Pride of Place 2023

Best Large Town

As a suburb of Navan, Johnstown has a significant population and an identifiable community. Our varied endeavors to improve and maintain our neighbourhood draws on support from local residents, four nearby schools, three local sports grounds, government bodies, and several local businesses.


Our volunteers are proactively seeking to reveal the best that Johnstown can offer.

Click to read more

Encouraged by our first-ever entry in 2021 where we hosted 30 pollinator-specific planting sites, 2022 saw over 80 public sites that included nearly 50 sunflower sites. 2023 will see the maintenance of all our sites with the inclusion of more sunflower sites and especially up to 300 residential gardens participating. 

We are undertaking a survey for the Community Biodiversity Action Plan via a grant from The Community Foundation of Ireland and will pause on any new actions until this is completed.

Our planting projects demonstrate that we engage all ages and abilities within our community and that we also liase with many groups, council departments, and conform to the communities’ actions with steps taken to:

We continue to have follow-up projects to identify what is growing in our project sites, what species benefit from our actions, and how to encourage more through surveys and studies. Our current engagement with schools will hopefully lead to more proactive citizen science projects.


Our list of those we've engaged with over the past 12mths for supplies or information is ever growing and varied.

Click to view partnerships



Reference Map

2022 Sunflower Trail

2023 Sunflower Trail

Vacant Buildings

View the Projects Index or scroll through the projects.


Website launched shortly after our 2022 competition entry it hosts a record of all that we have achieved with our plans and aspirations for the environment and community.

Click To Read More

Our small team maintains the site and particularly useful for keeping a record of our work in date order has been the snapshot news page.

Website cover page, June 2022

Social Media Facebook

Our main means to communicate online.

Click To Read More

Our Facebook page gains the most local attention and is largely shared through the Community Group (3,500 members) which explains why our follower numbers doesn't increase greatly.

Statistics 1 June 2022 to 10 May 2023 (12 mths previous)

Facebook cover page,

Graffiti & General Cleanliness

An ongoing requirement and one that never really goes away.

Click To Read More

Graffiti has been dealt with immediately where possible, a few have appeared on pebble dash which has been listed for future sweep. Our St Martha's Bridge JTT sign is a constant target and similarly, the bus stop shelter walls.

We still have signs to persue MCC for the removal of: 2 very large 'expired' street signs on Bothar Sion (Map Ref 3) together with school signs on the L5050 back road.

Attempting to clean street signs by hand was unsuccessful and we had hoped to utilise the Foamstream hot water system to assist us.Our grant request was unsuccessful and therefore we have not pursued the cleaning project at this time.

Many thanks to John Rochfort Property Maintenance for giving up his morning to clean the St Martha's Bridge railings ((Map Ref 1)). We don't appreciate how dirty it gets until you see it shine after the pressure washing. Thank you also to Navan RFC for providing the water.

View More

June 1st, Bothar Sion Graffiti removed
Signs no longer required? June 7th 2022
St Martha's Bridge, March 25th

General Litter Control

Litter will always occur and collectors forever be needed. During the summer we hope to reestablish regular weekly group collections and include litter segregation. 

Click to Read More

During the past 12mths we have continued to target 'litter hotspots' such as Spireview Steps where we encouraged the community to come out and help with nearly twenty attending. (Map Ref 24)

We have numerous street signs regarding pet waste and cleaning up. We have continued to maintain the supply of mitt bags around the People’s Park and yet the bags are frequently dumped on the floor and not taken home by the pet owners. 

The pavement signage by MCC was a very welcome initiative in 2022 and would be welcome again this year, especially outside estate entrances.

In December 2022 Meath County Council inquired as to the origin of significant hedge and grass clippings dumped on the side of Metges Road opposite The Priory estate (Map Ref 30). It was identified as being household waste illegally dumped and 2 'No Dumping' signs were erected.

View More

June 25th, 2022, Spireview Steps
Metges Rd, January 13th

Johnstown Community Biodiversity Action Plan

We're delighted to receive a €5,000 grant to create a Community Biodiversity Action Plan for Johnstown from The Community Foundation For Ireland. This grant will enable us to gain feedback from qualified ecologists to identify what biodiversity Johnstown currently has and the actions that we can undertake to support wildlife within our neighbourhood.

