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Arklow Places 4th In Litter Report

Arklow

There was good news for Arklow this week as the town placed 4th out of 40 towns/cities surveyed in An Taisce Report. The result shows the great efforts taken by locals and also the trojan work from Arklow Tidy Towns. The full breakdown of the report is outline below.

“An excellent result for Arklow. The three approach roads got the top litter grade, and this high standard was maintained for many of the other sites surveyed. There is clearly a strong Tidy Towns presence throughout the town, based on various signage and projects.”

“One notable feature throughout Arklow was the way in which many of the closed / boarded up properties had been brightly painted, even camouflaged to remove the sense of abandonment. Arklow Sports Centre – Coral Leisure and Environs wasn’t just very good with regard to litter but there was a strong emphasis on the environment with solar panels on the roof and ‘water conservation garden’ to the rear.”

R772 Approach, Dublin direction: Grade A. This route created a very positive first impression of Arklow and this high standard was maintained for the majority of the remaining sites surveyed. Attractive planting and marine features added to the ‘Welcome to Arklow’ atmosphere.

R772 Approach, Gorey direction: Grade A. Another fresh and welcoming route to Arklow, with many of the roundabouts beautifully landscaped / adorned with artwork. A boarded-up property on the lefthand side had been painted, taking away the ‘bare’ look.

Arklow Recycle Centre: Grade A. This was an excellent site, not just in terms of litter but in the overall presentation and maintenance. The bottle / can units were exceptionally freshly presented, with absolutely no items stuffed between, beneath, behind the units. The flower pots around the perimiter were made from recycle plastic – a great initiative at a recycle centre.

Main Street: Grade A. The Main Street has more than its fair share of ‘closed down / abandoned’ properties but clearly a careful eye is kept on them as there was no litter directly associated with them. Great efforts have been made to minimise the visual impact of these sites. There were plenty of abundant flower boxes / hanging baskets throughout the street. It was very good with regard to litter.

Riverwalk: Grade B+. (from bridge to the area with boats). The water was clear of litter items but there were minor items, mostly fast food, alcohol and cigarette butt related along the path and grass area.

Coolgreany Approach Road: Grade A. There were no visible litter issues along this somewhat more rural route. Road surface / markings / signage were in good order.

Lower Main Street: Grade B. There was a definite litter presence along this street, much of it long -lie, indicating a lack of thorough cleaning for quite some time. Cigarette butts were pronounced with lower levels of face masks, food related items and alcohol cans / glasses. There didn’t appear to be a visible street name.

Public Car Park: Grade A. (in front Ambulance depot). Car park surface / signage / markings etc were in good order, replete with ‘Age Friendly’ parking. There was a virtual absence of litter throughout.

Croghan Industrial Estate: Grade B+. Much of this commercial park was generally fine with regard to litter but it was impossible to ignore the plastic wrapping around the perimiter of the car park to the rear and some scattered food related litter items, masks and gloves.

Arklow Sport Centre – Coral Leisure and Environs: Grade A. An excellent site in terms of overall presentation and maintenance. One of the lovely features was the ‘Xeriscape Water Conservation Garden’ to the rear of the grounds. There is clearly a very strong environmental theme, with solar panels very much a feature on the roof building.

Arklow Duckpond Junior Parkrun set for return

Arklow Duckpond Junior Parkrun

The Arklow Duckpond Junior Parkrun has been cleared for a return from Sunday August 15th. It comes after discussions were held between Parkrun Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The Adult 5k Parkrun events will not yet be taking place in line with the Junior events.

In an announcement Parkrun Ireland said ;

“Sadly, because a number 5k events in Ireland are likely to exceed the current 500 participant limit, we are not able to bring back 5k events just yet.”

“In the absence of our 5k event series, and following processes applied in other territories, walking, jogging and running at junior parkrun events will be limited to children aged 4-10. This is due to concerns we have in relation to increased numbers of older children, particularly those who would normally participate at 5k events, presenting a safety risk to our youngest participants.”

“Since April this year we have opened over 250 junior events across Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland, and have seen wonderful examples of those aged 11-14 volunteering, spectating, or accompanying younger siblings. Children aged 11-14 will be able to record a finish time from the first Sunday after the first Saturday that 5k events return.”

