Our Biodiversity site - check it out
JTT has its own web site at http://www.jttmonaghan.com (or click on the JTT logo above)
Our heritage site
See our work on Sir Charles Gavan Duffy - born in Dublin Street 0ver 200 years ago.
Are you interested in pledging your garden for pollinators? Contact us!
“Bee Babies” and "Primary Pollinators" new Pollinator Projects from Monaghan Tidy Towns
Monaghan Tidy Towns is developing a new project with the aim of involving children in learning about bees and pollinators from the earliest age. The committee has assembled a pack for each childcare facility in the town containing easy to grow sunflower and nasturtium seeds, window boxes and seed trays as well as a bee hotel so that children can get involved in growing their own flowers for the bees this summer. The pack will also contain a bee soft toy and some bee themed books.
The project, entitled “Bee Babies” will be offered to eight different childcare facilities across Monaghan Town over the next week. Monaghan Tidy Towns will contact each facility in advance of delivery. Monaghan Tidy Towns hopes that the children attending each childcare facility will be able to get involved in growing their own flowers and will learn a little about bees and pollinators in the process.
Supplementing this programme is a similar kit for primary schools in the town - this one includes a butterfly grow kit and identifiers keys for both butterflies and bees from the National Biodiversity Centre.
RECENT NEWS (some of our press releases...)
Monaghan Hug a Tree Day is Coming Back !!
Monaghan Hug a Tree Day will return to Rossmore Forest Park on Saturday 18th June at 11am. Monaghan’s “Hug a Tree Day” was initiated in 2018 as one of Monaghan Tidy Towns’ Biodiversity Town actions and is now returning post pandemic.
Monaghan Tidy Towns are delighted that on this occasion ecologist Billy Flynn will host the walk and talk on trees. Some Yoga will also be offered to those who are interested.
Tidy Towns Chairperson Emer Brennan says that the original idea was inspired by studies over the years that correlated the presence of green spaces with lower symptoms of depression and improve well-being.
“Trees, gardening and getting out into nature in general are all good for our mental health. The Japanese call it Shinrin–yoku or “forest bathing”. Spending time in such environments has been shown to lower blood pressure, glucose levels and stress hormones. This has been part of the Japanese national health programme since 1982. Researchers in Germany have also found physical evidence that a tree-filled environment can boost our mental health. Brain scans on 350 adults found the structure of the amygdala – the part of the brain which deals with anxiety – was more robust among those with close access to trees. The upshot of all this is that trees are good for us, not only do they provide us with wood for construction, furniture and heat but they also clean the air of pollution and carbon dioxide while adding beauty to our landscape and making us feel good too.”
“Monaghan Tidy Towns seeks to promote the appreciation of trees in and around our town environment and this event is all about just that. Monaghan Tidy Towns has now managed to plant hundreds of trees including many pollinator friendly fruit trees through their “Dispersed Urban Orchard” project over recent years. So, why not come and join us on a love in with our local trees at 11am on Saturday 18th June in Rossmore Forest Park! You have an option to Join in with some yoga, discover more about Rossmore and meet Billy our tree expert for a walk in the park. And feel free to hug a tree before you leave! “
Participants are asked to gather in the main car park for the 11am start.
This event is being organised in association with Monaghan Mental Health Association and all are welcome.”
Monaghan Tidy Towns Respect the Dandelion Campaign
Monaghan Tidy Towns Committee are reminding everyone of the importance of dandelions at this time of year.
“We would like to thank everyone who has delayed mowing to allow dandelions to bloom. Dandelions have been demonised as pernicious weeds for many years, however we now realise that if people hold back on mowing at this time of year we are helping a whole range of garden wildlife which depends on them for food - so we are saying let dandelions grow, bees, beetles and birds still need them,” explained Committee Chairperson, Emer Brennan.
“Right now dandelions are in full bloom and they are providing much needed food, particularly for bees. Dandelions are often the first flower we see in spring and the last in autumn. Although in flower for most of the year, the dandelion’s peak flowering time is from late March to May, when many bees and other pollinators emerge from hibernation. Each flower in fact consists of up to 100 florets, each one packed with nectar and pollen. This early, easily available source of food is a lifesaver for pollinators in spring and that’s why we have asked people to hold off on mowing for a couple of weeks.”
“Bumblebees, solitary bees and honeybees all visit dandelions for food, along with hoverflies, beetles, and butterflies. No one should feel ashamed of dandelions growing on their lawns, now that we know how important they are in the spring.”
“In fact. the sight of dandelions blooming on lawns and verges is a sign that the householder is helping the survival of Ireland's endangered bumblebees and wild solitary bees. Ireland's wild bees are in decline because they are going hungry because of a lack of food in the landscape. Dandelions are a superfood for bees and according to Dr Una FitzPatrick, senior ecologist at the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford, letting dandelions grow must not be seen as a sign of neglect or laziness. Wild bees are vital in pollinating Ireland's fruit crops and plants. There are 20 species of Irish bumblebees and 77 species of wild solitary bees in Ireland. One third of these bee species are in danger of disappearing altogether.
