Derelict in Donegal Conference

100,000 vacant properties in the Republic: –

 

“Derelict” in Donegal conference

While there is no precise number reliable data sources suggests there are well over 100,000 vacant properties in the Republic, and anyone travelling through the towns and villages in this county can easily attest to the fact that we huge numbers of abandoned properties.

With up to 3,000 people currently looking to be housed in Donegal, Letterkenny Tidy Towns, in conjunction with Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter, is to host a special conference on “Dereliction” in Dillons Hotel on Friday, 22 July, starting at 11am.

In the wake of President Michael D. Higgins’ controversial comments, it’s an event that is both timely and topical as the housing issue tops the political agenda.

Speaking yesterday the event organiser, Donnan Harvey described dereliction here as a ‘live issue’ that affects both individuals and communities negatively and said addressing the issue would be a clear ‘win-win’ for both.

He stated: “I have been involved in the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter project here in the town and despite the many obstacles put in our way at the outset we are now forging ahead.

“The Church Lane, which had more derelict houses than any other part of Letterkenny, is now thriving as both a residential and artisan area.

“It’s been a real success story. We have turned a sort of dying area into one that is very, very alive. We need to make this success more broad-based by addressing the issue of dereliction across the county.”

The chairman of Letterkenny Tidy Towns, Gerard McCormick confirmed that Deputy Peter Burke, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will officially open the Conference.

The chief speakers at the conference will be Frank O’Connor and Jude Sherry from the Anois Agency who started the Derelict Ireland campaign and brought the issue of Dereliction to the National Stage.

Mr McCormick said the conference was intended to both informative and wide ranging, giving a platform to many views and opinions.

He stated: “The confirmed speakers at the conference will include Donegal County Heritage officer Joe Gallagher; broadcaster Lee Gooch who has been involved in the redevelopment of his own home; Kyle Thompson of the New Gate Arts Centre in the Fountain area of Derry/Londonderry; Colm Murray, Architectural Officer from the Heritage Council – a former past pupil of St Eunan’s College.

And he added: “Bringing back buildings, be they commercial or residential, can add so much value to our communities across Donegal. What is a derelict house today could be a home for a family tomorrow. And when we bring about regeneration we are helping to create opportunities for people, for families. This is what this conference is really about.”

A moderator for the conference will be confirmed in the next few weeks.

Preceding the conference on Thursday, 21st July there will be a special guided tour of Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter starting outside Dillons Hotel 7.30pm. Brian Walsh of Letterkenny Community Heritage Group and Donnan Harvey of Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter will give an insight as to the unique history of the locality. Attendees of the Conference and others are welcome to find out what makes the area so special in the heart of Letterkenny.

Following the Conference, there will be an official celebration of the Historic Towns Initiative on Church Lane which has transformed the buildings on one of Letterkenny oldest streets.

As Donnan Harvey points out: “The celebrations on Church Lane will demonstrate that dereliction does not have to be a permanent feature but when local community, the local authority, other stakeholders and Government Agencies work together, things can change. That’s the big message we want to send out.”

To register, simply please click on the link https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/368816759857

Or contact Donnan at donnanharvey@hotmail.com or Gerard at lktidy@gmail.com

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Letterkenny Tidy Towns launch the 36th Annual Cleaner Community Garden Competition

Letterkenny Tidy Towns launch the 36th Annual Cleaner Community Garden Competition

We are delighted to run our Annual Garden Competition for 2022 with three categories to enter – Best Large Garden, Best Small Garden and Best Wildlife Friendly Garden. Each category is dedicated to previous Tidy Town members.

The competition is open now and will run until the 31st July 2022, the entries will then be judged and each category winner will receive a trophy and an Alcorns gift voucher. (Please note we can only accept entries from Letterkenny and the surrounding townlands.)

The Large Garden competition is known as the Sean Higgins Memorial Award. Adjudication will cover planting, colour including shrubs, grassy areas and flower borders encouraging wildlife.

2021 Large Garden Winner

 

The Small Garden competition is known as the Charles and Rose Devlin Memorial Award. Adjudication will cover planting, colour including shrubs, grassy areas, and flower borders encouraging wildlife.

2021 Small Garden Winner

 

The Wildlife-Friendly Garden competition is known as the May McClintock Memorial Award, sponsored by An Taisce. For examples of what we might be looking for in this category, see the biodiversity section of our website.

