It will take a bit of time to read this but it is well worth having a look:
Carrickmacross Celebrates 30 Years as a Tidy Town
The local Tidy Town Committee celebrates thirty years in existence this year. Three decades of hard graft have seen the town improve beyond all recognition since it was first cited in a 1985 Bord Failte video as an example of one of Irelands worst streetscapes. That particular bad press spurred some community minded people into forming a local Tidy Town Committee in October of the same year. A meeting was called in Breffni House and there was a small attendance of cross community people. Cathal Birdy, Francie Cassidy, Brid Cassidy, Michael Fahy, Gerry Hand, Bernie Marron, Tom Quinn, Pete Marron, Florence Byrne, Denis Durcan and Bro. Serenus, among others, banged heads together and with the invaluable assistance of town engineer and town clerk, Mark O Callaghan and Tony Mc Donagh respectively, the Tidy Town Committee was launched. Interesting to note that three of those founding members are still involved thirty years later. What follows is a sort of potted history of the committee down the years.
One of the first projects undertaken by the new committee was to clean up the gardens at St Josephs Terrace or Weymouth Cottages. The gardens had become something of a waste area and access was difficult so real horse-power was used to haul out all sorts of dereliction, including old car engines etc. it wasn’t long until the Tidy Town ‘bug’ took hold and the committee moved on to tidiness issues including the purchase of the current cast iron litter bins, sponsored by local businesses. The rest, as they say is history. The committee first entered the National Tidy Town competition and came a reasonable 347th out of 700 towns and villages that year. Such was the enthusiasm and drive of the members that It wasn’t long until progress was very evident. By 1990, prizes started coming their way. The TT Roll of Honour is impressive by any standards, and it is fair to say that the town has won most awards with the exception of the overall accolade of Irelands Tidiest Town.
In 1990 the town won the inaugural Access for Disabled Award – still to be seen in the local post office. A couple of years later the town took the premier County Monaghan Award and held that for fourteen years in succession. By the mid 1990’s Carrickmacross was Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town (1995) and Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town (1996). The town also represented Ireland in the European Entente Florale Competition and took the silver medal in 1998 when the Lisanisk Lakeside Park was developed on the site of the former town dump as its key project. The town also won the inaugural Pride of Place Competition in 2001 and has been a nominated contender in Irelands Best Kept town Competition on a number of occasions. Other awards achieved in recent years include the Sustainability Award and Trees Award for various projects. In the current year the committee has put in a full year of dedicated effort to further enhance the town and the target is to achieve a fourth successive gold medal and remain in the top 3% of towns in Ireland.
There is no doubting that Carrickmacross has come a long way in its thirty year history and is highly regarded as one of the most hardworking community groups in the town. Witness the new tiered flower tubs and teacups around the town. This is not a committee that sits on its laurels but sets standards that many other towns aspire to. 2015 has seen Carrick look its best and hopes are high for another very successful year in the annals of the local committee.
Tidy Town secretary, Mr Gerry Hand, when asked about the 30 Years Celebrations had this to say:
“it has been a bit of a rollercoaster year for us and this is the first year we didn’t take a break at all.
The committee has been busy since last October on various projects. We kicked off our 2015 celebrations with a beautiful calendar of local photographs and it was a huge success thanks to a small group of dedicated people on the committee, namely Breda Mc Guigan, Andrew Spare and Kieran Roche. By the way we are already looking for photos for our 2016 calendar so any member of the public can submit these in the coming months. We will advertise that soon. We also put huge effort into our approach roads appearances and the redevelopment of our roundabouts with a focus on biodiversity planting under the keen eye and management of Darren Borsje, the horticulturalist on our committee and proprietor of Nature Works company. One of our biggest projects this year has been the building of a new polytunnel on the outskirts of the town where we can bring on our thousands of flowers that fill the many beds and 130 flower tubs. Our workers spend huge amounts of time behind the scenes and when the flowers appear each year most people would not realise the months of effort that have gone into getting things to that final stage. Phil Gartlan, Denis Durcan, Kitty Hand, Mary Kerr Conlon, Francie Cassidy, Shane Brady, Dick Burke and Jim Halligan and others are all hardworking volunteers who work away quietly at making our town a place to be proud of. Of course, we also have some very diligent scheme workers who have been instrumental in keeping the town looking its best and probably none of what we do could be achieved without the very close co-operation of the local Municipal Council officials Cathal Flynn and Paul Mulligan and their crew.
Over the thirty years of Tidy Towns in Carrickmacross we have received the best of support, financial and otherwise, from our local authorities and are grateful for this. Of course there are other key people who have been instrumental down the years and we don’t forget their contribution to the cause, notably among them would be Frances Matthews, Francie O Donoghue and two Tidy Town former chairpersons Jimmy Hunt (RIP) and Joe Mc Nally. To conclude our 30th Year Celebrations our local committee hopes to have a gathering of past and present helpers and supporters sometime in the late summer as a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Tidy Town effort over the three decades, so when it happens we hope to see everyone there especially the unsung heroes who do their little bit every year in a quiet and unassuming way. Your work doesn’t go unnoticed by the committee. Carrick has nothing to prove in terms of its pride in its own place. Competition is very important in motivating people but by far the greatest motivation is pride in our own place and Carrick has that in bucketfuls so let’s keep it going and thanks to everyone who works toward that goal.”
In the meantime, Gerry was at pains to point out that this year’s campaign continues apace and has asked that the community would continue to do whatever little jobs in terms of painting, grass cutting, floral displays and litter picking so as to ensure the town looks it very best in the coming weeks and months. Watering of hanging baskets and window boxes is essential if they are to look their best so a gentle reminder to everyone to do so. He also stated that there are still some flower boxes available if the business community would like to purchase these to adorn windows over the coming months.
Congratulations to the Tidy Town Committee on three decades of hard work in making our town the pleasant, clean and colourful place it is in which to live, work and play.