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Tidy Towns Competition 2014

Adjudication Report

Centre: Birdhill

Ref: 587

County: Tipperary(North)

Mark: 315

Category: A

Date(s): 21/06/2014


Maximum Mark

Mark Awarded 2014

Community Involvement & Planning



Built Environment & Streetscape



Landscaping & Open Spaces



Wildlife, Habitats & Natural Amenities



Sustainable Waste & Resource Management



Tidiness & Litter Control



Residential Streets & Housing Areas



Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes



Total Mark



Community Involvement & Planning / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:
Many thanks for your entry in this year's Tidy Towns Competition. Thank you for a most complete and well-presented entry. Your maps were excellent and most useful (all on one page!) on adjudication day, thank you. Well done on the submission of a very well laid out plan. The adjudicator does feel, however, that your entry may easily have been made more coincise and focussed without losing content. Your entry in this present category, for example, runs to seven pages. The presentation of the document is excellent, though, and really tells your story well. The adjudicator won't detain you here with a rerun of all that you submitted. Suffice to say that you have amply demonstrated your linkages, communications, involvement and consideration of project partners, young people and your community.

Built Environment and Streetscape / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:
When reading of your new shelter, this adjudicator wasn't sure whether this would work but this is a great idea, really well carried out. The bottle-top mural is superb, well done Anne and the Youth Club artists. The work on the Coop and Post Office was admired. The For Sale sign rather spoils the effect on the creamery but this is probably unavoidable, for now.
Your entry in this category was excellent, by the way. The national school is a beautiful little school. The adjudicator admired many features here including the playground snake, hopscotch, flowers… national schools never looked this good back 'in the day'. The old wooden bench is about all that this adjudicator would recognise from those years hence. The community hall is just about perfect. It looks freshly painted and the window-boxes looked great on the day. Unfortunately, the adjacent farm buildings looked very poor by comparison. Much work is needed to improve the gates, doors and windows here. The railway station looked really great. This must be the most pleasant place to wait for a train anywhere in Ireland. Your use of Irish anois is arís is noted. Fair play.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:
This (newly revised) category is a strong one for your group. Once again, you have lived up to expectations. Again, the adjudicator won't bore you with a recounting of all that was on show - you know yourselves. A few highlights are worth a mention, though.
Your park is superb, its great to see it evolve - or is this more like intelligent design? The woodland is developing really well. There isn't space to describe all of the park's delights. The literary trail was new to the adjudicator who really enjoyed it - very cleverly done. Say it with Flowers' is another nice idea. The adjudicator confesses that the Green Walk was not discovered. Is it signed? It is suggested that the trail appear on the map, next time. Well done on moving toward perennial planting - this is of increasing importance to our biodiversity, way beyond aesthetics. Keep it up. The hay at the roundabout had been spread come adjudication day but the stacks were intact on a previous visit and looked great - a clever (and possibly unique) stand-in.

Thanks for the pictures of the spring bulbs, we adjudicators never get to see these for real. The railway garden is gorgeous and great use of Irish here, too. If you have a bird-bath, like birdfeeders, it must be kept filled, especially in great weather such as that we enjoyed in June, or it is pointless. The Moon Garden is really well kept. The fountain also allows a lovely place to wait for a bus, is the reliance on bedding here too heavy? The seated area at the pump was immaculate.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha:
Another succinct and well-illustrated entry, well done. The pond has really come on. The large red damselfly and the aptly named beautiful demoiselle were seen here on adjudication day. That's a clever use of the 'old' wildlife sign. You have relevant and engaging activities and you take expert advice. Well done. Was the wire fencing necessary for the literary trail? You could maybe send pictures of your bat-boxes at the start of your woodland trail at the Pollagh to your visiting bat expert as the adjudicator is not sure that these are correctly sited. There was a load of trail guides on offer here. Many, many common-spotted orchids and meadow browns were admired on your embankment wildflower area. The walking routes and heritage trail signage is excellent, an Gaeilge arís! There is excessive and rather pointless herbicide use immediately adjacent the school. There was some clutter in the playground of the school. Nearby, the benches at the pump are in need of attention.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:
Your major project for the year is the energy project with SEAI. Good luck with the results, well done on listing the potential savings. Your allotments demonstrate some very practical ways local work has wider benefits. You have several other very relevant projects listed, including sustainable transport facilities, well done. You are advised to speak to Inland Fisheries Ireland on the extraction of such quantities of river water during times of low rainfall.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:
Your litter management plan is indeed comprehensive and thoughtfully written. Contact future election candidates and relay your policy on posters. You might also speak to the repeat offenders on commercial poster-placement. Your diligent weed control work is noted. Benches, bins and post-box were gleaming. A few areas are in need of attention. A B&B sign will need painting soon. Two of your newer signs (wooden) are difficult to read. There was some clutter at the school, toys and tyres strewn about, though this disarray may have been a result of deliberate naughtiness. The litter left here was possibly left by the same offenders. The gate beside the creamery car-park is damaged. Adjacent, the 'no-parking' sign has been artfully bent to invert the message. There was some clutter visible at the back of Browser's. The recycling bins could have been cleaner and there was a retired poster tucked in behind the bins here.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:
The competition is a great idea. One might think that the checklist was an unnecessary step in such a well cared-for village but it is no harm to stay focussed. Gorgeous roses line the route north of Birdhill. Spread the word on perennial planting! Your residents will be repaid in beneficial bugs.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:
Your entry here is a model of how to present. Well done to the authors and designer. Again, the adjudicator will avoid lengthy lists but recount some highlights. The entrance to a railway station is often a neglected piece of byway. Not here, it is delightful. The approach road from the south is really lovely. Its nice and quiet now, the adjudicator counted many cyclists enjoying the safer, more peaceful road. Signage was spotless and flower beds were in mint condition. The grass was cut to golf-green standard on the northern approach. The cross-roads signage is obscured by a lime tree. The adjudicator counted seven benches, not counting Bus Éireann and park benches. That's probably enough.

Back to the bikes, briefly. How does the bike-lane inside the hard-shoulder work? It disappears when you enter the village. While anything that makes cycling safer is to be welcomed, wouldn't the bike sign be better either side of the village? Maybe another couple are needed. Road surfaces aren't uniformly good. The adjudicator experienced a little 'wobble' on a raised bit of tarmac before turning right onto the O'Briensbridge Road. The stone walls and mature trees down here are lovely, though. It really was a pleasure to be back in Birdhill.

Second Round Adjudication:
The second adjudicator was delighted to return to Birdhill after a long absence. Your comprehensive review of the 2013 report was admired and shows a commitment to taking our views on board when planning your works. Congratulations on your silver award in the 'Liveable Communities' initiative. While there are numerous maps in your application form the adjudicator would have preferred one clear map that shows the location of all your projects and key highlights. Along with the first adjudicator you are commended for your energy and the range of projects undertaken this year. The sheer abundance and luxurious nature of planting displays throughout the town impressed this adjudicator greatly. Eye-catching arrangements of summer flowers seemed to be everywhere and all were immaculately maintained. The participation of local businesses in this effort was most welcome. TheCommunity Park is a superb amenity and your new shelter, adorned with mural, is a wonderful addition. Your wildflower area actually contained wildflowers (rather than something out of a packet with that name) and is a most attractive feature because of this. The woodland/literary trail is excellent and it was good to see a minimalist approach to intervention in the woodland (although the planting of a non-native variety of honeysuckle along the fence is considered unnecessary and undesirable). As previously noted, the railway station looks great. Overall this is an excellent presentation by Birdhill once again. Well done.

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