“Whilst we are hopeful that, as the situation improves, we will begin to see a plan for the easing of restrictions sufficient to allow our 5k events to return, we are not at that stage yet. However, we remain in contact with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and will provide a further update on the situation regarding 5k events as soon as we have more to communicate”

The Arklow Duckpond Junior Parkrun is a free, timed 2 km event for kids aged 4-14 years. It takes place every Sunday morning at 9:30 am at the Duck Pond. The events will be limited to 4-10 year old once it returns on August 15th. For more information you can check out the Facebook Page here

Arklow Pharmacies to offer Vaccines

Pharmacies

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said pharmacies will begin administering the Janssen vaccine from next Monday 5th July to people in the 18-34 age bracket. This is good news for Arklow residents with three locations in the town set to offer the service.

The three locations are ;

Adrian Dunne Pharmacy, 40-41 Main Street (0402 324456)

Boots Bridgewater Shopping Centre (0402 24273)

Laura Armstrong Life Pharmacy (0402 44155)

Mr Donnelly went on to say;

“From Monday 12 July, there will be an online option as well, so when you go to the online portal you now be able to say yes I’m 18-34, I appreciate I will be getting a mRna vaccine in the future, but I actually what I want to do is opt, mainly for AstraZeneca vaccine through the vaccine centre, there will be some Janssen as well, but mainly AstraZeneca through the vaccine centre.”

“So they can be vaccinated earlier. 18 to 34 can now be vaccinated one to two months earlier which is a huge benefit for them and society in the face of this Delta surge.”

Arklow celebrates another big Euromillions winner

Euromillions

Arklow is yet again celebrating anothe big Euromillions winner. The whopping €500,000 winning ticket was sold in Tesco on the Wexford road last Friday with the winning numbers 8, 14, 15, 27 & 42.

This is the second huge win for Arklow in recent months with another lucky punter claiming €149,448 last month having bought the ticket in Kavanagh’s.

Speaking on the win a National Lottery spokesperson said ;

“As they say, every little helps, but one Tesco customer certainly got more than they bargained for in-store in Arklow town yesterday! We are encouraging all of our Wicklow players to check their tickets carefully today as one player has a ticket worth €500,000. If you are the lucky winner, we ask that you sign the back of your ticket and contact our prize claims team and we will make arrangements for you to claim your prize.”

Arklow Schools included in SRTS programme

Arklow Schools

Two Arklow schools are set to receive government funding to improve walking and cycling facilities for children. SS. Michael and Peter Junior School and St. John’s National school have been included in the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programme. The programme is funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority and aims to ;

  • Improve safety at the school gate by providing ‘front of school’ treatments to alleviate congestion and improve access;
  • Improve access routes to school by improving walking and cycling infrastructure;
  • Increase the number of students who cycle to school by expanding the amount of cycle parking.

The programme is part of a €15m investment with 150 schools included nationwide.

Dave Thomas short film secures Global Distribution

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas based in Arklow and owner of ‘Dave Thomas Films’ and ‘Bella Vision’ has just signed a two year global Distribution Deal with Largo Films in Switzerland who own Sofy.tv for his short Irish documentary award winning film “1 BILLION”.

This allows the film to be distributed to other streaming platforms and television networks including Sofy.tv.

Sofy.tv who is also on all new Samsung smart TV’s as an App, which gives Dave’s film a potential audience of millions. This is excellent news for a short Irish documentary film on the theme of ability of those with a disability.

The film has won many awards including Best Director, Best Short Film and Best Producer for Dave at national and international film festivals.

“My film has screened from all over Ireland to Australia, India, America, Canada, the UK and all over Europe”, says Dave.

The film is also available on Amazon Prime Video and FesthomeTV streaming platforms.

It was recently awarded ‘Honourable Mention’ from Two Time Oscar Nominee Director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, Get Rich or die tryin’) at the 1st Jim Sheridan Short Film Competition this year.

Dave is currently in development with a number of exciting projects from Feature Films, TV Series and more.

You can view the film 1 BILLION on www.sofy.tv

You can also download the film for €9.99 at https://www.davethomasfilms.net/purchase-films-here

Arklow Tidy Towns going for Gold again

Arklow Tidy Towns

Arklow Tidy Towns have asked residents and business owners to pull together as they try to retain their gold medal won in 2019. The Tidy Towns competition returns this year having been cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19.

The Tidy Towns competition idea has been running for over 30 years and is supported by main sponsor SuperValu. There are 200 prizes totalling over €200,000 accross the main competition. Judging takes place on an unspecified date during June, July and August each year.

Arklow’s Tidy Towns team of dedicated volunteers work all year round ensuring the town is in the best condition possible. A spokesperson of the group said ;

“We really need your help folks. Get out there weed, sweep, litter pick, wash , paint, clean tidy, businesses, clubs, estates, streets, houses.”
“We want to hang on to our Gold Medal but it needs everyone to get involved just like before. We’re in this together, put your best foot forward, anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated”

Wicklow Pride Festival set for June

Wicklow Pride Festival

Wicklow Pride Festival takes place this June, also known as Pride Month, which celebrates the diversity in our communities while also reminding us that society will be a better place when we have full inclusivity for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Non-binary and others.

