Here’s What The Tidy Towns Judges Said About Tralee

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TRALEE retained its Tidy Towns Gold Medal status today at the Tidy Towns Awards in Dublin and the report from the judges has just been released.

Tralee increased its mark from 314 last year to 323 this year, so the town is going in the right direction.

The report makes for very interesting reading as there are a lot of good things mentioned, but they don’t spare the criticism of some areas either! Here’s what they had to say;

Streetscape & Public Places

The Mall refurbishment is probably your ‘biggest ticket’ item for this year.  It is indeed at the heart of your town’s commercial area. It really does look great and the traffic flowed freely on the day.

The adjudicator was therefore doubly disappointed to see the extent of discolouration of your lovely new surface with sticky grime and various stains.

The Mall.

It truly wasn’t clear what was causing this but appeared like soft drinks had been spilled some time ago over wide areas of pavement and dirt had stuck to it.

Continued below…


Now, a little later the adjudicator saw the sweeper truck doing the rounds of your central streets and the pedestrian areas but it’s not clear how and when the streets would be washed.

Other major projects you list include the excellent murals on Milk Market Lane and the renovations on Mitchel’s Road.

The library looked well fits its surroundings. Stainless steel tree guards, benches and beautiful pavement decorations looked great on adjudication day. What a lovely little path! Not far away, the murals on Dean’s Lane were very attractive.

Nearby, good colours are also a feature of some commercial premises such as the Slieve Mish Bar.

Some improved upkeep will be required on some neglected shopfronts (e.g. on Castle St). The hanging baskets at the Bank of Ireland are effective but the pillars here are stained with rust streaks from the lamp standards.

A disused shopfront is extremely well presented with photographic displays of Tom Crean, landmarks etc. Well done. Other good shopfronts near here were Turner’s and An Teach Beag, Wild Café and Coffee Start and Hussey’s.

The Brandon Car-park looks so well now with new surface and has been kept well so far. The strong colours and flowers at Kirby’s were admired.

Across the way the windows of Garvey’s were gleaming. Great sign design is on show at Kelleher’s Hardware and Hennessy’s Bar.

The Munster Bar is boldy coloured and amply floral. The monument opposite was spotless. Great presentation of flowers was appreciated at the County Council Building at Price’s Quay. The Youth Centre also looked well.

Back to commercial premises and John Dough’s was gleaming and looked so attractive (but the author remained strong, for a while at least) and Dowling’s of Dominick St was beautifully kept.

The interpretive panel for the Holy Cross Dominican Priory is among the best examples of these that the adjudicator has seen. The black finger signs looked great.

Green Spaces and Landscaping

Your very well illustrated entry here was very pleasing to the eye as well as informative. Several very worthwhile projects are listed here.

It was good to read that biodiversity is integrated into your planting schemes now. Good quality tree-planting was noted at Áras an Pobail.

The Rose Bed and sign here looked bright and cheerful. The adjudicator really liked the stainless steel flower boxes on the Mall.

The benches of granite and wood also really nice here. The shaped hornbeam here lovely too although showing some stress from heat.

Although the Town Park has been visited before, this adjudicator doesn’t remember it being just this good. Really lovely and many congratulations to the staff and volunteers that keep it so well.

A large oak is really impressive here. Siulóid na Róis won’t be forgotten for many a day either. The Community Garden and Glan Tralee signage were also admired.

Outside the park but not far away, the Kerry Group Building is thoughtfully planted with Agapanthus and ornate grasses. Very effective, well done.

Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality

This was another amply illustrated category and indeed this is one of the stronger categories for you.

The Wetlands.

You are fortunate to have access to the facilities and expertise of the Wetlands Centre. This splendid venue was visited and was very busy with summer camps engaged in all sorts of fun activities.

You have played your part in Kerry’s Biodiversity Week events alongside organisations such as the Irish Wildlife Trust and the Whale and Dolphin Group. It was noted that you also liaise with your relevant LAWCO officer, very good.

The adjudicator couldn’t find the garden indicated at Presentation College. Apologies. Lovely roses and Hypericums were appreciated here though.

The grotto is superbly kept here. Siamsa Tíre – amply indicated on your maps – was visited and the planting, grassland trail and bird box all noted.

Sustainability – Doing more with less

Another good entry here, Tralee, well done. A good range of projects is described, from greening your theatre to Green School activities.

You have tackled the disposal coffee cup problem con gusto but with a little bit of overlap here.

