In Focus: Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

A Fruitful Year at Sean Dún Community Garden

The Sean Dún Community Garden was set up in May 2016 beside the Sean Dún housing estate by the River Colligan in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The Community Garden, to date, consists of 25 allotments, with plans for further future development of the site to include a five-aside football pitch, a playground, a large polytunnel to be shared by all of the allotment holders, an edible fruit hedge, and a community amenity area.

Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Sunset at Sean Dún Community Garden

The Community Garden is a community development initiative set up in the Sean Dún estate by Waterford City and County Council in association with the Ballybeg Community Development Project. To date, Waterford City and County Council have very generously funded the setting-up of the allotments, providing the site, basic equipment and tools required, and wood for raised beds and fencing.

In Focus: Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Some of our sponsors in Sean Dún Community Garden

The Ballybeg Horticulture Local Training initiative has provided training programmes for the allotment holders in the Community Garden, offering QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) accredited training in horticulture, having completed QQI Level 3 and Level 4 in Growing Organic Vegetables, and currently doing a Hard Landscape Construction course.

There are enormous benefits for the community in having the Community Garden in the Sean Dún estate, not only to the allotment holders, but these benefits are also felt by all of those living in the Sean Dún estate. These include health benefits, social benefits, psychological benefits and environmental benefits, to mention just a few.

In Focus: Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Third Prize for Our Onions at Dungarvan Agricultural Show!

In the near future, the Sean Dún Community Garden allotment holders are planning to develop a commercial aspect to the Community Gardens, and supply top quality organically grown salad leaves, specialist vegetables, edible flowers and herbs to the local food service industry.

The allotment holders in the Sean Dún Community Garden have achieved an incredible amount in their first year, since May 2016, and look forward to an equally successful and fruitful time in the coming year!

Contact details for Sean Dún Community Garden are as follows:

Tel: 087 6987656
Facebook: Sean Dun Community Garden

In Focus: Hardwicke Street Garden Club, Dublin

Hardwicke Street Garden Club

Continuing with our In Focus highlights of community gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland, this month we’re please to introduce the Hardwicke Street Garden Club in Dublin 1. Jason Sheridon, the author of the following article, is a a social care worker involved in the Hardwicke project who has a particular interest in the use of therapeutic horticulture. He also shares some great photographs of the garden on social media.

Growing Food and Enhancing an Area

A short walk from the hustle and bustle of our capital’s thoroughfare, bees from a local honey project are busy collecting the nectar from plants in a well-established kitchen garden nestled in between two red brick apartment blocks. In the same garden, just around the corner from O’Connell Street, a group of local community gardeners come together to grow food and plant flora to enhance the surrounding area.

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinIt all began when a small group of volunteers came together in 2010, ranging in age from eight to eighty, to build raised beds, plant seedlings, and activate a vacant green space that lay idle for almost a decade, following a multi-million euro regeneration project of the complex.

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinThe garden flourished through the application of different skills and abilities of its local residents that came together to collectively develop the space, which was comprised of just a pathway and some hedging.

With some financial assistance from the Croke Park Community fund award, the group hand built a full size potting shed that doubles as a social space to the garden members. The shed is stocked with a variety of tools that has allowed members to creatively re-purpose materials into garden essentials such as bird boxes, benches, and much more. These materials, along with some of the more quirky features are sometimes donated by one garden member running a waste disposal service.

Grassroots Community

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinThrough a grassroots community effort, the people residing in area now had access to engage in the restorative activity of cultivating this urban garden. Through liaising with the local city council, the garden received the experienced knowledge of a trained horticulturist. The small-knit group attended regular classes in vegetable growing, propagation, and landscaping. Taking these newly acquired skills, the group entered the first of tree post card show gardens at the national Bloom festival in the local Phoenix Park.

Hardwicke Community Garden Dublin
Jason Sheridon welcomes Ron Finley to Hardwicke Community Garden

Bringing some valuable landscaping skills back to the community from participating in the festival, three years in succession, the group decided to embark on a community project in 2016 to build a memorial garden in memory of the children who died during the rising.

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinEmployment Opportunities

The garden continues to grow and there are lots of big plans for the future. The garden has assisted with training several participants of the Tus employment scheme over the last two years and has recently developed a program which see’s members visit a local farm and cultivate at an agricultural scale. The garden club is hopeful to further develop the project to provide more education and training in this busy section of the city of Dublin.

Hardwicke Community Garden Dublin

For more information take a look at the Hardwicke Garden Club or look out for them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Focus on Gleann na Bearu Community Garden, Co Carlow

Gleann na Bearu Community Garden is young in community gardening terms having only been around since the spring of 2015. We’ve achieved a lot already.

Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
October 2015

The small garden is located within the enclosed walls of a community centre in the heart of a Bagenalstown housing estate.

The community garden attracts around a dozen people with mixed abilities on Wednesday mornings from the surrounding area, as well as much further afield. Originally the garden was used by teenagers during the afternoon youth club in the Bagenalstown Youth Project.

Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
Bug hotel created by teens & adults

They decorated and planted up old tyres with flowers, as well as brightened up the walls with art using a variety of paint colours generosity donated by the local hardware stores who gave the volunteers unwanted mixes.

In the spring of 2015 Sarah Barron, the Education Resource Officer for Respond! Housing Association applied for funding for a tutor from Kilkenny Carlow Education Training Board and Dee Sewell from Greenside Up started working with a new group of gardeners on what became known as an intergenerational gardening course within Gleann na Bearu.

Focus on Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
Brightening up dull windowsills for the seedlings

For two hours a week for six weeks, Dee taught the adults the basics needed for a successful organic garden – crop rotation and vegetable families, weeding and pest control without chemicals as well as garden design, potting, planting and transplanting.

In the afternoons Catherine and Dani who work for Carlow Regional Youth Services, pass on everything they learn to the teenagers. The garden is like another room for the teens all year round and a place of tranquility for anyone looking for it. The young people are planning to build more pallet benches over the coming months and paint all the new raised beds; they’re an integral part of this shared space.

Focus on Gleann na BearuLast year Respond provided three raised beds and topsoil was sourced from the local hardware shop. Like many gardens, funding was tight so the group planted seeds into toilet rolls and tetra packs and learnt how to grow food on a budget. The course was so successful Dee’s funding was extended for another six weeks and more plants were grown.

During the summertime the group continued to meet, weed, drink tea and snack on biscuits, one of the most important aspects of a community garden. They held a garden party where food the gardeners had grown was cooked and shared, then in the autumn Dee returned and the group looked at the design once more. There was lots of space for more raised beds and thanks again to the generosity of Respond, the plans the group had discussed began to be realised and eight more beds were added.

Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
Potatoes grown by all, cooked by Frances and then shared by all in Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
Focus on Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
Just a few ton of woodchip to wheelbarrow through

The original lawn was sown in estate rubble and the landlord didn’t want the group to dig down so wood for the new raised beds was sourced from Griffiths the local saw mill, topsoil came from a farming friend of Frances and the wood chip from Tom Kane in neighbouring Goresbridge.

Unfortunately just after the topsoil was delivered it began to rain heavily for what seemed like weeks. The crumbly clay soil that had been dropped at the front of the building ready for the gardeners to wheelbarrow in through the side gate quickly turned into ridiculously heavy sludge that became almost impossible to move. However, everyone persevered, sometimes only moving a couple of wheelbarrows through, other times a morning’s worth and the new beds began to be filled, finally finishing just last week. Thankfully the woodchip was much easier to move!

Dee’s husband Ian was roped in to cut and build the raised beds and thanks to Catherine’s contacts, carpet offcuts were donated by the local carpet shop and various neighbours. These were cut and laid down to smother the grass and weeds before the woodchip was emptied on top of it.

Focus on Gleann na Bearu Community Garden During the Spring, Dee returned once more and she’s continued to advise and motivate us to do more in the garden. We’ve lots of plans.

The Youth Service are seeking funding to build a plastic bottle greenhouse which they’ll help the teenagers build using two litre drink bottles. We’re adding a tractor tyre pond and are hoping to build a green roof structure to cover the wheelie bins as well as add more tyre and pallet planters.

Focus on Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
May 2016

Catherine has entered the garden in the Pride of a Place competition and hopes that the gardeners will begin to grow plants for the front of the building and the surrounding estate. We’ll be planning a date for another garden party soon, only this year we’ll be inviting members of the new Carlow community garden network to join us as well as the local schools and tidy towns group.

Two new ladies Mary and Nicola have recently joined our group and more new faces are always welcome to join the regulars John, Susan, Siobhan, Esther, Dani, Frances, Catherine, John and Eamon.

Focus on Gleann na Bearu
Early June 2016

We meet every Wednesday from 10am until 12 noon and donate 50 cent towards the tea and biscuits though we might have to look at ways of making a few cent more for the garden so we can buy seeds and compost next year. We welcome newcomers so don’t be shy if you’re tempted to join us.

The garden is an important part of our lives, apart from learning about flowers and vegetables it’s a place of laughter and friendship and of course a sense of community as its name suggests.

If you’d like to follow our progress keep an eye out for our Facebook page.

In Focus: OURganic Gardens, Donegal

Spring is in the air at OURganic GardensSpring is in the air at OURganic Gardens!

The following article is from Joanne Butler of OURganic gardens. Joanne is a horticultural tutor who is working with seven community gardens in Donegal (yes 7!). Joanne is self-employed and works mostly through community groups and other organisations funded by the Education Training Board. OURganic Gardens was created as a central point of contact for all the Donegal community gardeners in 2013 and currently has over 150 gardeners that have attended courses and events in Donegal. Funding to help the gardens to date has been received through GIY and Local agenda 21.

Community Gardens Springing into life!