“It’s a time to celebrate what has been achieved over the years and a time to create awareness that we do not have full acceptance of all, which is a major issue in Ireland and around the world.” Says filmmaker, Wicklow Pride Festival founder and LGBTQ+ activist Dave Thomas.

“The laws against Homosexuality date back to Victorian times in 1861. It wasn’t until 1993 Ireland decriminalised Homosexuality thanks to Senator David Norris. This was a significant positive development in Ireland. In 2015 we passed a referendum by popular vote that enabled Marriage Equality for same-sex couples. The same year, we had the Gender Recognition Act passed which meant that people could apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate to have their preferred gender recognised by the state. So Ireland has come a long way.” says Dave Thomas.

In recent years, there appears to be an increase of hate crimes against minorities in Ireland, often felt by the LGBTQ+ community. As Dave points out, “We do not have Hate Crime Legislation passed in Ireland yet. But it will happen. It is needed badly.”

“Flying the Pride Flag represents us all in the community. It’s a beacon of hope, inspiration, and a physical sign that tells young people afraid to come out to family and friends that they are not alone, they are part of a community that loves and supports them.”

The Pride Flag will fly again across Wicklow County Council buildings and Municipal District buildings in Wicklow. Thanks to Cllr Peir Leonard Independent and all at Wicklow County Council.

This year, they will not be alone.

“I am delighted to announce that all Wicklow County Council Library Service are looking at doing something to mark Pride month. For the first time, the Coral Leisure Centre Arklow will fly the Pride Flag, many thanks to its Manager Michael for supporting this. The Arklow CBS will also fly the flag for the month of June. I can also announce that my good friend, local Arklow man Peter Fitzgerald has coordinated with the Management and Staff of the Bridgewater Shopping Centre where they will fly the Pride Flag also for the very first time.”

Dave is inviting all businesses and organisations across the County to participate by either flying a Pride Flag or creating rainbow artwork or anything that will show support for the month of June.

Amy Masner Smashes Female Distance Record

Amy Masner
Pic Credit - Atlas Running Facebook

Arklow based ultra runner Amy Masner has beaten the Irish, British and European female record by clocking up an astonishing 246 miles over a period of 60 hours. Masner is no stranger to long endurance races and has represented Ireland at the 24 Hour World Championships.

Ultra Runner Amy, which by definition is running any distance further than the standard 26.2 mile marathon, was taking part in the Last One Standing endurance event at Florida Manor in Norther Ireland. The concept of the event is both simple and hard to grasp in equal measures.

Starting at 12 noon, each participant must complete a 4.186 mile loop within 1 hour and be ready to start again at 1pm. This continues every hour with runners who either retire or are timed out being eliminated. Competitors use whatever spare minutes they have before the next loop begins to take on fluids, food and even a quick nap. The overall winner as the name suggests is declared the ‘Last One Standing’.

The format was made famous by legendary American race director Gary Cantwell, more popularly known as ‘Lazarus Lake’. Cantwell’s ‘Big’s Backyard Ultra’ concept is now run in countries all over the world. The Northern Irish event is run by brothers Adrian and Sammy Daye of Atlas Running. This years eventual winner was Keith Russell who broke the UK and Irish Mens record by completing 63 laps.

Arklow Maritime Museum Receive Funding Boost

Maritime Museum Arklow

There was some good news this week as the Arklow Maritime Museum were awarded a funding boost. A total of €42,000 was allocated by the Heritage Council for five projects in Wicklow with the museum being one of the lucky recipients.

The funds will be used to create an online digital archive for thousands of photos in their growing collection.

Following the announcement a spokesperson for the Maritime Museum said:

“We have thousands of photographs in our collections and some time ago we created an archive which makes it easy to store and retrieve them quickly. That system has been satisfactory up to now, but as our collections grow, so too does the need to install up-to-date professional-standard digital archives. We intend to have our images searchable by date, place and people. In time, it may be possible to have this searchable database on-line, but that is for another day. For now, let’s get the new system up-and-running.”

“In keeping with our plans for the extension, our photo archive will not be solely maritime, but will be inclusive of all aspects of life in Arklow.”

“We also need to use proper acid-free facilities to preserve the physical photographs. We are particularly anxious to have that system in operation by the time our extension has been completed by the autumn.”