Dalkey Tidy Towns



Adjudication 2013
Date of judgements
21/06/2013
1 /08/2013

Overall Developmental Approach: 2013

  Thank you kindly for the excellently completed application form, additional supplementary support material such as the Killiney Hill Biodiversity Programme and the local Community Council Newsletter which were invaluable to the adjudicator in understanding the Village and its surrounds. I would also like to comment on the quality and detail of the accompanying map which was such a help in finding places of interest and also projects that had been highlighted as part of the Three Year Work Plan which was also attached. Dalkey has a long and successful tradition in the TidyTowns Competition since it first entered in 1983 and during this period it had a number of notable achievements. The committee of 8 is a very cross sectional representative group that works for the betterment of the town as a whole. It is clear that the committee has developed strong partnership links with the Local Authority, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council and with the various business entities that represent the commercial life of Dalkey. Most importantly the committee has enjoyed the practical support of over 13 local community groups and sports organisations such as the famed Cuala GAA Club. The community initiative with TUS has impacted positively on your work as a committee and it is very pleasing to note that it has benefited the two workers assigned to it in a practical way.
  I feel as an adjudicator that having strong links with the local schools is one of the key components for success in the TidyTowns and you have made sure to foster these links fully to exploit the attributes that school children bring to projects. You are very fortunate to have such solid community support as you rightly state in these economic restrictive times. As your application submission is very detailed it is impossible for the adjudicator to comment on every detail under every category suffice to say that under Overall Development you have set a high standard and an increase of additional marks is warranted.

The Built Environment: 2013

  It’s been quite a while since this adjudicator visited Dalkey and its idyllic surroundings that take in both Bullock and Coliemore Harbours. It is so interesting to traverse the village and observe such diversity in the built environment from the large properties, some of significant historical interest. On the cliff end of the village, the attractive cottage terrace type residences of St Patrick's Road are also of equal historical value as they represent an era when Dalkey was probably a dependent fishing village. It was the adjudicators first time to visit the Castle & Heritage Centre and I have to say that I was very impressed, one learns something new most days as I did not realise that Dalkey was the only Heritage Town in that greater area of Dublin.
   Some remedial work was being carried out in Bullock Harbour on adjudication day probably of a landscaping nature and part of the on-going redevelopment plan, first started in 2011. Just as an aside the railing in front of a fairly large building on Harbour Road is getting a little rusty and in need of at least a coat of Hammerite or its equivalent. The very striking St Patrick's Anglican Church and grounds were quite impressive and credit is due to the personnel entrusted with its up keep.   The famed Loreto Abbey and grounds looking out towards the Martello Tower on Dalkey Island were in a good state of presentation and the adjoining National School is having an extension built on. Coliemore Harbour looked secluded and resplendent with some fine stonework and cobblestone in place since this adjudicator last visited some many years ago. The information notice board is tastefully designed and informative without being over crammed with information. The once vibrant building that is Queenstown Castle looks run down and has a for sale sign on it, one would assume that whatever reserve it has on it would take quite a packet to restore to former glory. In the core area of the village all the properties
both private and commercial were maintained to a very high standard. I did not encounter what could be termed as a serious example of a building in disrepair or unoccupied in the village proper, then again I doubt if absentee landlords are plentiful in the area.
  Cuala GAA Club, memories of the late great Mick Holden, have a fine, well kept facility that provides support for the younger population of Dalkey and the surrounds and full credit to all its volunteers for their input. Some very pertinent changes and additions have happened since 2012, a new tourist map has been placed at the Catholic Church of the Assumption (Feast day 15th August), new stone planters, improvements to areas at the Dart Station and the Dalkey Wayfinder Project which is ongoing but has some new bi-lingual signs in place. Both the Harry Latham Memorial plaque, stone seat and the seating area at main junction of village were also admired for simplicity of design and practicality. The following commercial premises appealed to the adjudicator for reasons of simple design both traditional and contemporary: the previously mentioned Eurospar, Our Lady's Hall, Kerins Pharmacy, McDonaghs synonymous with Dalkey, Ouzos, No 2 Optician and a number of private town houses - one or two with exceptional gardens.
A very good standard achieved overall.

Landscaping: 2013

 The layout of Dalkey and its immediate environs lends itself to good landscaping and the programme undertaken to date has been very effective and hugely attractive to the visitor and local alike. You highlight in your application, the need for access to nature is becoming more important because of the urbanisation of towns and villages. The addition of additional trees in the Loreto Abbey School were noticed when the adjudicator visited there. The themed Maeve Binchy Peace Garden is a well deserved recognition to one who put Dalkey in the public eye in a very positive way. Good to note that you have devisesd a planting programme that caters for year round effectiveness and that will use native species. The green area as one enters Dillon Park is quite bare at the moment and is not being exploited fully, maybe because it’s not in the public eye as much as other areas. It could benefit from some landscaping revitalisation and would be easily re-incarnated into something attractive as it has access to the coast. Some lovely wild like flower arrangements were viewed in Sorrento Park and at the Cats Ladder and these were maintained in such a fashion that it didn’t interfere with their visual impact. You
have a good number of projects for the future outlined in your Three Year Plan and you are wished well with these. I would like to compliment all the private homeowners who had some extraordinary, colourful and tastefully designed gardens on view, this type of individual effort helps to portray a very good image of the village to the myriad of visitors that visit each year.

