Here’s What The Tidy Towns Judges Said About Tralee’s Entry

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YESTERDAY it was revealed that Tralee had received 338 points in the Tidy Towns Competition, thus receiving a Gold Medal for the ninth time.

The judges, who visited town earlier this year, also issued a full report on the Tralee entry and you can read excerpts of what they had to say about the town below…

Community – Your Planning and Involvement — Marks: 49/60

• With 23,691 population Tralee is a large urban centre with much to offer. The 13 committee members have a big workload but thankfully there are 120 people who volunteer to help with projects.

• You have described the wide range of activities undertaken and the multitude of links within the community as well as the several public agencies and private business groups which support you.

• For communications and promotion, you use local and social media and run various events.

Continued below…


• You engage very well with schools in Tralee on several projects and activities. We have noted the Neat Streets Town Takeover Guidebook and that Tralee was chosen to participate in 2019/2020. The involvement of youth is interesting, and it seems will lead to more and new projects.

• Over the past 30 years of your participation in the competition Tralee has done very well, including achieving a gold medal standard in Entente Florale Europe in 2014. Well done.

Streetscape & Public Places — Marks: 45/60

• Five new benches placed throughout the town. They look well.

• Age friendly and disability parking spaces.

• The Christmas tree. We assume it had low energy bulbs.

• A successful Christmas Window Competition.

• Christmas themed vacant shop window project by secondary school TY students.

• Refreshed planters at Garvey’s SuperValu and included pollinator friendly plants. Could this planting have been done directly into the ground and included climbing plants such as ivy to cover the wall?

• The curlew mural on the greenway route which looked great. You are looking forward to the mural being completed. Grass maintenance is a correct approach.

• Power washing of several places and revamping planters on Market Street. Is it possible to reduce the number of plant containers by making permanent beds?

• Artwork on utility cabinets are a great feature.

• Improvement of the planting at the Pikeman monument and planters on the Mall.

• Derelict building at Ivy Terrace improved and the shopfront enhancement scheme with Dulux sponsorship.

• Road improvement and upgrading of footpaths in nine locations.

• A proposed street art project.

Continued below…


Green Spaces and Landscaping — Marks: 47/60

•  In regard to the mature trees in front of the Dominican Church, it is not good arboricultural to cut the tops of trees because it allows fungi to enter the stem and hastens their decline.

Regrowth will happen because the roots have energy to do so. However, the newly formed branches will need attention in a few years to prevent them becoming a hazard. We note that the response from the MD office does not state why this work was done in the first place.

• We look forward to a tree planting design being implemented in Tralee when the tree strategy is finalised. There are several areas in Tralee, especially large car parks which badly need trees to reduce the extent of hard surfaces.

• We are pleased to see a Tree Management Strategy especially because of negative publicity in recent years associated with tree pruning in the town. Since KCC does not have arboricultural or landscape expertise, it makes sense that professional assistance was obtained.

The need for formative pruning of young trees is mentioned in a small paragraph. That is a very important matter as most poor quality trees are the result of the lack of formative pruning in the past. It is a case of a ‘stitch in time saves nine’.

• Well done for the achievement of a Green Flag for the town park. The town park survey was a good management exercise to help develop a strategy.

• Garden of Contemplation by Kerry’s Bahá’í Community and the new perennial bed in the town park is noted.

• A new sign at Killeen Woods and the rose bed on Dan Spring Road, playground extension and the walking trail and the species spotter (already noted) used in nature walks.

Continued below…


Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality — Marks: 43/50

Thirteen projects are listed under this criterion, some of which include.

• The reduced mowing regime on the bypass for improved biodiversity and planting of pollinator friendly plants.

• Species spotter sheets which are well done with the names in English, Latin and Irish.

• Planting of 50 Hawthorn Trees to form a ‘Choill Bheag’ and outdoor meeting space on the university’s North Campus.

• Participation in the climate change leadership course. • Planting of a native hedge at Tralee Bay wetlands.

• Fruit and nut tree planting on the greenway.

• Screening of ‘The Lost Bond’, made by MTU students which won the Student Film award from White Unicorn International Film Festival. It raises awareness of the plight of the Curlew.

