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.

Hedge Laying Community Event

In January 2023, Swords Tidy Towns volunteers took part in their first event of the new year – hedge laying community event. We thank you Mark McDowell from the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland for a fantastic hands-on workshop. It was very informative and enjoyable.

Deborah Tiernan, the Biodiversity Officer at Fingal County Council explains the background to this project:

“The development of hedgerow management guidance for Fingal is a specific action within the FCC Biodiversity Plan. Fingal are currently in the process of mapping the location and condition of all valuable hedgerows on public lands within the Fingal area. During the consultation process for the local town biodiversity plans which were prepared in consultation with the local tidy towns groups, one of the main emerging issues and concerns related to the loss of the historic hedgerows in the north county Dublin area. Many of the remnants of these hedgerows remain within the open spaces of residential areas. The towns of Swords, Balbriggan and Skerries were chosen to launch the first phase of the countywide hedgerow project.

The first phase of this project involved a series of community hedge laying events in the towns of Swords, Balbriggan and Skerries. Each community hedge laying day involves the practical demonstration of how to lay a hedge and the importance of proper hedgerow management that allows a hedge to flower, produce berries/seeds, provide habitat and shelter for birds and particularly pollinating insects.

Demonstration hedgerows were chosen in each of the three towns on open spaces where a community could gather and watch in an outdoor classroom setting. The Hedge laying Association of Ireland were engaged to carry out this series of community training days to demonstrate how to lay a hedge correctly and the associated biodiversity benefits of proper hedgerow management.  The locations chosen offer real opportunity for children and adults alike to witness the changing of the seasons as the hedge buds, flowers, and dies back over winter within a dynamic urban residential setting.

In Swords this event was organised by the FCC Biodiversity Team in consultation with Swords Tidy Towns and Swords Woodland Association. A veteran hedge between Glen Ellen and Sandford Wood Estate was chosen that would respond well to a rejuvenation process. The Hedge Laying Association of Ireland advised and supervised all the works on site, which involved the volunteers manually removing of litter, the removal of dense ivy growth which was shading the whitethorn, removal of brambles and the removal of dead and decaying wood from within the hedge. The process of laying a hedge then required the bending of living branches and weaving these branches within the hedge. The bending process involves cutting into the trunk which rejuvenates the new growth that will emerge in the spring. Please see for more information on this process.”

Melanie’s send-off

Melanie van der Linde has become a valuable member of STT over the last few years, generously volunteering  her graphic design and face-painting expertise. This is addition to regular litter picking and helping with our gardening projects. Her enthusiasm and sense of humour will be missed, when she moves away.

STT Christmas Party 2022

To celebrate yet another successful year, STT members gathered at the Peacock Bar in Rivervalley on December 9th  for an evening of song and dance. Due to Covid restrictions, our 2021 party was by Zoom. So it was wonderful to start the festive season face to face this year.

We were joined by councillors Ann Grave, Joe Newman, Ian Carey, Darragh Butler and Dean Mulligan, who have been wonderful supporters of STT all year.

Karaoke was once again the most popular entertainment of the evening, with many of our members being keen to share their musical talents. 

Neither were they shy about taking to the dance floor. 

STT members really know how to party!

Halloween Bucket Collection 2022

Once again, FCC provided a wonderful evening of Halloween family entertainment at Swords Castle, ending in a magnificent fireworks display.

It was also an opportunity for STT to raise funds for our ongoing projects. Luckily we have a talented artist and face painter in our ranks. Melanie van der Linde transformed our volunteers into ghouls and witches, who moved among the crowds with their collection buckets. They were joined by our chairman Ken Duffy, whose make up was done by Aoife, from “Aoife’s Fun with Faces”. 

Thanks to the generosity of the people of Swords, the total amount collected is €1054.45!

The ongoing financial and moral support from the people of Swords is greatly appreciated. 

SuperValu Pavilions Re-opening

On the 24th of November 2022 Swords Tidy Towns members were invited to the opening of the newly refurbished SuperValu shop in Pavillions Shopping Centre. Our volunteers were watered and fed and very well looked after by management and staff.

A cheque was presented to Swords Tidy Towns for €1000 in recognition of our hard work. The support shown to our group is very much appreciated. St Francis Hospice, Dublin Gravity Autism and Swords Senior Citizens were also among the local groups shown recognition and support.