circa.4300 BC to 2017 AD
2017 Adjudication in the Township of Dalkey

Adjudication 2017
Date of judgement

   Community Involvement & Planning  / Rannpháirtíocht an Phobail & Pleanáil:    2017

  Welcome to the SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition 2017 and we note that this is your 31st year of participation. Your committee of seven people have another 15/17 volunteers and you are fortunate to have a TUS employment scheme worker. Meetings are held monthly and more frequently as needed and you also have sub-committees which meet in-between. You have listed an impressive number of agencies with which you engage. For communications, you use Facebook, notice board newspaper etc., and we note the branding, logo and strap lines initiatives which are very good. The involvement with local schools concerns the green schools programme, spring clean day and presentations on issues such as graffiti, heritage and environmental awareness. Many thanks for attaching a map of the area with project locations marked for our attention and a route plan. It was very useful and enabled us to ensure we visited those areas. Your 3-year plan is also noted. Your documentation/application is very professional but you should be aware that the adjudication emphasis is to see what is on the ground rather than spending time reading the application. Adjudicators will judge from 30 to 70 centres each year and in that regard, ‘less is more’. It is preferable if the application includes short bullet point sentences under each heading. They do not need to know the background to issues such as the Bulloch Harbour planning matter. So, we advise that you aim to shorten next year’s application significantly from the almost 70 pages. By the way while the numbers on the map were accompanied by a legend, we had to go over and back though the application to find out more about these projects. Then we had difficulty finding that information, because, for example, the first numbered project found in the application was on page 19 and it was number 5. We found two sections numbered 6b but found no information at all on 6a

   Built Environment and Streetscape  / An Timpeallacht Thógtha agus Sráid-dreacha:     2017

  A walk down castle Street is a wonderful experience to see how many people are on the street, in the shops, bars and restaurants. This is a very vibrant community and it is reinforced by the many historic buildings such as Dalkey Castle (Archibold Castle and Goat Castle) and the Church of the Assumption, lovely stone built structures which are in good condition. Add to that commercial buildings such as The Queens which was built in 1745 and is today full of customers dining and drinking and is well ornamented with floral displays. The many traditional shopfronts along the street add more charm to the street. Some which caught our attention were Cleggs, Dalkey News, The Magpie Inn, The Health shop on a corner and across from it many people were enjoying coffee at St. Patrick’s Avenue, beside the information signs, post boxes and underneath a slim specimen of Ginkgo biloba, the Fossil tree. This is an unusual tree in Irish streets and it seems quite happy. The attractive red brick building ‘Dalkey Dispensary’ built in 1909 now dispenses wine and we admired the larger Bank of Ireland building beside it. The old public library is now part of the SuperValu complex and we must commend them for conserving it and the adjacent Tudor style building which is a landmark in the street. We found the library in a building of a different style and then we saw the Kings Inn and admired the window boxes. We noted the Tram Yard Café is no longer in business and all that remains of the Ulster Bank is an ATM. Much credit is due to many other shop proprietors for the high standard of maintenance and enhancement with floral displays, the combined effect of which makes Dalkey a very attractive town. We visited Bullock Harbour and admired the castle there as well and Our Lady’s Manor Retirement Home with an attractive landscape display (including birch, Hydrangea and Agapanthus) and an Olive tree forming a centre piece of a small roundabout. The view of the harbour is quite interesting. When we went down to the harbour and looked back, we were surprised that the view from there was less interesting, other than the view of the castle. We visited Sorrento Terrace and admired the building complex there which is in very good condition. We note the many items listed under this heading and compliment you for the work done on St. Begnet’s Graveyard, the Dart Station and the harbour.

   Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:   2017

  We admired your work on scraping and painting the historic band stand in Sorrento park. We walked to the summit and observed the many people who had come to have a day out watching the air display. The 1916- 2016 stone made a very suitable seat for part of a group and the compass looked very well. Sorrento Park has many echoes of the past; it is amazing how a park of this size and quality could be provided over a century ago. You have fought with nature to rescue it and it seems that the struggle is set to continue as evidenced by the briars and other vegetation which are so strong that the pathway is almost closed over. Well done on this project, but please note that this park is now a significant park for wildlife. Congratulations to the 1,500 volunteers who re-discovered Dillon Park. It is in a lovely location with a view of the bay and is well used. We note your work on many shrub beds in the Dalkey area and we admired the high standard of floral displays in Castle Street. Hanging baskets on poles looked exceptional; it is great to see only flowers and not the baskets. The well-painted cart overflowing with flowers is a major attraction that draws visitors to that area where they can read the information sign on Dalkey castles. Across the road, at Ormeau Drive, we were impressed with the triangular planting of a young birch tree, with roses and Hydrangeas beneath with a pattern of red and white flowers. The plant displays at the Heritage Centre also looked great. On the other side of the castle we had a glimpse of the small attractive park, the grounds of the Church of the Assumption. Kilbegnet Close has some established tree and shrub planting but beware of sycamore seedlings that unless removed will take over this planting. Dalkey is well served with mature trees and new trees. Some of the most recent tree planting needs to be checked to remove tree ties and stakes before they cause damage to the tree stem. This task is urgent for the new trees in Ulverton Road beside the disc parking meter. Well done on your work at the Metals/Flags.

  Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities / Fiadhúlra, Gnáthóga agus Taitneamhachtaí Nádúrtha :   2017

  You have plenty of information on this subject and have a rich natural area surrounding your community. You are also aware of the importance of promoting its many traits and to map these habitats. The Bay is very attractive and has a wonderful range of coastal habitats. Dalkey Hill and other parks in the area contain a different range of habitats, so you are spoiled for choice. The list of actions provided in your application is very impressive and demonstrates a high level of knowledge and understanding of this criterion. The apparent success of reintroducing the Red Squirrel from Wexford is very interesting as is the Roseate Tern breeding project. The well-known Feral Goat population on Dalkey Island seems secure although we note you have to protect Roseate Tern nesting colonies on Maiden Rock. Networking and cooperation with the local authority, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Birdwatch Ireland and An Taisce is very worthwhile. Developing and promoting nature trails as you have done is also very positive for access to nature and for human health. We did not see any activity under this heading that involved local schools and wonder if this is an omission because we noted that Loreto Primary School earned their 5th green flag for biodiversity.

   Sustainable Waste and Resource Management / Bainistiú Acmhainní agus Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe:   2017

  Under this heading we note plenty of local school participation in activities such as recycling, building a pollinator friendly garden. You have focused on food waste and have a section on the website ‘race against waste’. We note you have been counting the volume of bottles and cans recycled, so feel free to comment on whether it is going up or down in next year’s application. Plants are chosen for their minimal demand on water. Please list which ones you find best next year. Some schools are adopting the WOW initiative – Walk on Wednesdays. Some other measures that your town can take regarding sustainability include the following…... In regard to water usage, self-watering hanging baskets are a help in reducing the amount of water used and also the task of watering. Other waste minimisation projects might include working with retailers to cut down on packaging, reminding people to re-use shopping bags, discouraging junk mail, encouraging the re-use of water bottles and coffee mugs at school and at work. In response to an over use of chemicals for weed control, many useful products of the past are no longer available and therefore communities are encouraged to use other means such as hoeing to maintain weeds.

   Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:   2017

  Well done on the anti-graffiti programme. Your strategy and vigilance is paying dividends and your experience is helpful for other communities. The audits on buildings twice yearly and the drains audit is valuable for the local authority. The two large J C Deceaux boards on Castle Street seem in our view totally out of scale with the size of the street; they contribute little other than a seat. Because they are not facing either traffic direction, it is difficult to see their value. If they are to remain perhaps the owners could be persuaded to plant a hedge both sides of the seat. Street lights on Castle Street fit in well with the buildings and it is great not to see overhead wires. The litter patrols that you operate with support from DLRCC is a great community effort and we note they are coordinated with residents’ associations. You participate in various national efforts to control litter such as the National Spring Clean. We found Dalkey very clean and tidy so well done. The pay phone on Castle Street is covered with a plastic hood rather than being in a box. One wonders if these facilities are being used any more. In any case the plastic cover looks untidy with some adverts stuck to the side. On Ulverton Road, the school sign needs cleaning.

   Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta :    2017
  We admired the small red brick terraced one storey houses going up the hill at St. Patrick;s Avenue. Many have window boxes on display. They are a contrast to the many and varied much larger buildings in and around Dalkey (including castles). We admired the fine work done on exposing, cleaning and painting the railings on Ardeevin Road. We had delightful short visit to The Paddocks estate and admired the different house styles, one of which was well-covered with Virginian Creeper. The large specimen Ash tree in another garden here adds great character to this estate. Well done on holding a garden competition. Are these gardens within a residential estate which can be seen or are some within gated enclosures? Dalkey is fortunate to have so many wonderful houses and gardens, most of which cannot be seen because they are hidden behind gates; in many cases, we see just the tall granite boundary walls. An exception is Termon, where the access is very well presented and the gate set back some distance.
    Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí :    2017

  Because Dalkey is contiguous with Sandycove and other urban districts, it is difficult to know where it starts and ends but your map with a red line indicating the area for adjudication was helpful, even if the entrance and/or exit points are not always clear on the ground. The approach coming down Vico Road is spectacular. The desire to view the bay is hampered by the need to drive carefully on the narrow road. In fact, there are so many narrow roads, one wonders if they prevent or cause accidents. The high bank of vegetation with red Valerian at the bottom adds to the attractiveness and is another valuable area for wildlife. Random rubble and sometimes coursed random rubble granite walls are the most frequent choice of boundary which is perhaps a brand for Dalkey, especially given the history of the quarry. Side lanes in Castle Street were noticeably clean, one had some weeds but not litter.

    Concluding Remarks:   2017
  This was not our first time to Dalkey, but this time we had to spend longer and evaluate everything. Our visit was most delightful and we hope our report provides useful advice for your future projects.


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