• Erection of signs to raise awareness of swans in Tralee in Tralee Bay.

• St John’s Parish Care of Creation Group rewilding project.

• Biodiversity zone at Ballygarry House.

• Hawthorn trees (650), heeled in for planting in October.

• Proposed webinar on bird species of Tralee Bay. Well done on an important list of activities and projects on nature and biodiversity.

Continued below…


Sustainability – Doing more with less — Marks: 25/50

Again, we thank you for the positive response to our comments and we note the actions taken such as self-watering hanging baskets, the conscious cup usage and the water dispenser to reduce plastic bottles. Some of the other projects noted were.

• Think before you flush campaign film.

• The ‘novel’ bike parking facility.

• Use of coffee in making compost.

• The community garden with the 2021 project of a wildlife pond and a self-build water harvesting model.

• Eco Unesco Young Environmentalist Awards with 60 students from Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk, Tralee and awards for Gaelcholáiste Chíarraí, all of which relate to sustainability.

• Distribution of food growing kits from GIY.

• Designation of cycle way on Denny Street with bollards.

• collaborated with Kerry Sustainable Energy Co-Op to promote clean and efficient energy.

• Two students from Munster Technological University (MTU) won first prize at the Smarter Travel Campus Awards organised by the National Transport Authority and 3 students from MTU created a series of posts to encourage your community to reduce their carbon footprint and act more sustainably in their daily lives.

• You started a series of weekly eco tips on Tralee Tidy Towns’ Facebook page and held workshops on compost making.

• Tralee Parnell’s GAA club to focus on travel and transport in the ‘Green Club Programme’

Tidiness and Litter Control — Marks: 58/90

Some of the projects listed include.

• The 2 minute street clean project,

• Austin Stack U12 girls engaged in a clean-up of Rock Street

• Anti-litter signs at Banna beach and 50 volunteers cleaned the beach on 9 July 2020.

• Installation of 15 extra cigarette butt boxes to be completed by end summer 2021.

• Chinese new year festival and clean-up associated with it. • Clean-up week had multiple clean-ups in Tralee.

• Transition Year students help with clean-up and the Lions Club assist on Sunday mornings.

• Volunteers meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for clean-up and maintenance work.

• A picker pals initiative to start in September 2021 for children and they will tell stories of their experience.

• Tidy Streets initiative.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas — Marks: 36/50

The list of projects include.

• Refurbishment of the planting at North Circular Road.

• Biodiversity experts Niamh Ní Dhúill and Don Nolan surveyed Castlecountess estate for the residents.

• Fruit trees planted and bee hotel provided on Spa Road.

• A revamp of planters at Stack Villas. Such schemes do not need a timber boundary. Planting schemes only need an edge of grass or whatever is the material in the area and they can be in ovals, circles or sigmoid shapes which then flow in the landscape with the shapes of plants.

The trouble with using timber or stones is that they don’t look natural (square or rectangular boxes), and the grass then needs more maintenance at the edges of the timber.

Some communities then spray those edges, and the effect of dead grass is not good. If height of a bed is desirable, the centre of the bed can be raised.

The use of rocks/stones is much better if they are paced at positions in the bed for visual effect that contrasts with the foliage/flowers.

In our view, the one at Ballyvelly/Ashgrove is more natural looking and the Killeen Woods tree trunk feature has its own charms.

• Power washing of the boundary wall at Cois Coille has made a big difference to its appearance. We suggest planting climbing plants such as ivy that in a few years’ time would turn it green and add to biodiversity. At present it looks very hard and cold.

• Well done to Cluain Ard estate for the clean-up.

• Bee information panels at Manor Village are noted.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes — Marks: 35/50

Projects include.

• Approach roads are being managed for biodiversity by a reduced mowing regime.

• You have added maintenance of a green at Mile Height to your work.

• The Friends of Able Tralee Tidy Towns are maintaining flower beds at the Clash Approach, Manor West, Rath cemetery and several road verges approaching Tralee.

• Your volunteers maintain the roundabout at Castlemaine Road as wel as Mounthawk and Dan Spring Road.

Concluding Remarks

Thank you for participating in this year’s competition. We appreciate the various efforts your group supported by the community are making to have Tralee looking its best.

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