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Natural Environment

The River Inny is a main tributary of the Shannon. It is called after the mythological Princess Eithne who drowned and was cremated downstream at the rapids at Tenelick (Tine-Leac). The river‘s renewable energy properties in the last century drove large milling turbines in this village and the immediate vicinity. These properties were lost by the Inny drainage of the 1960s.

The fine stone bridge, an un-spoilt fisherman’s paradise, was constructed in 1800 replacing an earlier wooden structure that straddled a major ford at this point. Nature has restored and actually enhanced the beauty and tranquility of the river banks after a period of necessary and inevitable spoliation caused by river drainage.

The water that is supplied through the public water supply network in the Abbeyshrule area is sourced from the River Inny. The river is a very high quality water source and as a result of this the water requires minimal treatment at the local Abbeyshrule Water Treatment Plant before it is pumped into the network. The fact that minimal treatment is required is testimony to the fact that those who live in the area and those who use and access the river behave in a responsible and environmentally conscientious manner. In 2011 Longford County Council produced 1.37 million cubic metres of water at the Abbeyshrule Water Treatment Plant.

The condition of the River Inny in the vicinity of Abbeyshrule appears to be much better than the upstream stretches. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors river water quality in Ireland and holds records for the River Inny. From 1971 to 2008 the recording stations for the River Inny at Abbeyshrule have recorded high to good to moderate with no poor or bad reporting for over a thirty year period.

Waste Minimisation

The Abbeyshrule Tidy Villages Committee is keenly aware of the need to make waste minimisation a part of everyday life. We are constantly reducing our waste by continuously employing new initiatives within our community.

Abbeyshrule Tidy Villages Committee engaged with Longford County Council to help us carry out a household waste minimisation project in the village. Six different families were chosen to take part in the project ranging from one person households up to families of six people. The study involved an initial visit by the Environmental Awareness Officer to each of the homes where waste and energy bills were examined and a walk through of each house took place. Each household was given some practical waste prevention and minimisation tips to help them reduce the volumes of waste they were putting out. They were also encouraged to compost their organic waste if not already doing so. The household walk through- highlighted appliances left on e.g. TV/Microwave and examined ways in which each household could be more energy efficient.

The second phase of the project will involve a visit by an energy assessor when each house will be given an initial BER (building energy rating) and the family will also be given an energy monitor so that electricity usage can be actively monitored. The assessor will recommend works that each household could do to increase the energy efficiency of their homes. Finally the project will finish up with a final visit by the Environmental Awareness Officer to examine waste and energy bills after a six to eight month period. The results will then be tabulated and published for each household to see how they have done. We expect that each household will1 have made significant savings in their waste and energy bills and as a result of the project we expect these savings to continue into the future.

We have also purchased a mulching lawnmower this year which has removed the need for disposing of grass waste from all our green areas.

The Council has provided Bring Banks which are serviced on a scheduled basis. As a result in 2011 over 1,000 kilos of waste per month was diverted from land filling. A wide range of small initiatives have been undertaken with a view to reducing the amount of waste that is generated in the area. The Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer works very closely with the local schools and the Schools‘ Green Flag initiative is leading to the development of a very keen awareness amongst children in the area of the need to protect the environment for future generations.

A new project this year was our recycled teapots – we placed them on trees to be used by birds as nesting pots.

There are two community composters, strategically located on each side of the canal; one centrally located for both housing estates and the other closer to the main recycling centre/bring banks. We have held community composting initiatives where experts have met locals and demonstrated the correct usage of the composters.

For a number of years we had problems supporting our ducks in the village. The food chain was depleting our stock of ducks. Hence a plan was put in place to support our duck community and house them at night time. Committee members became responsible for the ducks each night and morning. Their eggs are distributed locally. Unfortunately there have been several duck casualties due to predators or illness.

Sustainable Energy

The local committee is very aware that there is a need to develop an awareness of energy conservation measures. The Tidy Villages Committee maintains the vast majority of the green areas around the village. A significant amount of fuel is used each year in connection with this aspect of the committee’s work. In 2011, and partly in recognition of the need to reduce fuel consumption, we purchased a diesel powered mulching lawnmower. It is already paying dividends as it‘s much easier to run and we are saving 1/3 on fuel consumption. All our grass cutting equipment is currently capable of mulching so we have no grass gathering concerns.

The Council’s Energy Awareness Officer has conducted a number of information sessions in the community which have included discussions relating to the need for people to be aware of the energy that they use and the need to conserve energy in the home where possible.

Corncrake Meadow is an enclave of eco-houses located in the village of Abbeyshrule. Designed by an award winning architect, the complex was approved by the House of Tomorrow Project, which is co- ordinated by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI).

One of our residents has won the National Green Residential Building Award for his family home. This two storey timber post and beam constructed house has hemp lime infill to ensure an energy efficient sustainable home.

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