Biodiversity Training Course

Following her visit to the Network’s spring meeting, Marianne McEneaney from the Monaghan LEADER programme has been in touch to say that she has been successful in securing funding to deliver training in biodiversity.

This course is being organised at the request of the Network members, and has been designed specifically to meet our needs.  Please support it.

MID LCDC logos

Introduction to Biodiversity Training

The training programme is aimed at community groups including tidy towns groups, allotment groups and the general population who have an interest in Biodiversity and how they can apply learning from biodiversity in their local area.

We are planning on running this training programme from a number of different locations simultaneously in Co Monaghan. The courses will be organised to facilitate where the majority of participants come from. The course will be delivered 1 session per week over 8 weeks.

The training programme will include the following element

Brief introduction to Ecology/Biology as an introduction to the science of Biodiversity.
• Local plants; Introduction to common native plants, trees and shrubs. Introduction to common field layer plants. Plant habits and habitats and how to manage plants for biodiversity. How to save seeds.
• Local wildlife; What are the common animals found in the local area? Life cycle of insects and common insect identification. Who are the local pollinators and the plants they like best?
• Invasive Species; What are invasive and alien species and how do they impact on natural habitats? Invasive species identification and control measures (4-5 most common to Monaghan area) Biosecurity action and awareness raising guidance. Who to report new sightings to.
• Good practice for biodiversity: How to manage sites for biodiversity, best practice for pesticide use etc., how a soft touch approach can help plants and animals. Raise awareness of your biodiversity work: planting days, seasonal events, celebration days. Activities to raise awareness of the importance of protecting biodiversity (nature walks etc)
• Developing sites and amenities for wellbeing, How natural amenities provide tangible benefits to communities (positive living, mental health), How to make your site a place of calm and refuge?
• Development of Bio Diversity Plan -The training will include the development of a bio-diversity plan for a project that the group or individual is interested in. The trainer/facilitator will offer individualised support and guidance in the development of the plan.
• Study Visit; A study visit to showcase the benefits to local communities of the availability of nature amenities and for the potential for tourism and the local economy.

To apply for a place on this training course you need to complete a short Application Form, which can be downloaded from
or contact Marianne (042 9749502) or Rita (042 9749501) in Monaghan Integrated Developments Office or email




The Big Day Out- Incriminating Photos

group photo

and here we mostly are! (A few missing)

Well, we went, we saw, we had a ball!

40 intrepid Tidy Towns and Residents Associations volunteers from all around the county, supported by Monaghan County Council, took to the road last Saturday, 25th August in the last of the glorious sunshine, and headed north for this year’s field trip to brush up on our knowledge, get to know one another a little better and have a bit of craic along the way.

First port of call was to the very beautiful village of Hillsborough, Co. Down, where Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Head Grounds Maintenance Manager Stephen Mackle met us to show us around their award winning floral displays, including two 3-d creations of a horse and cart and a tractor!   Even though he has a crew of over sixty staff at his disposal, many of his tips were very practical and will enable us to get a bigger bang for our efforts, such as rotivating wildflower areas every winter to stop the weeds and grasses from taking over.

From Hillsborough, we travelled onward to Rowallane Gardens, a National Trust-owned  property which started life as a farm owned by a keen botanist, whose nephew continued the collection after his death.  There we were treated to a very tasty lunch, followed by a guided tour of the garden. There were trees aplenty to keep Dennis happy, and then we had a potter around their gorgeous walled garden, which had a mix of formal beds and wildflower areas.

Then it was off into Belfast, for a visit to the Botanical Gardens, where Carol let us off the leash with a map of the grounds and a promise to be back at the bus by 5pm.  There was plenty to see here too, with stunning herbaceous borders, beautifully planted formal beds, a rose garden with hundreds of varieties of rose, as well as tropical plants and palms.

A wonderful day, hugely enjoyable, and very informative.  Our thanks to Monaghan County Council for arranging the event.

Here are some photos to give you a flavour of the trip – but as always, what happens on the Tidy Towns tour, stays on the Tidy Towns tour!

