A different side of Swords Tidy Towners

Coping at home during Covid-19

“Unprecedented” is definitely the buzz word for 2020. The whole world has been brought to a standstill with resulting  job losses and social isolation, while we battle the Covid-19 virus. No longer may we just hop on a plane for a holiday adventure abroad, or even take a car or bus trip beyond a 5 km limit. Visits to family and friends are impossible. How can we take care of our mental and physical health under these testing circumstances? Members of STT have risen to the challenge in a number of ways. Social media has been an important means of checking on each other’s welfare, and for sharing our newly discovered or almost forgotten hobbies and interests. This has been particularly important for those who were obliged to “cocoon”. Some STT families and individuals have carried on with  many of our usual Tidy Towns activities within the rules of social distancing. The levels of littering and illegal dumping have markedly increased since the lockdown, but undaunted, many of our group have worked tirelessly to improve their local environment by collecting bags of rubbish, planting seed bombs or by grafitti-busting. Behind the scenes, others have been working on our website or participating in webinars. So although our traditional meetings are not currently taking place, much of our work still continues.

Discover your latent talent or brush up on your neglected skills. Our chairman, Ken, has written a poem in response to the lockdown, which reminds us that we all have skills which we need to develop and share. Don’t be afraid to try a new interest or to improve on existing skills. In the absence of classes, try some YouTube tutorials which will guide you through step-by-step. Be inspired by some of our group’s efforts! 

Cogs We Turn
By Ken Duffy
 
Hidden inside, deep down in each
Is a talent, that is within our reach
A gift bestowed, to each at birth
Talents that take time, to unearth
 
Talents bestowed, are for us to find
To yourself, always be kind
Talents we have, may try to hide
Take that journey, enjoy the ride
 
We all have a gift, that calls to us
Let it in, and don’t make a fuss
It is your calling; it is who you are
Let it take you, no matter how far
 
With gifts we are born, each and all
No one gift is better, follow your call
Survival is futile, without each other
Cogs we turn, both sister and brother

Many positives have emerged from these trying times. With more time on our hands, there are no excuses for not completing those postponed DIY jobs around our homes. Use those pots of paint that have been gathering dust in the garage during our previous time-poor lives. There is the opportunity to be creative with spare materials lying about, which can be upcycled into something useful. Repairs can be made to existing items rather than waiting to buy replacements once the shops are opened again.

Take a look at some of our small and big projects and get inspired!

Upcycling / woodwork projects

Home improvement projects and maintenance

Despite the lockdown doom and gloom we have been blessed with truly wonderful weather, thus, no wonder that our Swords Tidy Towners turned to gardening. Some of our volunteers have still managed to do some flower planting and maintenance around the town, but most of us had turned all our attention to our own gardens – seeds were sown, flower beds got weeded, grasses got trimmed or maintained long for our pollinators. The best thing about gardening is that you get to enjoy the process without worrying too much about the end result.

Gardening

No green fingers? – try some baking! What would the life be without some yummy guilty pleasures? To make it less guilty try baking/ cooking at home – it’s a relaxing, educational, confidence building, fun and absolutely delicious process.

Cooking & Baking

We have some very talented artists in our group and this is the time when we turn to our most loved activities to escape and relax, and be peaceful. Take a look and enjoy!

Arts & Crafts

We are truly blessed to be living in a beautiful historic town with a river crossing through and some wonderful parks to escape to during the times like these. If you haven’t been so lucky to go out for a walk yourselves we hope that these pictures will bring you some joy. Stay safe and stay well!

Photography and Walks

Our house Is Burning

By Ken Duffy

Will there be time, to save our planet
Will there be time, to save the Gannet
Will there be time, to change our ways
Will there be time, and how many days
 
Will there be time, to save the bees
Will there be time, to plant more trees
Will there be time, for the Polar Bear
Will there be time, do politicians care
 
Will there be time, to stop melting ice
Will there be time, do we pay the price
Will there be time, while politicians talk
Will there be time, to walk that walk
 
Will there be time, to turn things round
Will there be time, or destruction bound
Will there be time, our house is burning
Will there be time, are we for turning
 
Will there be time, for our future kin
Will there be time, will mankind win
Will there be time, to heed natures call
Will there be time, to reach one and all

Cleanups during coronavirus outbreak

Like everybody else, Swords Tidy Towns have been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Social distancing and cocooning requirements, challenges with childcare, and also some of our members being healthcare providers have meant that we were not able to meet up for our regular Saturday cleanups in town. Despite all this, Swords Tidy Towns volunteers have not stopped caring and looking after the town of Swords. Since the very start of this pandemic, some of our members have been regularly litter picking within the required 2 km radius of their homes. Other members got involved in a social distancing group cleanup which was organised and supported by Fingal Dog Owners Group, Swords Civil Defence, Cllr. Ann Graves, Cllr. Dean Mulligan, and some amazing local residents in Swords Manor. Other STT volunteers got their whole families involved in cleaning up the River Valley (The Jacko) park. A shocking amount of rubbish, dog fouling and dumping sites were discovered and cleaned up in the local park and nearby areas. The gallery below highlights the extent and the seriousness of the situation and also the amazing community effort in cleaning it up. Well done to all involved!

