Carlingford Community Newsletter – April Edition

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Carlingford Community Forum News Easter In Carlingford.

 Many might say that it is a sad reflection on modern society that we are so happy and relieved to have enjoyed our beautiful area in fabulous sunshine over the Easter period, thanks to community policing at its very best. The Gardaí engaged with community and visitors to make the Easter period one of safety and enjoyment. The reaction on social media, the modern benchmark for assessing these situations was positive. This is the result of ongoing engagement with the Gardaí and the Local Authority over the past couple of years. Should we expect such a high level of Garda resources committed to keeping people safe over Easter weekend? Some young people who came visiting our town placed themselves in potentially dangerous situations. There are many questions to be asked and answered. There is some way to go locally in terms of mutual understanding of the issues of community and business in relation to the many visitors wishing to spend time with us. Continued dialogue and a willingness for all to engage and cooperate would seem the best way forward. We must thank Carlingford Tidy Towns who turned up as usual early on Sunday and Monday mornings and at other times to keep the town looking its best for residents and visitors out and about enjoying the beautiful weather. We would appeal to all businesses to actively support Tidy Towns initiatives in any way they can and also to be vigilant in maintaining their own properties and environs in the best possible order so that those giving of their time for the welfare of community and visitors will feel deservedly valued for all they do. We all know what a wonderful area we live in; sea and landscape to match the very best, wonderful heritage, a wealth of activities, and an outstanding community spirit. Speaking of community, let as many of us as possible turn out for The Carlingford Players, presentation of ‘Professor Tim’, a hilarious comedy in the Foy Centre from Friday 3rd. to Sunday 5th.May inclusive at 8p.m. Tickets available. Proceeds will go to the Centre for necessary repair work and improvements and also help to reduce the remaining small outstanding debt. The Committee is working very hard at improving facilities and deserves our ongoing support. 

Heritage News 

May will be a busy month in the Heritage Centre’s cultural calendar. On Sunday 5th May we will welcome Donegal sisters Maighread and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill with their unique singing style. Then on Sunday 12th we will finish off the Spring Concert series with a pair of renowned traditional musicians who have travelled the world with their music: harpist Laoise Kelly from Achill and uilleann piper Tiarnán Ó Duinchinn from Monaghan. 

May is also the month when our collaboration with the creative and artistic minds at Dundalk Institute of Technology will also take off with a number of highly innovative events in ‘Féile na Bealtaine’.

  • At 2pm each day from 6th to 10th May you will have opportunities to hear readings of poetry inspired by Carlingford.
  • On 6th and 7th May at 4.30pm, those with a taste for virtual reality will be able to ‘uncover the romantic past through an immersive pop-up theatrical experience’. Booking is essential for the very good reason that there are only nine headsets available at each session. 
  • But do make sure you put this one in your diary: the art exhibition running each day from 6 th to 10th May at 2pm. The concept involves art students from DkIT anonymously exhibiting their works among those of local artists, art professionals and enthusiasts. All the works will be for sale and all proceeds will go to support the work of the Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust. 
  • Finally, last month’s joint concert by Cór Chairlinne and the DkIT choir proved so popular that they are giving us all another chance to hear them, at 7pm on 9th May. But do come early to enjoy the wine and cheese reception at 6.30pm which will give you a good chance to look over the art exhibition and perhaps add to your collection.

Heritage and roadside wells

An important but sadly neglected piece of our built heritage is the traditional roadside well. These were carefully constructed in stone so they could not easily be used or contaminated by farm animals, and many of those which survive are many hundreds of years old. The first photo, taken in 1957, shows one such well in Cornamucklagh, Omeath. The second shows how it appeared a month or so ago, a barely distinguishable hole in an overgrown ditch. Then your heritage volunteers got to work. The roadside drain which had run into the well was dragged and drained, briars and bracken were cut back and 30 cm of silt was scooped out of the well, disclosing a nicely flagged floor. Walls and roof were scraped free of roots and fungus and the water was bailed out, first with a bucket and finally with a small plastic container. Then lime was laid on the floor and the walls and roof were whitewashed with a thick lime mix, and we watched as clear, pure water seeped up through the flags from the underground spring. If you know of a roadside well you would like to rescue, get in touch for help and advice. 

Carlingford & Cooley Tourism Association News

Art on Carlingford Green

With the approach of Summer and the peak tourist season for Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula there are many exciting events scheduled to take place over the coming months. Some of these events, but by no means all the many and varied activities, are detailed in these notes. While the CCTA participates and supports many of the main activities, others, such as walking and cycling groups are independently organised, as are many of the social, sporting, cultural and musical events, which take place throughout the year. Added to this is the outstanding voluntary work of the Carlingford Tidy Towns in keeping Carlingford looking at its best. All of these activities have a common purpose in making Carlingford a wonderful place to live and work, as well as promoting Carlingford as a centre of excellence where visitors and locals alike can enjoy the many activities, natural beauty and historical attractions that the town has to offer. The CCTA has noted the increased number of morning tourist buses bringing senior citizens to the town, particularly in midweek. This development is to be much welcomed and the CCTA encourages traders and businesses in the town to facilitate these groups through their offerings and opening hours, as many of these buses arrive relatively early in the morning, when some businesses and cafes in particular, may not be open for business.