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Tidy Towns on Tour…….Sat 25th August to Rowallane Garden & Hillsborough village

This year’s study trip takes us North of the Border (before they close it!!) to the National Trust property, Rowallane Garden, where we will be given a guided tour of the garden and treated to some homemade scones.

We will then wander into the picturesque Hillsborough village, to examine the streetscaping and planting throughout the public spaces.

From there it is but a short hop into Belfast city centre, where we will round off the day with a relaxing browse through the spectacular botanic gardens and finish off our day with a wee bite to eat.

The trip is open to Tidy Towns groups and Residents Associations throughout Co. Monaghan. Maximum of 3 persons per group.

To book your place on the bus,  contact Carol at or 047 73725

More info:

Rowallane Garden:


Belfast Botanic Gardens

Monaghan Co Co’s Local Agenda 21 Fund now open for applications

Environmental Awareness
Do you have a project or initiative that could help to increase awareness of environmental issues locally, or that could help your community to become more sustainable?

If so, you may qualify for financial assistance from the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Environmental Partnership Fund 2018. This Fund promotes sustainable development by assisting small scale, non-profit environmental projects at local level.

Does Your Project Qualify?
Projects should focus on environmental awareness and actions which complement national environmental policies such as those on waste, biodiversity, water conservation and climate change.

A wide variety of projects and schemes have been supported under the Fund in previous years, including community gardens and allotments, compost schemes, rainwater harvesting, biodiversity projects, waste reduction initiatives, educational initiatives and environmental exhibitions. Lists of previously funded projects can be viewed online at:

How to Apply
Applications forms are available from or directly from Environmental Services, Monaghan County Council, Carrickmacross, Civic Offices, Riverside Road Carrickmacross. 042 9661240 contact person: Mary McCoy

Applications must be made to no later than 5pm, 20 June 2018 on official application form to the above address or via email to
For general information on the Scheme please or to discuss a project contact Nial O’Connor 042 9661240

Pollinator Workshop 10th May

Making Monaghan Pollinator Friendly
In the knowledge that one-third of our bees are at risk of extinction, Monaghan Tidy Towns will introduce you to the All Ireland Pollinator Plan and what you can do to save our bees.

When: Thursday May 10th at 7.30pm 

Where: Westenra Hotel, Monaghan

Refreshments will be served, All welcome

If you wish to attend, contact Emer Brennan in Monaghan Tidy Towns:

Butterfly Monitoring Workshop 26th May

Monaghan County Council Heritage Office and the CANN Project in conjunction with the National Biodiversity Data Centre will host a butterfly monitoring scheme workshop in Knockatallon, Slieve Beagh starting at 11am.

On the day we cover all aspects of the monitoring scheme including species identification, use of the online data capture system and an afternoon outside putting the skills into practice. Hope to see you there!

To find out more details of the event please contact the main event organiser: Monaghan County Council Heritage Office,

Greener Glaslough event 21 & 22 April

The Taste of Greener Glaslough. 21st & 22nd April 2018 in the Oakland Centre from 12-4pm. In attendance will be VOICE Ireland, Mc Elvaneys Waste & Recycling, Monaghan Co. Co., Glaslough Development, Monaghan Climate Ambassador, Waters & Communities & more to be confirmed, providing advice, tips and demo’s on greener homes, gardening, composting, greener community including local businesses with stalls selling items from pre loved clothes, jewellery, upcycle furniture, decorations and so much more that are made from reusable & recyclable material. Also on the day there will be repair services for phones, clothes, jewellery, clocks & more. It will be a jam packed weekend. Tea & coffee available & there is a free tea or coffee with every Greener Glaslough Reusable Cup bought on the day. Free entry, child friendly & wheelchair accessible!

