­flow­ers such as the sway­ing heads of Cow pars­ley in May and Dog daisies in June. You have sev­eral open green ar­eas in Dunlavin so there is scope for a change in mow­ing regime. Have you thought about leav­ing a cen­tral area of the Fair Green to grow longer – man­aged like a hay meadow with its first cut in early July, re­move the hay and then have a fi­nal cut in Septem­ber? Be­fore you know it you’d have a wild­flower meadow in the mid­dle of your vil­lage for very lit­tle work! An­other lovely fea­ture would be to mow a cou­ple of grass paths through the meadow to in­vite the walker. It must have been very dis­ap­point­ing for the planned Rail­way Walk not to work out, these things hap­pen. How­ever, this ad­ju­di­ca­tor took the time to walk out to the St Ni­cholas Well and I was cap­ti­vated by the beau­ti­ful vis­tas of the West Wick­low-South Kil­dare land­scapes. Could this walk be de­vel­oped a lit­tle bit? The fence along the bound­ary with St Kevin’s Com­mu­nity School was very bare and cry­ing out for a na­tive hedgerow of Hawthorn, Holly, Elder, Hazel and Black­thorn to be planted along to mir­ror the hedgerow on the other side of the path. This could make a fan­tas­tic wildlife cor­ri­dor and a fu­ture Pol­li­na­tor Award Project per­haps? The Wick­low Up­lands Coun­cil may be able to help as they have car­ried out great work on walk­ing trails with other Wick­low com­mu­ni­ties.

Sus­tain­abil­ity – Do­ing more with less

Well done to Sweet Taste Cof­fee shop on the use of re­cy­clable (hope­fully com­postable?) cof­fee cups – spread the word on this and hope­fully by next year all the cof­fee out­lets in the vil­lage will use them too. This con­cept is spread­ing like wild­fire around the coun­try at the mo­ment and makes great sense. You men­tion a sus­tain­abil­ity-themed meet­ing was held in Dunlavin, this is great – maybe fu­ture projects will emerge in­spired by what you heard! It is a shame that you have not yet got a re­cy­cling cen­tre set up in Dunlavin, hope­fully this will be reme­died as soon as pos­si­ble – you your­selves re­alise al­ready the im­por­tance of re­cy­cling and liv­ing more sus­tain­ably. Well done on the Dunlavin Bor­row Swop and Share Face­book page.

Tidi­ness and Lit­ter Con­trol

From hav­ing no Pure Mile projects last year you now have sev­eral on the go so well done. This project has been very suc­cess­ful all across County Wick­low as ev­i­denced by my vis­its all around the county this sum­mer. Con­grat­u­la­tions on col­lect­ing 300 bags of rub­bish dur­ing your Clean Up Day on 24th March – you must have had a huge num­ber of vol­un­teers to col­lect so much – well done to all. Link­ing with your neigh­bours in Strat­ford and Grange­con is an­other great ini­tia­tive that will bring div­i­dends to all. No lit­ter prob­lems were noted on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day. You ex­press a worry about dog foul­ing and it is a prob­lem in many ur­ban spa­ces. Keep up your good work here be­cause none was noted on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day so it’s work­ing!

Res­i­den­tial Streets and Hous­ing Ar­eas

Well done to all Dunlavin res­i­dents, every­where looked well bask­ing in the sunny sum­mer’s evening of ad­ju­di­ca­tion day. The new Lau­rel hedge was seen. Just a note to say that while hedges are to be wel­comed it is a missed op­por­tu­nity with re­gards to plant­ing na­tive, shrubs which will pro­vide pollen for our hun­gry, be­lea­guered pol­li­na­tors as well as pro­vid­ing in­ter­est year round with flow­ers in spring, berries in au­tumn etc. Lau­rel is one of the fore­most in­va­sive species caus­ing prob­lems in Ire­lands na­tive wood­lands so maybe the next hedge in Dunlavin could be Hawthorn or some­thing else listed in the Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing Code! Lots of nice peren­ni­als were noted and the Wil­low Arch on the Spar­row road was very eye-catch­ing!

Ap­proach Roads, Streets and Lanes

Dunlavin’s grace­ful and peace­ful streetscap­e is com­pli­mented by the pic­turesque coun­try roads that ap­proach it. Per­haps you might try the nar­row verge mow­ing along some of the parts clos­est to the vil­lage en­trances. The bench and fowerbed at the Tober Road-Sta­tion Road junc­tion was lovely and filled with pol­li­na­tor-friendly plants buzzing with bees. The gran­ite marker at the Cor­nus tree per­haps could be moved out slightly form un­der the tree so it could be seen more eas­ily and it to­gether with the pump and bench could be­come a more in­te­grate fea­ture with a lit­tle plant­ing of some­thing like laven­der near the bench per­haps – the bench here is in a lovely lit­tle sun-trap.

Con­clud­ing Re­marks

As you can prob­a­bly tell I re­ally en­joyed my visit to Dunlavin and I look for­ward to watch­ing you progress through this com­pe­ti­tion in the fu­ture.

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