Boyle has once again increased it’s mark in the annual Tidy Towns competition which was announced yesterday (Monday).
The town is listed in ‘Category D’ and increased it’s mark by 4 points to 289 from the 2017 figure of 285.
The gains were made in Street Scapes and Public Places (1), Sustainability (1), Residential Streets and Housing (1) and Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes (1).
Below is the adjudicators report on Boyle:
Community – Your Planning and Involvement
Boyle Tidy Towns is welcome to the competition this year once again and we thank you for your application form. Your committee of seven individuals work closely with the Chamber of Commerce, Town Team and the Council. You are supported by a further 20-30 volunteers. This is good support but you are no doubt aware that there is still scope to get further buy in from residents and businesses,
given the size of the town and the large area you are maintaining. Many hands make light work!
We wish you well as you are currently in the process of establishing a Junior TidyTowns with help from the local
Community School. This could be a great initiative for the TY students each year and a win-win for all. Involvement
in community volunteering would be a good addition to any young person’s curriculum vitae.
You do not make reference to a TidyTowns multi-annual plan. Adjudicators firmly believe in the benefits of
preparing a multi-annual plan outlining your actions and intentions for the forthcoming number of years. This plan
need not be comprehensive; a succinct plan representing a shared vision of what your group can achieve in the
town over the next few years under each competition category is what is required. This will also help focus your
actions in each competition category and perhaps encourage further participation amongst the community. Your
TidyTowns plan could compliment stages of the Boyle 2040 masterplan.
Streetscape & Public Places
We are absolutely delighted to learn of the major regeneration project underway for Boyle. Your adjudicator thinks
the town has so much potential and is really delighted to learn of some of the ambitious plans. It is extremely
positive that the County Council has purchased the Royal Hotel site as it occupies a prime riverside site in the
centre of your town and we consider it important to try and retain the former historic building. The area around the
Crescent, the Courthouse and the Clock Tower is also an important area in the town. The black metal railings at the
Crescent would benefit from painting. Well done to the Boyle Town Team and Fleetwood Paints who have devised
a town centre building colour scheme. This has worked well in other centres and coordinated colour choices
between businesses can add to the flow and appearance of buildings. We noted that quite a bit of painting was
underway during out visit such as at the St. Josephs Hall, Boles of Boyle, and a business at the top of the Crescent
(no signage visible). There are few buildings along the main thoroughfares that are empty and getting run down.
We thought a number of businesses and premises looked well on adjudication day including the Moylurg Inn, the
Spool Factory, James Clarke Restaurant, Drumanilra Farm Kitchen, Boyle Dental and the Trojan building. The
Resource Centre looked welcoming with the picnic tables outside. The Boyle Abbey is a wonderful asset and
visually striking with the glass additions. The impressive St. Joseph’s Church is unusual in design which harks back
to early Christian defensive monuments. In contrast, the neighbouring bell tower was disappointing and would
benefit from painting. We enjoyed a snoop around the majestic King House. It is extremely positive that the place was buzzing with people and that there appears to be a strong calendar of arts and cultural events all year round
making it an important asset to the town. Unfortunately time did not allow a visit to the museum here. Praise is due
to the Úna Bhán Tourism Co-operative who run the traditional craft shop showcasing locally produced crafts in the
courtyard, as they had a wonderful display of artefacts outside the shop. The high nelly and penny-farthing were
great talking points amongst visitors and tourists when we passed by. The Abbey Community School and Primary
Care Centre all looked well, as did the Railway Station. We also visited Boyle Church of Ireland Parish Church
which is just a little bit out of the town.
Green Spaces and Landscaping
The colourful landscaping greatly adds to Crescent; is completed to a high standard, and was admired. Window
boxes and tubs added colour at the King House courtyard. You maintain the planting around the large engine, the
signage providing information on the Stewarts of Boyle is very interesting here. The paving stones at this junction
would benefit from power-hosing. Last year’s adjudicator commented on the contrast between the old and new
cemetery. This is something that stood out to us also this year. The suggestions made last year in relation to
softening the concrete wall with climbers or facing it with stone, still stand. We thank the local scout troop who is
involved in the competition by growing plants from seeds for use throughout the town. Other centres have raised
funds to purchase a poly-tunnel and also grow all plants from seed which leads to cost savings in the long-term.
Planting along Green Street could be greatly improved and it is a street that would appear to be a little forgotten.
There are a number of broken and missing trees up this road that should be replaced.
Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality
You only mention the bug hotel noted at King House under this category and therefore are doing yourself out of
marks. You have the Boyle River running through the town and are in close proximity to Lough Key. These natural
assets need to come more to the fore. For example, we stopped and enjoyed a bite to eat along the river towards
the cemetery but there are no picnic facilities available. There is scope to make the river more accessible. You
mention the plans for a greenway from Lough Key Forest Park to the town but we gather this is a long term plan.
We noted brief stretches of walkways along the river these need to be mentioned in your application. The area
around the pleasure park is also home to various flora and fauna. Bear in mind this category encourages
committees to raise understanding and awareness of the natural amenities in your area with visitors and the local
community. Engagement through wildlife walks and talks, dawn chorus events, etc usually appeal to young and old.
Perhaps you could consider organising such an event in the coming months. Many other centres are also
supporting the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan as there is a guide produced specifically for community groups perhaps
this is something you could also consider under this category.
Sustainability – Doing more with less
The solar lights at the pleasure grounds were noted. The promotion of more sustainable forms of transports is
welcomed in this category. We also spotted the e-car charging points at the railway station; perhaps bike racks
would also be a welcomed addition here and would encourage more people to bike to the train station rather than
taking the car this would be important particularly as you mention your aims to make Boyle the first cycle friendly
town in the country.
Check out the TidyTowns section on the Environment Protection Agency’s Local Authority Prevention Network
website specifically relating to TidyTowns, http://localprevention.ie/tidy-towns/ where you will find some excellent
examples that may be of interest. Furthermore the TidyTowns Unit has prepared guidance to assist communities
which you should revert to. Consider how Boyle can become more sustainable. Why not consider a Christmas
related sustainability event this year? You would have enough lead time to organise such an event. Christmas is
traditionally a time of food, fun, gifts and happiness so it is no surprise that it has become a time of great
consumption and a time of peak waste. Why not concentrate on this category around the Christmas period this
year. Promote a shop local campaign with local businesses and put together a range of tips on gifts, gift wrapping,
decorations, and food to have a Greener Christmas. Just an idea!
Tidiness and Litter Control
A bin at the Courthouse was in need of fixing or perhaps just not properly locked. The signage at the bottle banks
behind St. Joseph’s Hall could be replaced. The signage at the SuperValu/Shopping centre entrance also needs
removed or replaced. Within the carpark at the Supervalu there is a fence that is extremely slanted. It would be
better removed. In terms of litter control unfortunately there is room for improvement at various locations throughout
the town. Dog fouling was noted at the pleasure grounds. There is no mention on the frequency of your litter picks.
Perhaps your communication campaign should encourage residents and shoppers to pick litter and dispose of it
responsibility when they see it. Perhaps you could encourage businesses or resident associations to adopt a
stretch of road and carry out similar litter picking and litter patrols?
Residential Streets & Housing Areas
A number of residence associations are working hard to maintain their estates to a high standard. Painting and
weeding is required within College Park. On Hanly Avenue the presentation of residences is generally good and the
bright hanging baskets add colour. We thought that the playground at Church View was getting a bit tired looking
and there was lots of pieces of litter near the seating at Church View and trapped in a road drainage gully. There
are some well-presented properties in Forest Manor Park. We wondered if this estate has been taken over by the
Council? Sycamore Crescent was also looking well. The large green area at Forest View was admired and we
noted good signage at Abbey Heights.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes
Planting along Station Road and Plunkett Avenue is excellent and kept so well – bualadh bos to all concerned,
assumed to be the local householders. There are water pumps on Green Street that need care and attention as
these items of historic street furniture are irreplaceable links with our past, and they continue to enhance our
streetscapes today. Your adjudicator absolutely loved the Úna Bhán mural on the large gable on Quarry Lane and
was keen to google to learn who this beauty was. Such a great way to encourage people to learn about local
legends and folklore and the love story of Úna Bhán and Tomás Láidir! Approach roads and signage was generally
Next year will mark your 20th year of participation in the national TidyTowns competition. This will be a great
achievement for your committee. You should probably expand on the detail you submit in your entry form next year
and provide a list of projects completed marked on your map. We hope some of our suggestions will spur you on to
do great things over the next few months and build on your current momentum. Boyle has lots of potential but a
number of bodies and agencies need to work collectively to ensure this potential can be achieved. Boyle
TidyTowns – continue to put your best foot forward and be proud of the work you do to create pride of place for