 

The Carlingford Oyster Festival, now celebrating its 40th year, is probably the best-known festival of Carlingford and Cooley and the 2019 Festival promises to be something very special in promoting the best of Carlingford and its world-famous oysters, which are seen on the menus of the best restaurants in Ireland and abroad. The CCTA is proud to be associated with this event, which will take place from 8th to the 12th August. The Festival was officially launched in the Carlingford Arms on Friday 12 th April, with many of the sponsors of the Festival and stars of the Music Extravaganza in attendance.

 

Commenting on the Festival at the launch, Ger Long of the Carlingford Oyster Festival Committee, said there is a great buzz to make this now five-day Festival of Country and Irish Music a success. ‘We’re thrilled to be able to add an extra day to the Festival and to add a little bit of country music to the already packed programme. We are now known for bringing top class performers to the Carlingford Oyster Festival and this year promises to be our best yet. It’s great to have Michael English, Derek Ryan and Bagatelle with us here today to celebrate the launch of our programme’. Along with music, there is a packed schedule of events planned including the Morgan’s Fine Fish Oyster Pearl Competition. There will also be numerous events throughout the village suitable for all the family including street entertainment, face painting, the Loughs Agency Touch Tank, Phil’s Petting Farm, The Big Dig and much more. This year the first Festival raffle is being introduced, with ten great prizes. The first prize will be a week for two at a Week of Country & Irish Music in Portugal with the Famous Paul Claffey Music Tours. In addition, some of the proceeds of this festival raffle will go towards helping local community groups.

The first Carlingford National Leprechaun Hunt took place 29 years ago and from these small beginnings Kevin Woods promises that this years Leprechaun Hunt will be something very special. The hunt takes place on Sunday 12 th May, starting at 2.00pm. To show their appreciation, Kevin tells us that the 236 surviving Leprechauns will leave one thousand gift pots around the town with one containing an ounce of pure gold from the Leprechauns’ precious store of gold.

Over many years the Carlingford Adventure Centre and more recently Skypark have promoted the interests of Carlingford and are now, by far, the largest employer in the town. They offer many adventure experiences to people of all ages and backgrounds, on land and sea, but as well as the adventure experience it offers many foreign young people an opportunity to experience the culture of Ireland in addition to improving their English language skills

Carlingford Adventure is now a business with a truly international exposure. This year they have already visited Trade Shows in Dubai, Berlin and an international buyers conference at Meitheal 2019. Gess Dubai (see below) was an opportunity to expand their customer base in the Middle East & Asia, whilst ITB Berlin is the biggest tourism travel trade show with customers from around the world. Meitheal 2019 consisted of over 300 international buyers visiting Ireland to meet new suppliers and destinations. Carlingford Adventure have taken the opportunity to promote the Cooley Region and the wide variety of service providers therein. Carlingford & Cooley was described as a ‘Hidden Gem’ for international tourists on Ireland’s Ancient East.

 

With Spring in full swing and the weather starting to warm up, the Adventure Centre is set to have another busy season. In the past few weeks there were youth groups and schools from Kuwait and Mexico as well as Ireland. With the arrival of Easter, the Easter Adventure Camp took place. Easter Sunday saw the annual Easter Egg hunt and family fun day at SKYPARK. It’s the first in a planned event schedule over the summer in Skypark including a local community day, charity days, corporate challenge events and family days, as well as birthday party packages, which are perfect for big and small kids. There is even more to enjoy in Carlingford this summer, with the Adventure Camp reaching new heights and young people travelling from all over the world for the English Language School. There are also new activities available including water fun with trampoline, slide and ‘flipper’ attractions, whilst the Woodland site now has Axe Throwing in keeping with an ancient Irish tradition.

The CCTA looks forward to continuing to promote responsible and quality tourism in Carlingford and the wider Cooley peninsula. Of particular note is the extension of the Greenway which will run from Carlingford to Newry, thus providing greater opportunities for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the coastal path along Carlingford Lough. While walking has always been a popular pastime on the Cooley Peninsula, the greater interest in cycling, for those who wish to cover the ground a little faster, is a growing trend. Carlingford is facilitating this trend and a number of businesses have now opened up, offering bicycles for hire to allow the more casual cyclists to enjoy the many pleasures that the area has to offer. This will be dealt with in greater detail in future CCTA contributions to this Newsletter.