Take care of the Earth and she will take care of you” – Author Unknown

Swords Tidy Towners

By Ken Duffy

Tidy Towners we, and very proud of that
Volunteer of the year, is Tidy Towner Matt
Saturday mornings, at 10.30 we meet
To clean up litter, up and down every street


Graffiti the menace, an annoyance to us all
In parts of our town, it’s even wall to wall
Fly postering, an irritation to be scratched
Cheek of some people, is hard to be matched


Fly tipping, is an environmental crime
Attracting vermin, to its stench and grime
River clean ups, we organise twice a year
Removing rubbish, to keep it nice and clear


Flowers we plant, bring colour to our town
Beautiful baskets, contents hanging down
Swords Tidy Towners, a hard working crew
Deserve your support, they do it all for you

Competition Winners

The Judging is over in our art competition and we wish to thank our independent judges for the amount of time they put into the judging. They were seriously impressed with the skill level of the drawings and so therefore they made the following decision.
They are awarding in three categories:
Ages 4-7 years
Ages 8-12 years
And Highly commended.
Our special thanks to all the children who took part, you all made us smile this week and we hope you had fun. Congratulations and well done to all!

Winners of the 4-7 Age category:

Winners of the 8-12 Age category:

Highly commended drawings:

Easter Competition for Children

Swords Tidy Towns are organising an Easter competition for the children of our followers.
We are asking that children send us drawings of nature and biodiversity in their garden or local area. The competition is open to children between 4 and 12 years of age. There will be 6 prizes, 3 for the 4-7 age group and 3 for the 8-12 age group.
In addition, if your children would prefer we are also holding a short story competition, the short story must be set in Swords and again reflect nature.
Please message us with your entries by Thursday 9th April giving the child’s name and age.

We will be sharing all the entries on our Facebook page and Twitter account. You can also view all the entries in the below gallery:

Tree Planting in Local Community

As part of the Tree Week, Holywell Community Association have organised a native hedgegrow and tree planting initiative in Holywell park. Our Swords Tidy Towns members – Ramune, Rusne and George have joined Holywell residents to give them a hand in reaching their goal of planting 500 trees in the coming weeks. Thank you to Ciarán, Cormac and Amanda for a warm welcome! #CommunitySpirit #Biodiversity #SustainableLiving #ClimateAction

Planting Day in St. Colmcille’s GNS

Swords Tidy Towns have been contacted by the Parents Association of St. Colmcille’s Girls National Catholic School looking for some help to plant 800 bulbs and other plants in their schoolyard. A handfull of our volunteers joined the parents and the children of St. Colmcille’s school and spent a Saturday morning planting and tidying up the surroundings of the school. #CommunitySpirit

Cromwell Was Here

By Ken Duffy

It is said that St Colmcille, founded our town
When in 560, his abbey bricks were laid down
He blessed the water, now St Colmcilles well
More of Swords history, I will now try to tell

At Colmcilles church, situated in Chapel Lane
A great son of Ireland, his body it is lain
Andrew Kettle, was Parnell’s right-hand man
Both had a vision, from our shores British ban

Old Boro school, now a pub visited by many
Was built for the poor, who didn’t have a penny
The Schoolhouse pub, with many the bar stool
Believe it or not, was Swords first junior school

Round tower and clock tower, stand side by side
One catholic one protestant, standing with pride
Which tower is which, I wonder do you know?
Clock tower is protestant, now go on, have a go

Sixth century is the round, 14th century the square
In 1827 St Columba’s chapel was built there
The 17thcentury Vicarage, is just across the road
A vicar’s family lodgings, that was their abode

Clock in the tower, was added at a later date
Donated by the Molesworth’s, of the same faith
At Brackentown House, Molesworth’s did reside
Jonathan Swift he visited, for many a horse ride

Cromwell and his officers, also dined at the estate
A person the Irish, learned to loathe and hate
Mary Molesworth, known as the Captive Princess
Husband kept her captive, marriage was a mess

So much history, of which we should be proud
Yet it is only talked about, amongst a small crowd
Swords history is a secret, and known to very few
With many more golden nuggets, waiting for you

Where Ravens Fly

By Ken Duffy

In famous Fingal, where the ravens fly
With dark wings spread, they rule the sky
The town of Swords, is at Fingals heart
To tell its story, where should one start

St Colmcille, established an abbey here
Round tower remains, you can see it clear
At the Clontarf battle, Brian Boro was slain
Freeing the Irish, from the Viking chain

His son Murchad, also died on that day
That was the price, Eire had to pay
Father and son, were brought to Swords town
At Colmcilles Abbey, bodies were laid down

Both King and Son, were waked at this site
Monks prayed for them, throughout the night
St Colmcilles Well, down the Well Road
Is housed in a domicile, a small humble abode

It is said that the water, is clear and pure
For various ailments, it’s a remedy and cure
End of Main St, the Bishops Palace stands
Withstanding the attacks, of marauding bands

Standing as a beacon, it reminds us all
Of a long history, when knights used to call
This County Town, has much more to its past
Many historical stories, with a colorful cast

The 1916 uprising, has many stories to be told
Of both men and women, courageous and bold
A proud history, walks down our main street
Most of us unaware, as we mingle and greet