Annual River Cleanup

The weather was glorious on Saturday, May 27. We had a great turnout of volunteers, so we were able to divide up into two teams and have a very productive morning. 

One team, including two new members, took care of the  planting and watering of flowers that were grown at our Polytunnel. The  new plants brought a wonderful display of colour to Swords Main Street.  

On the previous Saturday six young men had joined our group. Luckily they were with us again for the river clean up day. They were keen to get into the River Ward, and hand up heavy bags of rubbish to those assisting on the banks.  Local councillor, Ian Carey, also joined the workers along the river, and really enjoyed the experience.

This year we retrieved ten bags of rubbish, some pallets, a bike and several scooters. 

Thank you to Manager Des and his lovely staff at The Old Schoolhouse, who provided us with cups of tea and coffee once we’d finished. 

Climate Change and Biodiversity Art Competition

The Climate Change and Biodiversity Art Competition was initiated in January 2023. It was a collaboration between Swords Tidy Towns (STT) and Swords Woodland Association (SWA). The rationale for the competition stemmed from previous Zoom meetings between Deborah Tiernan Fingal County Council Bio Diversity Officer and STT as to what could be done to promote biodiversity in our community in Swords. One of the suggestions was to run a poster art competition for the schools in Swords on the subject of biodiversity. It was decided to include Climate Change and Biodiversity in our poster advertising the competition because of the likelihood of getting a wider interest from students to enter the competition. Furthermore, STT decided to give generous prizes for the winners, which helped achieve a very good response from the schools concerned.

The competition was open to students from all secondary schools and Youthreach in Swords. The following schools participated; Fingal Community College, Loreto College, St. Finian’s Community College, Swords Community College, Colaiste Choilm and Youthreach. A total of 137 entries were received, we were delighted with the response from the schools and thank the students, teachers, (especially Siobhan Lynch, Fingal Community College for her background help and support,) and each school for their time and participation in the competition.

Students were encouraged to use their creativity and were asked to submit a poster that reflected the themes of Climate Change and Biodiversity. They were given the opportunity to create the poster in any medium on A3 paper. Posters advertising the competition were issued to all schools in January and the entries were collected from all schools by the end of March deadline. Judging of the entries was carried out in April by judges; Eric Duffy (STT), Matt Cullen (STT) and Edward Stephenson (SWA). They were delighted with the high standard of the entries.

The prizes were awarded to students in the following age categories;
12 to 15 years:
1 st Prize: €100 Voucher (Gabriels Galkins, Colaiste Choilm)
2 nd Prize; €50 Voucher (Nidhy Abraham, Loreto College)
3 rd Prize €25 Voucher (Sneha Binu, Loreto College)
16 to 18 years:
1 st Prize: €100 Voucher (Ann Julie Joshua, Loreto College)
2 nd Prize: €50 Voucher (Nudrat Mir, Loreto College)
3 rd Prize: €25 Voucher (Shaighanne Harford, Youthreach)

The judges were so impressed with the standard of entries that two Merit Awards were added to the prizes which were;

€25 to each student; Kamil Kasza (Fingal Community College) and Guillherme Purvis (Colaiste Choilm)

It was decided to look for the use of the Atrium, County Hall, Swords for to stage the exhibition of entries during Biodiversity Week from Tuesday 23rd to Friday 26th May. (The setting up of the exhibition was carried out on Monday 21st May.) Although permission was granted which we were very thankful for, unfortunately, we could only display 20 entries in the Atrium from the 137 submitted.

The opening of the exhibition was held at 4pm in the Atrium on Tuesday 23rd of May, with Fingal County Council providing the refreshments and STT organizing the display and the presentations. Ken Duffy (Chairperson, STT) introduced the presentations, during which all students were acknowledged for their terrific art entries. The teachers and schools were also acknowledged, especially for their encouragement and support. As the competition was a collaboration between STT and SWA, the presentation of prizes was carried out by Matt Cullen, Schools Liaison Officer (STT) and Edward Stevenson (SWA) presented the certificates to the thirteen students whose entries were commended. Deborah Tiernan, Biodiversity Officer (FCC), during her talk expressed the view that her door was always open to students and teachers, which was very well received. The feedback from all concerned was excellent, which was an indication of the level of success of the competition.

Sustainable Clothes Swap Event

For some years STT member Ramune had been aware of clothes swapping events and their positive role in the circular economy. She had attended one of these events pre-Covid, and appreciated their benefits. Rather than throwing away perfectly serviceable clothes and buying new ones, people could update their wardrobe or change their style in a more economical way, and could reduce their environmental footprint in the process. This is an alternative to fast fashion, which is wasteful of raw materials, water and energy, and contributes to harmful gas emissions.

Ramune with the help of local resident Emma O’Toole, who is also President of the Environmental Society at Maynooth University organised STT’s first Clothes Swap event. They were supported by the management of the River Valley Community Centre, who allowed us to operate in the carpark outside their premises. The organisers are also very grateful to local residents for donating clothes rails and hangers for the event.

Emma designed the eye-catching poster, which clearly set out the rules for the day. Only a maximum of 5 items was allowed. Items had to be clean, and must not include underwear, swimming togs or sleepwear. 

Being a clothes swap, if you brought e.g 3 items then you would have to take 3 items.

On the morning of May 6, 2023 hangers, tables, mirrors and some basic stock were in place in our large marquee. The first eager customers, both young and old, had already arrived before the 10 am start.

Ramune and Emma were ably assisted by a couple of STT members.  Ramune’s young daughters, Rusne and Ula, really enjoyed being assistants for the day too.

Our advertising on social media was very effective, as it drew customers from Malahide and Donabate as well as Swords residents.