"We are working to change the perception that is so ingrained everywhere that dandelions are a weed. The presence of dandelions is very important to our wild bees that have such an important role in nature.
A queen bumblebee must visit 6,000 flowers every day when she comes out of hibernation. Even if gardeners decided to allow dandelions grow in certain areas of their gardens or allow them grow even on one strip of grass or along the borders or on verges, it would be very helpful to wild bees. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has achieved some successes with the cooperation of gardeners and TidyTowns committees across the country. Monaghan Tidy Towns were the first winners of the National Pollinator Awards in 2016.
The Dispersed Urban Orchard Returns for Monaghan Tidy Towns
Monaghan Tidy Towns is bringing back its award winning apple tree project for 2022. The Dispersed Urban Orchard project gave apple and fruit trees to residents of the town to plant in their own gardens at a low fee (€5).
Recipients must be from Monaghan Town and must give their address to allow the mapping of the trees across the town environs.
“Monaghan Tidy Towns has no land so we were looking for ways to plant fruit trees to help pollinators such as bees, particularly in the spring. We came up with the idea of using peoples gardens. People get the trees for very low cost, the trees are planted across the town and pollinators get more sources for food when they need it most. It’s a win, win situation. This project was a major contributor to our National Pollinator Award in 2016, when we were the first winners of that particular award.” Explained Committee Chairperson, Emer Brennan.
A limited number of apple trees will be available next Saturday 23rd April from a location beside the Men’s Shed on St Davnet’s Campus from 11am to 12pm.
Watch Out – IBAL Litter Inspectors could be about!!
Monaghan Tidy Towns is warning everyone that this is the time of year when the IBAL (Irish Business against Litter) inspectors may visit.
“IBAL publishes its “Litter League” twice a year, usually in early September and early January. However their inspections take place much earlier. Monaghan Town is the only town in the county to be inspected under this scheme and we expect that inspectors could be visiting any time from now on. IBAL looks at litter in a number of locations around the town. They usually include an approach road, a town centre location, carparks and a housing estate, among others,” explained Monaghan TidyTowns’ Emer Brennan.
“These locations are graded A, B, C depending on their condition with an A grade being the top grade. Lower grades bring the town’s score down. Towns are ranked from 1 – 40 and our last score in January saw Monaghan ranked 12th out of 40 and “Clean to European Norms”. This was Monaghan’s best performance in many years, with seven top ranking sites and no heavily littered sites.
Needless to say we want to return to the top ten this year. To do this we need to get as many Grade A sites as possible and we are asking the public’s help with that. We know that IBAL will keep returning to problem sites until they see improvement. So this spring we are publishing our previous result and asking proprietors and the general public to do their bit to keep the town free of litter. Anyone wishing to join our “Litter Vigilante” volunteers can contact us for information on how they can help,” she added.
“Recycling banks around the town are a particular problem with regular poor grades given. They are a serial offenders and regular litter blackspots with rubbish regularly strewn around them, behind them, on top of them etc. We plead with people not to use them as dumping grounds.”
The scores from the last IBAL inspection were as follows
Northern Standard R&S Printers: Grade A., Attractive ironwork signage indicates the name of this site. Wonderful bright wall mural adds some welcome colour to some parts of the site. The point at which the mural stops reveal what the other very unattractive alternative is. There was a complete absence of litter throughout.
Diamond Centre: Grade B. There was some improvement at this site which had been stubbornly littered for quite some time. However, it was still a littered site with heavy levels of cigarette butts, sweet papers, fast-food wrappers and plastic. A more thorough and sustained regime is required to bring this site to Grade A status.
‘The Diamond’: Grade A. A very attractively presented and maintained town centre environment with planting, paving, seating, buildings, ornamental trees etc. in very good condition.
Market Street / Market House: Grade A. The fine building at Market House has been very well cared for. There was a virtual absence of litter in the immediate environs and along Market Street.
Derelict / Boarded up premises, Market Street: Grade A. Clearly a careful eye is kept on this fire scorched site as there was no litter directly associated with it.
Park Street: Grade A. There were no litter issues along this street. The paving was mixed with some parts adorned with an attractive stone.
Devin Reilly Park / Terrace: Grade A. There was a virtual absence of litter at this residential area, replete with large expanse of communal grass area. The bench was in very good condition.
N54 Approach towards Cavan: Grade A. A freshly presented and well maintained route in / out of Monaghan. Road surface, markings and signage were in good order.
N54 Cavan Approach Road: Grade B. The main visible litter items along this route included heavy levels of fast-food wrappers, sweet papers and plastic. Other items may lurk beneath the heavy verge side growth.