Wildlife Garden Winner 2021

 

We can’t wait to see the amazing gardens in the Letterkenny area – SEND your entries NOW to lktidy@gmail.com or post/drop in pictures to Magees Pharmacy.

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Plans for 2022

The following article appeared in the Letterkenny Leader on April 7th

At our recent AGM, plans for Letterkenny Tidy Towns initiatives for 2022 were discussed. This month’s column will go over some of the highlights.

Murals

We have 3 Flight of the Bee Murals at Lower Main Street, at the Jim McCormick Memorial Garden and at the old ESB site on Port Road. These were done by Karl Porter of UV Arts. Due largely to Covid restrictions, there was a delay in completing the remaining 2 murals at the Quiet Moment and at Insomnia, however Ciaran Dunlevy has been commissioned to complete the last 2 murals. Judging by his work at Church Lane, these two final pieces should be perfect to complete the mural trail!

In conjunction with the murals, we are working on an app which will guide visitors around the trail, and would hopefully take in other trails around the town. It’s in early stages of development, but could be a real asset to the town’s tourist industry once it’s up and running.

Keeping the Town Clean and Tidy

A core part of our remit is to keep the town looking clean and tidy, and this year as usual we will have a number of schemes in place to help achieve this.

Firstly, as per usual we will have our Sunday litter picks, where a group of volunteers meets up at Market Square at 10.30 on Sundays, and Neil, our coordinator, keeps everyone stocked with gloves, bags, high vis jackets and litter grabbers. All are welcome, and you can just turn up and join us any time. A warm welcome is assured!

The Paint the Town initiative will continue, where we provide assistance to businesses to design colour schemes and spruce up the outside of their premises.

The Spring Clean week and the Clean Sweep initiative are to be launched in April.

The Clean Sweep is an initiative where we encourage business owners to look after their own area

The Spring Clean Week is a national campaign, organised by An Taisce, in which residents who sign up to organise a spring clean of their local area, whether it be an estate or a local road, are provided with advice and equipment. Last year , volunteers collected an estimated 2800 tonnes of litter. If your community would like to join in, you can register at http://nationalspringclean.org.

Cleaner Community Campaign is to be launched in April with all the competitions attached to it. This is our annual competition, with such categories as ‘Best small/large/wildlife friendly garden’, ‘Best kept estate’, ‘Best kept shop front’ and so on. This leads to our awards night in the autumn. We are hopeful that this year the awards night will be in person, as we have missed meeting and thanking our volunteers in person the last couple of years, thanks to Covid.

Pipeline Projects

There are also a couple of schemes in the pipeline, which still have to be worked out. More details will follow. These include a Sustainability Survey and a possible Streets and derelict buildings seminar with Church Lane.

In Addition to these initiatives, we have a number of plans based around improving biodiversity, and I’ll cover those in a future column.

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Tidy Times – Recruiting!

This is traditionally our quiet time of year. After all, who wants to be out on a winters day picking litter? Actually, quite a few of our hardy volunteers do! You’ll see them out and about on a weekend morning keeping the town clean. But generally speaking, it’s more the time of year for reflecting on what we want to achieve in the year ahead. To this end, we recently had our Annual General Meeting, where we had a large attendance. Gerard McCormick, co-chair of Letterkenny Tidy Towns, said “we were delighted with a few new members to the committee for this year, we are grateful for their commitment”. In addition, a presentation was made to Ann McGowan and Dennis Doyle “for all their dedication, leadership and guidance that they have shown to Letterkenny Tidy Towns for decades. We salute you both”.

Recruiting

In order to continue our work and go from strength to strength, we are always on the look out for new volunteers. We currently have a number of roles advertised on i-vol.ie. To view the roles, go to i-vol.ie and select ‘organisation search’. Then input Letterkenny Tidy Towns, and you will see the available roles. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in helping us out, please get in touch. Not only is the work fulfilling but you’ll be doing your bit to keep our town as a great place to live in and to visit. There’s also an added bonus for younger volunteers that having a bit of voluntary work on the CV can be a great way to stand out from the other applicants.

As ever, we are looking for volunteers to help out with our Sunday morning litter picks. Volunteers would be assigned an area to focus on. Some people do their own neighbourhood, others will go down to the Market Square on a Sunday and find out from Neil, our coordinator, which particular areas need attention that week. The choice is yours as to how you go about it and as to how often you want to help out. Neil will provide the necessary equipment and guidance, and if you’re turning up on your own he will try to pair you up with someone, to work together on a particular area.