Things are starting to get busy at OURganic Gardens at home and in the community gardens. Since most of the community gardens don’t kick off until mid-March I’ve had to begin at home sowing seeds for seven groups! It’s an OCD’s nightmare to be honest but I’m still managing to get everything sown on time.

I find it much easier to get a head start on some veggies here at home where I can look after them carefully … or at least try! Organisation is key and keeping records is very important. This year, as with every year, I make a determined effort to stay on top of labels , dates and notes  (If I make it to April I’ll be doing well); but seriously having the notes to look back on and see what has and hasn’t worked is well worth the effort in the long run.

Creating a Network of Community Gardens

Spring is in the air at OURganic GardensOURganic Gardens is about to start its fourth year and while creating a network of community gardens in Donegal I have learnt so much, and not just about growing veggies.

Community gardening is about people. Bringing like-minded people together and seeing  the excitement that their first seedling brings, as well as the hope of the future it holds, is nearly as exciting as a load of well-rotted manure (I do say nearly mind).

Sometimes I get asked what’s the most important thing about starting a community garden and I have to say it’s the community. Yes,  you need a site,  insurance and all the legal stuff but once you have a group of people who want to make a garden a shared space open to all, as well as a difference in their community, then you’re well on your way. Trust me that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Thanks to Local Agenda 21, this year OURganic Gardens has secured a small bit funding for seeds, soil and spuds for all the community gardens and gardeners that take part in the courses throughout the year.

Spring is in the air at OURganic Gardens
Nothing beats a bit of local advertising to get the word out!

New Beginnings

I’ll shortly be facilitating seven community gardens for various community centers and projects, as well as my own on site garden here at home,  which I’m super excited about.

I asked a few local gardeners to set up a committee and to make sure everyone can see it’s all above-board, we’ve drawn up a lease agreement for the community garden for one Pea (yes, Pea) a year 😉

Lets hope we at least manage to get that much growing!

With a bit of deep digging we will have our insurance sorted in the coming weeks so will soon be good to go. Again, all we need is the people, which with a bit of word spreading and unadulterated advertising (which I cannot get funding for)  OURganic Garden’s hope is to entice gardeners of all ages and capabilities to take part this year.

Gardening courses about to start

So, with garden plans in back pocket, I’ll be off to my first six-week garden course which starts on Monday, 14th March in Dunfanaghy Resource Centre. After that I kick off in Falcarragh gardenTuesday 15th March at 9.30, Portanoo and Ardara on the 16th March, Gortahork (my own community garden) on the 7th April, Mountcharles on the 8th April and Ards walled garden project on the 9th April. It will be a busy few weeks but I hope the weather is kind to (all of) us and that we Spring happily into a glorious summer in the Donegal community gardens.

Spring is in the air at OURganic Gardens

Joanne is the Donegal Rep for the community garden network and can be contacted on 0861789971 or @OURganic on Twitter or OURganic Gardens in Facebook. Take a look at our map for locations of the community gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

If you’d like to share your community gardening story with our readers and help others with their community gardening plans and ideas, please get in touch. 

In Focus: Moy Hill Community Garden, County Clare

When you plant a tiny seed and cover it with earth, you never know just how big it will grow. The same thing happened to The Moy Hill Community Garden.

In Focus: Moy Hill Community GardensA couple of years ago, a kind man generously gave us a small patch of land just outside of Lahinch in County Clare. It was matted with brambles and rushes but with the help of a few friends and a hungry pig called Holly, we began to clear it bit by bit. It began to transform before our very eyes, people came and went, strangers became friends and soon it became a beautiful garden full of flowers, vegetables and the buzzing of bees.

In Focus: Moy Hill Community Garden, Clare

A wise man once told me ‘if you do good things, good things will happen’ and not a word could be truer in describing the success of The Moy Hill Community Garden.

Today the garden is owned by the community and is open to anyone and everyone. Whether it’s to plant a flower or simply sit on the bench and watch the world go by in Lahinch Bay, its open every day all year round. The garden’s roots have grown deep within the local community and this has not just happened by magic.

In Focus: Moy Hill Community Garden

During the garden’s first Summer we held weekly cook-ups open to all that wanted to come and share some fresh vegetables from the garden and meet up with other like-minded people. Last Summer we were blown away by how many people came to the cook ups, from grandsons to grandfathers, it was incredible to see how such a space could bring all different types of people together. We began to realise how important good food is and that it should be accessible and affordable for everyone, so now every Friday in the growing season we offer a variety of vegetables in the garden on a donation basis.

In Focus: Moy Hill Community Garden

It didn’t just stop at food though, the garden became a space for music where we held outdoor concerts in the amphitheater. It became a space for learning where we put on weekly kid’s activities up-cycling wellies and planting sunflowers. It became a space where anything is possible and this is what the garden has taught us.


So if you are ever passing through County Clare on the Wild Atlantic Way, stop into the garden, make yourself a cuppa and enjoy the view.

For more information on the garden and to sign up to our newsletter so we can keep you posted on any upcoming events visit

In Focus: Moy Hill Community Garden