Progress on Port facelift

Portarlington’s Dirty Old Towns Project is storming ahead, with Dulux now sponsoring the paint for Main Street, and progress being made on many of the town’s problem spots, including Arlington House.

Portarlington’s Dirty Old Towns Project is storming ahead, with Dulux now sponsoring the paint for Main Street, and progress being made on many of the town’s problem spots, including Arlington House.

This weekend, March 3 and 4, is being hailed as the “Big Weekend”.

The whole community are encouraged to come out in force, as the Happyendings filmcrew will be recording for RTE’s Dirty Old Towns programme, to be broadcast in April.

The series is presented by celebrity garden designer Diarmuid Gavin, who is coming to Port this weekend to lend a hand for the big clean-up.

Organiser Ann Dunne explained what they will be up to over the weekend.

“A lot of projects have been worked on for the past month or more.

“The scouts wood is being cleaned up by Donie Molloy, with scouts and parents. Work is in progress at Derryounce walk to enhance the entrance and pathway. The river walk between Barrow bridge and Spa Street bridge is going to be a wonderful area when it is finished. The old ESB pump house has been given a face lift, great ideas are taking place here,” she said.

The environs of the train station were highlighted as a bad first impression to the town during a public meeting. Old McMahon’s wall will be raised up, cleaned and painted with murals by local artists, and the station entrance will be landscaped.

In one of the biggest makeovers, Main Street from Bracklone Street to Patrick Street will get a fresh coat of paint, over the coming weeks, including the cinema and the empty apartment block at St Brigids Square.

Ann is delighted with progress on Arlington house on French Church Street, a derelict site under a protection order.

“The owner is willing to help out with scaffolding and labour. We are plastering the gable end with a lime plaster. The lime is been sponsored. We have to pay for plastering which is a skilled craft. The side of the building will get new fencing and trees too,” she said.

The town square is getting some new trees too, while hoarding is being replaced with post and rail fencing and hedges at Sandy Lane, with many other smaller projects in progress.

Lots of local sponsors and volunteers have come on board, but Ann is hoping for more.

“We want to show the rest of Ireland what Portarlington people are made of, and how we want to improve our beautiful town,” she said.

Fundraisers are going well, with the next car boot sale taking place on March 11.

Local couple Mary Ellen and Jim Brennan are doing a parachute jump, and an American Tea party is planned in April.

See Port DOT Project on facebook, e-mail dirtyoldtownsport@live.ie, or call in to the DOT office on Main Street.