Heritage theme noted in Emo

Heritage theme noted in Emo
News Reporter news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Tidy Towns Competition 2016

Adjudication Report: Emo

Mark:303. Mark Awarded 2015: 300

Community Involvement & Planning:

The adjudicator would like to welcome Emo to the 2016 National Tidy Towns Competition. Thank you for your entry form which was full of information. We are delighted to hear that you have an core Tidy Towns committee and enjoy a good relationship with your school through their participation in your annual clean up week. Have you considered establishing a junior Tidy Towns committee through the local youth Club or inviting a member of the club as an honorary member of your core committee. By doing this you can harness the energy and enthusiasm of your community’s younger members and use their input to develop new ideas. You seem to have a very proactive approach to addressing issues that affect you and your fellow residents and this structure seems to be working very well for you. Your proactive input has resulted in the village’s voice being heard in issues such as the school footpath link. Thank you for including your town plan for 2016-2018. This simple 3 or 5 year plan can be a great tool to help you set out and achieve goals for your committee. However it was difficult to see where projects were being planned for each category of the completion. For next year perhaps revisit this plan to simplify its text and, using bullet points perhaps, address your plans for each category of the completion.

Built Environment and Streetscape:

You have a richness of antiquated buildings within the village which add so much to its ordered and serene setting.

The old national school was neatly presented and nicely painted with its historic name plaque. Well done in your efforts to have installed the footpath linking the new school and GAA grounds to the village. Good pedestrian links are key for the safe enjoyments of the village by both residents and visitors. The community buildings in the town were well presented. The Church with its formal approach of clipped conifers was admired and the grounds were immaculate on the day of the visit. The new National school was also well presented with the green flag flying proudly in the grounds. Within the village the simple frontage of Floinns with its traditional lettering adds to the village character but be careful when painting traditional stonework to get advice on best practice from your Laois conservation officer. The Gatehouse pub was beautifully presented and painted with muted tones to complement the historic village setting. It was great to see the use of the Irish language at Siopa Ioma but try to limit the amount of temporary signs on the footpaths as they are in danger of cluttering up paths. The formal planting to the car park of Batonis is tastefully done.

Landscaping and Open Spaces:

Your 1916 garden is a really lovely feature and was a joy to visit. The fine black vernacular forged entrance gate here is such a lovely item and we are so glad it was retained during the recent works. The back drop of mature trees and lovely stone walls create a serene space and the simple layout with box hedging to the memorial is very tastefully done. Well done to all involved. Would the addition of a few simple benches to the historic bike shelter space be considered? The simple Emo Tidy Town Plaque here was very interesting and we note from reading this that the shelters will be 100 years old in 2018! In addition to the backdrop of the trees in Emo Court, you have a number of mature specimen trees in the village which add so much to the landscape setting including the fine beech trees by the new school. Continue this tradition by selecting locations for future specimen trees in the town. The wide grass verge opposite the school gate is crying out for a feature tree. One could be planted each year perhaps to commemorate a local/national event or celebrate a person for their contribution to the community. This planting could be done in conjunction with National Tree week to further advertise your works. We note you have reduced resources to help maintain your landscape areas and we wish you luck with getting additional help. In spite of this all areas visited were beautifully maintained so our thanks go to all involved.

space be considered? The simple Emo Tidy Town Plaque here was very interesting and we note from reading this that the shelters will be 100 years old in 2018! In addition to the backdrop of the trees in Emo Court, you have a number of mature specimen trees in the village which add so much to the landscape setting including the fine beech trees by the new school. Continue this tradition by selecting locations for future specimen trees in the town. The wide grass verge opposite the school gate is crying out for a feature tree. One could be planted each year perhaps to commemorate a local/national event or celebrate a person for their contribution to the community. This planting could be done in conjunction with National Tree week to further advertise your works. We note you have reduced resources to help maintain your landscape areas and we wish you luck with getting additional help. In spite of this all areas visited were beautifully maintained so our thanks go to all involved.

Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities:

We were very impressed at the efforts made by yourselves and the school children to further your knowledge of the local habitats surrounding Emo. The bird boxes and bug hotels in the school seem to have been a great source of fun and an excellent way to educate your children and reinforce the importance of your surroundings and the nature it contains. As a group you are very aware that networks of wildlife sites are more ecologically valuable than isolated wildlife areas as we are sure your professional produce Biodiversity plan would have pointed out.. The butterfly nests were noted in the 1916 garden and we hope they have been occupied. Was your Butterfly identification workshop in July well attended? Where possible create linking corridors by planting, retaining, or even improving hedges, or keeping a strip of unmown grass along the road verges. Consider extending the use of hedgerows’ in the village by planting up the grass strip between your new school footpath and the block wall. We note you plan to add ivy here but perhaps there is space for a richer mix of native hedge and climbing species? The Church graveyard is another habitat rich site and there is advice available on the best management practice for our rural graveyards which could help with your management regimen here. Graveyards often contain a rich natural heritage, which may have been relatively undisturbed for years, providing a valuable habitat for insects, birds and mammals. The graveyard and the lovely church grounds can be another great habitat resource for the village.

Sustainable Waste and Resource Management:

A Green flag was proudly flying at your new National school and we hope their participation in the Green School scheme has filtered through to the community to address practical ways to address this category. This seems to be the case given your success in glass and can recycling. Given that the new national school just attained a green flag for water conservation we felt that the lovely old national school had neat black downpipes to its frontage which were calling out for water butts. We note in your submission you hope to revisit encouraging this issue and composting as part of your future plans. Well done in attend local workshops to advance your knowledge in this often difficult to address category. We would also encourage you to visit http://localprevention.ie/tidy-towns/ . The Local Prevention website have added a specific 'Tidy Towns' page to allow you see what waste prevention projects have been done by other similar groups around the country. There are various case studies to learn from with practical tips, advice, free downloads of brochures etc. this is a great resource to gain advice on how to develop new initiatives in this category and gain more points for your group.

Tidiness and Litter Control:

Once again you presented a very tidy village and well done to all involved in the works this year. The Laois Clean Up week is a great county event to be a part of and well done to all involved. Also we congratulate the Emo Youth Club for actively participating with your group in litter prevention and collection. On adjudication day the village core was free of litter so well done to all involved. As you are aware this category is not just about the lack of litter but rather the approaches taken to address the ongoing control of litter. Black bins in the village were neat and emptied but some may need to be repainted such as the bin by the corner of the church yard wall and adjoining Floinns.

The older type concrete bin with your groups Tidy towns logo clearly legible, was noted and was empty and clean on adjudication day. Some graffiti was seen on the broken timber pole beside this.

Residential Streets & Housing Areas:

Once again the standard of presentation of residential areas was high so well done to all the residents for the hard work carried out here. Stone boundaries and hedges were nicely trimmed and well done to all residents for the care they show in presenting their properties. Killimy residents association have upheld the standard here again this year. The name stone by the traditional red galvanised roof stone building was flanked by bright and well maintained timber tub planters and the open space area here was beautifully maintained with its smart bench.

Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes :

Generally signage throughout the town was clean and easy to read. Verges on approach looked well and the lengths of stone walling associated with Emo Court Demesne bounding your approach roadways add so much to the village setting. The simple IOMA cut stone welcome signs were of a scale that made them easily legible for passing motorists, many centres have letter that is too small to be read when passing, even at low speeds. The addition of the slan lettering to the rear is a nice touch. No evidence of sprayed verges was seen during the visit and we note that you are hand hoeing thus reducing the need for chemical sprays. The finger post at the crossroad in the centre of the village is looking a little tired and perhaps older signs such as the sli na slainte or bring bank could be reviewed with the aim of reducing signage clutter here. Some of the street bollards may benefit from a coat of paint.

Concluding Remarks:

Emo has an historic setting and the tone of the works that have been done by your group so far will ensure the protection of its heritage and landscape for the next generation. Well done on this. All involved with this year’s entry are warmly thanked and congratulated for their efforts and we wish you the very best for 2017.