ROUNDABOUTS in Co Cork are being offered up for ‘sponsorship’ and the spaces are now available to companies to advertise their wares.
Cork County Council confirmed to The Southern Star this week that their ‘Adopt a Roundabout’ scheme allows local businesses and community groups to sponsor the landscaping and maintenance of roundabouts for a set period of time.
As a result of this new scheme, three roundabouts in Skibbereen have been given a makeover, courtesy of local businesses.
The latest – a bevy of barrels on the prominent N71 roundabout between the town centre and the Marsh Road – is attracting a lot of local interest.
Skibbereen Garden Centre was the first to start the trend in June 2019 by taking over the upkeep of the roundabout at Baltimore Road.
That was followed, a year later, by Deelish Garden Centre, which created an ‘edible’ roundabout at Cork Road.
But this summer, the Schull Road roundabout has taken a decidedly commercial turn, with a drinks firm taking up residence there.
West Cork Distillers at the nearby Marsh Road has used a collection of whiskey barrels to promote the firm, at the busy junction.
Mark Lee of Skibbereen Garden Centre said the Council accepted their offer to plant and maintain the Baltimore Road roundabout, provided it was ‘bee-friendly’.
Almost 330 flowers and shrubs were planted in a single day, but there’s even more to be added shortly.
The cost of the plants, plus materials, is valued at €5,000, plus labour charges for the monthly maintenance that is currently carried out by the garden centre.
Mark said they are happy to do it because it helps the local tidy towns committee, by taking over one relatively arduous task.
By showcasing the range of plants they have in their store on the Tragumna Road, it also serves to encourage others to plant pollinators for the good of the bee population and biodiversity.
As part of that ongoing commitment, Skibbereen Garden Centre does not use any sprays or weed killers, which helps, not just the bees, but other insects too.
Roundabouts are, of course, featured on maps, but this is one roundabout that has made it onto Biodiversity Ireland’s map of the country.
Deelish Garden Centre, with the support of Skibbereen Tidy Towns and Cork County Council, completed the Cork Road roundabout in 2020.
The star attraction is a magnificent 250-year-old olive tree, plus lots more edibles planted around the centrepiece. This project attracted lots of goodwill, especially after it emerged that it is the oldest living tree in Skibbereen.
An olive tree is a symbol of peace and friendship and the large rope around the planting is symbolic of West Cork’s connection to the sea.
‘The roundabouts are the first thing people see when they come into town so it is imperative that they look their best,’ said local Cllr Karen Coakley (FG). ‘If businesses are willing to help to maintain them, it is appreciated because they are doing it for the community.’
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) was similarly appreciative, but he did say he’d still like to know where the ‘1% for art’ funding – following the completion of the by-pass road – went, and why it wasn’t used to buy a sculpture for the centre of the roundabout.
Regarding West Cork Distillers’ build-up of barrels on the prominent roundabout, Cllr Carroll commented: ‘It’s something different. I don’t see any harm in it. They’re good. It’s wonderful that companies like that are taking responsibility for planting and maintaining parts of the town.
‘If the Council is in agreement with these companies, and they are doing it to a high standard, it is very acceptable,’ he said.