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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

Day 16: 150 km, four minced pies, three coffees, one puncture and 1000km reached under a Cavan full-moon.

I hadn’t planned any more 140km+ stages on the cycle since doing Dunmore East to Cork city in a day. That nearly killed me. But when my planned visit to the Organic Centre in Leitrim didn’t work out, I had to improvise.  I decided to rest on the second half of day 15, relaxing and reading the weekend papers in a pub in Kilala.  I’d stay the night with Arlene in Crossmolina again and try to make it to Belturbet in Cavan in a day. This was the route I took:

I was chatting to a woman in a shop in Carrigallen in Leitrim (near Belturbet) that evening and I was telling her where I’d come from. She didn’t believe me for a while and then told me that she’d be knackered if she’d driven that distance.

It was frosty and bitter cold first Continue reading

Two impressive TED talks on our food system

‘How I fell in love with a fish’- a quirky look at a Spanish model of environmental sustainability in food production.

This eleven year old boy’s critique of our food system is a fine piece Continue reading

Rossport Solidarity House – food garden

This estuary and the surrounding area is an EU-designated Special Conservation Area.  It’s also where Shell want to dig a tunnel and run a high pressure gas pipeline underwater to an inland gas refinery.  It’s a remote corner of the country but it’s been in the eye of a storm for the last few years pitting the local community and environmental and social justice activists against the interests of an oil multinational and the Irish government.  The gas is valued at 450Billion Euro and the Irish government refuses to re-negotiate the deal done with Shell.  Not only will the tax that Shell pay be one of the lowest in the world but they will also pay no royalty payments under the current terms.  Contract terms are sacred you see, unless you’re an Irish bank bondholder that is, in which case we’ll review contracts in case of any losses incurred. 

stunning

I got there late in the evening after some more night cycling through rural Mayo.   If you’re ever going cycling, 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

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