All posts by tidytowns

October News

A new Tidy Towns year has started off with our recent Public Meeting held in October.  At the meeting, residents were given an overview of our work in 2017 and our plans for 2018. We discussed our results in the competitions and it’s clear that to improve our position we will need a lot more volunteers and 2 new Committee member. Thanks to all who attended and to the 2 Gardai who attended and answered your concerns about anti-social behaviour and crime in the area.

We have a lot of ideas for 2018 ourselves but any bright ideas you may have are always welcome. The response to our Annual Envelope Appeal will dictate the success of our plans for this year along with the availability of sufficient “willing hands”.  So we hope to proceed with the idea of creating a number of small sub-groups in each estate/road where the main Tidy Towns will do the “heavy lifting” and the local group will do the on-going maintenance. If you would be interested in setting up a Residents Association in your area to work with Tidy Towns we’d love to hear from you. You can email us on

Just a reminder of our Community Walk on Bank Holiday Monday 30th October (4 Castles and a Corn Mill) starting at 11:30 from Shanganagh Castle.  We’re holding our annual Table quiz night in the Tennis Club on Quinns Road on Friday 17th November at 8pm. Both events should be very enjoyable and are worthy of your support – come along & bring a friend – The more the merrier.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thanks those residents who helped us with the watering and planting during the summer.

Don’t forget another way to support us is to buy our beautiful Shankill Calendar which will be on sale shortly.




Start: Shanganagh Castle, Bray Road @ 11:30 – 3pm Approx.

Under the expert guidance of Mr. Rob Goodbody (Local Historian).

The walk will visit 3 of the Castles and a Corn Mill which will involve a walk of approximately 6km and will take approximately 3 hours.

There is an option for the participants to avail of a special meal in Brady’s which you need to book in advance – Phone: 282 0153.

Walkers have a choice of parking in Shanganagh Castle (Old Bray Road) or at Brady’s (Main St) and the walk will begin at Shanganagh Castle at 11:30am sharp.

Access to the 3 castles is by kind permission of the landowners.


Bray Road back towards the Village to Pedestrian Crossing in Main Street

Along Dublin Mountain Way to Ballybride Road

Cross into Lordello Road

Turn right in to Ferndale Road and up to Castle Gate

Castle Gate to Rathmichael Church

Cross to Mullinastill Road and down Cherrywood Road to Whelehan’s (Silver Tassie)

Cross N11 at Pedestrian lights and walk south

Down Commons Road.

Stop at Mill Lane and Beechlawn

Cross back down Shanganagh Road and back to the Village and/or Shanganagh Castle.

A “Lidl” Planning Issue in Shankill

Cllr Cormac Devlin
23rd August, 2017

A “Lidl” Planning Issue in Shankill:

This week the planners of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown sought further information from Lidl, Ireland about their extensive plans for the redevelopment of the former Shankill Shopping Centre site. Lidl Ireland proposes a redesign of the main retail unit as well as the building of several, new, standalone; Café, Crèche and Medical Centre units on-site.

Fianna Fáil Councillor, Cormac Devlin stated that “there has been considerable comment about aspects of these plans since they were first published in late April, 2017. I welcome the fact that Lidl held a one day public consultation day in advance of submitting their plans however they failed to make any changes to their submission post the “consultation” event. The majority of the local residents that I’ve spoken to are very pleased that this site could be revitalised after many years of effectively being dormant. There have been several submissions made which locals are hoping Lidl will finally accommodate and include in aspects of their “additional information”. One aspect is a simple one which is the design of the overall retail unit. This feature includes the retention of the apex, tiled/slated roof. This would ensure that the centre retains its neighbourhood centre feel and not the semi-industrial look that Lidl want to impose on the quant Village of Shankill. I raised these concerns and others with the Council’s Area Planners. This design would be more in-keeping with the existing zoning for the site in the current County Development Plan 2016-2022″

14 submissions were made by local residents seeking changes to elements of the plan put forward by Lidl. Some other concerns that were raised highlighted the over-development of the site, not retaining the character of the original shopping centre, concerns about excessive traffic and lack of parking for the development itself.
Cllr. Devlin said “I welcome the fact that the planners of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown have listened to the concerns of residents and groups in the Shankill area by seeking further information from Lidl. I hope that Lidl will now accommodate as many of these concerns as possible and that they make the necessary changes to their plans. Lidl did this when they sought planning permission for their shop in Glenageary. They took on the concerns then and I believe they should now do the same for the people of Shankill” concluded Cllr. Devlin.

The Shankill Shopping Centre was once home to Super Valu which was sold in 2011 to Superquinn. That deal fell through and the centre was subsequently bought by Bilaro which lodged a planning application with the Council in 2013. Permission was granted for a 15,000sq.m centre and work began. 

The Bilaro group had practically redeveloped the entire site which saw the retention of the apex roof and the existing tenants (O’Donnells Pharmacy and Envy Hairdressers) but work stalled and they then sold the site onto Lidl, Ireland GmbH.