In addition, we are looking for help with our website and social media. The work is not too time consuming but is something which helps us continue our work, in that it helps us to get funding and attract new voilunteers. The roles would be suitable to someone who is already involved in volunteering, or for someone who wishes to get experience in social media. The roles we are looking for help with are Facebook admin, web site administrator, and blog writer. We are also looking for a sustainability officer. This last role involves helping to develop an action plan based on feedback we received at the last Tidy Towns competition. With these roles, it helps to be involved with Tidy Towns already, but is not essential, as plenty of help is available from the committee members.

All these roles can be done in your own time, and none of them should be overly time consuming. The roles are all very fulfilling, and are a great way to spend some of your spare time!

If you would like to know how you can get involved in helping with the Tidy Towns efforts, please visit our website https://www.letterkennytidytowns.com/volunteer or visit https://www.i-vol.ie, select ‘Organisation Search’ and input ‘Letterkenny Tidy Towns’ in the Search bar.

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Tidy Times Article – Jan 2022

As mentioned a couple of issues ago, we were delighted to receive a Gold Medal and to be named as tidiest town In Donegal in the recent national Tidy Towns competition. The national organisation sent us extensive feedback on what is going well and also on what could be improved upon, so this month I’d like to go over some of the key points. And also to say a huge “THANKS” to all who contributed. The Tidy Towns committee organise/coordinate a lot of the work going on, but it would all amount to nothing if it wasn’t for the participation of our volunteers.

Community Planning and Involvement

We were commended for the great response we had for the Garden competitions and the photo competition we ran last year, and also for the large growth in the number of volunteers. We currently have over 60 regular volunteers, so thanks very much to all who continue to contribute. Also, our work with youth groups and schools was commended, with various projects involving the scouts, Errigal College, St Eunans College and Loreto Convent.

Streetscape and Public Spaces.

One big positive was our development of the Flight of the Bee mural trail, which in conjunction with the efforts of the Cathedral Quarter group and the A-rt Team continue to make Letterkenny a destination for lovers of street art. In the next year we’ll be working on an app which will help to bring this aspect of Letterkenny to life and help with the development of tourism in the town.

The developments around Church Lane also came in for particular praise, as did the plans for “Letterkenny 2040” which we will hear much more of in the coming months and years. Collaborative efforts with Men’s Shed, the Rotary Club and the Letterkenny Lions were also praised. The adjudicators particularly liked the “Hirelings” statue in Market Square and the Polestar sculpture that makes such a striking introduction to the town.

The committee expressed disappointment at the number of derelict buildings in the town centre, and we will continue to work with the council to bring such buildings to their attention and improve the situation where possible.

Green Spaces and Landscaping.

The flower boxes provided around the town (more than 50,000 plants!), along with the tree planting, were praised by the adjudicators. In 2022 we aim to focus more on tree planting as well as developing biodiversity areas. This can be as simple as allowing an area to grow wild, as for example has happened along the river bank in Ballyboe Park.

Tidiness and Litter Control

Our ongoing focus on litter control was praised, and thanks for this go out to our large group of volunteers as well as the various residents’ associations and sports clubs who work with us to keep the town clean. Also, the Community Employment Scheme and town gardener David Donnelly were commended. Last but not least, a big thankyou goes out to our Junior Litter Warriors.

Residential Streets, Approach Roads and Back Lanes

The efforts involved in improving areas such as the famine garden and Roger’s Burn were praised, in particular the efforts to clear undergrowth and mend/paint fences in various spots. Other areas which were commended were Church Lane, Ard O’Donnell, Glencar Park, the Long Lane and of course the dual carriageway.

A final comment from the adjudicators was “Keep up the good work and we look forward to returning to Letterkenny in 2022.

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Gold!

The following article appeared in the Letterkenny Leader on December 2nd 2021.

Gold!

We were delighted to hear that in the results of the National Tidy Towns competition, Letterkenny was awarded a gold medal, and was announced as tidiest town in Donegal. Well done also to runners up Buncrana and Glenties, and to national winners Ennis. Special praise was given to the transformation of Church Lane and the success of our volunteer programme. So thanks very much to our 70-plus volunteers who made that happen!

