Category Archives: education

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

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

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

Simon Community Gardens-Cork City

Of Nature
Human beings
are not different from Nature.
We are part of Nature.
Our very existence on earth
depends on Nature.
In truth, it is not we who
protect Nature but Nature
that protects us
Amma
 
 
In 2004 as part of the preparations for Cork city’s tenure as European capital of culture, a project was initiated to develop community gardens around the city.  My host in Cork, Eoin Mc Cuirc, was involved in what became known as the Cork Mandala of Community Continue reading

Goresbridge Community Garden

The garden in Gorsebridge is located in a Respond housing estate.  Respond is Ireland’s largest non-for-profit housing association.  They develop housing projects with a view to creating inclusive communities based on social Continue reading

Newpark Close Community Garden, Kilkenny

This prize-winning garden in Kilkenny is a cross community programme between the Newpark Close and Hebron Park housing estates, two disadvantaged parts of the city with a traditional rivalry.

It came about when the community committee in Newpark Close applied for funding under the RAPID program for a LTI (Local Training Initiative).  A group of local men, most of whom were long-term unemployed, applied to take part in a twenty week course in Vocational Employment Skills (Level 3 Major award) which included a horticulture module.  The city council agreed to give the course participants access to a piece of land on the edge of the estate in Newpark Close which had been used as a dumping ground in the past. The land was fenced off and the guys developed a community garden from scratch with the help of their horticulture teacher.

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The group was made up of ten guys from each of the Continue reading

Aughrim Community Garden

I arrived in to Aughrim at the end of my dramatic first day cycling in Wicklow.  Donal Rice, one of the group members met me in town and gave me a whirlwind tour of the garden before dark. The garden is on an acre and a half site just opposite the GAA grounds in Aughrim.  After some research and investigation from local South-Wicklow Transition Town member, Anita Davis in 2008-09, a local retired vet and Tidy Town’s member agreed to loan the land to the group with the only condition being that it be used as an organic community garden.  Grants were sourced from Wicklow County Council and a Wicklow mountain communities group and some local businesses contributed donations and equipment. The site was rotivated, new plastic was bought for the polytunnel and a call went out to local people to get involved.  A year and a half later and the group has 10 committed Continue reading