circa.4300 BC to 2018 AD
Tidy Towns Competition Adjudication
Adjudication 2011
Date of judgements

Overall Developmental Approach: 2011

Congratulations to Dalkey TidyTowns on celebrating twenty five years of involvement with the TidyTowns movement. Your Céad Míle Fáilte to this year’s competition is a special one. Thank you for your comprehensive submission. Of greatest assistance in the submission is the series of photos showing how a little corner has been transformed over a number of years to the delight that exists to-day. One then argues from that particular instance to the general village and realises what an achievement of labour and of love the present appearance of Dalkey is. As regards your involvement with various agencies and schools over the years sufficient to say that your combined achievement is to the credit to all involved. You continue to plan so you see your work as ongoing. Very good. And those plans reflect each category of the present competition format. Just a word of concern. This adjudicator would wish your submission to follow the format of the TidyTowns entry form. One wondered at the purpose of including your perception of press attitudes to Dalkey and your belief that such comment influences the County Council. Surely this is a matter to be discussed with the council and not a matter for the adjudicator. Thank you for your consideration in enclosing a visitor pass to your Heritage Centre. The adjudicator did not avail of the invitation in order to protect his identity. It is my intention to visit during a proposed trip to Dalkey in August. But thank you.

The Built Environment: 2011

The heart misses a beat when one comes on Castle Street. One could not have expected to experience such a rich built environment inheritance in one hundred yards of street. In a sense that reaction is unfair to the many residential areas of the town that contribute to that rich inheritance. The glorious thing is that these buildings on Castle Street not only still enliven the streetscape but they perform a worthwhile activity in the modern era as if to justify their existence. How many towns have destroyed such buildings in the name of modernisation. So someone deservers credit for their preservation. The Queens has been established since 1745 and is still creating that relaxed atmosphere, oil table clothes an’ all. The adjudicator first tasted the possibilities of Dalkey when coming on the entrance to Castle Park School. The junction around the post office does not have the same atmosphere as that up the street. The clutter on the post office window did not help. One wondered what the name stone Termon was referring to but being stationed near the Church one wondered was this area once known as ‘Tearmann’, how appropriate that would be. The street lanterns are delightful. The street signs on the buildings further reinforced the sense of the past in the style of lettering. St Patrick’s Road is announced on a plate at the gable end, Sráid Naomh Phádraig. One has to look up to see and admire. This plate is a gem and deserves to have a cherry picker visit it for an hour. Names of the streets reflect the priorities of times past as in those referring to the convent and the railway. Mention of the railway sparks a memory of the traditional design of the railway station, a quaint sight as one drives along the road. The modern should not be brushed aside. The Corner Note café may not be as ancient as the Queens but the façade and colouring deserve a laudatory mention and this building is not out of place at its junction. This town centre seems to bear no relationship to its sister centre of activity down at the marina. The fuss here is of the seaside variety. It seems so strange that two places so close to one another could be so different in appearance and in priorities. The built environment has strayed from the heritage richness of Castle Street. But if this road had been overlooked then the treat that is the Church of Ireland complex would have been missed and thereby slighted. The favourite street of the adjudicator was that on which the Garda Station resides.

Landscaping: 2011

If you were lucky enough to have been born in Dalkey then you remember that there were many trees in the days of your youth. If you came to live here more recently you recall that there were trees when you arrived. Trees are ever present in Dalkey, seemingly renewing themselves year in year out. But of course that is not the case. Residents of estates and private houses have contributed to the tree population. One is a little disappointed to note that there are no plans for tree planting in your submission, as far as the adjudicator can ascertain. But there is evidence of recent enough tree planting. There are many landscaping plans and all are laudable. But in Dalkey the tree is as natural and native to the landscape as the hill and the sea. One loved the planters outside the Heritage Centre but one could also argue that this building does not need embellishment. Or that embellishment distracts from the appearance of the buildings. One could make a similar argument regarding the hanging baskets on the attractive street lanterns. Is there sufficient colour anyway in this area. The grounds of the Church, dedicated in 1841, certainly add to the religious ambience of the area. The sign, telling the times of Masses, adds further to the sacredness of this site. The grounds surrounding the castle are tastefully landscaped.

Wildlife and Natural Amenities: 2011

You must have tired over the years of reading adjudicators’ reports ranting on about the rich biodiversity of Dalkey. Appendix Heritage is your well researched, considered response and colourful also. The adjudicator regrets not being a fisherman but did check out your bait suggestions with a fishing friend! One compliments you in your engagement with the Boys Primary School in the planting of hedging to promote wildlife. The rock, the trees, the open spaces, the picnic area, the information board, the parking, the man playing with his dog. What an amenity. This is Dalkey Hill.

Litter Control: 2011

In the longer term column of you 3 year Plan for litter the adjudicator smiled at you highlighted bold ambition: No longer needed. You are referring to litter picks. Well done on your present patrols, on your anti-litter awareness strategies and your engagement with schools. There is some litter but the adjudicator had to make a point of looking in its direction.

