THERE are now only eight months left before judging commences on the 1st June next year, so we must do all we can as weather allows and have our tree planting programme completed by the end of November, so the trees have made a good start and are secure in the ground before the growing Season in the Spring.
If you are interested in planting a tree in your garden or a cluster of trees in your Estate, take a look at the red berried rowan trees looking majestic on the corner opposite the entrance to St. Anne’s entrance gate on the Corville road, or have a look at the few remaing along the wall at the Hurling field in Ashbury.
These trees have benefits to wildlife, and feed the birds over the Winter months, as well as adding such vibrant colours this time of year. They also produce lovely flowers in the Spring which last into the early Summer, so if planting trees in your garden or park, we recommend you plant trees with Wildlife interests such as Holly, Cotoneaster, Hawthorn, Rowans/Mountain Ash, and pyracantha along boundary walls or as a hedge which shelter and feed our many species of birds all year round.
This year’s Tidy Towns Adjudicator gave the town a favourable report and highlighted many impressive premises, and refrained from commenting on some in need of attention with the exception of the Sacred Heart Convent. Extractions from same are as follows:
“A most impressive Built Environment in Roscrea” - something all of us are proud of in our town and do our best to improve it and impress visitors. (It is interesting to note that the Built Environment is the category Roscrea has the highest mark in and is one of only a few towns in the country with this mark).
“Rosemary Square set a high standard with splended Business houses all around the square that are superbly presented as if in competition with each other for “Best kept place” and if judged in late Setember, I’m sure Rosemary Street and Abbey Street would have been added to those comments with so many business premises having been painted and improved over the late Summer into Autumn. All of these improvements since June will be noted in our application for next year’s judging.
“The delightful Mall area with good quality tubs of flowers on the stone piers plus the modern public light standards” the roses at Glebe House, and the view of the children’s park all impressed the judges on a lovely sunny morning on the 19th June when the town was judged. (too early for the September paint schemes and other improvements made later). The next challenge for all of us is to get the footpath along by the river widened, and perhaps a one way traffic system in place in the Mall allowing for a pedestrianised area with seating and coffee and cake shops and pitza and tapas bars along same.
“St. Cronan’s Catholic Church “a Joy to behold” and revealed some delights as they strolled around, and along the river walk”. - Interesting here that the Adjudicator commented on the stone seat provided by the pupils of the Sacred Heart Convent to commemorate the closing of the school (This has been mentioned in a report previously) which prompts me to ask if we have a commemorative stone marking the closure of the C.B.S. having recently celebrated fifty years in Roscrea, or a plantation of trees to link into “a proposed Treeway around Roscrea”. Commemorative information boards are an important aspect of our towns’ history and should be on view in specific locations. A book was printed to commemorate same, but for the visitor to the town do they know about it, or where it is, or if it is available at a Community office ? or information centre ? So there is a need here for “A community office” or dispensing machine where brochures and information leaflets are available to be taken and read.
“Excellent shops with impressive shopfronts in the town” have been commented on such as “The Pharmacy in Castle Street” (this premises got a new bright attractive colour scheme recently) “Ml O’Donnell, jewellers”, “The Garda Station”, (with the branch growing from the chimney ;;), Phelan’s Market house, and “The Lucky Dip pub” at the Traffic Lights. So many Business Proprietors give a lead each year with early painting, and floral displays, and the Tidy Towns Committee and volunteers acknowledge with sincere gratitude their support in maintaining their premises to such a high standard, while unfortunately there is always the few premises around the town that detract from the towns’ mark under “Tidiness” and the great work done by many others.
In the interest of sustaining the town centre, and keeping business within our town to ensure the remaining shops continue to do business, and remain open, it is time that all residents shop in Roscrea all year round to ensure its viability and a vibrancy on our streets again. Many shops have already closed, are we now going to allow the remaining few to close, become derelict, and end up with a Ghost Town while driving long distances to larger towns and shops for what appears to be cheaper in larger stores, and we have already spent the money on the upkeep of a car and petrol/diesel ; Back in the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s Roscrea was a vibrant and busy town, with shops doing good business in all streets, and where people wouldn’t stop you on the street “to ask where they could buy a carton of milk or get a cup of tea in this town”, as I experienced in Rosemary Street recently.
It is up to all of us to bring life back to our streets, and keep our business in our own town thereby ensuring Roscrea continues to have a vibrant and impressive Built Environment with shops open, and kept to a standard required in a Heritage town. This would also be in the interest of “Waste Minimisation” by reducing carbon emissions and increasing Roscrea’s mark under “Waste Minimisation” in this category in the Tidy Towns competition.
The next big headache for the Tidy Towns volunteers is to have a suitable owner buy the Sacred Heart Convent so it will be refurbished and worthwhile uses found for it, so it also looks impressive amidst the tall trees towering over the town, as one looks towards it. If allowed to continue to deteriorate as it has over the past six years can one imagine how it will look in another twenty years ? It was one of the “Gems” in our incredibly beautiful town in the past.
Other premises commented favourably on were the ruins of “the Franciscan Friary”, the Roscrea Abbey Community Centre, (a possible location for all community information, books, brochures, information leaflets, notices of upcoming events etc ?) the Handball complex, the arched entrance to the Courtyard and Castle, the Library,and Church of Ireland. Have you ever stood at the rear of the Roscrea Shopping Centre, near the roundabout as one approaches Tesco, and looked towards the Tower, the Blackmills, with the Church of Ireland in the background amidst the wide variety of lovely green trees, ? This area in the centre of our town is another “gem” and a spectacular view which would be the envy of many towns around the country. To fully appreciate and enhance all of these “gems” in our town, Roscrea’s community spirit needs to be revived as in the early days of fundraising for the Roscrea Swimming Pool (now Roscrea Leisure Centre) when three hundred people came together to fundraise for it. and work together. Can we rise to this challenge again in the interest of doing up surveys of all derelict sites, derelict buildings, link roads, back roads and streets, boundary walls, broken fencing, rusted railings, housing estates, approach roads etc. Having done and completed those we need to action them, and have people willing and ready to undertake this work and then and only then can Roscrea hope to rise to silver, and gold medal standard in the tidy towns competition, with the overall objective of eventually winning the “Overall Best Town in the country”. - what an achievement that would be when all of us work together with a similar goal.
With the assistance of the new Enhancement plan presently being prepared, and which will be presented to the people in the Community in the next six to eight weeks, we will then need to work together to implement it. There will be no need for anyone in the Community to feel disconnected, alone, or not involved, Roscrea Tidy Towns volunteers want to see you involved, young and old, active retired, youth groups, schools, sports clubs etc. all residents in town and in residential areas, come and join them on Saturday mornings at 10 am in Rosemary Square, work along with them, get involved in enhancing your community, and see something tangible for your time leaving a legacy for futures generations to grow up in and appreciate.