Last week flower boxes were being placed outside businesses in Naas, as the latest piece in the jigsaw which will push Naas closer to winning the over national Tidy Towns award.
For the past few years now, Naas has been placed among the top towns in Ireland. Everybody lends a hand. Kildare County Council provides resources, including an office, and it replaced shrubs that were stolen from Abbey Street earlier this year.
So too do local businesses owners who try to keep their premises as attractive as possible.
But, obviously, most of the work is done by the platoons of volunteers who are engaged in a multiplicity of projects. These include widespread planting on all of the approach roads to the town as well as incessant litter picks and even conservation projects like encouraging bees and flowers to thrive at Naas CBS; a kingfisher study and even an otter survey, which has identified the families of that species which are native to the Naas area.
The canal harbour area, is naturally attractive because of the canal which meets the harbour wall there after a branch of the waterway directs itself along the edge of Sarto towards Corbally on the other side of the town.
READ MORE: Straffan wins Tidy Towns, Naas are second
But it’s been enhanced with a clean-up and a lot of planting in the area;
although there’s not much they can do about the derelict buildings which you pass en route from the main street.
Three years ago NTT completed two wildlife projects. Bird nest boxes were put in the town to increase the number of garden bird numbers. This was done by putting up 30 nest boxes which were mounted, numbered and mapped at selected locations around the town. The boxes were made by inmates within Irish prisons as a community exercise.
At the same time a tree trail was marked out around the lakes area with plaques identifying 14 mainly native trees. This year Naas Tidy Towns is involved with 122 projects as part of the push towards a national title.
Naas has been winning gold medals routinely since 2014 and mention must also be made of Straffan, which actually outperforms Naas on the points table but it competes in a different category, because of its population.
Two years ago the town received 314 points, which was an increase on the marks awarded the previous year and had Naas placed just nine points behind the overall winner, Letterkenny.
Last year the town received four more marks, garnering a total of 318 — which was 9 behind the overall winner Skerries.
The competition adjudicators are due to visit any time between June 25 and July 15 and if — as is virtually certain — the town performs well enough, a second visit and assessment will take place; though NTT will not be made aware of this.
NTT has pretty much accepted that it’s unlikely to win the competition this year and it will be an achievement to increase its points total again.
If this happens it would cement its position in the top tier and one final push next year or the year after could take the town over the finishing line ahead of the the rest of the competition.
That’s the strategy, ultimate success achieved incrementally.
If, or when, Naas win the title it’ll be first County Kildare town to do so.
It’s a remarkable statistic that County Kildare has no town on the roll of honour which goes back to 1958 when Glenties in Co. Donegal was adjudged the tidiest town in the country, winning a three-in-a-row and coming back for a fourth in 1962.