The Muck and Magic Community Garden, Ballymun, Dublin
In the middle of October 2015, a bunch of community gardeners from around Ireland and Northern Ireland met up in Ballymun for a Community Garden Network meeting. The network meetings are full day events and are usually broken up into different sections. Ballymun was no exception. We listened to a couple of interesting talks from Eoin Craven and Joanne Butler of Ourganicgardens.ie about seed saving, were introduced to Karen Mahon from Every Can Counts and were given a tour of the productive Virgin Mary and Muck and Magic Community Gardens in Ballymun.
John O’Donoghue helped to coordinate this event and is now sharing the story of Muck and Magic with us. John is a horticulturist who has been involved in community gardening in Dublin both on a professional and voluntary basis for the past six years. On a professional basis he is employed by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board as a Gardening Tutor in their Community Education Programme. On a voluntary level John is involved with two local community gardens, namely The Muck and Magic Community Garden and the Finglas Forest Garden.
Muck and Magic
The Garden is located in a site in the Coultry area of Ballymun, adjacent to Domville House and the Glor Na Gael Community Garden.
The garden was started in 2011 by a small group of local volunteers involved in the then named Ballymun Gardening Club, together with the assistance of a GAP (Global Action Plan) funded Community Gardener.
As part of the Ballymun Regeneration Plan, GAP were employed to provide a range of environmental programmes in Ballymun. The site of the garden, owned by Dublin City Council, is leased to us under a licence agreement which is renewed annually.
Initially there was a vacated senior citizen housing complex on the site and we started modestly in 2011 with a series of four raised beds for the growing of vegetables.
In 2013 the housing complex was demolished, which effectively tripled our growing space. This allowed us to erect a 12 metre tunnel on the site and has allowed us to grow a wide range of vegetables.
In 2014 the garden was made wheelchair friendly with a series of surfaced paths. In addition a compost toilet, an outdoor classroom and a potting shed were erected, with the help of a project funded by Aer Lingus.
The Muck and Magic Garden
Approximately half the site is covered with mature ornamental trees. The tunnel is used in spring for the propagation of early vegetable seedlings then later for growing protected plants such as tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, peppers and a wide range of salad crops. Outside we grow a wide range of vegetables using a four-year crop rotation system. Our fruit garden is quite small and we plan to develop it in the coming months.
In addition we have a series of ornamental beds. We are planning to develop a sensory garden during the coming year.
We have an extensive composting site with a wormery and we are able to make good leaf mould from the leaves we gather in the Autumn.
Some rainwater harvesting takes place using structures in the garden and we plan to do more harvesting in the coming year.
The Garden opens twice weekly throughout the year, namely Monday and Wednesday (mornings in winter and evenings in summer).
Our volunteers are from Ballymun and the surrounding area. Among them are a group from a local day centre for adults with special needs. Another group that attended the garden were from a local drugs rehabilitation project.
The volunteers meet on a monthly basis to make decisions on ongoing management issues and each year elect a committee.
Each year we enter the garden into the Dublin City Council Neighborhood Awards Competition and the local Tidy Towns Competition. In 2015 Dublin Council awarded us a trophy for our sustainability initiatives.
Opening Hours of Muck and Magic
Monday 10.30 am to 1.00 pm
Wednesday 10.30 am to 1.00 pm
In addition Summer time Wednesdays, 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Ronnie McConnell 089 4031969
John O’Donoghue 086 8176666 email email@example.com
or find us on The Muck and Magic Facebook Page.
If you’d like to feature your community garden in Ireland or Northern Ireland on the Community Garden website we’d love to hear from you. Contact us for more information.
If you’re interested we’re currently planning the next CGN get together for Belfast in March. Please sign up for the newsletter and keep alert of all the community garden events and focus posts.
Images: Courtesy of Miren Maialen