Read More

January 19th

Community Surveys

We continue to uncover what baselines we have and how our community operates through a number of ongoing surveys including;

Click to Read More

Pollinator Projects,

Read More

Green Km: Stop Weedkiller Use

We can't support biodiversity and actively be seen to kill it at the same time.

Click to Read More

As part of our green km MCC initiative, we are maintaining 4km of public main roads without weedkillers. We were unsuccessful in seeking the Community Capital Grant for the Foamstream treatment and resorted to Plan C with help from Meath County Council. 

We were delighted to see the IDA Park stop using weed killer on the Bothar Sion fence line (Map Ref 3), so we neatly trimmed along its length by hand.

View More

August 24th 2022
Bothar Sion IDA Fence, June 7th 2022

Johnstown's Anual Sunflower Trail

Introducing ourselves to our whole community and engaging people in planning, nurturing, and celebrating biodiversity and the environment.

Click to Read More

Our 2022 display engaged several classes from of our 4 schools, several local businesses, Meath County Council departments of Environment, Transport and Maintenance, and Heritage, Navan IDA and 5 businesses, and 3 local sporting clubs to host nearly 50 displays and over 600 sunflowers.

2022 Sunflower Trail

For 2023 more than 50 sites have been suggested, and we are germinating 1400 sunflowers. We've taken the opportunity to change the trail route to include the newly opened Milbrook to Johnstown Wood pedestrian link together with alternative paths. 

We've greatly increased the scale of the potential display by continuing with our existing school growing teams and asking local volunteers from several residential estate groups to germinate an extra 500 seeds with the aim of them asking their neighbouring residents to grow these sunflowers in their front gardens and fill in the gaps between display sites.

2023 Sunflower Trail

2023 Logo, April to September

2022 Trail

Proposed 2023 Trail

Late First Lawn Cut

Delaying the first lawn cut of the year isn't easy when Easter keeps moving around and when many decide to revisit their gardens and children want to play outside. Several estate lawns did however benefit and the display of dandelions turned Johnstown yellow.

Read More

Metges Rd, April 15th

Don't Mow Let It Grow

Encouraging the uptake of No Mow May changes the perception of how to manage grass lawns that aren't being used for play areas. We're keen to see if 'Let it Bloom June' and 'Grow it High July' capture public feeling.

View More

(Map Ref 13) End of the Road Site Johnstown Wood, May 25th 20232
Outside former Metges Rd Gym ( Map Ref 31)


Johnstown has the natural resources readily to hand and we can't financially afford to keep purchasing compost for planting projects. 

Click to Read More

Therefore we collaborated with Walterstown GFC in 2021 to recycle turf edging and leaf collection. Although we planned to expand this to include summer meadow grass mixed with shredded autumn leaves from the estate streets we discovered that the meadow material was very coarse and no longer considered suitable for composting. MCC collected this and took to commercial compost facility

View More

November 3rd  Grass cuttings collected from Spireview Lawn Meadow (Map Ref 22).
September 25th, grass cuttings collected by MCC for composting from Metges Rd Meadow (Map Ref 15).

Water Conservation

We are repeating the collection of plastic drink bottles from local pubs that will be used for our Sunflower Trail. 600 used in 2022 and likely 1,400 in 2023 as residents are directly involved.

We continue to have access to 1,000 Ltrs of harvested rainwater via butts at volunteers' homes to water the St Martha's Bridge summer flowers. 

Our 150 ltr portable containers opurchase in 2022 proved very successful and much more manageable than the portable 100ltr rainwater buggy.

View More

St Martha's Bridge Flower Baskets benefit from having a water reservour.
Sunflower water funnels reduce water usage and evaporation.

Pre-Loved Gardening

We continue to recieve a trickle of unwanted plants and garden material from local residents and businesses. Many find new homes within our own projects or are donated to schools and resident groups.

View More

Reusable Tools

We are seeking ways to reduce the need for members to purchase their own tools and seeking inventive ways to reduce our environmental impact for fuel, transportation, storage, and purchase costs.

Click to Read More

Our lawnmower can be hired for free by active volunteer members to use in their own estates such as verge cutting common areas or creating soccer pitches.

