What The Tidy Towns Judges Said About Our ‘Very Handsome Town’

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Members of the various groups involved in the Tidy Towns effort gather to the Mile Height for a photo to celebrate the sixth gold medal in a row. Photo by Dermot Crean

TRALEE retained its Gold Medal at the Tidy Towns Awards on Monday increasing its mark by two points.

The judges report (detailed in full below) outlines where the town excelled and where it can improve calling Tralee a “very handsome town”.

The Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Norma Foley, said it’s something the people of the town should take pride in.

“We’re thrilled to win the sixth Gold Medal in a row. It’s a great tribute to the volunteer spirit in the community. There’s no doubt that its the volunteers in the town who have delivered this and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude. I also want to acknowledge the work of Kerry County Council. It’s a terrific partnership which is putting the town first and long may it continue,” said Mayor Foley.

Continued below…


While the news is welcome, some people continue to illegally dump in remote areas on the outskirts of the town and Mayor Foley urged people to do their best to report this behaviour and get involved in the effort.

“This is a community effort and it requires everyone to be fully participative. It’s the everyday  things that matter as in not dumping or fly-tipping. We have to be more pro-active in discouraging this and say that we all have a vested interest in the place in which we live and work. We really have to find a ways and means to encourage people to become more involved in the process rather than outside of it,” she added. Scroll down for the judges report…


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

Tralee is a very handsome town with high quality visual amenity particularly in relation to its built environment.

Denny Street looks wonderful in its presentation and many elegant three and four storey period buildings were admired at a number of locations, Day Place being one example; some are weather-stained and in need of refurbishment to their roadside facade to some extent.

A number of properties along Chapel Street could be improved likewise a number of walls along the Matt Talbot Road, the new hospital entrance here is attractive.

Some upper storeys of properties along Edward Street could be improved and the same applies to Castle Street Upper; congratulations on the refurbishment of Mason’s Bar.

Work in progress has been noted at a number of premises. Too many business premises feature roller security shutters to the outside of their windows outside of business hours and this diminishes the visual amenity of their respective streetscapes; shutters can be placed to the back of window displays thus allowing an attractive window presentation at all times.

Public buildings enjoy a good presentation overall; the Garda station could tidy its curtilage area and install some landscaping and a school on the North Circular Road could feature landscaping to its grounds.

The Active Travel initiative is noted and the end result for greater pedestrian and cyclist access to the Mall is laudable.

Landscaping and Open Spaces / Tírdhreachú agus Spásanna Oscailte:

Roundabouts dedicated to departed friends is a poignant tribute to their memory; the landscaped area on the Caherslee road dedicated to Joe Barrett was especially admired for its design and maintenance.

Both hard and soft landscaping at Lidl is successful and the Ballymullen roundabout stands out also for the quality of its landscaping which is impressive.

Container flower displays throughout the town and flowerbeds / shrubberies look beautiful and enhance their immediate environs however, this heading is not just about flowers it is about the ‘greening of our towns’ and the emphasis on trees and hedgerow is of paramount importance and not just planting new trees but also the maintenance of existing trees.

The management of too many of trees in Tralee is misguided in the opinion of your adjudicator; many appear to have been over pruned and may lose marks for you under this heading if allowed to continue indefinitely; you are advised to take professional advice on this issue.

Continue to plant for year-round interest and colour and continue to keep the needs of wildlife and pollinators in mind when choosing plant species. Ensure that all new amenity developments have universal accessibility. Numerous new and upgraded landscaped areas were noted, the most admired by your adjudicator is the new stone obelisk with landscaping at Scotias Corner.

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

The Town Park is really impressive and flower displays are quite a stunning visually speaking and undoubtedly meet the requirements of pollinators.

Landscaping to the roadside of the town centre carpark looks well and also to the council offices. The environs of the Aqua Dome centre are landscaped to the highest standard particularly in terms of green open spaces.

Bat and bird boxes at many locations are noted and the Bat Walks sound like fun; have bat species been identified?

If not, this could perhaps be the basis of a project for next year. Bird hides are also suggested if not already in situ.

How many species of butterfly can be identified in the Butterfly Garden at Manor Village? Perhaps this could be a fun project for school children.

