The benefits to Cashel town centre from this week’s visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II could pay off in a huge increase in visitors over the coming years, and even a boost in this year’s Tidy Towns!
In the days before the visit the town was a-buzz with activity - cleaning, painting and planting, with everyone in the town joining in with the effort to make the town they are so proud of look its very best when it is the focus of world media on Friday.
Not only is there a massive coordinated effort by the Town Council and the local Tidy Towns organisation to get roads, grass verges and flower beds looks neat and colourful, but individuals in the town have taken the initiative to paint doors, walls and window frames, ensuring the whole town is ready to impress.
There has been surfacing completed on the Circular Road, work has been carried out at the Ladyswell junction, tree and flower planting has taken place. The approach roads to the town look fantastic.
“We have got great cooperation from people who own premises in Cashel, with painting etc carried out,” town clerk, Marie McGivern said, adding that owners of derelict buildings have also come onboard and spruced up their premises.
Ms McGivern has encouraged a cooperative approach to maintaining the town since taking up her role, in 2008, and the council, Tidy Towns and Chamber of Commerce all share the same aim of presenting Cashel in the most positive light they can.
For anyone worrying that this work will bite into the Town Council’s budget for the year there is good news - all this work is being carried out under the 2001 roads work plan and the agreed plan with the Tidy Towns group, and would have been completed over the summer months anyway. The visit of the British monarch has caused the plan to be speeded up and completed much earlier than was first planned.
“What we are doing is what we would normally do. Approximately 40 jobs are in 2011 plan as part of the Tidy Towns three-year plan. We have front ended the work for the last three weeks, working flat out. Fas workers have done a huge amount of work on the approach roads with grass cutting, flower planting and fences painted. Only for the visit we wouldn’t be as far ahead,” said the town clerk
“This has brought out a whole community spirit and pride in neighbourhoods, not only in the main thoroughfares but also in the estates. There’s a real ‘feel good’ factor among all the people that are doing the work.”
A surprise benefit from the impending visit is an increase of people volunteering to help CAshel Tidy Towns. The queen’s visit seems to have served to focus people’s minds on what needs to be done in the town, and as the Tidy TOwns group got dow to some serious planting after the recent bad weather they found their numbers had swelled.
Maureen Derby, a Tidy Towns committee member, said a “great group of poeple” had helped with planing along the Old Dublin Road, last week, where grass verges were cut and flowers planted. Thanks to the volunteers the group are not far behind where they would normally be at this time of the year.
Even before the visit of the queen was announced they had been aiming to have Cashel looking its best for the EU Charter event, at the end of June. “With more people on board we are getting things done quicker. The Council are also on board, which is a good thing. The fact we are all working together is good, the council, Tidy Towns and Fas. Even people ‘outside’ Tidy Towns are not hesitating to join in.”
Even those not involved with the Tidy Towns are making a great effort, Maureen said, with businesses painting their premises. “We are delighted, because a lot of places needed painting,” she said.
Tidy Towns judging could take place in June and the town is sure to see a reflection of its hard work undertaken in recent weeks.