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Tidy Towns Competition 2011

Adjudication Report

Centre: Birdhill

County: Tipperary North

Category: A

Ref: 587

Mark: 306

Date(s): 12/06/2011


Maximum Mark

Mark Awarded

Mark Awarded

Overall Development Approach




The Built Environment








Wildlife & Natural Amenities




Litter Control




Waste Minimisation








Residential Areas




Roads, Streets and Back Areas




General Impression




Total Mark




Overall Development Approach
Your adjudicator would like to welcome back Birdhill to the 2011 TidyTowns Competition. This was your
adjudicators first time in Birdhill on a very, very wet Sunday morning – and what a delight it was to visit your
community. It was interesting to note Birdhill’s insights into the TidyTown’s competition in that you are no
longer driving by scores but by the community benefits - this is highly commended and is so much the aim of
the programme. Congratulations on the development of your new long term plan that considers the strengths
and weaknesses of the area. Your work with many different relevant bodies eg. NRA and the TidyTowns
planning seminar with North Tipperary County Council is vital. Throughout the year you have events and
fundraisers which all build your community.Your various communication techniques were noted and contact
via e-mail, website and printed newsletter is excellent. Thank you for your very details submission and maps
showing the boundaries of the Birdhill and work carried out in 2011.

The Built Environment
In such a small area, the two public houses and the furniture shop all presented excellently – well painted,
excellent in-keeping signage, and with climbing plants allowed to soften the buildings whilst providing food and
shelter for wildlife. The Co-operative building 1914-1987 was admired – the churns and murals certainly
caught the eye of the passer by. The church was well maintained and it was good to see lichen on the stone
walls and crosses – not bleached off. The walls of the graveyard were being painted and looked fresh and the
gates were in excellent condition.Your adjudicator particularly liked the public notice at the graveyard, this was
one of the more gentle ones seen - not written in bright red capital letters as a warning but more as an
encouragement to visitors. There is a lovely entrance to the train station – the gate and pillars look very well
and the verge on the drive down is very well maintained also.The fencing is well screened here with trees and
planting also.

There was a very high standard of landscaping throughout the village – just everywhere which is highly
commended. Your new works were inspected and admired – The moon garden and the Coopers Shrub bed.
The floodlit Birdhill logo statue was admired. Your adjudicator was very taken with the high standards of work
throughout the community garden (see more details under waste minimization and wildlife). Your adjudicator
enjoyed your details of the hay making on the Birdhill roundabout, to overcome the NRA’s restrictions. The
‘Birdhill’ flower bed and newly installed large piece of ‘limestone(?) was noted. The use of shrubs here is
admired and is very sustainable. However, your adjudicator noticed possibly some Rhododendron ponticum
planted here. Although a beautiful colour, this is an invasive plant and much work is being carried out in other
communities to remove it as it is a major impact on our native fauna and flora. It is recommended that this be
removed before it causes problems. Further details from The planters and
hanging baskets, and tiered pots were admired everywhere in particular at the recycling banks, train station
and even at the church. However, do the larger planters here possibly cause on obstruction on the pavement
here?.The use of railway sleepers in the railway garden is very fitting. There was a clever use of shrubs to
shield the concrete wall across the main road opposite the church.

Wildlife & Natural Amenities
You have a great understanding of the wildlife and how to enhance it across your community. Your bug hotel
was inspected – it should have a four star rating! You have spent quality time to explain the benefits; what is
where; and why some areas are not to be disturbed. For example, you erected a poster on why there was a
pile of logs in the community park and that it is providing habitat for insects. The information boards explaining
the fauna and flora located in Birdhill are also to be commended. Well done on extending the Pollagh Trail.
Your adjudicator admired the outreach work across the community on wildlife. Bringing the first class pupils to
the Community park pond is an excellent idea.

Litter Control
The recycling centre was easily signposted and very well kept with no obvious litter in its vicinity. Who would
have thought that by spacing the banks, and placing planters and tiered floral baskets between them, that a
recycling bank could look so good? Perhaps you should consider entering the Tidy Towns National Award for
best bottle bank?. Some cigarette butts were noticed at the chapel and on the pavements by the public
houses. There was also some litter gathered and sitting on a stone wall on the slipway to the recycling centre
– it looked as if it had been gathered but forgotten to be listed.
The recycling sculpture project is a great idea – if you are using aluminium cans, you could enter the national
competition for al can sculptures – one of the special entries available.

Birdhill presented very well and tidy. Your adjudicator was pleased to note that a range of brochures were
available at the entrance to The Pollagh Trail. You should also be commended for refusing to allow election
posters and advertising hoarding to be displayed in the village. One of the non-manned train crossing gates
near the church was visited – both gates on either side of the track were not bolted closed at the time of visit.