It’s GOLD for Glaslough in Entente Florale!



group award ef background.jpgVillage Officially Recognised as one of Europe’s Best

The picture perfect village of Glaslough put Co. Monaghan firmly on the European map last Friday, 15th September, as nineteen delegates from the village, accompanied by staff and Cathaoirligh from Monaghan County Council, descended on the spa resort town of Podčetrtek, Slovenia for the announcement of the results of this year’s prestigious Entente Florale Europe awards, and came home with a Gold Award, the highest accolade in the competition.

The competition is run by the European Association for Flowers and Landscape, which is an international non-profit association, which aims to promote social and cultural development to enhance Horticulture, Tourism and Environment. They do this by encouraging actions that foster a better quality of life for urban dwellers, and their main tool for so doing is the annual Entente Florale Europe competition, which is run in 9 countries. Participating towns and villages are visited by an international Jury during the summer, awarding marks against set criteria.  Depending on the marks awarded, each participating village or town is then awarded either a bronze, silver, or gold merit, and given a rather substantial plaque to display in their town.

Ireland’s entries are nominated by the National Tidy Towns unit in the Dept of Environment each year, with only two towns or villages representing any participating country. Abbeyleix in Co. Laois, Ireland’s other representative, was awarded a Silver merit, and won the President’s Award for Biodiversity for their wonderful bog conservation work.

Speaking at the awards, Cllr Cathy Bennett,   Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, said,

“I am thrilled for the county. A gold medal in this competition is a mark of excellence which is recognised throughout Europe. It will without doubt help to put Glaslough and Co. Monaghan on the tourist map. I’m also delighted for the community, especially the hard working volunteers of Glaslough Tidy Towns, nineteen of whom have travelled out here to Slovenia for the announcement tonight.  And of course they still have the National Tidy Towns competition results to be announced in a little over a week’s time.  Hopefully tonight is a good omen for that, as I know how dearly they would love to add that title to their achievements. ‘

Gareth Corrigan, Chairman of Glaslough Tidy Towns, also chaired the Steering Committee which was formed to prepare for this competition. He was quick to point out that there was a team of over one hundred people involved in bringing home gold to Glaslough, including Tidy Towns volunteers, the children of Scoil Mhuire and Glaslough Junior Tidy Towns, the staff of Monaghan County Council – past and present, the staff of Donagh Parishes CE Scheme, the Castle Leslie Estate team and the many, many businesses and residents whose high standard of care for their premises play such a huge part in making Glaslough such a beautiful place to visit, but an even more wonderful place in which to live.

“ We are so proud to be from Glaslough, and taking part in Entente Florale enabled us to share our beautiful village with communities right across Europe, which was a real privilege. It was an honour to be selected to represent Ireland, and we are so glad to have rewarded the Department of the Environment’s faith in selecting us. We learned so much from the two Irish judges, who mentored us in preparing for the Jury’s visit, and we will take that information forward to help us over the next few years. Hopefully, it won’t be long before there will be another title making its way home to Glaslough – the National Tidy Towns title would look really well beside the bronze plaque we’ve brought home from Entente Florale!”

Glaslough’s journey to Europe began in July, when they were visited by the Entente Florale Jury, who spent four hours examining every aspect of life in the village. The Jury assessed the village against ten criteria, awarding marks for the quality of the natural and built environment, the care that the community take of the landscape, the level of awareness and education, the quality of the public spaces, how new buildings blend with the old, and how the village blends with the surrounding countryside. Community effort was also taken into consideration, as was the effort the community makes to communicate their participation in Entente Florale to the public. The involvement of local businesses and partnership with local government also were factors in the marking.

The Jury members were all highly knowledgeable experts in the fields of landscape, architecture, horticulture, biodiversity and conservation and came from across Europe including Slovenia, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, bringing a wealth of experience with them to look at how the community of Glaslough sets about creating a good quality of life for the people who live there, and for those who visit.