The turnout was so good, and day so successful, that it was decided to definitely make this a monthly event.  

There is also a need for upcycling events for our clothes to be made into something new and this will be looked into in the future.

The date for our next clothes swap has been set for Saturday, June 10. 

World Earth Day

Saturday, April 22, 2023 was World Earth Day.

That morning we had a large turnout of STT members and TY students from Fingal Community College. The majority spent the morning dealing with the large number of weeds, which has recently returned to the area around the local Garda station and by Eddie Rockets on Swords Main St. 

Long-handled weeders and lots of elbow grease were used. This avoided the use of harmful chemical weed killers.

STT member, Grace Dunne who liaises with local estates, arranged for us to help Glen Ellan and Sandford Wood Residents Association with their clean up on that Saturday. We were impressed by the way items which could be repaired or upcycled were left out for people to take. Many of these ended up in someone else’s home, rather than in the skip which had been hired for the day.

National Tree Week 2023

Swords Woodland Association were celebrating National Tree Week in Fingal County Council’s Atrium. It was great to see the enthusiasm from the children from Mary Queen of Ireland school in Rivermeade and St Finians Community College in Swords with a great response to the quiz and building a feelings tree!

Members of Swords Tidy Towns met up with Cllr Ann Graves and other groups of interested individuals who attended.

There was a great debate from Senator Lynn Boylan and Kevin Halpenny FCC on biodiversity. Thanks Lynn – we enjoyed that!

Well done to Cllr Joe Newman, Edward and Ciaran who pulled it all together!

St Patrick’s Day Parade 2023

The sun shone brightly on the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin city this year. Unfortunately the sunshine did not extend to the local parade in Swords. However, the showery weather did not dampen the spirits of our hardy STT members, who turned out in force for the occasion. 

Our chairman, Ken Duffy, was invited by FCC to be MC for this year’s parade. This was in recognition of his talent as a public speaker and of his involvement with the local community, particularly with Swords Tidy Towns. Ken certainly rose to the occasion and gave an excellent commentary.

This year’s theme was “Going Green”. So STT members put the spotlight on pollinators, disposal of dog droppings and reduction of litter. Their costumes reflected these various aspects. Our mascot bear made an appearance. He and STT member Eric’s dog were crowd pleasers once again.

Our STT group would like to thank Aoife from “Aoife’s Fun With Faces”, who turned up a couple of hours before the parade, and skilfully painted the faces of young and old participants.

She Leads, We Lead: Fingal Women Bringing Change

Swords Tidy Towns were delighted to attend the She Leads, We Lead Fingal Women Bringing Change photography exhibition this evening in the Carnage Court Hotel.

The event was held by Fingal County Councils Community Development Office to launch their activities for International Women’s Day. ‘Through our Eyes, the Power of Women’s Leadership in Community Action’.

It was great to see all the women volunteers from across Fingal get recognition for all they do in their communities.

In attendance from Swords Tidy Towns were Ken Duffy, Georgy and Paddy Hughes, Rose and Gerry Brennan. Unfortunately, Teresa Cosgrave, our nominee, was on a planned holiday and was unable to make the event.

STT Art Competition for Swords Secondary Students

In keeping with STT’s commitment to involving students in environmental matters, we have organised an art competition, which will be judged in April. The winning artworks will be publicly displayed in a central location in time for Biodiversity Week in May.

The poster was designed by teacher Siobhán Lynch at Fingal Community College. She was of the opinion that some students are particularly interested in the subject of climate change. So her poster incorporates this topic as well as biodiversity. 

This competition is open to all secondary schools in Swords, namely Swords Community College, Fingal Community College, St Finian’s, Coláiste Choilm, Loreto College and YouthReach.

Entries will be judged by two artists from STT plus a representative from Swords Woodland Association.

STT visits to KidsCare and Swords Community College

STT Chairman Ken Duffy was invited to speak to young preschoolers at KidsCare at BASE in Brackenstown, Swords about the importance of the responsible disposal of litter. Whilst out on their regular walks with their teachers, the children had been asking why people were not using the litter bins.

The visit took place on January 18, 2023. Ken was accompanied by our School Liaison Officer, Matt Cullen. 

Ethna, their teacher, had been asked to encourage the pupils to come up with their own questions. Ken and Matt found their enthusiasm very infectious, and the session was a resounding success. 

The class was presented with some pickers and rolls of bags, to encourage these youngsters to become involved in litter picking in the local area.

On February 8, 2023  Chairman Ken Duffy and School Liaison Matt Cullen paid a visit to Swords Community College to address a class of Transition Year students. In order to make their talk more relevant to their interests, the pupils had been asked to prepare their questions beforehand. 

Feedback from their teacher was extremely positive. Ken and Matt were complimented for their excellent talk, and were told that the students had got a lot out of it.

Swords Tidy Towns Quiz Night Fundraiser

We had a sell-out night at our Table Quiz in Peacock’s Bar Rivervalley on February 9th.

A big thank you to the management and staff for setting out the room and taking such great care of us all on the night.

The craic was mighty, our Quiz Master and STT member Noel Cosgrave gave an outstanding performance and not forgetting the hard work of our Quiz committee, Georgy, Teresa, Isobel, Billy and Ken.

Quiz winners of the night were:

1st place – team “And”

2nd place – team “The Last of Us”

3rd place – team “Go Leir”

We had raffle prizes galore thanks to the generous donations we received from local businesses and individuals. We would like to thank them and all of those who came out on the night in force for supporting us. We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did. The grand total for our fund-raising quiz was €2015, a fantastic result. Once again, a big thank you to everyone for your generosity, all monies raised will benefit our future projects for Swords.