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

Annual KKB awards 2016 announced

The annual KKB awards ceremony took place at Langton’s Hotel, the main results were as follows:

Best Commercial floral display

Highly Commended:

Rafter Dempsey’s,  Friary Street

McCreery Auctioneers, Parliament st

D&R Antiques,  Rose Inn Street


O’Lanagain, Rose Inn street  olanagain-p1000886


Most Improved Commercial Premises

Highly Commended:

Fish Face,  Upper Patrick street

Maibe Carey, Parliament st

Café 22,  Rose Inn Street


Springhill Court Hotel, Waterford rdspringhill-court-p1000906

  Best Shop Front     

Highly Commended:

Marble City Barbers, John Street.

Mr. Simms Sweet Shoppe,  Market Cross

Marble City Bar, High Street

Winner –    

Syd Harkins, Rose Inn Street.sid-harkins-p1000883

  Best Shop Signage


Langton’s, John Street

Kilkenny Academy of Music, Ormonde Rd

Shortis Wong,  John Street

   Winner – 

Matt the Millers, John St/John’s Quaymatt-the-millers-p1000888

                Best Kilkenny Hospitality              Display


Newpark Hotel, Castlecomer rd.,

Park Villa B+B,  Castlecomer Rd.


Fanad House, Bennettsbridge fanad-house-img_3579Road

      Best Commercial Centre

Commended:                    Market Cross Shopping Centre

Winner                 McDonagh junction, Shopping centre


Heroes in our Community Award

Pat Boyd    Environmental improvement

Sr.  Noreen      Troy’s Court

Michael Henebry    Environmental improvement  De La Salle


Fitzpatrick Perpetual Shield for Community Effort   

St John’s Priory      st-johns-priory-img_2847

The Brendan Lawless Memorial Award

Commendation:     St Fiacre’s gardens  St. Patrick’s parish   st-fiacres-gardens-p1000936

Winner: Troys Court   troys-court-p1000938

Keep Kilkenny Beautiful  Gems  Award

Timothey Clifford , Lord Edward street

Dave Ryan, New Building lane

Glendine heights  Mr Tree!!    (resident association)

Paul Byrne, Rosewood  Residence

Catherine Kimmins,  Poyntz lane

Ena Duffy,   Fr Delahunty Terrace.

Hall of Fame Award

Sean Leahy


Kieran Phelan,   Connolly st.

Martin Cleere  Connolly street

Linda Phelan,   Pearse st

Sadhbh O’Neill,  Talbots Inch



Sean and Mairead Delaney, Glenview  Castlecomer rdglenview-dscf9454

Inara Saroka,  Ossory Park

Katherine Duffe,  Glendine Heights


Joan Campion,  Old Callan rd

Brigit Breen,   Dean Kavanagh place

Maureen Logan,  Dean Kavanagh place

Eileen Tynan,  Old Callan road


Madeleine O’Neill,  Elm Green

Susan and Seamus Butler,  Dukesmeadows Ave., Bennettsbridge  Rd

Linda Sweeney, Haltigan Terrace

Michael & Michele Kealy, Mikaela, Maiden Hill


Caroline  Grincell  Talbots Inch11-talbots-inch-dscf9640

Toni Hayes Glendine Heights

Helen Devlin,  Cedarwood Drive  30-ceadarwood-drive-img_4439



Marian Finlay, Killsallagh, College Gardenskilsallagh-dsc_0107


Cedarwood drive,


Melville, Bennettsbridge road.



Talbots inch  talbots-inch-dscf9645

Riverside Drive


O’Loughlin Road



Fr Murphy square

Fatima Place


Smaller   estate

de la Salle Placede-la-salle-place-2











Larger  estate  

Ardilea   ardilea-dscf9478

Parish award  

St Patrick’s Parishst-fiacres-gardens-p1000931


Kilkenny City retains Tidytowns gold medal for 2016

Congratulations to the National overall winner  Skerries, County Dublin who received 327 points.

 Kilkenny City has retained their  gold medal in the 2016 Tidy towns competition. The Judges awarded 325 marks, an increase of four marks on our 2015 result. This is just two points short of the overall winner.  Click the  link under to see  the full Adjudication report.       adjudication-report-2016-kilkenny-city

KKB chairman Peter Bluett expressed great satisfaction with the results. Kilkenny City  points increased  in four categories.  ( Community Involvement & Planning, Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities,  Sustainable Waste and Resource Management, Tidiness and Litter Control)

This  excellent result places Kilkenny within the top 5 of the competition.  