Wildlife and Natural Amenities: 2013

  The natural havens for wildlife conservation and promotion in Dalkey are many and varied but it is how these are used to gain maximum effect is the challenge. The committee has succeeded admirably in putting together a large mix of initiatives that will have a lasting impact in the years ahead. In all I counted upwards on 20 ongoing and potential projects that are either complete or ongoing and that will be of huge value to Dalkey in terms of wildlife conservation and promotion. An increase in visitor numbers to the town and the immediate area brings a requirement for updated information on wild life and related activities and this has been done by the provision of attractive information boards such as that at Coliemore Harbour.   The involvement of the various schools in the vicinity has given added impetus to your work under this category heading. Congratulations to the Loreto Primary School for the number and variety of wildlife school projects it has been involved in. This is the type of involvement that is encouraged as it gives school children a basic grounding in the subject that they can transfer into practical work on the ground. Continue to impart your expertise to the youth of the town in the hope that they
may embrace both the spirit of co-operation and the work ethic that exists within your TidyTown’s group.

Litter Control: 2013

 The ongoing work by the committee in promoting the message of good litter control is certainly paying off. All aspects of good litter management have been covered in your submission and the practical work of regular litter patrols have been organised on an area based rotational system. The results of these are significant as on the day in question which was on a weekend, only two pieces of what could be termed real litter was observed. One of these a Lucozade product plastic bottle was observed on Vico Road no less. It is good to see individuals take it upon themselves to pick up litter, as was witnessed on the day. One was particularly impressed on talking to local people how important it was to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and litter control. Many business premises had individual litter receptacles and it was noticeable that the much maligned cigarette butt was not as ubiquitous as in other places, in fact it was for all intent and purposes absent. An excellent co-operative effort on the part of many in this category.

Waste Minimisation: 2013

  This category caused great difficulty for many centres when it came into the competition in 2006 under the heading of Waste Management. Judging by previous years reports, Dalkey TidyTowns has done well in the category and had bought into the concept of reducing the production of actual waste. This year’s application has a good cross section of projects that fit into the sustainable waste and resource waste management definition and you have heeded the conditions that were laid down under the new heading. You are to be commended for incorporating the new category under your Three Year Plan and for adapting the plan accordingly. Working with the four primary schools and the Loretto Abbey Secondary School is the way to go and judging by the list of projects, including the very innovative Marvin the Magician and his magic Recycle Show, the message of Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is very much to the forefront in Dalkey. Keep creating awareness among the wider adult community in Dalkey and do consult websites such as www.localprevention.ie for further information
on possible ideas that would suit the community and that would have practical benefits as well.

Tidiness: 2013
  As was the case with litter control the initiatives that have been put in place to combat untidiness have been both practical and effective. There are issues that are often outside a TidyTowns Committee and one has to realise this note where you have a concern about inappropriate hoardings and the reluctance of owners to remove them. To be honest unless they are breaking the statutory conditions vis a vis signage there is very little you can do as they are not obligated to take them down and in these stringent times businesses are trying to tout for customers to survive. Often the needs of the TidyTowns Committees and the business communities are poles apart and threatened coercion doesn’t work, it boils down to ongoing encouragement. It’s not the first time as an adjudicator that I have come up against this problem. The basics of tidiness under the competition guidelines were very much adhered to and it was noticeable that there was an absence of fly posting, miminal obtrusion from unsightly wires, shop fronts free of clutter and kerbsides with one or two exceptions free from residue or cigarette butts. One or two side areas were a little messy by Dalkey standards but other than that an overall good
standard was achieved and on par with last year.
Residential Areas: 2013

  Dalkey is a town of contrasts when it comes to size of residential properties where one has the exclusive gated properties and then in the heart of the town there is the very attractive St Patrick’s Road cottages. The adjudicator traversed areas such as St Begnet's Villas, Church Road, Hyde Road, Ballinaclea Road, and Ardeevin Road and on to Sorrento Terrace and Vico and Coliemore Roads and more. The one thing that all have in common is that all these areas and their homesteads are maintained to a very high standard. All boundary walls and gardens were very well presented, some with exquisite gardens and these are a credit to the owners. Name signs were clear and visible, footpaths were accessible and access was easy and not dangerous. The committee encourages people to keep properties in good condition and one feels that it doesn’t take much to do that as one detects a sense of pride of place in Dalkey.

