Dalkey Tidy Towns



Adjudication 2014
Date of judgement
18/06/2014

   Community Involvement & Planning  / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:    2014

  It was a pleasure to adjudicate Dalkey, a long standing contestant of 28 years in the annual SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition which is over 50 years old, on an usually hot Summer’s evening with bright blue sea and sky creating a wonderful, joyful atmosphere. The comprehensively completed entry form with enclosures and particularly the maps were most helpful during our visit. Your very clear and succinct objectives are easily achievable once everybody in Dalkey is equally committed and the holistic strategy encompassing heritage, culture, built environment and natural amenities to achieve same is the appropriate way forward. Stemming from a committee of just eight your network of volunteers and close association with so many groups and statutory authorities is clearly an effective formula.   Working in conjunction with the schools particularly augers well for the future. Please appreciate that it is not within the scope of this report to make reference to or comment on all the work and improvements you have made since last year, rather to cite some examples and offer constructive criticism where warranted.

   Built Environment and Streetscape  / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:     2014

   Dalkey possesses a fine streetscape with buildings ranging from mediaeval to contemporary, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Most shopfronts clearly are well kept. However, in general the upper floors did not look so well as they might - more frequent painting and weeding at roof level including chimneys would have been advantageous. Nonetheless the retention of so many sash windows is highly commended. Our favourite premises were those where the overall composition from ground to roof is designed and consistently maintained as one unit. The Guinea Pig was festooned with floral adornment. Photogenic is a well renowned contemporary building but the awnings beginning to fray detracted a little. The contemporary take on traditional of Design House with sash windows was liked. The carefully considered window display of Dalkey Pharmacy perfectly harmonised with the entire façade. Finnegan’s by virtue of its size and design including simple traditional signage, decorated with flowers, made quite an impact. McDonagh’s with its shady forecourt looked most inviting on a hot afternoon but the railings will soon need repainting. The front of The Queen’s was packed to capacity. Supervalu has been transformed in recent times but weeds on high level ledges should be removed. Similarly, weeds were evident on the roof of the elegant 1901 Public Library and chimney of Our Lady’s Hall. Improvements to the building of SherryFitzgerald were also noted but again there was a prominent weed at roof level.
    The 1894 building with Dalkey News is an architecturally important element of the streetscape - while the essence of the original shopfront remains consideration should be given to lessening signage and window advertising. The newer commercial premises on St Patrick’s Road were neatly presented. The Tram Yard is a most interesting place, reminiscent of holidays abroad. Topaz was neatly presented but do try to avoid excessive clutter which indeed is synonymous with garage forecourts. Eamon Walshe garage on Barnhill Road was well decorated with hanging baskets - a rare sight at garages! Cuala Sports building will need repainting by next summer. It is a pity that the Garda Station appears to be no longer in use - it will deteriorate rapidly unless attended to. The Churches together with their magnificent grounds were once again admired. The flamboyant entrance to Castle Park School caught the eye. The Community Playgroup is a ‘fun’ building which the preschoolers must enjoy. Completion of building work at Harold Boys School is looked forward to. Loreto Abbey again made a valuable contribution.
    Dalkey Castle Heritage Centre makes a dramatic statement in the streetscape. The adjacent St Begnet’s Church and Graveyard is an interesting place to visit. Dalkey Castle with the stone seat in memory of Harry Latham is a tranquil, reflective place. The railway station is an important entry point to the village and consequently it was pleasing to see the platform, building and area outside well presented as further expounded below. Nonetheless consideration could be given to replacing the sides of the pedestrian bridge over the railway line. The standard of street furniture varied somewhat. Despite worthwhile improvements some items regrettably were disfigured by graffiti. Rusty ESB poles in some areas including Coliemore Road looked poor. The recent small heritage type finger direction signs are effective and admired.

   Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:   2014

   A high standard under this heading had been sustained over the past year with numerous incidental areas of planting as well as the larger open spaces to be enjoyed. Dillon’s Park with its uninterrupted view out to Sea and Dalkey Island is unique in many respects. The neat shrub beds in the Supervalu car park were particularly noticed, also the spectacular large containers at the entrance and at the back of Our Lady’s Hall. Emerging from the railway station the combination of stone setts, timber seats, planting and lamp standards with hanging baskets looked most picturesque. There were however some instances of lack of consistency - for example, weedy outbreaks alongside decorative planting and other effective improvements at Bullock Harbour.
    There are numerous opportunities for further landscaping - the large traffic island at the top of Hyde Road, across the street from Termon and the paved area at the bottom of St Patrick’s Avenue for instance - incidentally each of these space is dominated by advertising hoardings. Most grass verges and greens around Dalkey had been well mown but here and there as further mentioned below attention to detail such as trimming around trees and poles was inadequate. Raking of grass cuttings was necessary on the small green at Ormeau Drive. The various well cared for playground and sports facilities are important elements of open space. Young and mature trees throughout Dalkey contribute enormously to the ambience of the village. It is recommended that suckers growing from the base of the trees on Hyde Road should be cut off as they occur.
    Hanging baskets and window boxes play an important role but use them sparingly; too many can actually detract from the built environment! Having the services of a trainee landscaper and three volunteers will undoubtedly be of great benefit over the next year.

  Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha :   2014

   Dalkey is well endowed with natural amenities - especially the sea, accessible at Bullock Harbour, Coliemore Harbour, The Ramparts and White Rock Beach. Killiney Hill Park provides a multiplicity of opportunities for flora and fauna study as well as leisure pursuits. The Red Squirrel Conservation Project has been a great success, similarly the Roseate Tern Conservation Project. The proposed designation of Killiney Hill and Dalkey Coastal Zone as a Natural Heritage Area is true recognition of its national significance and the current Marine Special Area of Conservation designations means that Dalkey is well and truly on the ‘map’. Dillon’s Park and particularly Sorrento Park are interesting in that they combine Victorian concepts of landscaping with conservation of natural habitats.
    It was most encouraging to read about your various initiatives and projects involving the schools. The various interpretation displays are invaluable in raising awareness. Dalkey Quarry is a great asset but, without wishing to affect its natural attributes, perhaps the access from Ardbrugh Road could be enhanced.

   Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:   2014

   It was gratifying to read that you took note of last year’s report to such an extent that after less than a year you have carried out a survey of businesses, had meetings with various waste collection / recycling companies and now use just one company to recycle 100% of all waste with significant financial and environmental gains for the town. Dalkey could well become ‘Ireland’s first green town’. The schools, it seems, as they gather green flags, are already leading the way - congratulations! Reduce and reuse will hopefully soon be an automatic response by residents and business people alike to waste minimisation. The recycling receptacles were generally tidy but could have been cleaner. Ablack plastic bag had been abandoned at the bottle banks at the railway station.

   Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:   2014

   While most of Dalkey and outskirts had a tidy appearance lapses unfortunately reduced the standard. Despite the litter control measures you have in place, regrettably litter was a problem this year as a light scattering was evident along Ulverton Road, Bullock Harbour, Coliemore Road and Castle Street, not helped by overflowing bins. There were four plastic bottles in the gravelled area across the street from Termon and considerable litter and glass bottles in the vacant area behind railings between the top of Hyde Road and Topaz. The large advertising displays in both of these locations and elsewhere disfigure
   Dalkey and are totally out of keeping with its heritage town status. Weeds too were a problem in several areas including Bullock Harbour, kerbsides on Rockfort Avenue, Tubbermore Road and particularly at the sides of Burma Road where weeds were growing from unswept grass cuttings. Smelly overflowing refuse bins in the laneway between Grapevine and Head on St Patrick’s Road were a problem. Graffiti on street furniture and walls in laneways was disappointing. It is important that The Metals be regularly maintained to ensure it remains a safe and pleasant route to walk. The perimeter of car parks need to be regularly checked for weeds and litter - the inner railway station car park, Burma Road car park and Castle Street car park all needed attention
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   Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta :    2014
   Road signs of several residential areas needed freshening up. Weeds were noted at the entrance to Castle Close but generally the 25 estates were extremely well presented. The extensive Barnhill Avenue etc area was well cared for but the green at the junction with Barnhill Road was overgrown. Beautiful houses with immaculate hedges were admired on Saval Park Road. Individual houses range from traditional through exotic to contemporary and all sizes are represented from sea level to the top of the hill. It is hard not to refer to the majestic Sorrento Terrace. Those residents who extend their effort to the roadside are to be especially commended. Cheerfully painted cottages on Ardbrugh Road do their best to compensate for shortcomings as noted below. Well clipped hedges and prolific gardens were the notable feature of Castlepark Road. St Begnet’s Villas had some freshly painted walls and the nasturtium planted mini roundabout exuded great pride just as the exemplary St Patrick’s Square.
    The terraced brick cottages of Carysfort Road and St Patrick’s Road are a significant part of the town centre - several were adorned with window boxes and the retention of so many sash windows is commended. Unfortunately one courtyard development had long grass. Kilbegnet Close dating from 1987 is a well-designed courtyard development but unfortunately suffered from weedy paving and poorly maintained grass. The terrace of four gable fronted houses at the Barnhill Road / Dalkey Avenue junction were admired, especially the boldly painted house at the corner. The distinctive building with sash windows at the corner on the way down to Bullock Harbour from Breffni Road would have benefitted from a fresh coat of white paint but generally the 25 estates were extremely well presented. The extensive Barnhill Avenue etc. area was well cared for but the green at the junction with Barnhill Road was overgrown. Beautiful houses with immaculate hedges were admired on Saval Park Road. Individual houses range from traditional through exotc to contemporary and all sizes are represented from sea level to the top of the hill.
    It is hard not to refer to the majestic Sorrento Terrace. Those residents who extend their effort to the roadside are to be especially commended. Cheerfully painted cottages on Ardbrugh Road do their best to compensate for shortcomings as noted below. Well clipped hedges and prolific gardens were the notable feature of Castlepark Road. St Begnet’s Villas had some freshly painted walls and the nasturtium planted mini roundabout exuded great pride just as the exemplary St Patrick’s Square. The terraced brick cottages of Carysfort Road and St Patrick’s Road are a significant part of the town centre - several were adorned with window boxes and the retention of so many sash windows is commended. Unfortunately one courtyard development had long grass. Kilbegnet Close dating from 1987 is a well-designed courtyard development but unfortunately suffered from weedy paving and poorly maintained grass. The terrace of four gable fronted houses at the Barnhill Road / Dalkey Avenue junction were admired, especially the boldly painted house at the corner. The distinctive building with sash windows at the corner on the way down to Bullock Harbour from Breffni Road would have benefitted from a fresh coat of white paint.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí :    2014

  The stone Dalkey Heritage Town signs on the approach roads created a welcome introduction to, notably that well
placed on the raised podium along with trees coming from Sandycove. Indeed beautiful stone walls as well as mature trees and hedges are a characteristic of all approaches. Grass verges where they occur were generally fine but long grass at poles and trees reduced the impact. Weeds along the road wall of Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel should have been cleared. Grass and trees on the roundabout at the top of Albert Road created a good impression on the Barnhill Road approach. The twisting narrow Leslie Avenue edged with stone walls evoked an intriguing sense of discovery. Vico Road was stunning on the adjudication day as the blue sea glistened.
    Travelling up Knocknacree Road and on to Ardbrugh Road revealed expansive views across Dublin Bay. The standard of Ardbrugh Road was surprisingly mixed in comparison with most other parts of Dalkey - unkempt roadsides, overgrown stone walls and a vacant site looked poor. The promise of work on Ardeevin Road is encouraging - the weedy footpath and rusty railings in particular looked poor. It was nice to see some of the old type of road direction signs still in use. The first impression of Dalkey was very good but on closer scrutiny faults became apparent. At your level in the Competition rigorous attention to consistency and detail is important. Nonetheless, congratulations on your achievements to date and we look forward to returning next year!


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