RISING 14 points from last year’s 230 to an impressive 244 this year, the Portarlington committee was praised for its participation in the RTE programme ‘Dirty Old Towns’ and for its comprehensive communication strategy with various community groups.
Judges remarked that “it is clear why Portarlington was awarded the Endeavour Award in 2011,” as the committee are working hard along with its development partners to maintain and improve the town.
Many of the buildings looked particularly well during adjudication, with their impressive architecture and their originality. Stand alone buildings of traditional architecture that caught the attention of the adjudicator included the French Church, Riverview House, St Michaels Church, the library and courthouse.
Another strength of Portarlington is the many intact terraces of traditional buildings, such as the one on Main Street. The judges were delighted to discover that Portarlington is not just about traditional architecture as there are some lovely examples of modern architecture to be found in the town centre. Shop and business owners have also made a significant contribution to the streets of the town centre, and it was noted that improvement works were carried out at a number of protected structures in the past year.
The extensive list of native Irish species that have been planted on the river walk was deemed very impressive. The park is an excellent amenity for the town and its riverside location, while the high quality playground and diverse and attractive landscaping all added to its appeal. Other landscaping projects that were observed included the attractive raised timber planters outside the library.
The committee’s regular litter patrols and work on cleaning up dumping blackspots and helping to prevent further dumping by installing CCTV was also commended. Isolated incidences of litter was observed in a number of areas, however the standard of tidiness observed was generally good. The town centre was particularly impressive with virtually no weeds spotted and footpaths and road verges neatly swept.
On the Offaly side of the town, the appearance of St Michaels National School was let down somewhat by weed growth at the base of the walls in the car park and railings at the front that are in need of paint.
In conclusion, the judges said: “While challenges remain, we have no doubt that you will continue to improve in the future”.