Shanks Mare: Community Walk & Picnic

Our next outing will be on Monday 1st May with a guided walk and the opportunity for a picnic on the Castle lawn.  You and your family just arrive at Shanganagh Castle on the Bray Road) at 11:00 am, park your car and if you wish to leave your picnic in same or in the allotments prefab. The walk will start from the Castle and will include a talk , by Rob Goodbody at Old Rathmichael Church and Graveyard and Rathmichael Ring Fort. The walk should take approximately 2 hours but unfortunately the ground is not buggy friendly, and back to the Castle for your picnic (weather permitting).  We hope to have fresh tea or coffee available in the prefab and if you bring your own wine we can put it in the fridge for you.

If for your own good reasons, you can’t take part in the walk, you’re welcome to bring along your picnic at 2pm. Alternatively you can order your picnic lunch from Bradys (Tel: 2820153 then press 2 ) or One Café (Tel: 2826139) before 5pm on the 29th  and it will be awaiting you at the Castle on your return from the walk.

Autumn is upon us and the daylight is getting shorter so it is time to say goodbye to our Thursday Night Team (TNT) for this year. A huge big thank you to all the volunteers who have come out over the summer, giving up their time to help Tidy Towns keep our village clean and beautiful and great place to live, work, play and visit.

We will be starting a Saturday morning team for the Autumn/Winter months and if you would like to get involved you can join our Teamer alerts, email or keep an eye on facebook and twitter.


Rathmichael Parish & School Fete

The nights are drawing in, school is back, Indian Summer - it can only mean one thing, time for the renowned RATHMICHAEL PARISH & SCHOOL GARDEN FETE. A community event not to be missed.

This SATURDAY 3rd September 2016 12pm-4pm.

Great food, entertainment for young and old, face-painting, raffle, live music, and all that jazz… And of course outstanding value in all the fabulous stalls from vintage to good as new, local produce & goods at the Country Fayre stall and Deli Stall, toys, games, books, sports equipment and stunning tubs & planters at the Plant & Garden Stall and so much more…

Ecotherapy: when your prescription is a walk in the woods

Ecotherapy: when your prescription is a walk in the woods

Woodland walks: The Woodlands for Health project in Co Wicklow was set up in 2012. It has offered 12 weekly walks in nature to people using Wicklow mental-health services.

Imagine getting a prescription from your GP for a walk in the woods, a spot of gardening or even a surf lesson. It’s not as improbable as it sounds.

With the prescription of antidepressants at record levels globally and a huge demand for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other psychological therapies, health and social care services are turning to nature-based interventions as part of a new solution for mental health.

Known as green care or ecotherapy, nature-based interventions have been shown to increase general mental wellbeing, reduce depression, anxiety and stress-related symptoms, and improve dementia-related symptoms, among other benefits.

While nature-based interventions in mental health are still new to Ireland, ecotherapy projects are widespread throughout the US, Canada and the UK. The most common forms of green care are social and therapeutic horticulture (STH), environmental conservation interventions and care farming (see panel for more information).

Other forms include animal-assisted therapy, arts and crafts in nature, and green gyms.

Mind, the UK mental health charity, funded 130 ecotherapy projects across England with £7.5 million (€9.4 million) in lottery monies through its Ecominds programme between 2009 and 2013. More than 12,000 people used these projects to look after their mental health by gardening, farming, growing, exercise, art and crafts, or environmental conservation works, supported by trained professionals.

The Green Gym movement in the UK combines exercise to improve health and fitness, while taking action to improve the environment.

A national evaluation of 52 Green Gym projects in the UK suggests that ecotherapy is an accessible, cost-effective complement to existing treatment options for mild to moderate mental health problems.

Therapeutic garden

Ireland has been slower to embrace the green care concept, but awareness is starting to grow here. St John of God Hospital in Dublin introduced a green gym about six years ago, and St Patrick’s University Hospital opened a therapeutic garden and pet area on its campus last year.

An evaluation of the Green Prescription exercise referral programme piloted by the HSE West in Co Donegal found that it not only reduced obesity in participants, but impacted positively on physical and mental health.

The Woodlands for Health project in Co Wicklow was set up in 2012. It has offered 12 weekly walks in nature to people using Wicklow mental-health services. It is led by guides from Coillte and participants are accompanied by a community mental-health nurse, Ita Kelly. The three-hour walks include a talk on the environment, environmental art and relaxation. At the end of the programme, participants share a meal to celebrate their achievements.

Last year the project was evaluated by the HSE and University College Dublin, which found that participants improved their mood by 75 per cent and sleep by 66 per cent; in addition, their thoughts of suicide declined by 82 per cent.

David Staunton, founder of Walk Inniú, Counselling Psychotherapy Outdoors, lives on a busy street in inner city Dublin and while he enjoys city life, he strongly identifies with the greener, quieter and more natural setting of his native west of Ireland.

“I have been living in Dublin most of my life now, and three or four years ago I went through my own personal process. I felt something was missing, I wasn’t getting enough green space and needed to reconnect with nature. I looked at how I could combine my work and love of the outdoors, and that is what led to me setting up Walk Inniú two years ago.”

