Active Travel Campaign

It’s 8 am on a gorgeous May morning and Orla is in the seaside town of Tramore in County Watford to see how a campaign that students at Ardscoil na Mara, the town’s only secondary school, is going.

“So, today we’re doing our Active Travel Campaign, so this happens every Wednesday and we encourage students and teachers to walk or cycle to school,” said one student involved.

“People are reacting great to it so as we’ll see later today we’ve got local councillors out helping us, we’ve got lots of teachers and lots of student council members and TY members out to help us as well and we’ve already seen a 20% decrease in the number of cars coming onto the site so far.”


Did you know? 

Passenger cars are a major problem for the environment, they account for 61% of total CO2 emissions on Europe’s roads. With that in mind, the students, teachers and even some parents at Ardscoil na Mara have taken some climate action by encouraging students and staff to stop and stride to school every Wednesday and in doing so reduce carbon emissions and increase road safety.

One of the students outlined where the idea came about.

“We came up with the idea because there’s loads of cars coming into school every day and there’s loads of traffic jams and stuff and it’s kind of unsafe for a student coming in trying to get to school in the mornings, so if we have a decrease in cars there’s a lot more road safety around and there’s a lot less air pollution around the school.”

There are nearly 1,200 pupils at Ardscoil na Mara and along with the staff they’re being asked to consider walking at least 500 metres to school.

“It’s an invitation, a community invitation to support a student-driven campaign and it’s pretty cool,” said Patrick Kirwan, a teacher here at Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore.

“It’s quite interesting because if you’re standing on the Ring Road up here and there’s a line of traffic idling there, you can actually smell the fumes and when you think about all the kids who are walking by and actually they’re breathing that into their lungs and I think apart from the environment, there’s a lot of people who are walking by and actually environmental benefits. For the kids, essentially they get a bit of a walk in before school and it just clears your head”.

Some of the parents of students at Ardscoil na Mara, are also involved. Francis Fitzgerald has children attending the school and coordinates this active travel initiative.

“It’s a good cause, it’s a good age, it’s kids are great, the kids are the driver force of this and it’s great initiative. We all know at this point in time that the roads are just treacherous,” said Francis.

“We can’t leave kids on bikes, scooters, even walk to school so the less traffic it gives an opportunity for everyone to be able to do these things even down to the younger kids in the primary schools to be able to walk to school or go on their bikes. If you have less cars it’s safety, less cars means less of maintenance so they’re both to me combined in together.”

To find out more about their Active Travel Initiative, check out their website



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