Waste Minimisation: 2011

Dalkey TidyTowns Committee have really got stuck into this section especially at the domestic end of waste minimisation. Those twelve apostles of tips on reduction should be part of the school curriculum. One hopes that your residents visit your website. Wonderful. The Bring Centre at the hill car park is as neat and tidy as can be. But one wonders if people go to the bother of bringing their bottles all that distance. Or is it there to service week end parties

Tidiness: 2011
There is such a fuss of building style along the street that Dalkey could not present in a tidy manner. Or so one would expect. But that is not so. Is it that the oil cloths and summer living, in the rain, at The Queens brings that relaxed factor to such a hive of activity. Certainly one is not distracted by the ugliness of weeds or dirty signs or cables. Mind you, one wonders how planning was granted for one or two of the name signs at shop fronts and one is inclined to ask: ‘What was you committee doing when that sign went up’. There is a responsibility on every retailer to conform to the image of the heritage town. Throughout Dalkey there are no kerbside weeds, few cables, some graffiti but not a contagion of the stuff. Advertising is attractive and, with one exception, there are no big bill boards promoting products. There are a couple of signs that need a washing..
Residential Areas: 2011

The housing stock of old Dalkey seems to settle into its environs as naturally as the hill sweeps down to the sea. These houses seem to have been here forever and, maybe, sinking into the hill an inch a year. Or is it that the trees grew by a few inches every year. It seems that as soon as the house was built that the trees were planted or the hedge was planted. In one estate visited the houses were completely shielded from view by strong, healthy hedging in South Winds. The residential areas of Dalkey not only plant trees but colourful shrubs and summer bedding also. The roads through these residential areas have tree planting where it is possible, have weed free kerbs and one notices very little litter. Boundary walls and gates create an aura of recent antiquity. All adding to the image Dalkey wishes for itself as the heritage town. Then as one arrives at the hill one delights to find terraces of cottages and do they appear proud of their standing. One can guess how these cottages came to be and how one hopes they are part of any heritage trail. Small clusters of houses form charming estates as at Castle Park Close. One loved the Gaeilge which was ‘foirleathan’ and had an authentic air as in Bailtíní an Chaisleáin.

Roads, Streets and Back Areas: 2011

For a country boy accustomed to travelling from village to village with strictly defined borders to each area, it is strange to find the width of a street between two entrants in this competition. But there is the breed of that countryman in you too. You set out your borders without equivocation. There we plant our name stone. And how gracefully it is done. You stake your territory and you define your identity. In some cases your approach roads are a seamless extension of your neighbours except on one glorious route. How the adjudicator wished to have arrived from the southern approach. What beauty. One of the features of the road network in Dalkey is the number of lanes that exist. These lanes make access by foot or bicycle to the village centre so easy but also so enjoyable as at Ormond Drive or the lane from the railway bridge. There is an aesthetic experience in travelling that path that arrives in the Church car park from The Metals, most likely. he town centre of this village is so busy and full of life that there is created a serenity. The traffic seems tolerant and unrushed as if enjoying the surrounding activity. The paths are well maintained for the most part.

General Impression: 2011

One would wish to be on a TidyTowns Committee in Dalkey for you have an exciting town with which to work. A hill is a wonderful start from which to set out. But a hill overlooking the sea instead of a hill overlooking another hill is a wonder that adds to the excitement. The hill overlooking the sea is what attracted all that attention from your forebears for decades, leaving you with your heritage town as a canvas to work on. The folk back then appreciated what they had too. Ard Aoibhinn is no ‘makey uppy’ name but an expression of appreciation. Then the ‘coup de grace’. The houses that people made their homes in this exotic location, amidst all that history, keeping look-out over Dublin Bay. No wonder preservation is such a priority. Beautification has already been completed. One senses your pride in your lovely town in all of the categories of this competition. Well done. One also senses the steel in your attitude. You are determined to pass on an even more enriched Dalkey to the next generation.

Second Round Adjudication: 2011
Dalkey, this adjudicator would like to echo the congratulations above and welcome you to this very important year of the competition for your group. Further congratulations are due for the submission of an excellent entry. For a voluntary group this was a very professional submission which was focused as well as comprehensive. However, there is agreement with the comments of the first adjudicator in relation to submitting information which is surplus to requirements. This can cause the important detail of which you gave much to be overlooked. The bookmark was a clever idea. The map with a suggested route was perfect for use. Well done on your several awards. This Heritage Town was busy on day of visit. The castles were being admired by many, including the adjudicator. The quiet landscaping with bench beside Archibold’s Castle was a favourite. The staff of the Heritage Centre were informative and helpful and tours were underway. Castle Street looked fantastic in the sunshine. A couple of TV aerials protrude into the skyline and spoil the effect a little. Numerous shop fronts were admired. Use of Irish in signage is scarce but the adjudicator would baulk at the thought of altering some of these great pieces of work. Traffic, though ever-present was calm. This adjudicator would think that there is room for improvement at the front of the car-park opposite the heritage centre. Cables snake unnecessarily across the front of a camera shop and there are graffiti beside the library. The frontage of the Spar was very poor by comparison with many of the smaller businesses and should be addressed. The approach road and side streets were explored. It should be stated that road-works were underway on Dalkey Avenue on day of visit. The Cuala Centre is in a prominent position and could be much better. St. Patrick’s Square is indeed a gem. The Metals provided a challenging bicycle ride but it was worth it to once again visit the quarry. This was full of training climbers and other visitors but amazingly- no litter or campfire remains! The adjudicator was surprised, though, that the interpretation board had no wildlife information. The adjudicator saw at least two species of dragonfly at a pond which would also be excellent newt habitat. The Dart station is possibly the best presented of any the adjudicator has seen. New pavement was noted here. New surfacing on Ardbrugh Road was appreciated. There were numerous other cyclists on day of visit - are there enough bike-parking spaces? Those at the crossroads, with its lovely planting and outdoor seating were noted. Be careful that you are using the information boards to best effect- remove old notices and make sure that the heritage panels fit properly. Colliemore Harbour looked really well on day of visit with landscaping that is new to the adjudicator. This approach road has to be one of the finest imaginable for any town, given the twin backdrops. Does the name stone do it justice or adequately prepare the visitor for what lies ahead?


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