It is this type of detail that can attract additional marks under this heading. If there is a biodiversity plan for Tralee it should be included with next year’s application especially details on invasive species and their management if any.

The Wetlands Wildlife amenity is invaluable in the life of the local, national and international community.

The new canal walkway of almost 5K round trip and the Kerry Camino Way are excellent developments and complement the Kerry Way which starts in Tralee. Maintenance of the site of the Famine and Workhouse graveyard is commendable.

The Biodiversity Garden created at Caherleheen school is noteworthy also. Tralee’s Biodiversity Week is interesting, educational and sounds like fun too, a successful combination.

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

Prevention of waste at source is the goal under this heading together with the efficient management of water and energy resources.

A number of projects are listed for this category of the competition most of which fit into one or more of these three categories.

The new Water and Communities project to raise public awareness regarding a number of issues around water is invaluable; the pilot program for “Pay As You Go Cars” is laudable, let us know the outcome in next year’s application together with the outcome of the new Smarter Travel initiatives in the town centre.

Tralee allotments, Community Garden, Pay as You Feel food initiatives and more are excellent. Other projects such as LED lighting on the canal bank walkway, cycle lanes and mobility week initiatives are noted favourably in addition to recycling.

Tidiness and Litter Control / Slachtmhaireacht agus Rialú Bruscair:

The large undeveloped site located across the road from the grotto at the Limerick / Killarney end of the town looks very untidy, are there plans for its development?

While litter control was good throughout the town there were some serious lapses most notably along Moyderwell.

The weekly clean-ups, county clean-ups and the Kerry Outreach Islamic clean-up all play their part in maintaining Tralee litter and dumping free and the Balloonagh School litter-pick is noteworthy too.

Has an analysis of litter been undertaken to identify its source, type frequency and location? This type of information may make it possible to prevent some litter at source and reduce the amount to be collected.

The Kerry Islamic Outreach initiative is laudable and could perhaps qualify for inclusion in the SuperValu Diversity Award, this might be considered for next year.

Overhead wirescape is still a feature of some streetscapes, an example is Rock Road, no doubt representations have been made regarding the ducting of overhead service cables. The new Civic Spirit Award will no doubt work to raise public awareness under this heading.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas / Sráideanna Cónaithe & Ceantair Tithíochta:

Many roadside boundary walls to residential properties on Caherslee Road need improvement; entrances into many residential developments enjoy good maintenance.

Recently planted trees in the Hawley Park and Mitchel Street areas will hopefully not be over pruned the way some of their neighbours have been.

An Choill residential development enjoys a good presentation in respect of flower displays green open spaces and trees. Repainting some dwellings in the colourful Urban Terrace of period dwellings is necessary.

Residential estates enjoy good management and look well and new name-stones which mark entrances to many were admired.

The new amenity space at Racecourse Lawn and the Wildflower Garden at Castlecountess are fine developments and the creative recycling of fallen trees to sculpture initiative in Manor Village together with the stained-glass feature is a good example of creative thinking! The Best Estate Competition is noted favourably.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes / Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí:

Approach roads and entrances to Tralee look well especially in relation to Welcome signs. The entrance to Tralee from the Bennervillle road looks good however your adjudicator questions the wisdom of planting on footpath here.

A small traffic island near the Ballyard roundabout was very weedy, it would benefit from the installation of container flower displays.

It is good to note the maintenance of lanes and some back areas; the O’Sullivan’s Lane murals brighten up this area significantly.

Road and footpath surfaces are generally good and maintenance to the cycleway/walkway is notable. Street furniture is attractive.

The upgrading of two garages on approach roads enhance entrances to Tralee as do landscaped roundabouts and at the Bypass road. The Rose Sculpture is particularly fitting and of course heightens visual amenity.

Concluding Remarks:

Tralee is a vibrant town which offers many opportunities for a high-quality experience to residents and visitors in many areas of life and living. The town continues to look better upon each visit.

One Comment

  1. Interesting feedback. I’m surprised marks didn’t go up a little higher considering new streetscape in centre of town and all the work on Denny st and park.

    Dog poo is a major issue!