Take another look at our city ring road

The City Ring road  extends to some 7 Km from Castlecomer rd. to the callan rd. with extensive  attractive planting and  some 10 roundabouts all with individual plantingdesigns.

The attractive for the 6 spot Burnet moth Zygaena filipendulae Click here for short video of moth 

Castlecomer roundabout with sustainable planting, the adjacent road banks have many wild flowers.

Rare orchids are being protected and we are working to improve their habitat.

this flower is particularly attractive for the 6 spot Burnet moth Zygaena filipendulae

Hebron motorway access roundabout with sustainable perennial planting

New Orchard roundabout with colorful flowers and evergreen planting.

Ring road with edge only trimmed with further zone of  grassland and native species trees

Colorful wild flower edges to the road.

Community response arrests the spread of Invasive Species in Kilkenny

The spread of the Invasive species Himalayan Balsam has been the target of a community intervention along the River Nore in the Kilkenny City area and its tributary the River Breagagh. Himalayan Balsam is one of Ireland’s most invasive plant species and is considered to be a threat to wildlife ecology along rivers especially their riparian areas, and so is an issue that should be addressed under the Water Framework Directive.

Removing Himalayan balsam is not straightforward and requires a lot of man power, community and river stakeholder intervention. The Tidy Towns Committee, Keep Kilkenny Beautiful and its Biodiversity Committee first targeted Himalayan balsam which had become rampant on the River Bregagh, which is a tributary of the River Nore flowing through Kilkenny City in 2015 .

The River Breagagh is a tributary of the River Nore which rises to the south west of Kilkenny and meanders through the greater southern and western environs of the old city and flows under city walls and Abbeys where it joins the River Nore.

Community volunteers cleared the upper part of the affected areas in the months of June and July in 2015 and 2016 and concentrated on preventing any re-emergence in this area for the remainder of the year. Progress on the first year of the River Breagagh Himalayan balsam campaign would have been greater but for an outbreak of Giant hogweed on the River Nore to which a number of the Breagagh volunteers responded.

A response to combat the Giant hogweed’s threat to public health and the rivers ecology was directed by the local National Parks and Wildlife Officer, and included individuals from the Tidy Towns biodiversity group, the Local Sub Aqua Club, the Kilkenny Anglers and the Local Canoeing Club. The result of this intervention was that 70 or so Giant hogweed plants were treated and their seed heads removed preventing them from going to ground and germinating. The same Giant hogweed response team have been proactive again this year and it is hoped that one invasive species epidemic has been averted and is under control.

In May of  2016 the River Breagagh Himalayan balsam campaign resumed and the stakeholder groups that so successfully responded to the previous years outbreak of Giant hogweed spearheaded the completion of the removal of all stands of the invasive species from the River Breagagh tributary. The important participation of the rivers amenity stakeholders in this difficult access phase of treatment also released experienced volunteers to participate in the removal of Himalayan balsam downstream of the River Breagagh confluence.

The Tidy Towns, River Nore Himalayan balsam  removal campaign began in May 2006  on the popular Lacken and Canal walk areas of the river downstream of the River Breagagh and a strong community response has seen large areas of infestation being cleared and indigenous habitat being restored.

Earlier removal of invasive species on the River Breagagh has already resulted in a return of nesting ducks and foraging swans to the restored grass leavey island and riverbank habitat and a return of a pair of squawking water hens to what had previously become an impenetrable forest of Balsam. The intervention and participation of Tidy Towns cross community volunteers and river amenity stakeholders in biodiversity advocacy projects is heralding a new dawn in river conservation on the River Nore and its tributaries in Kilkenny.

In 2017 further extensive removals took place throughout the May – August  season 2017 and in addition extending the work area down river to south east of the Ossory bridge with maintenance of other areas which had been substantially cleared in previous years. The main aim was to remove the plant prior to seeding and to pick as early as possible while its biomass level was low  and damage/shadow  to adjoining plants was minimised. As in previous years all of the plants were collected by hand and where composted on site adjacent to the river in locations above the floodplain.This work as allowed all to have a greater appreciation of the amenity available along the river Nore/Breagagh  in the Kilkenny area.

Balsam removal on the river Breagagh near the junction with the river Nore

Team from Statestreet bank working to remove balsam during 2017 during Community action day

Balsam removal during 2017

 Keep Kilkenny Beautiful

Tree planting completed at Lacken walk

Congratulations to all who attended the tree planting  near the board walk at Lacken, walk. many hundreds of trees have been planted  including many native Irish species. the weather was damp but this made for good planting conditions with the ground soft and receptive to bare root tree slips. In particular  we thank Dan of Tree Services Ireland  who coordinated the event and whose  aim is to plant two trees for every one tree  removed!

Tea and coffee station!

Planting on a slope,

Happy dog day!

River Nore rises to new levels

Over the last number of weeks we have seen the river Nore rise and rise. The Nore  still quite a wild river with many tree-lined natural banks. When the river rises the floodplains turn into lakes. Trees along the riverbank  where undermined and weakened are washed down the river. The City boardwalk was just above the flood level.

Not a time for swimming as the wild river Nore washes whole trees and their roots  down the river

With the water at such a high level the newly completed mural at Ossory bridge looks like it is swimming in the river.

The river boardwalk  between Ossory bridge and the City centre is just above the flood level

Winter bedding and colour

The colder winter days brings new work for our many residents associations with the cleaning of planted areas. Beds where possible have  a variety of sustainable plants that give colour all year round.  These need to be weeded, the plants trimmed  back, or in many cases divided and replanted elsewhere.  Some winter colour is add with primroses and violas. The robin,  a gardeners friend in the winter  stands by,  ready to pick up any tasty morsels which remain after the work.

 

 

Bulb planting season in full swing

Bulb planting in the autumn, we look forward to spring colour! This forms part of our annual  planting each year giving  colour on an ongoing basis.  Areas with  many  bulbs are also thinned out directly after flowering, dried out and stored  and  the bulbs are then recycled into  new areas in the Autumn.

The earthworms  are near the surface and are disturbed as we do the bulb planting, the ground is quite damp after a lot of rain. (see 1 Euro coin for scale).  Worms are very important for the health of the earth.