Our volunteers have been involved in litter picking, tidying up green areas, developing biodiversity areas, sprucing up the paths and fences at spots such as Roger’s Burn and the Famine Garden, helping to deliver and install flower boxes around the town, and much much more, and all of this continues to make the town a more liveable and pleasant place. As many people commented on our Facebook page, you’re all a credit to the town. Below I will single out 3 of the volunteers who made huge contributions this year, but every single one of our volunteers and committee members deserves a big pat on the back.

Charlie’s Angels

One volunteer who is behind a lot of the Tidy Towns initiatives is Charlie Grant. A true Tidy Towns stalwart, Charlie is often seen out and about with his crews of volunteers, tidying up green areas, mending and painting fences, planting flowers and much more. His crew have been referred to as Charlie’s Angels, or the Ninja Gardeners, and if you see them out and about, do give them a ‘Hello’ or a toot of the car horn, as they all do great work for the town.

Charlie Grant

Neil Blockley

Another key committee member is Neil Blockley. Not only is Neil often seen out and about with Charlie’s Angels, but he is also the coordinator of the Sunday litter picks. Neil took it upon himself to increase the number of volunteers picking litter around the town, and organised a map of the town showing picking routes. Each Sunday from around March to November Neil is down at the Market Square handing out bags, gloves and hi vis jackets and discussing with the volunteers which areas most need picking.

Neil (right) with Tidy Towns co-Chair Gerard McCormick

The Phantom Litter Picker

Last but not least, there was one volunteer who put in a herculean effort on behalf of Tidy Towns. None other than the Phantom Litter Picker himself, John Wilkie. John took it on himself to clean up the dual carriageway. That 5km stretch of road was in quite a bad state at the start of the summer, with months (or even years in some spots) of accumulated litter. Everything from drink cans, coffee cups and takeaway wrappers to bits of household furniture and chunks of cars. Over the course of several weeks/months, John chipped away at it, and 260 bags later, most of the litter was gone. As with most litter hotspots, litter will often reappear almost as soon as it is picked, but John kept chipping away and now the dual carriageway is looking a lot better.

John Wilkie with bespoke head gear

Calendar

To mark the work done by our volunteers this year (and every year, really!) , we are launching the Tidy Towns calendar for 2022. It will be available at Magees Pharmacy and Brian McCormick Sports & Leisure for just 5 Euros, and features photos of the work done by our volunteers during 2021.

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Thankyou To Our Volunteers

The following article appeared in the Letterkenny Leader on 3rd November 2021.

As we come to the end of the year, it will soon be time for the Tidy Towns Results to be announced. However highly Letterkenny scores in the results, we are proud of the improvements that have been made to the town both this year and in previous years. None of which could have been done without our volunteers, who turn out in all weathers to pick litter, tidy up green areas, paint fences, mend fences, plant flower beds and everything else that is done to improve the look of the town.

The volunteers gather at the Brewery

Recently, we held a coffee morning at the Brewery, where co-chair Gerard McCormick and co-ordinator Neil Blockley both spoke to the volunteers to give thanks for all their work. The following is an excerpt from an open letter to volunteers, penned by Gerard.

Open Letter

To all the Tidy Towns Volunteers:

On behalf of the Letterkenny Tidy Towns Committee, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for all your work and efforts that you have given to your town this year.

When Neil came to us with his idea of starting a structured volunteering plan which is based on the famous “table” at the Market Square on Sunday mornings along with promoting the good work done on Social Media, we never thought that it would be such a success.

On reflection, it has been successful for two reasons, firstly, the selfless spirit of all you volunteers who reached out to us and gave your time freely to improve the fabric of the town by making it clean and tidy, secondly the hard work and organisation that Neil has put into this initiative from the very start. These two reasons have been instrumental in the success of the initiative, we salute you all.

We are told by the National Tidy Towns Unit that the Tidy Town results will be released sometime in November and we are excited about this, after the cancelled competition last year.

You never know what will happen in this competition, but we do know one thing, we have all worked extremely hard to have Letterkenny in the best shape possible and we should all be very proud of that as the Tidy Town year winds down.

I would just like to conclude that we hope that you have enjoyed volunteering with Tidy Towns as it is in the giving that we receive the most in life. We look forward to continue working with you all as we strive to improve our beautiful town.

Gerard addresses the volunteers while Neil looks on.

