Local Faces: Mary Dardis

By Aimee Walsh

Mary Dardis is a woman that truly captures the spirit of Clondalkin. Mary is a proud Clondalkin Tidy Towns Committee member, Vice President of the Round Tower GAA club and 2018 Grand Marshall at the Clondalkin St Patrick’s Day parade.

Having lived in the area for over 50 years, Mary says although Clondalkin has changed with the times, the community spirit is still as strong as ever.

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Mary Dardis explains that Clondalkin has changed significantly in the time that she has lived there, but the spirit of the community remains the same

“I lived in Lucan originally, but I came because I got married and we bought a house in Clondalkin. My husband Aidan worked in the Paper Mills. Clondalkin was definitely a very small village then - beautiful. There was no big supermarket at that stage, not in the same context as today.”

Mary said her young family got involved in the Round Tower GAA Club in Clondalkin when a member of the club came to her house and asked would her son like to play for the juvenile team.

“As a family, we were very involved. At one stage, everyone in the house was involved in some way or other in the GAA club.” Mary told The Echo.

After years of playing with her daughters on the Round Tower GAA camogie team, Mary took on the job of training the teams, leading them to success.

“We started off with an Under 11 and Under 13 team. All together we would have had seven camogie teams, and we were very successful at most competitions. There really was great talent around. We went up to junior and then went up as far to senior A.

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Mary Dardis

“After that, the camogie just thrived, there was great spirit and great tradition of the GAA club in Clondalkin.”

Mary has been a dedicated member of The Clondalkin Tidy Towns Committee since it began in 2012, joining a hard-working group of people hoping to make Clondalkin a cleaner and better place to live.

“I remember seeing a report in the Evening Herald that Clondalkin was a black spot for litter. I said I would love to do something about that, but I was not going to take that on by myself.

“Then the notice came in that there was a meeting in South Dublin County Council, a proposal for a Tidy Towns meeting. After two weeks the meeting was held here in the civic offices in Clondalkin and it all started from there.

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Mary Dardis

“I was on the committee. Really and truly there just seemed to be great spirit, great people, like-minded people- it was a pleasure.” Mary explained.

“We joined the national Tidy Towns competitions in the earlier stages. The first year we achieved an award.”

In 2015, Clondalkin received 260 points, which marked an increase of 27 points from the previous year.

“It was the second highest points in Dublin. It was a huge increase, and it was rewarding for the work that had been done, said Mary.

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Mary Dardis Vice President of Round Tower GAA Club and Clondalkin Tidy Towns Committee member

“There was a great spirit of wanting to improve Clondalkin, it was all about Clondalkin. I know it is Tidy Towns, but strictly speaking we did it for Clondalkin.

“My husband died five years ago, and I have to say, Tidy Towns was so important to me at that time. It’s the absolute truth- whilst I was involved in other things, Tidy Towns was different.

“There is a fantastic core of great people from Clondalkin, and it’s that core of people that drives the Tidy Towns in Clondalkin all the time. I could not find the words to say how wonderful they are.

 “One person I would like to mention is Pat O’Sullivan. Pat is a trojan worker with Tidy Towns and his name deserves a mention. He has done some amazing projects with South Dublin County Council such as the First World War memorial garden, in which 30 trees were planted for 30 men from Clondalkin that were killed in that war.”

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Mary Dardis

Mary’s passion and hard work to make Clondalkin a great place to live has not gone unnoticed by other members of the community, which was clear when Mary was chosen to be the Grand Marshall for the Clondalkin St Patrick’s Day parade in 2018, - something she describes as an ‘honour’.

“I was surprised when I was told, there was a vote on Facebook. It surprised me, I had no ambitions or had thought I would be chosen for it.”

As well as being on the Tidy Towns committee and being Vice President of Round Tower GAA club, Mary is also a proud member of the ‘local vocals’ choir in Clondalkin.

Mary explains that Clondalkin has changed significantly in the time that she has lived there, but the spirit of the community remains the same.

“It’s really a thriving big town now. It has changed a lot. It really is a wonderful place to live. There is great community spirit and a lively community in Clondalkin. I am here over 50 years and I have no regrets.”

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