THE completion of the proposed €66,000 historic tourist trail in Killaloe under a new scheme designed by Clare County Council should result in another increase in marks for the town in the Tidy Towns’ competition next year.
That’s according to Killaloe Tidy Towns’ chairman, Norman Molloy, who is encouraged by the steady improvements in the overall ratings in the competition this year.
Killaloe has improved in its overall rating from 225 marks in 2006 to 259 this year.
Mr Molloy is confident that the provision of improved signage and information boards for 11 points of interest, such as Brian Boru’s Fort, should make a big difference when judging takes place next year.
Clare County Council was successful in its application for Government funding under Phase Two of the Historic Towns’ Initiative for Killaloe. Grant funding has been approved and €16,500 will be donated by the council from its planning contributions.
New signage on the 4.5km trail will guide visitors around local sites of historical interest and provide information on the historic significance of the selected sites. The aim of the scheme is to maximise the tourism potential of the town and enhance the visitor’s overall experience.
Starting on Killaloe Bridge, at a place known locally as Between the Waters, the trail continues around the town and out to Brian Boru’s Fort.
Points of historical interest include Killaloe/Ballina bridge, the library/heritage centre, Tobermurragh, St Flannan’s Way, St Lua’s Oratory, Roman Catholic Church/Harry Clarke Window, the courthouse, Main Street, Killaloe, St Flannan’s Cathedral and St Flannan’s Oratory.
Over the past year, 12 local Tidy Towns volunteers have been busy improving the appearance of the heritage and wildlife area at Tobermurragh near the Pier Head and the Aille Bhain overlooking the canal walk. In addition to general cleaning and improvement works, the committee hopes to enhance these two key areas even further before the judges arrive next year.
Mr Molloy admitted that the committee was a little disappointed to only receive once extra mark for the built-up environment, considering the work they had put into improving the appearance of derelict sites and the general approach routes to buildings.
“It is difficult to increase marks in the Tidy Towns’ competition. Senior executive engineer, Séan Lenihan has been helpful and we look forward to further co-operation from the council. Residents groups in the town have lent their assistance and we hope to get some help from students in the local national schools and St Anne’s Community College.
“It is important that all the amenities in Killaloe are used to their full potential. The aim of the committee is to keep Killaloe clean and tidy all year round and not just when the judges are visiting the area.
“First impressions are important for tourists and it is also important we keep the place clean for the benefit of the local community,” he said.
The Tidy Towns’ judges recommended that the committee should focus on progressing work at the excellent Tobermurragh Wild Park project and select a suitable project under the Waste Minimisation category.
“The recycling area located at Between the Waters was well maintained and clear of litter. The public toilet nearby was well presented and display maps were in good condition. There were some weeds at the base of the canal walls, which should be removed.
“Other weeds were observed at the base on the brown Killaloe/Ballina Heritage town sign on the Ogonnelloe approach road. This might be a good spot to locate a suitable planted container.
“A bench located at the green area across the road from Tobermurragh was in need of repair and a nearby sign for the hotel was almost obscured by tree branches,” the report stated.