The scythe purchased in 2022 proved effective at cutting half of the summer meadows, time ran out and so a commercial contractor provided the final support. Due to safety concerns we haven't loaned this out but our volunteers have assisted in cutting back 3 residential overgrown gardens.

August 2022, the Scythe is very effective on long grass.

Vacant Buildings

The only venue not to show signs of progress is the vacant petrol station on Kentstown Rd. Vacant Building REF 1

Only one premise in the Metges Rd former gymn remains vacant. Vacant Building REF 3

The Athlumney Centre has seen the greatest change and welcomed improvement to the northern Johnstown entrance. Vacant Building REF 2

The Old Johnstown Community Group are commended for their work and entry each year into the vacant building category and the village continues to look great. News that there are proposals by MCC to enhance the village site is welcome. Vacant Building REF 4

View More

May 2022 saw the end of the Athlumney Centre 
May 2023 and the creation of apartments.

Foregoing Seasonal Lights

There was a significant and noticeable reduction in outdoor decorative winter lights due to the cost of living crisis and the rising cost of electricity. 

Click to Read More

Despite having planned to include the 14 trees opposite the Johnstown Shopping Centre using battery-timed LED lights we decided that it would be inappropriate in the current financial climate to host our winter lights display.

Special mention to Haven Studios (Map Ref 25) who added a sparkle to the dark autumn evenings in Old Johnstown Village. Local artist Fiona has transformed the studio with the use of natural materials and together with seasonal imagery produced by Compact Ivy Mural Design Meath it's a really effective scene.

It's refreshing to see traditional decorations of real fir, pine cones, eucalyptus, and pussy willow all foraged locally and in Wicklow.

Haven Studio (Map Ref 25) November 6th

Johnstown School Campus

Finally, several years late there are signs of dramatic progress with groundwork clearly visible for the completion of Colaiste Na Mi Secondary School and the new buildings for St Mary's Special School (currently in Old Johnstown Village). (Map Ref 18)

September 11th, 2022Photo Meath Photography

Johnstown Facilities?

The Meath Chronicle report, Jan 7th, on the Navan Municipal District Council Meeting where it was revealed that over 4 acres of land at the Dunville estate is finally being released to the Council.

After 20 years of asking will Johnstown gain a community building this year?

Meath Chronicle Article, January 7th

People's Park

The Park's Management Team has continued to allow Johnstown FC the opportunity to use the park for training their youngest teams. Despite being privately owned it remains open to the public however we have made no progress in changing the grass cutting regeme because it requires consent from the 600+ shareholders. Nor can we add planting or seating for the same reasons. (Map Ref 28)

Johnstown People's ParkPhoto Meath Photography


Most residents and visitors are fully aware of the peak time school and commuter traffic, with many now trying to avoid it. Walking and cycling continue to appear to be increasingly popular and we endeavor to maintain clear, well-presented paths. 

An air pollution survey is something we'd still like to do in collaboration with Navan Cycling Initiative and Green Schools. 

View More

Cycle Path Extension

Dublin Road connecting Johnstown with Navan could see cycle paths in the near future as part of the Navan Cycle Scheme - Part 8 Notice (Ref P822011).

Impression of Dublin Road Cycle Path, September 6th

Cycle Hire Opportunity

New to this year's Sunflower Trail Spun Cycles and Run have transformed the former Metges Road swimming pool into a very welcoming sight. As part of this year's 🌻 Trail you can take a family-friendly 🚴 following the cycle lanes and around the IDA. We're very excited to hear that they're NOW offering bike hire which is great news if you've not got enough space at home to store a family collection of bikes. (Map Ref 31)

Spun Cycle Hire, August 13th



St Martha's Bridge Display

Our x30 planters in 2022 were 100% pollinator-friendly flowering from early June to late October. (Map Ref 1)

Bothar Sion Bank

Our proposed sculpture and biodiversity planting project in collaboration with Wild About Navan and Cllr Yemi Adenuga, initially proposed to MCC in 2021, has been put on hold. The results from an ecology report highlighted the considerable biodiversity value with over 50+ valued species within the banks. (Map Ref 2)

Bailis Downs Fence Line

The Bothar Sion Fence Line Native Irish Wildflowers originally came from an expensive seed packet and since each flower produces hundreds of seeds we've collected these.