Waste Minimisation
You have done an incredible amount to score points in this category of the competition. The ICA composting
workshop is a great idea and your adjudicator loved the recycling planter competition – who would have
thought that a 7 up bottle, a little tots car and a doll’s bike carrier could make such attractive plant pots?. The
recycling fashion show is a great idea – well done to all the pupils involved. Your rainwater butt in the
community garden was also noted here.Your communication by e-mail is another way in which you have
gained points in this category as this reduces the amount of paper you use. The work with the University of
Limerick to survey your community's ecological footprint did make for some interesting findings - how do you
plan to use this data?

Residential Areas
All the homes appeared very well presented.

Roads, Streets & Back Areas
Arriving on all the roads to Birdhill, you were met with clean signs and a bright, welcome bed or planter of
flowers. Farm gates within the limits were painted and song birds were clearly heard. Black, wrought iron
traditional gates were admired at a field entrance on the Ballnahinch Road. The cross roads further out this
road looked very well with more planters. Congratulations on the installation of the carved commemorative
stone bench. The different street benches were admired, as was the town pump looking very good in black.
There is often a tendency to paint these several colours, but one strong colour works very well. A nice mowing
regime has been adopted on the approach roads, where you have left a narrow margin uncut.

General Impression
Birdhill may be small in size but it greatly impressed your adjudicator.It is an excellent example of how a small
community can work together to enhance and bring a great focus and energy to an area. Every aspect of the
Tidy Towns competition was embraced and delivered very well. If your adjudicator could so enjoy Birdhill on a
wet Sunday morning, your efforts should ensure many a passer-by stops to also enjoy your village.

Second Round Adjudication
This was the first time that the second round adjudicator had the pleasure of visiting Birdhill and it was a
thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience. We concur fully with the comments of the first adjudicator
with respect to your overall development approach, which appears to include all the key ingredients for an
effective and comprehensive approach with an excellent level of public participation, continuous and
successful engagement with external support agencies and bodies, close links and joint projects with the
school and a very large number of festivals and events each year. The inclusion of representatives from
different hinterlands on the tidy towns group and the formation of focus groups to generate ideas for projects
are particularly commendable as it allows the residents (the real experts) to have a direct input into what
projects are pursued. One small point relates to the performance targets included in the Birdhill Action Plan
which appear to be very ambitious for this level of the competition. The Committee should be aware that
merely retaining high marks from year to year can be challenging and that achieving continuous and
significant increases in marks each and every year is an exceptionally difficult task.

The presentation of the village during the second round adjudication reached a very high standard with
commercial properties and private dwellings all looking exceptionally well on the day. The adjudicator
particularly liked the new bench and its surrounding gravel landscaped bed while the Dovecote and Moon
Garden is an excellent means of transforming the shaded area beside the bus stop. The seating areas and
landscaping at the pump, at the Birdhill sign and at the water feature all provide attractive and distinctive
public amenity areas and focal points in the village. The Village Park is also a lovely amenity that is presented
to a high standard. The adjudicator was most impressed with the number of very high quality landscaping
projects with very colourful and eye catching examples noted at the water feature, opposite the Co-op Building
(with lovely yellow and red flowers) and at Newport Cross. The Haystacks on the roundabout were also
observed and we concur with the first round adjudicator that this is an imaginative means of providing an
entrance feature to the town that is amenable to the Authorities. The range and diversity of plants used in your
landscaping schemes was also noteworthy and it would be interesting to see a schedule in your action plan
explaining their contribution to local wildlife. It is clear that the wildlife category has been given close attention
by the Tidy Village Committee and you are commended on the extension achieved of the Pollagh Trail to
provide 2 loop walks in the village. Has a survey been completed of these? This would provide an excellent
basis for monitoring and auditing wildlife and habitats in Birdhill. The provision of information panels also adds
interest and enjoyment to these amenities. The small wildlife area at the railway station was also observed.

The standard of litter control observed was very high with almost all parts of the village litter free. An exception
was the natural stone wall adjacent to the attractively presented bottle bank with litter was observed on top of
the stone wall and behind it. Close attention was paid to tidiness and it is clear that the Committee have been
busy trimming verges, weeding road sides and power washing signs as the village appeared neat and tidy on
the day – an impressive feat given the high volumes of traffic experienced until recently. As always, some
small improvements are possible. The field gates adjacent to the Kaukaura Lodge B&B and the railings
outside the Coopers would benefit from some new paint, while at the railway station, the preserved area sign
was a little untidy looking and some of the landscaped beds in the railway station garden area were a little
weedy. Has a screened area been considered for the large bins in the railway station? Under waste
minimisation, the project to assess the ecological footprint of the Community with the University of Limerick is
a most interesting initiative and we would encourage you to undertake projects that are based on its findings.
For example, could allotments or a community garden be considered to boost the amount of food grown
locally? The approach roads were also presented to a high standard with landscaping and high quality
signage providing a lovely first impression for the visitor. There is no doubt that the standards being achieved
in your village in virtually all categories are very very high and this is an excellent reflection on the Tidy Village
Committee and the residents of Birdhill. Congratulations on a really excellent performance and we wish you
every success in the competition.

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