Glaslough’s bid was presented to the Jury jointly by Louise Duffy from Glaslough Tidy Towns and Shirley Clerkin, Heritage Officer for Monaghan County Council. The four hour-long adjudication process started with a short overview, followed by a viewing of the key plans and strategies which influence the development of the village, and talked to some of the key people who are responsible for developing and regulating planning in the village. They viewed the six weighty dossiers which have been compiled by Scoil Mhuire in the process of earning their six Green Flags. They also spoke with Dympna Condra of Monaghan Tourism, heard about the ongoing work to prepare an Architectural Character Assessment for the village from the consultants of Lotts Architecture & Urbanism, and learned about the Integrated Constructed Wetlands, and the work of the Group Water Schemes and the Local Authorities Water & Communities Office.

This was then followed by a walkabout around the village and surrounding area, where the Jury visited a number of sites to gain a better feel for both the village and the people who live in it. They visited the Allotments where Martin Wood, a plot holder highlighted how the plots are managed strictly without pesticides. Jackie Gormley, Chairperson of Glaslough Development Association spoke to them about the Oakland Centre and playground where Donal Mc Elwain spoke to the jury about the imminent upgrade and the Council’s involvement in insuring the playground. Denis Flannery, the Council’s horticulturist brought the Jury through the biodiversity garden and explained the educational importance especially in terms of facilitating pollination. Louise Duffy then gave the Jury a detailed overview of the construction of the Coach Garden and how Diane and Ron Kendrick provided the Tidy Towns with this disused area to develop a green open space for the community and visitors to enjoy.

The Jury then boarded a bus and took to the roads to visit the reconstructed Railway Signal Cabin and then went out past Glennan Graveyard and Chapel. On the way the Jury also heard about the drumlins, Drumbanagher fort and how Monaghan’s hedgerows date back to the 19th Century. They then visited Glennan Presbyterian Church where they were given a brief history and tour of the grounds and Church by David Aiken, before passing Glaslough Villa soccer grounds. They were delighted to see all the children out at the summer camp and to hear about the club’s achievements, including Glaslough’s connections to Liverpool FC and to the invention of the goal net.

The Jury then arrived at St Mary’s school corner, where the delegation paused for a photo at the newly constructed welcome feature for Entente Florale with Mayor of County Monaghan Cathy Bennett, Municipal District members and the Entente Florale steering committee. The feature was sculpted by an artist blacksmith who works on the Game of Thrones production, and will become the permanent home for the plaque which will hopefully be awarded to Glaslough in September when the results of the competition are announced at a gala ceremony in Slovenia.

Mark Macklin, Principal of St Mary’s then took the delegation around the school where the children themselves spoke about all their Green flags, their biodiversity garden, trees, hedgerows, spinney, Can Train and mill, raised beds, water harvesting, insect hotel, pond and orchard. The Jury were overwhelmed with the effort, interest and knowledge the children displayed. Nial O Connor, environmental awareness officer from Monaghan County Council then spoke about the environmental education and support to the school. The children were treated to a picnic by Monaghan County Council for their efforts after the Jury departed.

After departing St Mary’s, the delegation headed back into the Village green housing estate where Sammy Leslie gave the Jury a brief overview of the development, focusing on how the houses were designed to blend with the character of the village, and how period features such as 9 foot ceilings and sash windows as well as traditional materials such as slate and stone were used in their construction. The Jury also heard about the Leslie Foundation’s Collective Memory project, which has been using items and photos in the Leslie archive to invite local people to reminisce about their memories of particular events in the village’s past. Walking from here, the Jury headed down Main Street, where they viewed the streetscape, the buildings, the Diamond, the rookery, the traditional cast iron signage, the replica seating from the railway station, the telephone kiosk which has become an information point for local businesses and the fantastic floral displays by private householders throughout.

