293 MARKS (277 IN 2018) Community – Your Planning and Involvement
Thank you for your comprehensive entry form with two very well designed and laid out maps that were easy for the adjudicator to follow. Also the numerous small photos through the text were most helpful and give a more rounded picture of what goes on I your community throughout the whole year. You have done very well in the National TidyTowns competition over the past few years and you will do well again this year! However, now that you are moving up the rankings, having a Three or Five Year plan is very important and something that we ask of all groups, especially when they reach higher rankings. A simple table is enough, divided into the different categories and years thus allowing both yourselves and your adjudicator to see what work is ongoing, what is planned and allocated responsibilities etc. It is clear that you liaise with many groups and local businesses which is always good to see. Communication is a strong point, your idea of sending notes home with school children is a great way of spreading the information through the wider community. Your calendar hanging up in people’s kitchens reminds them of the great work you are doing all through the year. You have held a number of public information events – this is a very important part of a Tidy Towns group’s role within their community so well done. Delighted to see that you have a school’s liaison officer, with your local school – this is so important, not least because these pupils are possibly your future Tidy Towns members! Your inclusivity of junior members is to be commended and can only lead to good things both for you andthem.
Streetscape and Public Places
The Hollywood Café makes a wonderful addition to your village and must act as a great community hub all year round. It has been very sensitively done and fits in really well with the lovely Hollywood streetscape. Opening up the adjacent Forge as village museum and information centre would be ideal and we look forward to this project coming to fruition the coming years. The Labyrinth sculpture is very eye-catching in the centre of the village. Well done on keeping up the maintenance of the old Telephone Box – a brilliant way to provide information to the visitor. The Fairy trail idea is a great one, just let us add a word of caution about not nailing anything to living tree trunks or branches when constructing your trail. This has been noted in other towns and villages and it is never a good idea as it damages the living tree and can lead to infection and sometimes the death of the tree itself. Well done on the fantastic ongoing work repairing the beautiful stone walls around the village. These are such a wonderful characteristic of the area and this is ensuring the continuation of the rich local tradition of stone masonry. The Watery Lane is a beautiful, peaceful short walk. It is a joy to see these sort of old laneways and Mass paths being kept open by communities – they serve a hugely important need where both physical and mental health can be improved by a walk that gets you close to nature. We loved the colourful treatment of the service boxes – well done on taking the initiative to approach ESB and Eir about this. They’ll bring a smile to lots of faces no doubt!
Green Spaces and Landscaping
The lovely, colourful herbaceous perennial planting was noted in spots all over the village. You are indeed lucky to have a horticulturist working with you. The planting at the base of walls around the village is a lovely feature and most plants were pollinator-friendly. A lot of planters did feature pelargoniums, petunias and lobelias, none of which are of food value to pollinators. Unfortunately, the loss of our pollinator species in Ireland is in such a dire state we really need to have all our public planting of food value to these precious species. We have lost 17% of our bumblebees alone since 2012. It is a responsibility
of Tidy Towns groups who are planting in public areas to do what we can by providing lots of pollinator food by way of long flowering herbaceous perennials, leaving grass verges for their nesting habitats, letting wildflowers bloom instead of mowing and strimming them away and not using poisonous herbicides. When planning ahead for planting areas please make sure to use plants listed in the really helpful ‘Pollinator Planting Code’ available to download at www.pollinators. ie/resources This extensive list features plants suitable for all situations be that dry, shaded, damp, sunny etc. Your re-used tyre planter was noted. Clearly lots of work went into it but we have to make the point that we would advise groups not to re-use tyres. The cost of their recycling has already been paid in the price they cost originally and they need to be brought to the appropriate recycling centre because as they age and degrade they can leach noxious chemicals into the environment. Your work and effort is acknowledged here but for any future planter projects please look to use other more sustainable types of containers. The nativity project looks terrific in your photo and with all the community support it should definitely be an annual feature. The Quarry area planting was noted. A future project to rebuild the stone wall here would be a great idea, especially as this is such a visible entrance/ approach road to your village from the scenic tourist route of the Wicklow Gap.
Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality
You have carried out a huge amount of work so far on your Remembrance Wildflower Meadow which looked beautiful on adjudication day. We wondered though if perhaps a path could be mown thorugh the meadow as it doesn’t lend itself to being inspected more closely at the moment and this would be worthwhile for any passer-by or even if nature walks were organised for local school children etc. because the combination of wildflowers, beehive and fruit trees make for lots of biodiversity interest to educate about! Your spring nectar banks are a wonderful idea, well done on this project. Focus on the crocuses, snowdrops and muscari as unfortunately daffodils are of little food value to the pollinators. The crocuses will give you good value for money lasting for many years – the crocus meadow in Kilmacurragh gardens is 300 years old! Make sure to carry out any work you have planned at Dinny’s Lane in relation to the Big Lough with the advice of a professional ecologist as wetland habitats are becoming increasingly more precious in Ireland and many host protected species. A first step would be to consult with your local NPWS Conservation Ranger who is most likely based in the NPWS office of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. This type of project could be very worthwhile and lead to lots of interesting community events such as Bioblitzes, Bat and Bird walks in the future – all great for increasing biodiversity awareness and community spirit as well as being really enjoyable! Your own Pollinator Plan sounds great – perhaps you could provide a copy for next year’s adjudicator? You show a great awareness of the native wild plants of your area. We visited the St. Kevin’s Church of Ireland graveyard but were very disappointed to see herbicide had been sprayed along the grass edges here – even underneath a biodiversity awareness sign! This is where you in Hollywood Tidy Towns biodiversity knowledge and awareness comes in to please let the person know who is doing this that is unnecessary, unsightly and most importantly herbicide misuse is resulting in decreases to our precious pollinator populations in Ireland.
Sustainability – Doing more with less
Great to hear that you have really benefitted from the ‘Action on Climate Change’ workshops you attended. The mushroom compost work is an excellent example of you acting on your new found knowledge. Makesuretospreadthewordto other gardeners and communities on this excellent practice! Well done on your seed collection work. This is so worthwhile and a great exercise in sustainability. Your Village Allotment is a terrific community project and it sounds like you have got great use out of it over the last year. It was looking in need of a litte ‘t.l.c.’ on adjudication day but hopefully it will be back on track for next year’s competition because it is such a wonderful initiative for your local community. Great to hear of all your initiatives through the village with re-usable straws and cups and the water refill station, the Christmas tree shredding service and your new planters and water bowsers.
Tidiness and Litter Control
Hollywood was looking spic and span on adjudication day despite lots of visitors on a beautiful summer’s day at the height of tourist season so well done here on all your efforts. Great to see you have entered the Pure Mile project. This has been really successful all across Co. Wicklow with some communities taking on huge lengths of roads and beating the litter louts! The idea of reaching out to other communities and having your Pure Miles meet is fantastic and a good excuse to work with the other wonderful like-minded communities that are in your beautiful county! Well done on sourcing eco-friendly maize starch bog ‘poo bags’. Showing the joinedup thinking of two Tidy Towns categories of Sustainability and Litter control.
Residential Streets and Housing Areas
Hollywood is blessed with some beautiful examples of vernacular Irish architecture and many places are very well kept. We liked the red gates throughout the centre of the village, they looked well against the stone walls.
Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes
As stated above being part of the Pure Mile project is great and will reap lots of benefits for all. When strimming on all approach roads – make sure to leave the all-important grassy bases to walls and hedges. Bumblebees need north-facing grassy banks for the queen to hibernate in and south or west facing banks for her to make her nests in summer so all are needed! More Hollywood signage is definitely needed, this adjudicator approached from the northwest and no village sign was seen.
A visit to Hollywood is always most enjoyable and with all the work you have been carrying out in recent years and the future projects to come this enjoyment will only increase. Well done to all and we look forward to our next visit to your beautiful village.