It takes a village to carry out the Tidy Towns work and this is exactly what is happening in Gathabawn, according to the adjudicator’s report.
“It is not just a committee that run the Tidy Towns in Gathabawn, it is the whole community,” the report said, noting the participation of the local school, agencies and residents. “The events you describe that are held in Gathabawn seem wholesome and appropriate in this hilly rural setting. While enhancement of the appearance of the village is important, your mention of the integration of new residents shows your socially praiseworthy priorities.”
The adjudicator also praised the integrity of the village, although in a roundabout way: “Did Gathabawn avoid the building boom or vice versa? Whichever, the result is that the village retains the traditional village image and atmosphere and has avoided the negative consequences of Tiger time.”
This success in maintaining its status as “a gem in the heart of this beautiful countryside” includes the centrality of farming: “Inevitably the outhouses of the farming community are part of the built environment of the village. These too are shining in their white paint.”
The adjudicator also praised the use of “Gaeilge not just for Oifig an Phoist but also for Siopa”, at Scoil na Críon Coille and the stone name plates along walls such as Gorteen na Muc, Tobar Láir and Bóisín na gCloch.
For the future, the adjudicator suggested tidying the car park and approach roads, and creating a coherent policy for waste minimisation.
“Your plans in the wildlife section should be broadened to the wider natural environment of the village,” it suggested. “The surroundings of your village are a natural wildlife park readymade. There is a great opportunity to combine a wildlife treasure trove with your organised walks. Maybe the Durrow people and yourselves could get together on this.”