SKIBBEREEN Tidy Towns was delighted to see and hear that one of their main projects during the last eighteen months has been publicly acknowledged. The Skibbereen Arts Festival chose the wonderful surroundings of the O’Donovan Rossa Memorial Park as the location for their recent festival concerts, appropriately named Sundays in the Park.
The park had been in need of TLC for some time despite a large commemorative investment in 2015 and a small sub-committee of Skibbereen Tidy Towns took on the challenge in spring 2020. An assessment of what was needed to be done was conducted and immediately acted upon.
Through detailed consultation with Noah Chase from Deelish Garden Centre, County Council Area Engineer, Damien Murphy and the O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club, Tidy Towns removed all the damaged trees and prepared the central section of the memorial for pollinator-friendly planting. The redesign by Deelish and restoration of the four central, now biodiverse, flowerbeds was completed.
At the same time, a group of over 25 young GAA players attacked the weeding, clearing and cleaning of the paths and shrubberies using nothing but elbow grease. The maintenance of the paths continues with salt and vinegar only.
In Autumn 2020, replacement trees were sourced and replanted with the support of Save our Skibbereen grant fund. As part of the training provided by Cork Nature Network to create a biodiversity plan for Skibbereen in summer 2020, hedgerow planting for biodiversity inside the western perimeter wall was agreed, but planting plans were put on hold in the interests of public health. With the continued support of Trees on the Land, it is hoped to resume the initiative in the months ahead.
The last item to be ticked off the assessment list for 2020 was the installation of six new park benches, all socially distanced, earlier this year with a grant funded by the Cork County Council Community Enhancement Programme.
The park has been visited by book clubs, exercise classes, families, young people, grannies minding their visiting grandchildren and many visitors who are doing one of the three Skibbereen loop walks. It was therefore a great boost to hear that Declan McCarthy and the committee of Skibbereen Arts Festival chose the park for their recent music events, which were enjoyed hugely by those in attendance.
Tidy Towns would love to see the renowned St Fachtna’s Silver Band performing an inaugural concert in the park and the first step in procuring a proper bandstand for them, might be the group’s next challenge!