While Staunton provides a form of ecotherapy, he points out that it is “not just a walk in the park or woods”, but a full counselling psychotherapy session outdoors. He uses a number of parks in Dublin city, including the Phoenix Park, and he lets the client choose where they want to work.

“I like the idea of having a portal, like a tree which the client picks, where we start the therapy. Nature does its own thing in the background, like a co-therapist, and mindfulness is very much part of the therapy, but it’s always up to the client what they want to talk about. Some people like to walk through the park, others like to sit on a bench.

“We come back to our portal at the end of the session and check back in to the wild, busy world.”

Staunton is holding an Ecotherapy Open Day on Sunday, September 11th in the Phoenix Park to promote the concept.


Sinéad Gleeson, a senior mental health social worker, is another fervent advocate of the benefits of ecotherapy. Last year, she came together with Diarmuid McAree, former chief forestry inspector with the Irish Forest Service, and research psychologist Donal O’Keeffe to set up Nature, Health and Wellbeing Ireland which delivers evidence-based ecotherapy interventions around the country.

This month they are launching their Green Prescription intervention for people aged 18 and over who are experiencing stress or mental health difficulties.

“The programme involves eight two-hour walks over eight weeks in locations around south Dublin and Wicklow. It will include nature connection, mindfulness, physical activity, expressive arts and social connection,” Gleeson explains.

The team at Nature, Health and Wellbeing also provides gentle guided forest therapy walks in parks, gardens and forests around the country, and ecotherapy walks in places such as Glendalough, the Botanic Gardens and Powerscourt Gardens.

As passionate as Staunton and Gleeson are about green space, marine biologist Lucy Hunt is all about blue space. She has combined her deep love of marine biology and environmental protection, with her interest in health and wellbeing.

“The curative power of water is impossible to deny. From the Victorian era, water has been used to heal and people were sent to the coast to breathe in the sea air for convalescence after illness. I see a real synergy between the sea and our mental and physical wellness.

“In Brittany and California, GPs are prescribing surfing to treat symptoms of depression. In the US, thousands of war veterans are benefitting from programmes like Heroes on Water, using swimming, kayaking, fishing and surfing to help get over post-traumatic stress disorder. How much better to prescribe a walk, swim or surf lesson than to just focus on prescribing drugs.”

When it’s pointed out to Hunt that the Irish coastal weather is hardly conducive to water-based activities, she retorts: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Put on a wet suit.”

Connecting with the sea

Through her Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre in the seaside village of Waterville on the Ring of Kerry, Hunt is helping to raise awareness about our marine environment, and to connect children and adults with the sea in a fun and light-hearted way.

She does this through activities that include Kids Seashore Explore Workshops, beach yoga and nature connection and craft workshops, in addition to the wellness workshops she runs in conjunction with Carey Yoga and Nutrition.

Walk Inniú:; Nature Health and Wellbeing:;

Wicklow Woodlands for Health is managed by Charlie Burke, one of Coillte’s recreation officers:

DLR Nature for Health organises outdoor walks for groups in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area of Dublin.

Sea Synergy Marine Awareness: the next adult wellness Optimum You workshop is on July 23rd;;

© 2016

Ecopsychologist David Staunton offers counselling and psychotherapy to clients in outdoor settings.

Keep Our Beaches Clean

Sun is shining, long weekend looming, heading to the beach?

Please help keep out coasts clean and safe.

Leave Plastic Behind
Stay away from those evil plastic bags. The best you can do is bring your snacks and such in reusable bags or containers. It is a perfect prevention method and you still get to enjoy those chips and chocolates you love so much.

Throw Everything Away
Bring your own bags with you, this will ensure you throw everything away. Rubbish doesn’t just disappear and we all know it, so take everything you brought back with you and that will make the ocean smile.

If You Spot Trash…
You’re most likely to find a bottle or two as you stroll on the beach! It’s okay if you safely pick it up and throw it away. We know it’s impossible for you to go OCD and pick up everything you spot on the beach, but picking up a couple of leftovers will do good to keep the beach clean.

Make Small Changes
Bring a reusable water bottle to your beach day instead of disposable water bottles.

Take Care Of Your Pets
If you’ve brought your puppy to the beach, that’s great, nothing beats a puppy trying to swim. However, remember to pick up their little gifts.

Smoking Kills and not just you
Cigarette butts are one of the leading pollutants. There’s so many negative effects on a single piece, you wouldn’t believe. Smoke all you want of course we won’t tell you what to do but if you do smoke, dispose of the cigarette butt properly so it doesn’t go near the water or sand. This will keep the beach clean.

Encourage Everyone!
We’re pretty sure almost everyone has a place in their heart for the beach, so pass on the word, help us keep the beach clean, our marine life safe and the beach beautiful!

TNT – Thursday Night Team is back….

Shankill Tidy Towns Thursday Night Team weekly clean ups are back and we would like to invite you to join in.

This week meet at St. Anne’s Resource Centre Car Park at 7:30pm.

All you have to do is keep an eye on our facebook & twitter page, join Teamer (send your contact details to or on website to find out which area we are cleaning each week and turn up ready for action. Bring along some gloves and a high visibility vest if you have one and make a difference. See you there!