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In praise of the Gorey Gardening Crew

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

We all love Gorey town for our own reasons. We have chosen to live here, and we are fortunate that while the town is expanding rapidly it still retains its lovely rural, healthy living conditions. This is in part due to its proximity to the sea and the lovely, afforested areas such as Ramsfort and Creagh Woods which enwrap the town.

In addition, every entrance to the town like The Ballycanew, Courtown, Arklow, Hollyfort, Carnew, and Clough roads are all tree lined. Gorey’s Main Street and The Avenue look so well throughout the year, adorned with healthy trees decarbonating our atmosphere. These are professionally pruned in early November.

The Paul Funge Boulevard, officially opened in 2015, is another special area. In 2016 a hedge with a mix of native and non-native summer flowering shrubs was planted by the council along the wall of the Boulevard. In 2017 some 30000 bulbs were planted to create a riot of colour every Spring, and in 2019 wildflower seeds were planted. This extended the flowering season and added Autumnal colours to the Boulevard as well as providing food for insects and bees.

In addition to the above we are very fortunate that the environmental teams working on our behalf in Gorey are so committed to their roles and do an excellent job of work in enhancing our living and working conditions.

We rarely see award ceremonies for the people who empty our bins, sweep our streets, keep treatment plants shipshape and keep all our roundabouts, grass verges and flower beds looking so well the whole year round.

Recently I spoke to David Swinburne Head Gardener for Gorey/Kilmuckridge Municipal District about their work. David qualified from Kildalton College in 2003 and worked for five years in London with a garden maintenance company before returning to Ireland to set up his own garden maintenance and design company. He took up his present position as head gardener in Gorey in 2021.

I was amazed at the multiplicity of tasks his crew performs with just three permanent staff and ten people who work in two teams of five. They operate on a week on /week off basis, while they work on community employment schemes.

They maintain twelve roundabouts in all with five in town and seven on the periphery. They get their annual winter clean up in the first week of November.

In addition, all public grass areas must be cut regularly during the growing season.

There is also the ever-present problem of briars and weeds growing on public paths which must be cleaned up regularly. Recently I saw the gardening crew in action cleaning the approach roads, footpaths and roadside ditches adjoining the Courtown Road Roundabout and the one on Scholar’s Walk which needed some attention. They are now in pristine condition and great credit is due to the gardening crew who cleaned them up.

In addition to the above there are ten tiered planters on Main Street and a further twelve flower containers on Esmonde Street. These must be planted, watered, and maintained during a long growing season. They always look quite magnificent and colourful. They enhance the streetscapes around town, while at the same time adding greatly to the quality of the air we breathe in the town and its environs.

When I go for a walk around the town’s perimeter, I just love going through the pillars at the entrance to Park Avenue with the high red brick walls to the right, its lovely tree lined road and grass margins which are always kept in pristine condition by the residents of Park Avenue and Ramsfort Avenue. As you emerge at Sean Doire [old wood] on the other end and turn left there are some fine specimens of very old trees.

Gorey town park, situated in a beautiful sylvan setting, is now a very accessible excellent social and recreational area for the population of Gorey/Kilmuckridge Municipal District.

The upgrade of the park and its facilities is now nearly complete, and Gorey can boast of a super thirteen-acre park with a one Kilometre track on its outer rim. The VHI Park run takes place here every Saturday starting at 9.30 am

Gorey District Park is a fantastic social and fitness resource for all ages of people living in Gorey district. It has a football pitch, dressing rooms, walking paths, skateboard area, two fantastic playgrounds, the sensory garden, table tennis tables, amphitheatre, pavilion, and plenty of outdoor gym equipment dotted around the perimeter track.

I was heartened to see the awareness and sensitivity to children with special needs being catered for. David and his crew were erecting two communications boards in the playgrounds when I met them in the park. This is a very welcome initiative supported by Inclusion Ireland, interact Accomplish and thrive in Trinity College, HSE, Project Ireland 2040 and Wexford County Council. These signs will be much appreciated by many parents.

Just across from here Eoin Cullen has his coffee pod. He serves a wide range of coffees and his speciality Hot Chocolates which children love. I love his coffee because their Mc Cabe’s coffee roasters have a 0% carbon footprint. They are Ireland’s first carbon negative coffee roastery. Eoin serves up traditional coffees in addition to using Soya, Oat and Coconut milk. All are served in a friendly manner from a spotlessly clean coffee pod.

When you have filled up on your tea/ coffee/snack you can nip across and play boules on the Boules Court where there is some very nice seating where you can sit and relax.

I look forward to seeing the completion of the Decade of Centenaries Garden in The Park. There will be a special 1916 Proclamation Stone erected in one corner and seven trees will be planted with some hedging and nice seating which will be a beautiful feature for Park users in the not-too-distant future.

Another welcome addition will be the replacement of all the perimeter lighting. This is in addition to all the CCTV cameras which are fully operational and now culprits who vandalise can be recognised from good CCTV images. This should deter any further vandalism and make the park safer for dusk and night-time strolls. It is so sad to see trees being damaged and facilities like new notice boards and play areas being desecrated by spray painting.

At the edge of the playground there is a very well signposted “Gorey District Park Pond” with colourful signage telling us about The Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, Common Pond Skater, and frog spawn in season. I love the little footbridge across the middle of the pond which is well maintained and makes the pond and its inhabitants easy to view.

There is pedestrian access to the park from the Hollyfort Road and you can enter the car park from the Fort Road entrance. There are ample free car parking spaces available on site.

The environment up here is healthy with over five hundred newly planted trees and shrubs which are growing well and will make the area carbon free as they mature.

Another welcome addition is the little orchard on the right of the Fort Road entrance and some lovely beech hedging which will look very nice when it matures.

The maintenance of the Town Park is the responsibility of the Town Gardener and his crew, and it is immaculately maintained by them all year round.

Seasonal artistic displays for Halloween and Christmas have added an artistic dimension to the work of Gorey’s gardening crew, as they are involved in some extracurricular gardening enhancement works around town during these times.

I just love the Halloween embellishments of our roundabouts and streets with witches on brooms and pumpkins which immediately catapult us into Trick or Treat mode.

likewise at Christmas, while there is a lovely festive spirit created by traders’ window displays and council street lighting the gardening staff erect suitable festive themed pop ups to liven up our lived-in environment. They place huge, decorated Christmas present boxes around town and on approach road roundabouts. They are also responsible for the erection of Christmas trees at the Monument roundabout and the Civic Square.

We can all help the gardening crew by keeping our own immediate surroundings and footpaths outside our homes litter free, neat, and tidy and weed free or maybe we could edge the grass area outside our own patch or cut that stray briar invading a footpath.

We need to rid ourselves of the “that’s the council’s job” mentality. Make a personal pledge now and volunteer to do some little extra bit for Gorey. We love you Gorey and congratulate you on winning the bronze medal in the National Tidy Towns Competition.

As we are fast approaching the end of another calendar year in the life of Gorey town and district let us stop, value, recognise, salute, and say thank you to all the environmental crews who work outdoors in all weathers keeping Gorey and all its facilities working properly and keeping them looking so well for all of us to enjoy.

We also acknowledge the great work being done by Gorey Tidy Towns Committee and we will be covering their work in an article in the new year.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir agus go raibh fada buan sibh .

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