Roads, Streets and Back Areas: 2013

  The approaches into the town were in a very presentable condition helped in no small measure to the absence of inter junctions and roundabouts. The main street and road network within the town is easy enough to get around, although the roads on the hilly area are narrow and one has to be cautions. The core of the town is served by a sufficient traffic control system and pedestrians are very much catered for as well. A number of improvements to areas mentioned in last year’s reports have been completed and others are in the throes of work at present. The committee has lobbied strongly for these improvements to be made and as a result there has been significant works undertaken and an increase of an additional mark is warranted.

General Impression: 2013

  This adjudicator had not been to Dalkey for a good number of years and many changes have occurred in that intervening period. It is a hugely attractive town primarily because of its location on the sea front. It has an advantage over most places as it might not be affected by the economic downturn as much as other places but the TidyTowns Committee is very progressive and that is really why it is a top performer in the competition.

Second Round Adjudication: 2013
  The second round adjudicator had a most enjoyable visit to Dalkey and its many buildings and other features of interest were explored and admired. The presence of such distinctive buildings like Bullock and Dalkey Castle provide so much character and distinctiveness to your heritage town and we were delighted to see that these buildings looked very well on adjudication day. Of course, Dalkey has many other elements of note, such as the many fine historical buildings in active use and commercial premises that are presented to a high standard. It is heartening to see the vacancy levels and that local businesses and traders continue to work very hard on the appearance of their buildings. Many excellent examples were seen during adjudication and a number stood out, such as the AIB building and the excellent Dalkey Pharmacy immediately adjacent. Finnegan's at the junction of Sorrento Road also looked particularly well while the Queens Pub impressed with its hanging baskets providing lovely summer colour to Castle Street. We were delighted to see that your engagement with the operator of the Eurospar has resulted in such a dramatic improvement in the appearance of this building, so well done to the
committee and the operator for an excellent piece of work! The somewhat incidental open spaces in Dalkey were admired with colourful landscaping used to enhance the small seating area beside Hunters Pub to great effect. The landscaping beds at the entrance to the Church were a highlight with lovely colours and diversity of species to be seen and the treatment of the space adjacent to the Masonic Lodge drew positive attention. The large planters at the entrance to the Eurospar Car Park and the lovely St Patricks Square also add interest and colour.
   The landscaping beds at the space beside Dalkey Castle will need refreshing for 2014 by weeding and the addition of new bark while the landscaping beds outside the Topaz also needed attention. We are in agreement with the first round adjudicator in relation to your wide range of excellent projects to encourage wildlife and biodiversity in Dalkey with the Terns project on Dalkey Island and the Red Squirrel Conservation Project standing out. Additional interpretative signage for the nature trail is also recommended, but overall, we are very pleased to see that the committee is taking full advantage of the first class natural amenities in Dalkey and providing residents and tourists alike with lots of opportunities to access the coastline and other areas. Regrettably, litter had returned to a small number of areas in Dalkey by early August. While the central areas were remarkably clean and litter free, a small amount of litter was observed at the junction of Breffni Road
and Castlepark Road, on the road adjacent to Coliemore Harbour, at the entrance to White Rock beach and in the grass verge approaching Bullock Harbour. We were delighted to read about your waste management initiatives - particularly your paperless communication strategy. Your work on raising awareness (through seminars and workshops) is to be commended and we strongly endorse the joint projects being undertaken with the school to minimise and eliminate waste generation.
   The standard of tidiness being achieved was generally very high with the central areas appearing very neat and tidy and in excellent condition throughout. Some exceptions were noted. Bullock Harbour was somewhat of a disappointment despite its new seating area. Weed had returned in noticeable quantities, particularly at the base of the lamp post, at the Crows Nest Hut and the entrance to the boatyard. A very untidy litter bin was spotted and the verge beneath the bollards and chain link boundary was weedy and untidy looking. Sorrento Park was also a surprise. Despite its offering of unrivalled views, its appearance was quite untidy with very poor surfacing of pathways and an overgrown and untidy wooden signpost and board observed at the Sorrento Terrace entrance. A very untidy railing and boundary was spotted on the Ardeevin Road adjacent to the railway station. Well done on your work to signage, particularly in the central areas as they looked very well and appear to be maintained to a high standard. However, a signage audit should be considered for 2014 as some untidy signs and poles were spotted at the junction of Vico Road and Sorrento Road and at the junction of Knock na Cree and Ardvough Road. It should be noted however that the overall performance of Dalkey was considered to very good and the
above items were out of step with the high standard achieved elsewhere in your impressive Heritage Town. Well done on another excellent performance and we look forward to seeing further improvements in 2014.

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