Recycle Facility, at Tesco: Grade B. The Recycle units were freshly presented with clear and legible signage associated with the usage of same. There were significant quantities of broken glass to the front of the units, bottle top / lids and cardboard boxes in the immediate vicinity. Many of the units were full / overflowing, indicating a need to empty.
Monaghan Tidy Towns Table Quiz
Monaghan Tidy Towns Committee’s Table Quiz in Terry’s Bar last Friday was a highly enjoyable event. The Committee wishes to thank all those who helped organise the night and all those organised a team or just came along themselves to support on the night.
The committee also expressed thanks to Terry's Bar and staff and to Seamus & Stephen for their hard work. Appreciation to all of the businesses who were so generous in donating spot prizes for the night Magills, Mr. James, Neighbourhood, The Squealing Pig,, Andy's, Dinkins, Ronaghans, DG Hair, Xavier Murray, Crystal Reiki, Blacks Chemist, Boots Chemist, Tesco, Zoya, The Poc, the Men's Shed, Airex, Mc Connons Londis, The Shambles Bar, Mc Caugheys, Pharmacy First, Stephen Connelly, Monica Treanor. We hope everyone enjoyed the evening, Congratulations to the winning team too who so generously returned their prize. The committee now looks forward to making the table quiz an annual event.
Monaghan and Emyvale Tidy Towns Team Up for National spring Clean
Despite unfavourable weather some two dozen volunteers from Monaghan Tidy Towns and Emyvale TidyTowns teamed up for their National Spring Clean on the N2 Emyvale Road last weekend.
Emyvale Tidy Towns started from the village and worked towards Monaghan along the N2 while Monaghan TidyTowns volunteers began at Sam’s Bridge / Maxol at Coolshannagh and worked in the opposite direction.
The groups met at Corracrin for a quick picnic sponsored by Monaghan County Council.
The groups thanked Sharon Finegan of Monaghan County Council for her help with this project which they hope to repeat next year.
Monaghan Tidy Towns Promoting Urban Biodiversity
Monaghan Town has made huge strides in the National Tidy Towns competition over the last ten years, rising from being the straggler in county terms to third place behind Glaslough and Carrickmacross. With a number of special national awards including the Climate Change Award, Youth Awards and the first National Pollinator Award in 2016 as well as several bronze and silver medals in the bag, Monaghan Tidy Towns Committee is now aiming for Gold.
The completion is a challenge for any large town, however Monaghan has been blessed by the quality of its volunteers, with two of them, Gerry Murdock and Alice Creagh having been awarded joint county Volunteers of the Year in 2018. Over the years too, children and young people involved in Junior Tidy Towns groups have made a very significant contribution, particularly in their local estates, Cluain Lorcain being a case in point. The youngsters in Teach na nDaoine have also distinguished themselves with their eco projects.
Collaboration with other groups in the town such as Solas, Monaghan Mental Health Association, Rehab, the National Learning Network, local businesses, residents committees, the council workers and of course the very supportive Men’s Shed has been vital for a committee dealing with a large town. The annual awards organised by the committee recognises all these as well as our indispensable “Litter Vigilantes” who work alone or in groups to wage war on litter throughout the town all year round.
Up until 2019 all Tidy Towns work was completely voluntary so the committee is now delighted to get support from the local CE scheme to supplement volunteers.
The committee has always been keen to learn from others and involvement in Monaghan Tidy Towns County Network has been invaluable. Tidy Towns groups are always eager to share information and project ideas and initial field trips to successful villages and towns in other counties and across the border have proved inspirational.
A habitat survey of the town over ten years ago found that Monaghan was a town rich in natural biodiversity. With two lakes, two rivers and a canal within its boundaries supplemented by wooded areas such as Tom Young’s Wood, the Greenway and of course Rossmore Park, the potential for the town to build on these strengths was obvious. Tidy Towns committees generally work on three year development plans and Monaghan Town’s most recent was highly praised by judges for its unique approach in making biodiversity central to all it does.
The committee has been very active in promoting biodiversity through events such as the annual Hug a Tree Day, Biodiversity Town Day and murals with a biodiversity theme, the most recent of which is the “Respect the Dandelion” mural by Joe Mallon on Dawson Street.
In the absence of judging this year there has been an opportunity to increase pollinator friendly and perennial planting in flower beds and containers and to begin the process of low mow in the town. The committee is grateful to the new council horticulturalist, Michael Carroll for his work and support as well as the council’s decision to sign up to the National Pollinator Plan.
Plans for more wildflower beds on approach roads and estates are also underway. Its not all about plants however. Our most recent project involves an upgrade of facades on Dublin Street and connected alleyways in an effort to make the street more attractive to consumers.
Although our annual awards are cancelled for this year we are judging gardens at the moment with a view to recognising the best and the most pollinator friendly nominees and we have also devised an acknowledgement award for the best presented businesses which will be distributed in the coming weeks.
As always new volunteers are always welcome and information is available on our web site at www.monaghantidytowns.com