As they moved down Barrack Hill they remarked on the Pillar House building and planting schemes and especially the heritage planting at the rear. They were then treated to some ice cream from Jeremy at Ambledown Cottages as they passed by. After viewing Lisbannagher houses and planting on the high banks, the Jury then proceeded to the Horse Pond where they heard briefly about the project to restore it and its significance in olden times. The Jury were impressed at the new planting along the Caledon road and remarked at the flower displays at the graveyard and lynch gate. As they passed by n and Ardbannagher estates, they were delighted to see the effort made by residents to welcome them with the Entente Florale colours!. The last few stops on the tour included the Integrated Constructed Wetlands, where engineers Cathal Flynn and Mark Johnston from MCC, along with the engineer whose brainchild the project originally was, Dan Doody, who returned to the fold especially for the occasion from the heady pastures of retiredom, explained how the wetlands process the entire sewage of the village and estate with no pre-treatment, yet were constructed at half the cost of a conventional treatment plant, are run for a fraction of the cost, and discharge water of a higher quality than the water upstream of the village, all whilst providing a fantastic habitat for wildlife.

Gretta Mc Carron from the Local Authorities Water & Communities Office was on hand to show samples of the water quality in the area and explain the work she is doing to get communities more involved in minding the rivers and lakes in their area, so that the ground water is protected, and water quality improves. The delegation was then treated to a short walk around the gardens of Castle Leslie in the company of estate manager Jackie Gormley and head gardener Dessie Clements, who explained how they manage the 1000 acres of estate and care for the Champion Trees on the estate. The Jury were impressed to learn that professional tree surgeons visit the estate twice a year to inspect the oldest trees on the estate, some of which are estimated to be up to 250 years old, and that Dessie collects seeds from the old trees and nurtures them into saplings, which are then planted out around the estate, to ensure the genetics of the original tree continue for many more years here in Glaslough.

The Jury’s four hour adjudication was wrapped up at the Hunting Lodge, where they were shown photographs of the building before and after renovation, to demonstrate the seamless blending of old with new, and were given a quick tour of the Victorian planting scheme which wraps around the exterior of the building and down into the courtyard. The context for the scheme was explained to the Jury, that being that the original gardens were designed for the Castle in the Victorian era, and that the plan is to restore the original planting scheme throughout the gardens.

As the Glaslough delegation were called to the stage to receive their award in Slovenia, the announcer made the following commentary, which was accompanied by photographs of the village:

“Glaslough is a small beautiful border village located in the County of Monaghan within the Irish Republic. Its Christian roots go back to the time of St. Patrick who visited the area several times. The Co. Monaghan tourist brochure tells us it is a county of rolling Drumlins and Hidden Treasures. It is also a village of three churches, yet the village proclaims the horse as king. It is also a planned village emanating from the influence of the Leslie Family who own the castle which sits on 1,000 acres consisting of a mix of lakes, wetlands, parkland and woodland. Its greatest strength lies in its community endeavour and its capacity for engaging in fruitful partnership with the Local Authorities and statutory bodies. A former overall winner in Ireland’s national Tidy Towns Competition it has sustained high standards down through the years and today it continues to be an award winning entry in a competition that will celebrate 60 years of activity next year. Over recent years in particular, it has won great favour for its vision of the future and lays great emphasis on the involvement of its youth and especially its award winning school of which it is so proud. Its numerous projects aimed at enhancing the environment have won praise from a variety of sources and play an important role in the economic, cultural, social and sporting welfare of this lovely village. A huge welcome awaits all visitors to Glaslough.”

At this point, twenty four people from Co. Monaghan were now standing on the stage, awaiting news of their fate.  The Chairman of the Entente Florale Committee, Mr Dirk Vandromme from Belgium, quoting the opening line of the village’s anthem, ‘Beautiful Glaslough’ asked:

“Have you ever been to beautiful Glaslough?  Well, better do, because you win a GOLD medal!”

A video of the prize giving ceremony is available on YouTube at the following link: (or on the Entente Florale Europe website)

Glaslough’s time on the stage begins at  1 hour 11 minutes.

Cllr Paudge Connolly, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan Municipal District, in which Glaslough village lies, made the long trip to Slovenia for the awards to support the community. He praised the hard work of all involved in achieving the gold merit award.