Charlie Grant, organiser of many of Letterkenny Tidy Towns’ projects

Pollinating Trees

In order to promote the planting of pollinating trees, we are working with Alcorns Garden Centre in Kiltoy. Members of the public can go into Alcorns and select 2 pollinator friendly trees. Letterkenny Tidy Towns will pay for whichever is the cheaper of the two. Nine tree varieties are on offer, including rowans, ashes, weeping willows, cherry blossom and many more. To find out more, contact Craig on 074 9121541 or visit www.alcorns.ie.

 

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Pollinator Friendly Areas Register – Buy a Pollinator Friendly Tree & Get Another Free Campaign – NOW CLOSED

This offer is now closed, thank you to all who participated.

As part of our Biodiversity initiatives we are building a register of pollinator friendly areas in Letterkenny!

We are delighted to be partnering with local garden centre Alcorns on this great biodiversity initiative. For every pollinator friendly tree(s) purchase we will provide one pollinator tree completely free of charge (that tree being of lesser or equal value).  Please note, this offer is while stocks last and one free tree per customer only.

If you can please complete a register form at the time of purchase in Alcorn so that we can add your Eircode and tree details to the pollinator friendly area register.  NOTE – your personal information will NOT be displayed in any way or provided to a third party.

The trees on offer are:

  • Prunus Kanzan (Cherry Blossom)
  • Prunus Fugenzo (flowering cherry)
  • Sorbus Nigra (purple leaf plum, pink flower)
  • Sorbus Vilmorini (pink berry ash)
  • Sorbus scalaris (Chinese Ash –  white flower pink berry)
  • Sorbus Comixta (Japanese Rowan)
  • Sorbus Acuparia (sheer water seedling)
  • Pyrus Pendula (weeping pear, white flower)
  • Salix Kilmarnock (weeping willow)
  • Cotoneaster coral beauty
  • Ceonthus Victoria
  • Cotoneaster Cornubia
  • Cotoneaster Pendula
  • Pyrus Chanticleer (celery pear)
  • Malus hyshop ( blue tinged crab apple )
  • Malus Red Sentinel (crab apple)

There will be more tree types available in spring for any more information on these trees please contact Craig at Alcorns on 074 – 9121541.

Happy planting!

The Letterkenny Tidy Towns team

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Litter Picking – Tidy Times 7th October 2021

Our litter picking group continue to do great work in keeping Letterkenny clean. In recent weeks we have had a few first timers, which is always great to see, and our regulars continue to do great work. Many of our volunteers meet at the Market Square on Sunday mornings from 10.30, where Neil, our coordinator, directs them towards the areas which most need cleaning up, and provides any bags, gloves etc that might be needed. Other volunteers go out at whatever time it suits them, some on a weekly basis and others on a more occasional basis. However often each person goes out litter picking, it is all much appreciated, and we always stress to our volunteers that it is entirely up to them how often they get involved. We are always looking for new volunteers, and all are welcome to join us.

Some of our volunteers recently told us how infuriating it was to see that Kiltoy, which they had cleaned that Sunday, was already fairly badly littered again by the Tuesday morning. This is a common experience, and a source of frustration to all of us who have volunteered, but unfortunately all we can do is keep chipping away at it in the hope that eventually people might be less inclined to drop litter once an area is kept clean. Many studies have shown that the more littered an area is, the more likely certain people are to add to the litter. Whereas if an area is spotless and beautiful, then the casual litterer may well think twice before hoinking that coffee cup/drink can/takeaway wrapper out of the car window. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I hope I’m not the only one!

Some of the litter found on Kiltoy

One way in which litter can be reduced is by incentivising people not to drop it. Which is why we were delighted to hear of Lidl’s plans to give vouchers for 10c per plastic bottle or aluminium can returned to its stores. Those of us of a certain age can remember when this was the norm for glass bottles, and even today, in Canada you will pay a little extra to buy glass or plastic bottles and can get your deposit returned when you take back the empties. The result is that most people will return their bottles, but even where people don’t there’s a mini industry in people who go round collecting litter in order to collect the deposits.

In conjunction with this, it stands to reason that if less waste is produced in the first place then less will end up as litter. So we are always glad to hear of initiatives by the supermarkets to reduce packaging. They have a long way to go, but at least it’s on their radar, which is a good start, and it’s up to all of us, as customers, to make sure it stays on their radar.

