Category Archives: Community building

Drumlane Community Garden

with Declan

After a well-deserved night’s sleep at the Seven Horse Shoes Hotel in Belturbet, Declan brought me to Drumlane community centre to visit the garden.  Drumlane is primarily a rural parish which includes a small part of Belturbet town. The community centre was built five years ago and has been paid for mainly by community fund-raising. It now provides a childcare service and a myriad of sports and community facilities, as well as being home to the Drumlane Sons of O’Connell GAA club. A patch of unused GAA club land adjacent to a children’s play area and the football pitch has been developed in to a thriving community garden.  November is not a great time to visit but this video gives a flavour of the garden in full bloom.

Member numbers have increased every year since the first gardening course was run by my host, Declan Fitzpatrick, in 2008. That year 14 Continue reading

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Crossmolina Community Garden & Allotments

The visit to the garden at Scoil Bhride primary school in Shantalla in Galway went so well that I ended up not leaving the city until close to 12 noon.  I had 100km to cover

Pit-stop: coffee, pastry & 2 bananas

up to Crossmolina in North Mayo and, seen as I had been averaging under 20km per hour and I’d definitely need two short breaks, I feared some moonlight cycling might be on the agenda for later in the day.  I took the Headford Road out of Galway and the scenic route close to the banks of Lough Corrib and Lough Mask.

The road was bumpy and slow but the scenery across the lakes and out towards Connemara was spectacular.  The weather was good to me again and once I got past Ballinrobe I made good time on up to Castlebar.  Some locals there Continue reading

Scoil Bhride Community & School Garden, Shantalla, Galway City

This primary school visit in Galway was a real pleasure.  Adrian Carey, one of the support teachers, showed me around the excellent garden project on the school grounds and I got a chance to meet a group of sixth class pupils to tell them all about my adventures and hear about their experience and opinions of the garden.

with the pupils in 6th class

I was then invited to meet some of the other teachers at break time and got treated to some tea and cakes by the charming school tea lady.  A really enjoyable visit.

The garden is unique in a number of ways.  One is that it is a joint community and school garden.  The school is located on the west side of Galway city; it has disadvantaged status and hence qualifies Continue reading

Ballybane Community Garden

The Ballybane Community Organic Garden is organised through the Ballybane/Mervue Community Development Project (CDP). It was set up in 2006 by the Galway Healthy Cities Forum (Galway City Development Board). The project is funded by RAPID, Health Promotion Services, HSE West and City of Galway VEC. 

with Gerry Folan, member of the Ballybane garden on Thursday

The garden is on council land that was previously derelict.  But because the site is right beside a reservoir the council had some concerns about damage to underground pipes.  They initially gave just a small site for the garden and when  Continue reading

Gort Community Garden and Co-op

Even though I’d visited the community farm and Ecovillage in Cloughjordan (see previous post) on the morning  I was leaving for Gort, I still thought that I had plenty of time to make it there before dark.  But it turned out that I’d completely misjudged the distance and when I got to Portumna, where the Shannon meets Lough Derg, and thought I was over half-way there, I’d only covered about one-third Continue reading

Community Gardening in Cauca, Colombia-Linking alternatives

One of the aims of the project once I start to work in Colombia will be to make connections between civil society groups there and in Ireland.  Hopefully some community garden projects, slow food movements or transition Continue reading

Community Supported Agriculture – Cloughjordan Community Farm

Thomas Mc Donagh, poet, playwright, revolutionary, martyr for Irish freedom.  But that’s enough about me, there was this other guy by the same name who was born in 1878 in Cloughjordan Co. Tipperary and was executed by firing squad in Dublin in 1916 after the Easter Rebellion.  So there was a lot of questions being asked when I went along, with my host Pat Malone, to a night of Irish language, song and poetry Continue reading

Scariff Community Garden and Transition Town

If Community Gardens are about a vision for a more sustainable future based on local food production and strong, resilient communities, then Scariff is very

local artists helping to create an inspiring space at the garden

much in the process of implementing that vision.  The Community Garden there was set up five years ago with the help of my host in Scariff, Brendan.  The initial intention was to create a social space to help in the integration of people with special needs in the community and a place to grow food for locals in the town.  The core group involved in the garden at first has changed considerably over Continue reading

Southill Community Garden, Limerick

Barbera Mulcahy is the gardener in resident in the Southill Resource Centre in Limerick.  The centre was set up in Southill as part of the area regeneration project.  The community has recurring social problems and the centre, which was a real hive of activity on Friday afternoon when I arrived and seems to have become a local community hub,   is a big part of the local effort to reverse some of the negative trends of the past. 

Plan of the garden on canvas-so it doesn't get damaged by the elements

 The community garden is part of this effort to get local people to re-engage with their community in a positive manner. 

When Barbera arrived at the centre in March of this year there were three raised beds and the resource was slightly under-used. 

Barbera in the polytunnel

  A FETAC horticulture course had been run with external help but there seemed to a p Continue reading

Mayfield Community Arts Centre Garden

The Mandala of Community Gardens (see previous post on CorkSimon gardens) project in Cork city coincided with the renovation of the arts centre in Mayfield.  A grant was provided by a private donor to develop the garden in to a space for the community as part of the renovations.  Local people were asked to participate in the design of the garden and workshops were held to bring peoples’ ideas together.  Eimer and Claire, two external members of the Mandala project, brought groups and volunteers to Mayfield to work on the garden including a group from the permaculture course in Kinsale and gradually the garden took shape.

Individual projects were also developed around the garden such as a willow sculpture class and a cob oven Continue reading