“The whole experience of preparing for the adjudication, and coming out here as a community together like this has been a demonstration of partnership between community and the local authority at its very best.  I’d like to congratulate everyone involved, and thank you all for throwing your hearts and souls at this initiative. It is initiatives like these that build communities, sustain them through hard times, give them direction and provide their youth with the tools which will see them through life. I am so pleased that Monaghan County Council can support communities to get involved in this kind of work, and I would like to commend the staff of Monaghan MD and the Community Dept of Monaghan County Council for their hard work and excellence.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, sent a message of congratulations to the people of Glaslough, and to Monaghan County Council.

“Achievements like these don’t happen by accident. They take years of effort, and months of planning. They need the commitment of many people and the support of all, from the local authority to the school, to the business community to each and every house owner in the village. This is a community achievement, and one that every single person in Glaslough has played a part in making happen.

Achieving success at the highest level in Europe requires leadership, and Glaslough is lucky to have that both within the community, and in the staff of Monaghan County and Municipal District Councils.  The vision which was shown by Castle Leslie Estate and Monaghan County Council in opting to build an Integrated Constructed Wetlands instead of a conventional sewerage treatment plant to treat the sewerage for the entire village is without a doubt a model for all to follow, and I believe the Jury hadn’t seen its likes anywhere in Europe. It had to have played a part in helping Glaslough edge towards that prestigious Gold award.

Congratulations to everyone, and let’s hope that it’s a good omen for the National Tidy Towns results for 2017, which come out on Monday next.”

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Mr. Michael Ring, T.D., also sent his congratulations, saying:

“Glaslough should be immensely proud of its achievement.  Irish entrants to the Entente Florale competition always perform very well on the European stage.  This stems from the great community spirit and involvement we have in Ireland’s Tidy Towns competition which has been running for nearly 60 years.  The award to Glaslough is a testament to the work carried out by the Tidy Towns committee and by Monaghan Co. Council.”

Whilst in Podčetrtek, the Glaslough delegation also participated in a European Market, where they flew the flag for Co. Monaghan by tempting passersby over to the Glaslough stand with handmade chocolates from Glaslough Chocolates, before bombarding them with images of beautiful Glaslough and the unique rolling drumlin landscape of Co. Monaghan.  Before long, guitars and tin whistles were produced, and Glaslough took over the centre of the market, where fourteen year old Jamie Duffy, fresh from receiving his Junior Cert results en route overland to Slovenia just days earlier, was crowned undisputed king of Entente Florale for his haunting rendition of the Lonesome Boatman, accompanied by his granddad, Packie McGhee.

european market.jpg

The Glaslough stand at the European Market in Podcetrtek, ably manned by members of the Glaslough delegation, Cathaoirleach Cathy Bennett, and Carol Lambe from the Community Dept of Monaghan County Council, who was there to make sure the that nothing happened to the Glaslough Chocolates that were taken out for the stand (ahem!) 


There was much praise for the village of Podčetrtek, which is an outstandingly beautiful location. The awards were hosted in a thermal springs resort, which has accommodation of varying types to cater for different guest needs. Carol Lambe, Community Development Officer with Monaghan Co Co, co-ordinated the Entente Florale bid and made the trip out to Slovenia. She said:

‟The resort fits in to Slovenia’s economic development strategy which is to target the development of green, eco tourism. With Monaghan County Council currently involved in the development of a tourism development strategy for the Sliabh Beagh region, and since Sliabh Beagh holds one of only a handful of water sources in Ireland which still hold a ’pristine’ rating for purity, the visit to Podčetrtek could not have been timed more perfectly for giving the Council some food for thought.  Although, we may have to re-think the ’no swimsuits’ rule in the thermal baths!”

Tidy Towns Tour to Skerries 16th September

This year’s tour will be to last year’s national title winner, the seaside town of Skerries, Co. Dublin.  The date is Saturday 16th September. On the way up, we will be stopping at the site of the Battle of the Boyne, where we will view the exhibition and tour the restored walled gardens, which include Ireland’s only sunken garden, and have lunch in the restaurant before continuing to Skerries.

This promises to both be an informative day out and a great day amongst friends. So come join us for a last blast before the evenings close in and the clouds descend once more……

Details on the poster below.

tour to Skerries poster