2012 Adjudication Report

Tidy Towns Competition


Adjudication Report

Centre: County: Category:

Athenry Galway D

Ref: 189

Mark: 258

Date(s): 17/06/2012


Mark Mark


Awarded Awarded



Overall Development Approach




The Built Environment








Wildlife and Natural Amenities




Litter Control








Waste Minimisation




Residential Areas




Roads, Streets and Back Areas




General Impression








Overall Development Approach:

Your adjudicator would like to welcome Athenry to the 2012 TidyTowns Competition and your participation is important to the competition. Thank you for your rather long entry form and the various supporting documents all of which were studied. It would be helpful if all new projects for the past year were numbered with a separate paragraph and then keyed to the map. The Google map did not appear to be totally up to date in terms of road layout. Can you make sure for next year that all projects appear in their correct adjudication category? The Overall Development Approach section does not need to mention projects that are better located in another adjudication category. Likewise planned projects in some instances referred to projects that appeared to be completed. Some projects were repeated several times in different categories. These observations are not criticisms but suggestions as to how your entry can be improved in future years. Your Committee and volunteers make up a formidable group that is really well structured and organised. The very long list of supporting groups and agencies is most impressive. Good luck with the planning of the 2016 events. It was good to see that your website is available in Irish. The Five Year Plan was read in full and this sets out clear objectives for the next few years.

The Built Environment:

Athenry has really great character and atmosphere and this is due to the fact that an early village plan has survived giving a number of very narrow streets even if this is not great for modern traffic needs. The addition of cycle racks at the Railway Station is an appropriate addition here. The town walls are impressive and your ongoing contacts with the OPW will hopefully be productive. In terms of heritage Athenry impresses and the Castle and Abbey are just two of the sites that stand out. The negative impact that construction has had on Athenry is obvious but you are gradually overcoming this deficit. The Joyce’s development was visited and this is quite well presented. The Playground was in high demand on the day of the visit and presentation here was satisfactory. Bad wirescape in Cross Street and elsewhere detracts from the overall visual impact of

Athenry. The removal is costly and a long drawn out process. On Church Street the landscaping at the Catholic Church is most impressive and well maintained. Unfortunately on the day of the visit the gate to the Heritage Centre was locked. The many stone buildings add much to an interesting town and give a sense of quality. The Castle and the grassy areas to the front were admired and were quite busy on adjudication day. The use of the Irish language on signage is required under present legislation and this should be encouraged where appropriate. On signage the Irish language must have the primary role.


The new flower beds at the base of the high embankment was visited and this looked really colourful and well maintained. The four other new beds also add to the presentation of Athenry. The plans for improved planting at the Railway Station will hopefully be approved by Iarnrod Eireann. The policy to provide for flower planting on top of all new walls needs to be handled carefully. A well built stone wall is a beautiful thing in itself and will not necessarily need artificial adornment. The Church Street / Old Church Street stone bed has been noted. It is good to read that you are now growing your own bedding plants and that spring planting has been abandoned. Year round colour and texture is a much better target to adopt. Your adjudicator reminds the TidyTowns Committee that the cutting of roadside banks and ditches in the period 1st March to 30th August is not permitted under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, incorporating section 46 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000. The planting of over 1,100 new trees with 2,500 more planned is most impressive.

Wildlife and Natural Amenities:

You are acutely aware of the needs of wildlife and this is so well reflected in your planting policy. The Sli na Slainte route is a great new development as is the Biodiversity Garden on the Tuam road. Presumably you have got professional advice in respect of the design and placement of the ten new bird boxes? Shrub planting for positive insect impact is commended and your emphasis on bees and butterflies this year is unusual but so important. The Biodiversity Plan was read with great interest.

Litter Control:

The regular litter patrols and clean ups have been noted from your entry. Litter bins are indeed in poor condition and replacement is now over due. Well done on completion of the Litter Management Plan. On the Raheen approach to the hotel litter at the right hand verge was evident and also at the Arch / North Gate Street. At the car park opposite Topaz litter was also present. Along North Gate Street quite a quantity of litter was present at the edges of the footpath.


Hopefully your contacts with Iarnrod Eireann will be productive. The audit of poles was useful and perhaps some poles can be eliminated. The one way system signs while of normal specifications do not sit well in the Athenry heritage environment. Illegal dumping is an issue in many towns and hopefully your problem can reduced or eliminated in the coming year. Your campaign in regard to illegal signage has been noted but does the TidyTowns Committee have the legal right to remove a sign that they hold to be illegal? Would this not be the role of the Local Authority? On the R448 bad weed growth was noted on the left before the bridge. Verges were uncut on this approach. On the Raheen approach past the hotel the narrow verge on the left was rather untidy. Some stone wall repairs are necessary along here.

Waste Minimisation:

Your work with the County Council on waste minimisation was noted from your entry. Congratulations to all the schools in Athenry that are involved in the Green Flag Programme. The segregation of litter and the recycling of cans are great projects that meet the objectives of this category as was the Wee collection and

the paint pot initiative. The planned water harvesting projects sound to be a really good one. Thank you for the

Biodiversity and Waste Management Fact Sheet.

Residential Areas:

Superb grass was admired at Gort na Ri together with the Limestone walls at the entrance. At The Glades an impressive entrance leads to excellent landscaping. The grass areas at Ard Aoibhinn are enormous but so well maintained. Very bad kerb weed at Cullairbaun stands out but grass areas were good.

Roads, Streets and Back Areas:

The new wall at the Kenny Park entrance was examined and well done on that. Some road surfaces are poor and need urgent resurfacing. The problem of verge parking on Caheroyan Road has been tackled imaginatively. Hopefully the archaeological dilemma at Swangate will be resolves shortly. Your interaction with the Local Authority on road design issues is admired. Fine trees make the Raheen approach an attractive introduction to Athenry. Very bad weed growth was evident on the Knockaungla approach road. The fingerposts at the junction with the main road are obscured by a large pole. By The Glade approach excellent

Limestone walls were admired but some wall repairs are necessary. Many of the yellow and white street markings need to be repainted.

General Impression:

It was a pleasure to visit Athenry and examine this most interesting of towns. You are well organised for future progress in the Competition. Good luck in the year ahead with your many projects.