This summer's 2nd-year display was quite different to the vivid red poppies. yellow, orange, & blue cornflowers pictured. This year we've intervened to cast a few collected seeds to add some vibrant colour for 2023. (Map Ref 4)

View More

October 25th, 2022
June 5th 2023, no additional colour yet?

Dispersed Urban Orchard

Together with the upkeep of the 12 fruit trees planted last year Johnstown has obtained another site for 5 trees as part of the Wild About Navan Dispersed Urban Orchard project. (Map Refs 5, 17. 20, 21)

Read More

Bailis Downs Orchard, January 20th (Map Ref 5)

Bailis Downs Wall

The scheme didn't develop beyond the 5 holly trees of 2022 due to differences of opinion and management ideas. Despite native wildflowers including dandelions but largely nettles taking hold and providing a thriving insect home, unbeknown to us, a resident chose to spray weedkiller over the strip and the nearby verges. To hide the scars and suppress unwanted weed growth we plan to sprinkle grass cuttings until the situation can be resolved. (Map Ref 6)

View More

Athlumney Hall Verge

We added 60m of path edging to prevent soil from spilling onto the pavement but we didn't anticipate many of the fruit and herb plants being stolen. Due to the noticeable loss, we let the native flowers take over and flower through spring. We will remove the ragwort as requested by Meath County Council, the rapeseed has likely come from the nearby farmland, and we're working to identify the others. (Map Ref 7)

 View More

Bus Stop Planting

Due to the loss of plants at the nearby Athlumney Verge site, we have paused this project until we can secure volunteers living close by who will monitor any planting. (Map Ref 9)

View More

Former Petrol Station Verge

The Petrol Station is now managed as a wild area with a regularly mowed edge and cleared grasses in Autumn. 

Click to Read More

Transformed from scorched poisoned earth to host climbers, wildflowers, and summer meadow we were prevented from planting replacement climbers in late Spring 2022 due to the heatwave, and then later in the Autumn torrential rain and wind. The staff at O'Brien's Bar and Restaurant hosted these climbers on their rooftop dining area and this promoted our group to guests and provided them with plants. One year later they've grown but we've abandoned plans for planting climbers at the Petrol Station site since there is so much hard concrete/tarmac surface resulting in insufficient water available in the ground. 2 other sites have been proposed: the Dunville wire fence and the Bothar Sion wildflower fence.

For those keen on foraging for summer fruit then raspberries, planted in 2018, finally appeared this summer. (Map Ref 10)

 View More

Metges Rd, May 30th 2023
Roof top plants, August 24th
Berries Appear, August 11th

Native Tree Planting

Donated by MCC last year 5 Holly trees were 'grown on' in pots for another year to give them a head start. Now planted along the lawn next to the boulders in Johnstown Wood they should help deter a motorist from attempting to cross the green again (Map Ref 17).

Half a dozen new native trees provided by MCC were planted by residents to extend the tree line on Metges Road. (Map Ref 12)

Together with the maintenance of trees previously planted (Map Ref 14 & 15) it is hoped that as traffic increases along this road in the coming years that these trees will form a pleasant noise barrier that also benefits pollinators and birds.

Read More

Johnstown Wood Estate, February 1st
Metges Rd, April 19th

Wild Area

A completely 'wild' area where we're doing very little except to leave the space alone to see what grows. After walking the site with the Biodiversity Plan ecologist we have agreed to 'do nothing' to the site until we receive feedback from his report. (Map Ref 13)

View More

Johnstown Wood, Spring 2022
Flower survey, Spring 2023

Chestnut Elm Meadow

The grass grew long over the summer and we used traditional scythes which proved effective and with a little practice it's fairly quick and reasonably simple to use. The grass cuttings were composted via Meath County Council before we sowed yellow rattle seeds.

We were very dissapointed to see that the contractor mistakenly cut down the 10m wide meadow and left only a 1m narrow strip in May 2023. (Map Ref 15)

Read More

September 24th 2022
1m wide in May 2023

Estate Marker Stones

We didn't get the required volunteers from nearby residents from the 4 estates along Metges Road. We still have the rudbeckia goldsturm planted and growing in pots. 

