Solo Art Exhibition

Matt Cullen has devoted most of his adult life to volunteering in his community, and he continues to do so. Fifty percent of the proceeds from Matt’s exhibition will go to a project which is close to his heart – the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association (ILFA).

The exhibition will run from October 22d to October 25th 2019 in the Atrium of the FCC offices in Swords.
Please make the effort to come and support Matt’s exhibition, just as he has supportd the town of Swords over many years through his voluntary work.

Greener Community Awards

On the evening of October 3d, some members of STT attended the Greener Community Awards. It was a great opportunity to mingle with fellow Fingal volunteers and to enjoy good musical entertainment. Well done to all the worthy winners, and well done to FCC for staging the event so well in Swords this year.

Silver Medal

On Monday, September 30, a group of excited Swords Tidy Towns members attended the National SupaValu Tidy Towns Awards ceremony at The Helix. Having increased our membership since last year, and having successfully finished some new projects, we were hopeful of retaining our silver medal status. Indeed, we were awarded a silver medal for the third successive year. Later we were to learn that we had advanced by 6 points, and had only fallen short of gold by a mere 4 points! If we can maintain our current momentum, hopefully we will achieve the magic number in 2020 and hit that gold medal target!

Matt Cullen, a dedicated, long-term member of STT, was shortlisted for this year’s “Community Hero” award. He won a “Highly Commended Award”, which acknowledges those volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty in keeping their towns tidy. Well done Matt!

That evening we met up in Wright’s Bar in Swords to celebrate our success. The management there kindly provide us with tea and coffee every Saturday, while we relax and socialise after a hard morning’s work. In appreciation of STT’s efforts to improve the town, Wright’s management generously provided us with food and champagne on Monday night.

Joining our celebration was another very generous sponsor, Donal O’Ciobhan, who is the manager of SupaValu in Boroimhe. He had also joined us for the awards ceremony, and was very positive about our achievements. Throughout the year, Donal has been our main sponsor. His generosity and support is much appreciated by all of our members.

It was a wonderful social evening, where we celebrated our success. But we won’t be resting on our laurels.

Ken Duffy with our main sponsor Donal O’Ciobhan Boroimhe SuperValu
Matt Cullen (left) won a Highly Commended Award
Champagne courtesy of Wright’s Bar


Members of STT were particularly interested in the episode of “Nationwide”, which went to air on RTE 1 on Friday, 27 September. At last they would be able to see the segment that was filmed on June 26. A crew from “Nationwide” had been sent to do a follow up on our 2017 “Diversity Award” win. In fact, the number of members from different cultural backgrounds has now increased to 14 – within a core group of 30 members. This is a true reflection of the multicultural nature of Sword’s general population. In her interview Isa Sawad, a Phd student originally from Iraq, told of her reason for joining Tidy Towns. She realised that it was the best way to improve her local environment. Speaking equally passionately about improving our town were Ramune Kuzminiene from Lithuania and Daniella Turrini from Italy, who have settled down in Swords with their young families. Their children, aged from 6 to 8, regularly come out to help us on Saturday mornings.
Also interviewed were retired couple, Rose and Gerry Brennan, who are dedicated to growing and maintaining our plants. During the summer months, they go out on two extra nights every week. Rose also spoke about the camraderie and fun shared by our group.
Talents of some of our other members were also highlighted by “Nationwide”. Matt Cullen spoke enthusiastically about the projects in which he and Mary Maxwell have been involved. He is a talented artist, and Mary does a wonderful job choosing appropriate plants for different areas. They were the masterminds behind our “Inclusiveness” project, which celebrates the positive ethos of STT. At the Malahide Road roundabout, the sleepers show our values, and our plants have transformed a former piece of waste ground. These two were also involved in a joint project with Fingal County Council. The “Rock Garden”, which featured in the show, has become a place for young and old to relax. An empty green field has become an oasis of peace for our townfolk thanks to the tranquil rock garden, imaginative sculpture and seating arrangements.
Our chairman, Ken Duffy, explained how our Polytunnel is used for educational purposes such as the YouthReach programme, as well as a means of growing our plant stock.
“Nationwide” shone a very positive spotlight on the work done by all our dedicated volunteers. They were filmed working hard on yet another ambitious project – making the area by the Ward River an attractive area for locals to enjoy. On that glorious summer day, the whole town looked at its best with its hanging baskets and planters bursting with colour. With Swords Castle in the background, it looked like an ideal tourist spot.
For those who missed the show or who would like to see it again, it can be accessed on RTE Player.

Rose and Gerry Brennan

Meakstown Community Event

STT members Matt Cullen and George Mongey are currently assisting Meakstown Community Council to set up their own Tidy Towns group. On August 24th there was an event to celebrate all that was good in the area. Matt and George were invited to join the group’s celebration at the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe, and several local politicians and councillors were in attendance.

George and Matt with Yvonne from Meakstown
George for Mayor?

Greyhound Estates Competition

Swords Tidy Estate Winners Announced
Swords Tidy Towns, in conjunction with Greyhound Household,  has announced the winners of this year’s tidy estates competition. Joint Winners are Carlton Court and Knocksedan Demesne. Highfields came 2nd and St. Andrews 3rd. A total of 15 estates entered the competion this year. Additionally,Balintrane  Woods, Glebe Hill , Glen Allen/Sandford Woods and Rivervalley Lawn won badges of merit.