And finally, the perfect way to reduce litter is to catch them young. If it is instilled in our children from a young age that dropping litter is an unacceptable thing to do, then they are far less likely to drop litter themselves, or to grow up into adults who think it’s ok to leave their takeaway wrapper by the roadside. We were delighted to meet a group from Ballyraine FC a while back who were part of a community clean up. For this reason, we sponsored a ‘Junior litter warrior’ competition this summer where we invited facebook followers to send in photos of their kids getting involved in a litter pick. A winner was selected at random each month. We were delighted with the response, and thanks to all who entered.

The Junior Litter Warriors for August

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The History of Letterkenny Tidy Towns

The following article appeared in the September 3rd edition of the Letterkenny Leader.

This month I’d like to look back at where we came from and how we got to where we are now.

The foundation of Letterkenny Tidy Towns.

Letterkenny was involved in the Tidy Towns competition right from its inception in 1959. However, by the 1970s, the town was becoming quite badly littered, and a little run down in places. To some, it was known as “Litterkenny”. An RTE documentary in 1975 was very critical of the town, painting it in a very bad light altogether. A lot of residents felt the picture it painted was highly unfair and unduly negative.

By the beginning of the 1980s, the Letterkenny Tidy Towns group had broken down, however as chair of the Chamber of Commerce, Jim McCormick, owner of Magees pharmacy got to work on revitalising the Tidy Towns group. He had no experience of such things, and was unsure of what needed to be done, but he worked with Cllr Jim Lynch, who became Chair, and Dennis Doyle, who was a Tidy Towns judge and offered a lot of advice and later became Vice Chair. As the years went by, Letterkenny Tidy Towns went from strength to strength. After a few years, Jim McCormick took over as Chair. The biggest challenge was the speed at which the town was growing, however the Tidy Towns committee kept working away, culminating in the ‘Tidiest large urban centre’ award in 2007.

Cllr Victor Fisher, Jim McCormick and John Buchanan

Now the work began to take it to the next level, as Letterkenny was a mere 3 points away from winning the overall title. However, Jim didn’t get to see his dream come true, as he sadly died in 2011, at the age of 69. His passing is marked by the Jim McCormick Memorial Garden by the Century cinema, where one of our ‘Flight of the Bee’ murals now takes pride of place.

Ireland’s Tidiest Town.

After the passing of Jim McCormick, the Chair was taken up by Anne McGowan, who continued the hard work. Over the next few years, Letterkenny continued to win numerous medals and awards.

                 

In 2015, after all those years of improvements, Letterkenny won the top prize. One thing that was highlighted by the judges was the landscaping and use of open spaces. At the time, volunteers were out 7 days a week, led by Anne along with Charlie Grant, who is still a leading light (and all-round force of nature) in many of our projects.

Pictured at the SuperValu TidyTowns competition were, Anne McGowan, Chairperson Letterkenny Tidy Towns (centre) with Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, SuperValu (left of centre); and Mr. Alan Kelly, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (right of centre) and members of the Tidy Tows Committee as Letterkenny, Co. Donegal was named best of the 862 towns and villages throughout the country that entered this year’s SuperValu TidyTowns competition.

The last 5 years.

In recent years, our group has continued to work to improve the town under the Co-Cchairs Gerard and Brian McCormick, 2 of Jim McCormick’s sons. Our group has grown, in particular over the last 18 months, and we are involved in newer initiatives such as expanding our internet presence and improving biodiversity while continuing to focus on the same core activities as before.

The volunteer group includes a mixture of people born and bred in Letterkenny plus a growing group from the rest of Europe and all over the world. We’re particularly happy to see a group from the Direct Provision centre helping out regularly. Our volunteers are ably assisted by the CE scheme which operates out of An Grianan Theatre, and together we continue to work to make Letterkenny a highly liveable place and an attractive spot for visitors.

Neil Blockley co-ordinates a group of our volunteers.

I leave you with an example of how our members have always been keen to take every opportunity to improve the town. One year when the St Patrick’s Parade included an elephant. The inhabitants of the Tidy Towns float witnessed the elephant leaving a ‘message’ right in the middle of Main Street. Some might see this as mere animal poo, but our volunteers immediately thought of how great it would be as fertiliser. So after the event, they rushed home to collect a trailer and some shovels to clean up the scene. Only to find that someone else had had the same idea and was already carting off the prized manure. Where some see dirt, others see opportunity!

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