A celebration of neighbours in Leixlip

LEIXLIP Tidy Town Association celebrated its 50th year of existence on 20 September and were congratulated on winning a bronze medal in their category in the national competition.

LEIXLIP Tidy Town Association celebrated its 50th year of existence on 20 September and were congratulated on winning a bronze medal in their category in the national competition.

At a well attended function in Leixlip House Hotel, the Town Council hosted a special thank you to the many volunteers who have and still provide their voluntary labour to keep up the town’s appearance.

The gathering was reminded by Tom Malone, who celebrates his 60th wedding anniversary this year, that good neighbours are the greatest gifts.

Town Council chairperson, Colm Purcell, a Leixlip native, welcomed everyone to the gathering and recalled the town in the early sixties around the time the LTTA was founded in 1962.

“One of the first jobs it did was to plant trees and paint a fence in St. Mary’s Park,” he noted.

At the time the larger housing estates of Castletown, Oaklawn and Elton Court did not exist.

There were also, he said, more bus stops in the town area than there are now.

“Everybody borrowed Mick Nolan’s cart,” recalled Cllr. Purcell, who made a presentation of certificates to the volunteers.

He said the TTA and the Town Council has the same vision, to keep Leixlip clean and beautiful.

He recalled many older residents such as Tom and Ned Malone, who played a GAA game for Leixlip at the age of 68 and Conor O’Brien, a long time stalwart.

Cllr. Purcell later recalled that Mr. O’Brien, who spoke on the history of the group, was named, locally as the “Minister for Grass,” due to the likeness of his name with that of one time Government Minister, Conor Cruise O’Brien. “They are a wonderful band of people and we salute their bronze medal,” he said, noting the town did not always have volunteers.

Conor O’Brien said the Tidy Town Associations, launched in conjunction with Bord Failte in 1958 have had an undeniable influence on the Irish landscape.

He outlined the early history and the people in it, reflecting the changing times.

A short film, taken then by Colonel E. O’Neill, an early member, showed us many of them at work, as well as an early Water Festival on the ESB lake, attended by members of the Curragh sub-aqua team.

Mr. O’Brien said the TTA would like to see more local business people involved in their activities.

He thanked the Town Council for the evening and SuperValu for twenty one years of support.

Tom Malone, Life President of St. Mary’s GAA club, reminded the gathering of the many historic gems of Leixlip, including a holy well of St. Colmcille’s which existed at the river in Glendale estate.

He also recalled the town feeling the knock on effects of the bombs dropped on Dublin’s North Strand in World War 2. “The windows were shaking out in Leixlip and so were we.”

For Mr. Malone, Tidy Towns was about neighbours, something he cherishes. “We have a recession now. We had them before. You should keep going. If someone needs something go and give it to them. A good neigbbour is the best thing you can have.”

- Henry Bauress