This  reflects the tremendous ongoing cooperation which takes place in Kilkenny City between community groups, residents, businesses and Kilkenny County Council.

KKB Members at the Helix following the results announcement.

KKB Members at the Helix following the results announcement.C


Kilkenny achieves No1 in the IBAL survey 2016

Kilkenny’s position as Ireland’s tidiest town has been further confirmed in the 2016 IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) survey which has been just released. Kilkenny has achieved No1 in the latest survey  with Enniscorthy and Kildare receiving joint second.

The result reflects the hard work being undertaken by all our our Community  in Keeping Kilkenny Beautiful.

kilkenny railway station

Kilkenny:  1st out of 40 towns / cities surveyed.  Cleaner than European Norms.


Yet another success for Kilkenny with nine out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade. What sets Kilkenny and other very high scoring towns apart is not just the lack of litter but the care and attention in the presentation of the environment. Kilkenny even has an example of a vacant building on Tholand Street which, although vacant, was still carefully presented.  Other examples of  very good sites were Kilkenny Train Station (Exterior), Riverbank and Market Cross Shopping Centre. 


Kilkenny Train Station – Exterior:  Grade A.  This was an excellent site.  Abundant flowering at the bottom of the steps and wheelchair ramp are a lovely feature.  All aspects of the area surveyed were in very good order and there was a complete absence of litter throughout.


Kilkenny Train Station – Interior:  Grade A. The interior of the station was pristine.  The seating, bins, plants and hanging baskets etc. were all in excellent order.  The walls were adorned with plenty of sepia photographs, a nice touch to the station interior.


John Street:  Grade A.  This shopping street made the top litter grade, but only just.  The general presentation was good with attractive paving, hanging baskets and shop fronts.


St. John’s Junior School:  Grade A.  A neat and clean environment which was well presented and maintained.  No major litter issues to report.


River Bank:  Grade A.  This was a lovely setting which has been very carefully maintained.  The lawns running down to the riverbank were immaculately cut and abundant flower boxes lined some stretches of the river.  The whole area surveyed was spotless throughout.


Market Cross Shopping Centre:  Grade A.  This is a town centre shopping centre – between High Street and James’s Street.  Like so many other features in Kilkenny it has been very attractively laid out with paving, seating, plants etc. all contributing to the overall appearance.  It was free of litter throughout.


Vacant Building beside Tholand:  Grade A.  The street level of this building has been covered in newspapers.  While unoccupied, it was neat and clean and located beside some more wonderful flower boxes and hanging baskets which added a nice splash of colour.


Bottle Bank:  Grade B.  (beside ESB  substation  / box) On first impression all appeared in good order at this small bottle bank facility.  The bins themselves were generally clean and the front was mostly clear of litter.  However, the area to the rear of the bins had a definite litter presence – cans, fast-food wrappers and glass bottles were the most prevalent types of litter found.


N77 Durrow Approach Road:  Grade A.  This was an excellent route in and out of Kilkenny.  The road surface, signage and markings were in good order and the cycle paths and grass areas to the side of the road were well maintained – a top ranking site throughout.


N10 Carlow – Kilkenny Connecting Road:  Grade A.  All appeared in very good order along this route –  the overall impression was of a well planned and executed route which was fresh, clean and tidy.

The Worlds End Bar on ohn street

The Worlds End Bar on John street











Kilkenny City – Planting Oak Trees during National Tree Week

Tree planting at the County Hall

Tree planting at the County Hall                                                                                                      Keep Kilkenny Beautiful recently celebrated in cooperation with Kilkenny county council  Irish National tree week with the planting of seven trees within the grounds of Kilkenny County Hall. The seven oak trees were a gift from the National Tidy Towns to Kilkenny City as multiple overall national towns winner and symbolise the seven signatories to the 1916 proclamation. The trees are located along a very popular walking route which leads from Kilkenny city centre along the River Nore East riverbank to Ossory bridge. The oak trees will add to the biodiversity of the area and create as they grow a wonderful habitat for many species of plants and insects and will also give cover for wildlife.





tree planting 2
tree planting 3-
sign 2

Kilkenny County Hall gardens look wonderful!

Our County Hall looks fantastic in the winter sun. Extensive work is under way   on the attractive riverside gardens and paths. The River Nore walk also goes through  the grounds.  There is a free car park in the grounds at the weekend where you can  start a wonderful river and city walk.

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