A pilot attempt to grow clover and some native wildflowers at the Johnstown Wood Roundabout failed to germinate. This was likely due to the brief torrential Autumn rain and winds. (Map Ref 7, 14, 16, 20)

View More

Johnstown Wood Roundabout, August 31st (Map Ref 16)

School Roundabout

Additional pollinator friendly bulb planting involving Colaiste Na Mi students in Autumn 2021 for the Gaisce - The President's Award flowered in Spring 2022 and was followed by our Sunflower Trail. (Map Ref 18)

View More

August 2022

Seeds of Change

We're looking forward to seeing what students and staff at Colaiste na Mi Secondary School create to support our local pollinators. We've provided some native seeds Keelings and a selection of plants donated to us from MCC. (Map Ref 18)

Native Irish Wildflower Seed Packet, March 15th

Hedge Trim

Often filled with litter the hedge trimmed by MCC at the Beech Estate, Johnstown Wood, outside the Johnstown School Campus has dramatically opened up the area. Local residents hope that it will deter late-night gatherings by youths. (Map Ref 19)

Maple Estate, January 20th

New Gap

It's been a long time coming and no one was sure whether or not the wall would be filled in again! Work has been underway by MCC for a few days to ensure that the old 'Gap in the Wall' is to become permanently fully accessible. (Map Ref 20)

Newly opened pedestrian 'Gap', March 1st

Spireview Lawn Meadow

Many thanks to Meath County Council for agreeing to take our collected meadow grass to the recycling centre. 25 brown waste bins worth have now been composted from our meadows. Immediately after Irish Yellow Rattle seed was sown on the bank and can now be seen enhancing the presentation of the meadow whilst also benefiting its development. (Map Ref 22)

Read More

May 18th

Spireview Parade Summer Meadow

The unloved area where we offered to manage a summer meadow to resolve the issues of the lack of commitment to regular traditional maintenance has yet to be embraced. The occasional attempt to cut back the grass by residents has not had the financial support of any residents and therefore the longer grass is returning, albeit unmanaged.

We have reapproached key residents to see if our support will be welcomed. (Map Ref 23)

View More

Spireview Steps

An opportunity to resolve antisocial behaviour and to 'beautify' an essential link is still yet to progress. We included the site in our 2022 Sunflower Trail but unfortunately, vandals removed the entire display of 15 sunflowers within 48hrs.

We will revisit the proposal perhaps with wildflowers or planting mature fruiting bushes. (Map Ref 24)

View More

Regular litter clean-ups are needed.

Kilcarn Bridge Field

Benefiting biodiversity by being natural the owner is continuing to let mother nature take over. (Map Ref 26)

View More

Drain Clearance

The view from Metges road doesn't show the amount of tree and scrub clearance carried out via MCC. The woodland area next to Bailis Village and seen here from within the IDA might appear severe but the volume of water now in the ditch emphasises the need to keep the water flowing. (Map Ref 27)

Metges Rd / IDA Woodland, January 13th

Clear Paths.

Low tree branches are again hindering pedestrians and another pruning project was implemented in early 2023 by a dozen residents from the Priory Estate. (Map Ref 29)

Feb 2023, The Priory Estate: we provided pruning equipment.

Shopping Centre Landscaping

A proposal has been drafted to discuss hosting low-level advertising planters that would be sponsored by each of the shops.

Click to Read More

Bouncing from a health emergency to the 'cost of living' crisis we are awaiting a more suitable time to propose an enhancement to the car park and verge areas of the Johnstown Shopping Centre. 

The planters would contain water reservoirs and be from reclaimed or recycled material and host seasonal planting with a bias for biodiversity, low maintenance, and sustainability.

Johnstown really needs some form of public seating despite concerns for youth gatherings and these could provide multiple functions.

We feel that the car park pedestrian crossing areas are in need of practical barriers whilst the occasional car parks and block pedestrians around the perimeter of the shops. 

The appearance of the waste bins could be enhanced and incorporate new segregation bins in the area.

(Map Ref 32)

Could this be the opportunity for Johnstown to have more public seating areas?IMAGE:

Projects Index