CASTLETOWN was again the top scorer in Laois at this year’s Tidy Towns awards with 301 marks and a high level of participation from committee members and volunteers and a “virtually litter free” village.
The village has established links with Laois Partnership, laois County Council and the CE scheme, as well as with the local school through the anti litter campaign. judges suggest that the village can improve on this by also establishing links with local clubs and groups. Judges also recommend the committee complete a three to five year action plan to make implementing projects easier for the village.
The village has a range of interesting features which caught the judge’s eyes including the castle and the corn mill as well as the “stunning” view of the river Nore. The centre of Castletown was described as “most impressive” with a very well maintained green area and mature trees.
Buildings in the village were also praised including the national school building, the De La Salle convent and the church, Phelans, the Castletown Inn and Gormleys. The playground was described as an excellent addition to the village. Landscaping throughout the village was noted at the entrance to the village as well as in the central triangle and throughout the area but it was noted that the village may have an “overreliance on seasonal planting with few perennials to be found”. It was recommended to plant some perennials to provide “effective year round colour”.
Completing a wildlife survey and possibly engaging school children in this was also recommended for the village as the area around the river was noted as “a hotbed for biodiversity”. The riverwalk was described as an excellent amenity for the area.
Castletown is virtually litter free, evidence of the litter patrols and litter awareness campaigns. However a number of area in the village were noted for their untidiness with railings outside the national school highlighted as well as a number of signposts. Judges suggested that “Castletown needs to be audited as a number of untidy signs and sign poles were spotted”.
Judges also noted that Castletown has expanded in the last few years and commended a number of housing estates for their landscaping and maintainance. The judge congratulated Castletown on “another excellent performance and it is considered that due to the hard work and commitment of the tidy towns committee, your continued success in the competition is justified”.