The adjudicator loved the reusable water bottle initiative and that’s an excellent picture. Could ye imaginatively ‘Photoshop’ what the same picture might be like with a pyramid of single-use bottles saved as a result of the project..? Just a thought.

The Community Allotments – were these mentioned in your entry? – looked very well, despite the drought.

Tidiness and Litter Control

It was good to read your account of the importance and significance of volunteering. This was followed by numerous photographs (probably the brightest of the year to date) of volunteers on a number of events: Spring Clean, County Clean-up, Old Railway Clean-up, Team Bramble, Tidy Tralee Together, Glan Tralee…

Well done to them all and to you for being the lynchpin holding all this together. Watch out for signage that requires more cleaning due to its proximity to large trees.

Weed control should be improved in a number of areas. Bus stops (often neglected) were clean and shining.

The Square, however, was little short of a disaster in terms of litter. It was strewn with discarded wrappers and bottles. Cigarette butts – not all of them recent – were gathered at the base of the seating and around trees here.

Two very clean litterbins were untroubled by use. The adjudicator has never before complained to a retailer about the state of a premises’ curtilage before but did this here.

To give the staff of this chain convenience food shop their due, they not only immediately went to clean up the litter but thanked the author for pointing this out.

This business was not responsible for the rest of the square’s poor appearance though, which was all too memorable. Rock Street was also a disappointment.

Cigarette butts were again in abundance, in front of the Supervalu for instance. The litter sweeper was out at 7pm though and the litterbins were being emptied too.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas

Yet another good entry in this category, Tralee. Your information made it easy for the adjudicator to identify the various areas described, thanks to the photographs and the descriptions provided.

You mention in glowing terms the work carried out by the residents groups and this is an example of how it should be done. Fair play. Lots of really pleasant residential areas were seen on the day.

An example is Cloonbeg Terrace which was really neat and well-ordered with mature trees. At St Brendan’s Terrace the arched porches and really well-tended gardens were admired.

At Cahermoneen, lots of great open green spaces and mature trees looked so well and lots of people were out and about on this fine evening. Woodview was neat and well kept.

Glenard has a very nice name stone and a rockery here was well planned and maintained. At Sunday’s Well there was really nice planting at the entrance but the name stone can’t be read because of it.

This wasn’t a concern for the many children out playing here; good to see. Líos Are recommended is obviously well cared-for but some more trees at the front would be good.

Killeen Heights had a volunteer tending the hanging baskets at time of visit and other residents were out on the road here litter-picking – also good to see!

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes

An excellent level of detail was provided here and the adjudicator will take this opportunity to praise the person(s) who keeps good account (and photographs) of your activities.

Roundabouts are now an important feature in terms of first impressions of our towns and you are working hard on these as well as various roadside areas.

Ballymullen Roundabout looked as though it had been tended to minutes previous to visit. The adjudicator cycled along a little riverside path running roughly parallel to the Dan Spring Road that wasn’t recalled from previous visits.

This was very pleasant but was somewhat spoiled by some litter, broken fencing and some graffiti. Generally though, this was a very pleasant spin and a dog litter bag dispenser was well-stocked.

Weed control could have been better in some areas (e.g. Dean’s Lane, Castle St). Roadside areas were generally swept and litter-free. The Mall was a delight. The nearby Quay too.

The Milk Market Lane project is super! Well done to the artists. Please tell them that the author subsequently fooled a colleague with a picture of An Siopa Earraí into thinking that the ‘high nelly’ here was a real installation piece.

It is suspected that the laneway entrance is used by workers as a cigarette break venue though, so extra sweeping will be required, or a butt bin, perhaps?

Concluding Remarks

A thoroughly enjoyable and memorable visit to Tralee this year and the author is convinced that a return journey for pleasure is on the cards soon.

You have some issues that must be attended to but all well within your ability to do so. You will, it is felt, one day succeed at the very highest level of this competition.

One Comment

  1. Well done to all volunteers who give of their time and energy, in keeping Tralee looking so well.
    It is hard to understand- after all the expense/ disruption, – that new surface at the MALL, is constantly left so grubby, and dirty. Surely our glocal Authority needs to purchase a dedicated street washer vehicle, to ensure The Mall and Square, are scrubbed every few days( if not daily). As noted in this years Tidy Town assessment, Tralee will never ‘improve’, until this aspect is left, untackled.