Two other facilities, the Carlingford Ferry and King John’s Castle will continue to greatly enhance the attraction of Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula, as a tourist destination. It is to be hoped that the castle will shortly reopen to the public and the Carlingford Ferry continues to grow in popularity and opens the whole region both in Ireland and Northern Ireland to further exploration with the great diversity of attractions open to visitors and locals in this part of the country.

The CCTA welcomes the reopening of the Tourist Office in the Station House under the capable management of Visit Carlingford who have relocated their business under the same roof. The interior has been completely revamped and provides an attractive and informative destination for the visitor seeking assistance. While still only in the development phase, the Tourist Office is already offering an excellent service to all those visiting our historic village and its environs. 

 

Carlingford extends a special welcome to all those visitors who come to enjoy its many attractions, whilst respecting the history, culture and people of this ancient and medieval town.

The Foy Centre

Professor Tim

Rehearsals are well underway for the production of Professor Tim on Friday 3rd , Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May. 

All the cast have been working extremely hard to give you a great night of laughter. Tickets are selling fast. 

If you haven’t got a ticket yet please get in touch with a member of the committee. You don’t want to miss out on a great night

 

Orchard Bakery

The Orchard Bakery have a delicious pretheatre menu, so why not make a night of it – come along for some delicious food followed by Professor Tim.

Bio Diversity Training

Two of our volunteers are attending a training course on biodiversity funded by the Louth Leader Partnership with a view to planting native species surrounding the football pitch at the Foy Centre.

The main cause of biodiversity loss is climate change, invasive species and habitat destruction.

The clear message from the programme is to favour native species for your garden which will steadily increase year on year and encourage a healthier habitat and greater biodiversity

Get Fit & Healthy in the Foy

Fitness classes are held every week day morning at 9am.

Classes are tailored to suit all levels of fitness.

Come along and get fit and healthy for Summer.

 

If there’s anything you would like to see happening in the centre or on the pitch please contact Debbie Hamilton on 083 8013777.

Carlingford Tidy Towns

On Saturday 30th March, our volunteers tackled the rapidly emerging weeds on the promenade.

We then employed all of our equipment the following Saturday – the day of the National Spring Clean

The number of volunteers participating on the day was very much appreciated, but we cannot help thinking that for a town of this size many more locals should come out and do their bit, rather than relying on the few who are willingly to give up their time

The Carlingford Tidy Towns team were delighted when the ambassador of the National Spring Clean campaign, model Sarah McGovern came to the town for a photo opportunity following our National Spring Clean

We met again on Saturday 13 th April to paint more marine features on the piers and also to begin planting up the new flowerbed outside ‘Getaways’.

Once again, we wish to express our thanks to Louth County Council, this time for upgrading the bollards on the traffic islands into town with the new style more highly visible ones.

We really enjoyed taking part in the Louth Tidy Towns Together quiz held at Dundalk Golf Club on Thursday 11 th April with our friends from all the other TT groups in north Louth.

Although still a work in progress, we made the bases for the new picnic tables safe for the Easter weekend by filling with gravel to make them less of a trip hazard

CTT is in the process of acquiring plants to fulfill our brand-new planting plan this year. The aim is to install perennials wherever possible, so that we no longer have to replace them every year, whilst also ensuring that our selection is pollinator friendly to sustain the insects and bees.

So far, we have started planting up the bed outside Getaways and over the Easter weekend we filled six of our black wooden boxes with herbs and lavender. We hope the bees will be buzzin’ all around them soon!

Over the Easter weekend we put on extra daily patrols to empty the litter accumulating in all of the litter bins around town. It is always especially bad where we have placed the large bins in Tholsel Street, by the bus stop and at the D’Arcy McGee monument. Our big belly bin was flashing red on Saturday indicating that it wanted emptying and the penguin bin in the children’s playground was also full as it remains very popular with the children because it thanks them with a message to reward them for posting their litter.

However, it often feels that our little voluntary group is being taken for granted with our efforts to try and keep the town clean and inviting for the daily influx of visitors. We frequently question just why we continue to do it against mounting odds and cynicsm! It would be enormously helpful if the various takeaways and indeed any outlet that supplies anything that is likely to be almost immediately discarded, would do a great deal more to minimize the size and type of their packaging and also conduct their own patrols at the end of each working day!

We will be holding another Beach Clean on Sunday 5th May followed by live music and a barbecue at the location shown above for those who took part. Let’s hope for a sunny day!

 

If you run a local community group and would like to advertise your past or future events in this newsletter, please contact the undersigned. 

Thank you for supporting your community 

If you have any ideas or comments please Email them to patkins520@btinternet.com and I will ensure they are brought to the attention of the appropriate committee.

 

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