WaterBlitz Event

“A WaterBlitz is a FreshWater Watch activity for the whole community. Usually hosted over one weekend, members of the public can sign up to receive a free water testing kit and become citizen scientists by testing a water body local to them. The data collected by hundreds of people over this same time period gives us an accurate and comparable snapshot of water health within a region.” (FreshWater Watch, 2021)

This year WaterBlitz event was held on the 7th-10th of May, 2021 in Thames Valley, Dublin, Paris and Luxembourg. Dublin event was coordinated by the DCU Water Institute.

Swords Tidy Towns took a chance to participate in this Citizen Science initiative. Four teams have been organised to test five different locations of our local River Ward. It has been a very fun and educational experience for our volunteers, and we’re hoping to continue our participation in WaterBlitz events in the years to come.

The Litter Slob

Enjoy the newest poem by our Swords Tidy Towns Chairperson and take a look at our new poster designed to tackle the problem of discarded face masks around the town.

The Litter Slob
By Ken Duffy
Have you seen the litter, left by litter slobs
No respect for others, environmental yobs
Baskets hanging, with a multitude of colour
Planters on Streets, they couldn't be fuller
Countrywide, Tidy Towns do what they can
Out in all weather, are this volunteer clan
In Hi-Vis, they sweep, crop and clean
In towns and villages, efforts can be seen
Asking for nothing, they toil each day
Picking up rubbish, keeping weeds at bay
Graffiti nationwide, has gotten out of hand
Adds to the workload, of this working band
Never losing heart, continuing with a smile
No matter how high, our rubbish does pile
If you see them out, say doing a great job
Good luck in the battle, against the litter slob

Tree Art Competition

To celebrate the National Tree Week 2021, Swords Tidy Towns in collaboration with Swords Woodland Association had organised a tree art competition for the local children.

The competition has been a huge success and we were overwhelmed with the amount of entries received. Our thanks goes to everyone who entered and a special thank you to our three judges – it was not an easy task. You can see and admire the winning entries in the galleries below.

In the 6-12 years age group, the judges have also decided to award two merit awards. 1st Prize Sarah Onwuegbusi – 100 Euro voucher, 2nd Prize M. Rashim Bangash – 50 Euro voucher, 3rd Prize Amelia Ciurylo – 25 Euro voucher. Merit Award Aria Kelly – 20 Euro voucher, Merit Award Amy Wembridge – 20 Euro voucher.

Here are the wining entries of the Tree art competition in the 13-18 year old age group. 1st Prize Jessica Geraghty – 100 Euro voucher, 2nd Prize Adam Hezam – 50 Euro voucher, and 3rd Prize Eve McMahon – 25 Euro voucher.

Everyone who entered had received this beautiful a poster from the Swords Woodlands Association.

Swords Tidy Towns are runners up in Pride of Place Awards

Swords Tidy Towns are very happy to announce they have been successful in their Pride of Place entry endeavour. We are All Ireland Runners Up in the over 5000 population Category in the 2020 National Pride of Place competition. Considering the National Tidy Towns Competition was cancelled this year, this is a fantastic bonus for the Swords Tidy Towns volunteers who are delighted with our achievements. We wish to extend our thanks to Fingal County Council’s management and staff for all their help and hard work and support over the year.

Read more on Fingal County Council’s website: Great Success for Swords Tidy Towns in Pride of Place Awards

Rafe Costigan (Fingal County Council) presenting Swords Tidy Towns with their Pride of Place runners up trophy

Green Flag Award for Swords Tidy Towns

Swords Tidy Towns have been awarded a Community Green Flag for their Rock Garden Project on the Rathbeale Road.

The project took seed when our Chairperson Ken Duffy approached the head of Fingal County Council Operations Department Colm Rigney with the idea of converting the old derelict playground into a community space. Our Chairperson was told if he got permission from the houses in the immediate area for the project that it would be a runner. To this end our Chairperson and Secretary Teresa Cosgrave called to each house to garnish support for the project, it was given overwhelming support from the residence. The playground was once a Local Rock Quarry that closed in the 1940’s, it was then converted into a playground for the local children, but fell into disrepair in the 1980’s.

STT worked very closely with FCC throughout the whole process in particular with the Operations Dept, there was great cooperation and collaboration. FCC also worked closely with two of our members Matt Cullen and Mary Maxwell on the design of the Rock Garden, their design contributions and suggestions were very much taken on board and incorporated into the final design by FCC.

It is the first time a Green Flag has been awarded in Fingal for a Community Project which makes the award that much more special to our dedicated volunteers. We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to FCC from the top down for their unwavering support of this project. In particular a special mention must be given to the wonderful crew of the Operations Dept whose hard work helped to create this wonderful amenity.

Watch the shortened version of Green Flag Awards video including the interview with our Chairperson Ken Duffy below:

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.


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