Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

294 MARKS (285 IN 2018) Com­mu­nity – Your Plan­ning and In­volve­ment

Wel­come Donard and many thanks for your com­pre­hen­sive en­try form and your clear hand drawn map. Your com­mu­nity shop and cafe are ev­i­dence enough of won­der­ful com­mu­nity spirit in Donard. Well done on the ef­fort needed to keep these premises open. Your com­mu­nity must be so grate­ful for these fa­cil­i­ties es­pe­cially as they are sadly lack­ing in other vil­lages in this beau­ti­ful part of the coun­try. Your com­mit­tee is small but you achieve a lot and clearly have good sup­port from res­i­dents, lo­cal busi­nesses and pub­lic bod­ies. I love your Tidy Towns’ motto ‘No one can do ev­ery­thing but ev­ery­one can do some­thing’ – it en­cap­su­lates per­fectly what we are all about.

Streetscap­e and Pub­lic Places

For a small vil­lage, Donard fea­tures a great va­ri­ety of beau­ti­ful build­ings from lovely cot­tages to an an­cient church to Ge­or­gian farm­houses to two cur­rently func­tional church build­ings. There is lots to catch the eye of the wandering vis­i­tor. We loved the bi­cy­cle and flower pots bright­en­ing up the old petrol pump out­side Moyni­han’s! Well done on your work on the ‘Statue Gar­den’ this year. You used lots of pol­li­na­tor-friendly plants in the ac­tual flowerbed and they were graced by lots of but­ter­flies, hov­er­flies and bum­ble­bees on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day. You had some an­nu­als, be­go­nias and petu­nias in pots and the bed un­der­neath the green place-sign. These are showy and colour­ful but un­for­tu­nately are of no food value to pol­li­na­tors. Our pol­li­na­tor species pop­u­la­tions are in such trou­ble in Ire­land that it is in­cum­bent on all to pro­vide as much food and habi­tats for them as pos­si­ble. TidyTowns groups all over Ire­land have a huge role to play in this by en­sur­ing lots of flow­ers are planted in their pub­lic places. Per­haps next year you could plant these ar­eas with plants listed in the ex­cel­lent ‘Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing Code’ freely avail­able at www.pol­li­na­ re­sources where you’ll find all sorts of help and in­spi­ra­tion for all kinds of plant­ing. In­deed, it was no­tice­able on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day how the pol­li­na­tor species were very busy at your Statue Gar­den where you have pol­li­na­tor friendly plant­ing but none were seen at the petu­nias or be­go­nias! The small green name signs are a nice fea­ture point­ing out ar­eas of in­ter­est. Pur­sue your plans to have in­for­ma­tion boards erected about these places of in­ter­est. The board on the Balt­in­glass road across from the school is badly in need of up­dat­ing and was so tatty it was hard to read which is a shame.

Green Spa­ces and Land­scap­ing

As men­tioned above, you car­ried out great work on the Statue Gar­den and use of the Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing Code will guide you in fu­ture plant­ing projects. Also the High Spout was ad­mired with its show of bold red flow­ers look­ing good against the stonework. There is scope here for a big­ger planter on the right side of the spout against the wall and an op­por­tu­nity to add some more pol­li­na­tor plant­ing from the list men­tioned above. This plant­ing code list will also be very help­ful in your fu­ture project at the Hand­ball Al­ley. Might this be a good spot to plant a Com­mu­nity Herb Gar­den as it will be eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and so many herb plants are pol­li­na­tor friendly, colour­ful and smell great! Good ex­am­ples are: rose­mary, thyme, chives, sage, fen­nel, bor­age etc.

Na­ture and Bio­di­ver­sity in your Lo­cal­ity

Your beau­ti­ful stonewalls both in and around the vil­lage were ad­mired. Many sup­ported sev­eral species of wild­flower with the lovely na­tive Se­dum species Stonecrop bloom­ing on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day. It is great to know that you trea­sure these lovely fea­tures which add so much char­ac­ter to your lo­cal­ity. As noted above please re­fer to the Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing Code for fu­ture plant­ing projects and fu­ture ad­ju­di­ca­tors can look for­ward to colour­ful pol­li­na­tor-friendly plant­ing. We spot­ted the bug ho­tel at the school and well done on their Green Flag which was proudly dis­played – al­though a new flag should be re­quested as the cur­rent one has got very frayed by the Wick­low moun­tain winds!

Sus­tain­abil­ity – Do­ing more with less

Your Wil­low Waste­water treat­ment sys­tem sounds very in­ter­est­ing. The wil­low plan­ta­tion was ad­mired from the other side of the GAA pitch but if pos­si­ble sup­ply next year’s ad­ju­di­ca­tor with some more in­for­ma­tion about how this project which sounds em­i­nently sus­tain­able is work­ing for Donard. If work­ing well it is one that we would hope to see repli­cated in lots of other places around the coun­try. You didn’t men­tion it but does your com­mu­nity café en­cour­age peo­ple to use re-us­able cups? Do you use com­postable cups for take-away drinks? You may be do­ing this al­ready but haven’t in­formed us? Next year’s ad­ju­di­ca­tor will be happy to hear about it.

Tidi­ness and Lit­ter Con­trol

Donard and its sur­round­ings were very tidy and lit­ter free on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day. Well done on all the work that has gone in to main­tain these high stan­dards! The Pure Mile project is a won­der­ful con­cept and work­ing very well all over Co Wick­low – well done Donard on your Pure Mile projects too.

Res­i­den­tial Streets and Hous­ing Ar­eas

Great to see the new houses blend­ing in so well to your vil­lage streetscap­e. There is only a small num­ber of derelict houses left now and hope­fully they will be re­newed in the com­ing years. Your vil­lage cen­tre had a very vi­brant feel on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day with the shop and café look­ing busy as well as the nearby camp­site and chil­dren out play­ing in Pal­la­dius Park.

Ap­proach Roads, Streets and Lanes

The lovely stone walls on your ap­proach roads were men­tioned above. They are a great lo­cal fea­ture so keep look­ing af­ter them as well as you are! Just a word of cau­tion about trim­ming ivy – treat ivy like a good hair­cut – a short back and sides. It’s a vi­tally im­por­tant plant for pro­vid­ing food in the form of pollen, nec­tar and berries in the late au­tumn and win­ter in Ire­land as well as pro­vid­ing shel­ter and hi­ber­na­tion for many species over the win­ter.

Con­clud­ing Re­marks

Donard is a beau­ti­ful spot – a vil­lage of great char­ac­ter nes­tled into the Wick­low Moun­tains. Keep up your great work look­ing af­ter it and its res­i­dents and we look for­ward to our next visit.

The Bless­ing­ton vol­un­teers man­aged to an an ex­tra 12 marks to their tally this year.

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