The scoring out of a possible 90 points was:
Carlton Court and Knocksedan Demesne  -85
Highfields                                                         -80
St. Andrews                                                      -79
Balintrane Wood                                             -76
Glebe Hill                                                          -72
Glen Ellen/Sandford Woods                         -71
Rivervalley Lawns                                           -71
Bunbury Gate                                                   -70
Comyn Manor                                                  -68
Rivervalley Rise                                               -68
Hilltown Lawn                                                 -65
Drynam Hall Estate                                        -62
Seatown Villas                                                  -60
Ashley Estate                                                    -56

The winners receive €250 each, plus a free skip and a winners plaque.
Second receives a free skip and plaque.
Third receives a free skip and plaque.
Those who won a badge of merit receive a plaque.
Ken Duffy, Chair of Swords Tidy Towns, described this year’s entries as incredible. “We saw an enormous improvement in the presentation of the estates compared to last year with all making a huge effort to improve common areas and gardens. We found it impossible to separate the joint winners.  This is a very important competition for us in terms of the overall national competition. Swords won a silver medal  last year and the estates competition should help us improve on that. Congratulations to all.”
John Brosnan, Managing Director of Greyhound Group said: “We have run several Tidy Estates competitions around Dublin and the standard in Swords is of the highest order. We know how much hard work and effort the Swords Tidy Towns committee puts in and it’s no surprise that Swords is scoring very highly in the national competition. Congratulations to all the entries and we hope to welcome more estates into the competition next year”.

Presentation of certificates

Representatives of Fingal Horticultural Society and STT had the difficult task of choosing the best entries from the Best Business Frontage competition. Standards were very high, and there was an increased number of entries. On Wednesday and Thursday this week the gold, silver and bronze certificates were presented to the relevant businesses. Local traders expressed their delight of having their hard work and creativity recognised by the community.

St. Vincent de Paul gold certificate and STT cup winner 2019

Presentation of perpetual trophy

Fingal Horticultural Society present a trophy at their annual show to the business in Swords with the most attractive floral display. STT share their aim to improve and revitalise the appearance of businesses on the main streets of our town. Over the past few years some of our members have helped the society by approaching businesses with entry forms. This year the STT committee decided to present a new perpetual trophy for the best business front window display. This inaugural trophy was presented to St. Vincent de Paul charity shop at Castle shopping centre on August 5th 2019.

Inaugural cup for best business front window display
Fingal Horticultural committee members with STT representatives

Greyhound Estates Competition

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Tidy Estates Competition

In August 2018 we ran our inaugural Tidy Estates Competition, it was sponsored by Greyhound Household. We were delighted to see that 14 estates entered the competition; this was a very good response for the first one.

The competition was judged by two STT volunteers and one member of Greyhound Household. Estates received marks for the upkeep of common areas (50%) and Houses and Gardens (50%)

The winning estate was Highfields who received €500 for use on common areas, a free skip and a plaque to display at the entrance to their estate. They were closely followed by Glen Ellen and Sandford Woods in second place and Ballintrane Wood in third place who both received a free skip.

It was a great success as it really brought communities together, in fact we have received high praise from two of the estates who entered. Carlton Court thought is was a great way to meet the neighbours, make new friends, have some fun and do some good while doing so. Ballintrane Woods tell us that the estate became really united at the time of the Tidiest Estates competition and they are eagerly awaiting this year’s competition.

We are delighted to say that Greyhound has agreed to sponsor the 2019 Tidiest Estates competition.  Estates will receive marks this year for the upkeep of common areas (40%); gardens (30%) and house exteriors (30%). Prizes will be the same as 2018 . Our resident’s liaison tells us that there is a lot more interest this year and to expect more entries!

Inclusiveness Sculpture Launch

Inclusiveness Sculpture

Swords Tidy Towns won the National Tidy Towns Diversity Award in 2017 in recognition of the wonderful diversity within our group. Two of our members, Mary Maxwell and Matt Cullen, designed a new inclusiveness sculpture to celebrate this win and to acknowledge that this diversity has continued to grow since then.  

On Tuesday evening July 30, 2019 the completed project was finally  launched. Despite the showery weather, spirits were high as members of the group and local guests and dignitaries gathered at the site close to the Malahide Roundabout , and huddled under shared umbrellas. Fingal County Council was represented by CEO Ann Marie Farrelly, Mayor Eoghan O’Brien and Councillors Darragh Butler and Joe Newman.

Our chairman, Ken Duffy, gave a speech in which he acknowledged the successful cooperative efforts of Swords Tidy Towns, Fingal County Council and members of the Swords community. He thanked Colin Rigney and the Fingal Operations Department, and the volunteers of STT for all their efforts. He also acknowledged the advice given by Martin Nulty and Martin Tully in regard to the choice of plants and how best to plant them. He thanked the 164th Brackenstown Bobcats cubs, who joined us for planting one Saturday morning.

Ken thanked those involved in the making of the Inclusiveness  sculpture.  Mary Maxwell and Matt Cullen came up with the concept, and Billy McClean  worked with them to install the sleepers. Colourtrend Swords advised on the choice of staining. Lindsey Balfe, a teacher at St Finians Community College cut out all of the letters and made the logos for the sleepers.

Speeches acknowledging the successful cooperative efforts of Swords Tidy Towns and Fingal Operations Department were given by Ann Marie Farrelly, (CEO), and Mayor Eoghan O’Brien who then cut the ribbon.

The celebration continued in Wright’s Bar over finger food, coffee, tea and a drop of something stronger.

STT and local dignitaries
And I declare it open!